Jump to content


Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse
 

Photo
- - - - -

benefits of manual transmission?


  • Please log in to reply
35 replies to this topic

#1 p3pppx

p3pppx

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 30 posts
  • new york

Posted 19 November 2003 - 07:56 PM

I convinced my wife that a manual transmission was better than automatic (mechanically, mileage, control and cost) and so we got a '00 Outback 5spd.

After a little over a month driving and one horrifying hill (30 degree incline with a 90 degree turn halfway up and stop sign) she see's no benefit.

I for one like it 'cause it's sportier and it goes when I want it. And ever since I first learned to drive I consciously became a left handed driver to leave my right hand free for shifting and now 15yrs later (acutally I drove my brothers honda crx for about 6 months some years back) I'm shifting my own! :-p

what are the benefits of manual transmission.

#2 99obw

99obw

    this space for rent

  • Members
  • 1,595 posts
  • Ithaca area

Posted 19 November 2003 - 08:16 PM

Just my opinions of course...

1. Fuel economy. Generally fuel economy improves, but some have said the gains are not significant in subes, I really don't know. A manual generally dissapates less power therefore offering better efficiency.

2. Control. I find a manual transmission to give far more control under most driving conditions. The simple availability of more gear ratios offers more flexibility for both acceleration and engine braking. You can work the power band or lug it in the snow, so many possibilites. It won't shift by itself at the wrong time. I feel like the best automatic is a liability in slippery conditions.

3. Braking. The engine doesn't fight the brakes when stopping, so the car may stop a little easier. Brakes should last longer.

Many will say the clutch is an achilles heel of the manual, but a properly driven clutch can last 200k miles easily.

One thing I tell new manual drivers is to let the clutch out first, until the engine bogs, then give it throttle. Once you are used to the feel of this it will get easier, and the clutch will last much longer. Try to match speeds. The rpms of the engine should never abruptly change when letting out the clutch, nor should the engine and tranny speed differ by much without the clutch in.

I was tought proper manual transmission technique from a very young age, and it still took me about 100k miles to perfect. Once it is perfected an automatic is a distant second. Don't give up.

#3 calebz

calebz

    Andys Coupe killed my cat

  • Administrator
  • 7,547 posts
  • Tacoma

Posted 19 November 2003 - 09:12 PM

Only time an auto is better is in rush hour traffic. Have done rush hour in seattle/tacoma(for years), dallas, cleavland and a couple other places.. Auto beats a manual hands down if you have to commute in a major metropolis.

Otherwise, see the advantages of a manual in 99OBW's post

#4 Subarunation 713

Subarunation 713

    Eat, Live, Breath Subaru

  • Members
  • 272 posts
  • Bridgman (SW Mich)

Posted 19 November 2003 - 09:48 PM

A big advantage to a manual over an auto trans....

People don't even THINK about asking to borrow your car!

btw-clutches have never been a problem for me. I have never worn a clutch out (in the absence of wood, I am knocking on my skull). I have taken them to 180,000 miles+.

#5 alias20035

alias20035

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 357 posts
  • Canada

Posted 20 November 2003 - 12:51 AM

OBW99 covered most of the benefits....


pros of the 5MT

simplicity, and easier to repair (but on Subaru's not necessarily more reliable). Used replacement transmissions are available for $500 or less.

city fuel economy is better (but depends on the driver)

brakes will last longer (true for all manual cars)

control, engine braking is far more affective and easier than with the 4EAT


But there are the following cons:

Not as easy to drive (but the complex shift pattern on newer Subaru 4EAT's is a pain)

resale value is much lower, much lower than the price difference to upgrade to the 4EAT. The market for 5MT's is perhaps only 10% as large as for 4EAT. If your buying used the price differential is already there so it is not costing you anything.

highway fuel economy is generally not as good because the 5mt has a higher gear ratio causing the engine to spin about 400 RPM higher at 70 MPH. The difference varies between 1-2 MPG.

