Automatic Choice?

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NewcastleFalcon
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Automatic Choice?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

This little film from the 1960's got an "off topic" airing on the "Ever sheared off a bleed nipple? thread, but I think it deserves a wider audience than bleed nipple afficionardos alone. :-D

It does a very good job of selling Automatic Transmission. You would have probably thought that by the time 2015 arrived, the clutch pedal would have been consigned to history, but its still here.

Having had expensive experience with an automatic myself, and to date never had a manual gearbox go caput, I would as first choice buy a manual. Still an autobox should require no more than a periodic fluid change to keep it going for the lifetime of a vehicle, and I am sure there are many examples of huge milages clocked up by Taxis, and commercial vehicles using autoboxes.



Regards Neil

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Stickyfinger
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by Stickyfinger »

Ahhh.....a floor mounted dip switch :)

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xantia_v6
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by xantia_v6 »

So why were Ford the pioneers of automatic transmission in the UK?

In the early 50s, Jaguar introduced the Mk VII, which was exported in large numbers to the USA, where many customers expected a luxury car to have automatic transmission. American dealers (and later the US importer) discovered that the Jaguar manual transmission could fairly easily be replaced by the Ford automatic transmission, but the Jaguar factory was not keen... So the cars were built in Coventry with manual transmission, shipped to the US, where the transmission was removed and a transmission from Fords Detroit Gear (DG) division was substituted before the car was sold.
A large stockpile of manual gearboxes resulted, and these were periodically recycled back to Coventry to be fitted in new cars destined for the USA...

After a while the inefficiency of this was recognised, and the Ford transmissions were shipped to Coventry to be fitted directly on the assembly line. At the time, the import of built up transmissions into the UK was subject to high rates of duty, so Jaguar convinced Ford to set up a factory to manufacture the transmissions in the UK, hence the Borg Warner model DG transmission was born. It was this transmission that was later fitted to the Zephyrs and Zodiacs in that film.

For a couple of years Jaguar did not allow automatic transmission cars to be sold domestically in the UK, because they did not trust their dealers to service them.

The Borg Warner model DG transmission (with some improvements, such as lock-up torque converter) was used by Jaguar until about 1966, when superseded by the (simpler) Borg Warner model 35. A larger (but equally primitive) version of the Ford transmission, the FMX, used in the USA on large V8s and small trucks in the mid 1960s was also made in the UK as the Borg Warner model 12, used on Jaguar V12s until 1978.

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

xantia_v6 wrote:So why were Ford the pioneers of automatic transmission in the UK?
Excellent post, lots of interesting info I didn't know. After watching the film, you have to think why would anyone not want an automatic :-D
Stickyfinger wrote:Ahhh.....a floor mounted dip switch :)
I remember them well. Can't remember how you would "flash your lights" in the old days a bit of double left-footing perhaps?,

regards Neil

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Stickyfinger
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by Stickyfinger »

with an Auto they are great, I cannot honestly think why they are not provided these days...........umm that has me thinking :)

Peter.N.
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by Peter.N. »

Very nostalgic film that, I owned or drove a number of those cars in my youth although I don't ever remember seeing an auto Mk11 Zephyr. My first car was a 1939 Ford prefect, side valve engine, rod brakes and transverse leaf springs, no heater or other luxuries.

I have never owned an auto and have no desire to, they waste energy, increase fuel consumption and change gear when they want to not when you want to, at least the older ones did, my main reason though is that a gearbox failure would write off any of the cars I drive but I have had manual boxes at 300k miles+ still working perfectly.

They can also be dangerous for people of a certain age, most severe accidents among elderly drivers involve auto's. With