The 4EAT is easier to drive in slippery conditions, because the transmission is very good at controlling power output to the rear wheels during turns. The 5MT tends to understeer and cause the vehicle to plow through the turn because the viscous coupling splits torque 50/50 all the time, even when you don't want it to. The 4EAT will reduce power to the rear wheels at the instant that the accelerator is released (even partially), significantly reducing the understeer problem. The solution to this 5MT plowing problem is to induce a powerslide or drift to bring the rear end around. Good winter tires are a big help though.

As for clutch life, some people get only 60,000 miles (or less) out of their clutches, while others get 200,000 or more.

Subaru clutches are known to have a substantial judder problem (severe vibrations during engagement when cold). There have been several TSB's issued and upgraded components are available. I believe your 2000 Outback is affected by this TSB, but your off the 3yr/36000 bumper to bumper warranty. TSB's are only paid for under warranty, unlike recalls.

Some Subaru's have the clutch hill holder, which makes starting in steep inclines a breeze. The 95-2003 Legacy/Outback platform with hydraulic clutch does not have a hill holder. New Foresters and Impreza have it again. The hill holder will return on the 2005 Legacy/Outback.

Subaru's hill holder patent expired, and now hill holding is built into some Bosch ABS/VDC systems. I am not sure whether Subaru will be using the Bosch electonic hill holder, or continue to used the cable activated brake line valve.

#6 1 Lucky Texan

1 Lucky Texan

    I read a lot about Subarus

  • Gold Subscribers
  • 4,979 posts
  • Texas

Posted 20 November 2003 - 08:23 AM

I think alias did a more fair analysis.
I think a couple differences I always point out to people is the general advantage ATs have in most towing situations. Probably less an advantage with small cars that are not used for towing much. Also, a MT can usually be push/roll started. Not with an AT.

I admit I am not a very good MT driver. Folks riding with me get whipped pretty bad. I am not uncomfortable driving MTs and find them a little more 'fun' actually. But as a daily driver I would never get 200k or even 100k from a clutch.
I am shopping for an OBS and if I wind up with a MT I may try to find a driving school to get my skills up for RallyX or AutoX.

Woulkd there be significant differences between AT and MT in RallyX for a non-tirbo vehicle? Which tranny should I shop for?

#7 Phillip

Phillip

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 167 posts
  • Eugene, OR

Posted 20 November 2003 - 01:35 PM

If your wife really wanted an automatic (like mine did), there probably aren't ANY benefits to a stick!

#8 wagonpowaa

wagonpowaa

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 222 posts
  • Seattle, Wa

Posted 20 November 2003 - 06:58 PM

unless i missed it in one of the posts above, i think we are all missing the best part of a manual - IT'S SO MUCH FUNNER TO DRIVE! (except of course, as caleb has pointed out - in seattle rush hour)

#9 paladin_w

paladin_w

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts
  • Fort Collins,Colorado

Posted 20 November 2003 - 08:34 PM

I must agree with all the posts for pro's and cons. The only thing that I have in extra would be, I feel so much more in control of driving and the car with a MT. I drove an auto in a ford for several years while my 92 was down and I hated it. I did not feel I had the control I wanted, most often when I needed to get through some intersection I didn't see another vehicle coming and pulled out, my 5sp I just punch it and get through, my old auto I would hit the gas and it felt like an eternity before the speed would pick up. Same goes for passing I can down shift to 4th and pick up speed fast, I felt like I was in a long line with my auto.

#10 DerFahrer

DerFahrer

    Formerly subyluvr2212

  • Members
  • 2,417 posts
  • Orlando, FL

Posted 20 November 2003 - 08:49 PM

Oh geez, this argument again :brolleye:

Better gas mileage...
More reliable...
Two braking systems (engine braking)...
Manuals are MUCH lighter, 100 lbs or more...
No fear of dead batteries (pop starting)...
Impress the ladies :banana:

And the #1 reason:

IT'S MORE FUN!!!:banana:

I have NEVER had true honest fun driving an auto. Sure, they can be fast... but it's not the same...

I don't know what all this rush-hour traffic complaining is about. Central Florida probably has some of the worst traffic in the Southeast, and not only have I sat in traffic for an hour with my MT without any problems, I know enough to go find a much more fun backroad to take :D

Put it this way: I will probably own an auto at sometime in my life, but I will never be without an MT. When I am required to drive an AT as my daily, I'll stop driving... Honestly. I take driving far too seriously to be bored to death with an auto every single day...

#11 Lesbaru

Lesbaru

    Gir is my copilot

  • Members
  • 681 posts
  • Seattle

Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:02 PM

mE CONfuseD... My 96 Legacy has a hill-holder! (my 86 GL did, too.) So, what's the info about 95-2003 not having a hill holder?

I love MT, and refuse to buy an auto. So, I'm definately biased. Resale value doesn't mean much to me. I don't buy my car for someone else, I buy it for ME!

By the same token, if your wife wants an auto, maybe you should look into getting one for HER. (and you keep the MT... more Subarus=more happiness!)

#12 paladin_w

paladin_w

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts
  • Fort Collins,Colorado

Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:08 PM

The hill holder was not in the Legacy "Outback" edition, much to my dissapointment. :boohoo: I really miss that feature, one of my favorite in my 92

#13 Hondasucks

Hondasucks

    Subaru Technician

  • Members
  • 4,760 posts
  • Vancouver, WA

Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:49 PM

"highway fuel economy is generally not as good because the 5mt has a higher gear ratio causing the engine to spin about 400 RPM higher at 70 MPH. The difference varies between 1-2 MPG."

yeah but the 30% power loss through the automatic should even out the difference.

#14 alias20035

alias20035

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 357 posts
  • Canada

Posted 20 November 2003 - 11:36 PM

The Legacy's with hydraulic clutch do not have a hill holder, your 96 must be one of the ones with a cable clutch. As of 97 all Legacy's are hyrdraulic clutch, but most of the 96's that I see are also hydraulic. I think it depends on when in the year it was built.

I don't agree with the 30% power loss claim for the automatic, sure you lose a bit of power, but the torque convertor will amplify torque, which is why the 4EAT's tend to be faster off the line (the 5MT overtakes at about 30MPH though). The only real perceived power loss of the 4EAT is the 2000+ models extremely slow downshifts.

5MT's are more fun, except in traffic jams.

My next Subaru will be the 2005+ models with the sportshift 5EAT transmission. For MY2005 the sportshift controls are on both the transmission lever AND on the steering wheel. This would be the best of both worlds.......

I have driven the BMW SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox) which is an automatically shifting manual transmission (uses a electronically controlled hydraulic clutch and shift linkage so you don't need the clutch, or gearshift). It works in both automatic and manual mode, and the system even sorts out the throttle to match speeds when changing gears. Subaru has a similar system in development (co-developed with ProDrive) and also on the WRC cars, but I don't see it hitting the market anytime soon, as it would be at least double the price of the 5EAT transmission. It would add 1 more gear though (6 speed).

#15 adge_082

adge_082

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts
  • Australia

Posted 20 November 2003 - 11:54 PM

Another benifit, in my eyes is the fact that if you can drive a manual vehicle every day of the week, in an emergancy, when the only car is a manual you wont be standing there saying "but i cant drive a stick"
If you can drive a manual you can drive an auto, but not always the other way around.

And you learn to appreciate the way a cars gearing works as well, if you ever got into an emergancy in an auto, and you have driven manuals a LOT, you will have more control over the vehicle (manually downshifting etc).

And again, much more fun.

#16 alias20035

alias20035

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 357 posts
  • Canada

Posted 20 November 2003 - 11:58 PM

Originally posted by adge_082
Another benifit, in my eyes is the fact that if you can drive a manual vehicle every day of the week, in an emergancy, when the only car is a manual you wont be standing there saying "but i cant drive a stick"
If you can drive a manual you can drive an auto, but not always the other way around.

And you learn to appreciate the way a cars gearing works as well, if you ever got into an emergancy in an auto, and you have driven manuals a LOT, you will have more control over the vehicle (manually downshifting etc).

And again, much more fun.



But what if you break your left leg while skiing?

Remember the Subaru commercial from the early 90's where they were demonstrating the Justy ECVT with a driver that had a broken leg and arm (it looked like he was in a full body cast)?

#17 p3pppx

p3pppx

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 30 posts
  • new york

Posted 21 November 2003 - 12:00 AM

Just as I thought, the most important reason:

IT IS MORE FUN!!!

she was never against the MT, her first 2 weeks as a new driver was spent "chauffering" a friend around the streets of Tokyo (15 years ago). And being the frugal and practical person it was an acceptable choice. But now she may never appreciate the benefit (i.e. fun) since she's the conservative type driver who'll never see the pleasure of downshifting for power to pass when you want it and not when the transmission decides it's ready.

She can however appreciate the better milage, around 300+ miles on a full thank and reduced desirability of our MT car. It's too bad there's no hill holder that would have done it for her.

#18 DerFahrer

DerFahrer

    Formerly subyluvr2212

  • Members
  • 2,417 posts
  • Orlando, FL

Posted 21 November 2003 - 12:08 AM

Originally posted by alias20035
This would be the best of both worlds.......



I have to disagree with you. I drove a BMW 525i with the auto-stick, and I was so very disappointed. The system overrode your decision making if it thought the revs got too high (like 4000) and shift anyway, and even when it did let you shift, it took no less that 3 seconds to react to your upshift command. I would rather drive a plain auto than fool around with a fake stick :mad:

What really gets my goat is the offering of a sports car with an automatic. A family sedan, okay yeah I guess (I still love the idea of a stick sedan though), a wagon, okay (same as sedan though :-) ). But not a sports car. I am thoroughly enraged at the new offering of a Porsche 911 Turbo auto. It burns me up. Not only the fact that you have completely ruined the car, but you can now put 415 HP (which is 415 Porsche HP, something that needs an experienced driver) into the hands of someone who doesn't even have to know how to drive a manual transmission...

I really hope the day of the true sports car doesn't come to an end. I will honestly be very, very sad when this happens :boohoo:

#19 alias20035

alias20035

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 357 posts
  • Canada

Posted 21 November 2003 - 12:26 AM

Originally posted by subyluvr2212
I have to disagree with you. I drove a BMW 525i with the auto-stick, and I was so very disappointed. The system overrode your decision making if it thought the revs got too high (like 4000) and shift anyway, and even when it did let you shift, it took no less that 3 seconds to react to your upshift command. I would rather drive a plain auto than fool around with a fake stick :mad:

What really gets my goat is the offering of a sports car with an automatic. A family sedan, okay yeah I guess (I still love the idea of a stick sedan though), a wagon, okay (same as sedan though :-) ). But not a sports car. I am thoroughly enraged at the new offering of a Porsche 911 Turbo auto. It burns me up. Not only the fact that you have completely ruined the car, but you can now put 415 HP (which is 415 Porsche HP, something that needs an experienced driver) into the hands of someone who doesn't even have to know how to drive a manual transmission...

I really hope the day of the true sports car doesn't come to an end. I will honestly be very, very sad when this happens :boohoo:



The BMW you drove may have had the STEPTRONIC transmission, which is an automatic transmission that can be manually shifted, and it does have the problems that you indicated.

The BMW SMG system is brand new for 2004 (in North America) and it is an actual manual transmission with clutch, but uses electronically controlled hydraulics to release the clutch and to shift gears. It shifts gears much faster than any human could, and it does not interfere as much as the Steptronic model does. Porsche, Ferrari and others use the same technology. It was developed for Formula 1 racing, and Subaru started using it in the WRC about 6 or so years ago.

#20 Setright

Setright

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 3,176 posts
  • Denmark

Posted 21 November 2003 - 02:02 AM

Guys, guys, guys! There is of course no right or wrong answer here, that boils down to personal preference and likely usage of the car. Having said that, there are a few points that haven't been made yet!

Subaru's 5MT has a desperately slow shift. I defy anyone to shift up from 2nd to 3rd without a clunk. I have tried different oils, and certainly Redline is the best suited, but the synchromesh on these 'boxes is seriously weak.
Fortunately the brake and accelerator pedal are sat close enough, and at the correct height for some heel-and-toe action. I just wish it wasn't mandatory. It brings down mileage.

Next up, Subaru has the nerve to deliver a clutch with so much judder that it makes me fear for my engine mounts. I replaced mine because I was replacing the failed main bearings at 120k miles, and thought I might as well install a new clutch while everything was open. 60k miles later and all that cold clutch slipping needed for smooth take-offs seems to have killed the clutch.

These two aspects SERIOUSLY affect the fun factor of driving a 5MT.


And please don't tell me that these things are distorting the picture, because Subaru should really have done better!

Some manuals are excellent, some are slow, some are baulky, som are both. Same goes for autos, some "hunt" back for between the two top gears, some shift to early, some are a pain to get to downshift, and some are excellent and have the ability to be in the right gear at the right time.

Oh, which reminds me: Autos shift much faster than manuals.

#21 Guest_lothar34_*

Guest_lothar34_*
  • Guests

Posted 21 November 2003 - 02:18 AM

Originally posted by Hondasucks
"highway fuel economy is generally not as good because the 5mt has a higher gear ratio causing the engine to spin about 400 RPM higher at 70 MPH. The difference varies between 1-2 MPG."

yeah but the 30% power loss through the automatic should even out the difference.



I thought the power loss came from the torque converter. It should be locked up at 70mph in 4th. I think. 70 for me in 5th is about 3200rpm, and I don't know where the torque converter locks, but most do it by about 2800rpm. So given that the AT's 4th is only a little taller than the MT's 5th, it should be locked up then. It may not be locked if you're only going 60 or so though.

#22 slideways

slideways

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts
  • Duluth, MN

Posted 21 November 2003 - 02:52 AM

I do agree subaru needs to redesign the 5MT. The slow speed and cold/humid weather performance is sub-par. But when I drive my sister's saturn, which is a manual, I DO feel a bit better about what I have. I can't complain about shifting on the top end. When I am messing around at high revs, I have no problem shifting as fast as I can pull the shifter. Maybe newer syncros and redline oil have something to do with it.

True, autos shift faster than manuals, usually, but one can't deny the ability to keep the engine on boil better with the MT. It is neat how the 4EAT stalls to about 2500 rpm when you stomp it.:brow:

As far as lockup in the 4EAT, my '90 legacy locked up at 45 mph when I stopped accelerating. I do not know if they have changed that on the newer models.

One cannot look solely at rpm when considering gas mileage since it is a function of rpm and throttle position. When at a given speed, higher rpm would mean more torque being produced and less throttle needed, as opposed to lower rpm, and vice versa.

Just my $.02

#23 Wrench Wench

Wrench Wench

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 33 posts
  • Shoreline, WA

Posted 21 November 2003 - 04:20 AM

I learned to drive a manual in a '96 Saturn. The e-brake trick worked great for me until I got really good with the clutch.

The e-brake trick is to use the e-brake as a hill holder and let it off slowly after the car has started trying to move forward. If it works in down town Seattle, it'll work anywhere :)

Of course, it doesn't work as well in cars that only have a floor mounted parking brake.

~Connie

PS. I'm Randomizer's Pink Martini (aka girlfriend). I've been around for quite awile, but haven't ever posted under my own name.

#24 MilesFox

MilesFox

    Catch this Fox!

  • Members
  • 10,611 posts
  • Madison/Milwaukee, WI

Posted 22 November 2003 - 01:34 AM

what is the deal with the floor mounted parking brake? it would be cool to take the ratcheting mechanism out, so you can stomp it on turns. that way, the left foot isnt bored:D

#25 1 Lucky Texan

1 Lucky Texan

    I read a lot about Subarus

  • Gold Subscribers
  • 4,979 posts
  • Texas

Posted 22 November 2003 - 01:48 AM

In the 'old days' there was a couple vehicles/times I had to hold the release out and use that pedal as THE brake pedal. Damn Ford galaxy master cylinder!

How about those ratcheting ones you twist to release? had to hold one of those twisted to apply brakes once as well.

OH - one weird thing me and my dad did once, driving up to Page from Phoenix the accel. cable in the International travelall broke at the pedal. I laid in the floor board with a pair of pliers on the cable nub waitong for my dad to yell instructions like STOP! or GO-GO-GO NOW G@dda@mmit! He was a little pissed. At least he didn't use my head for a pedal!




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users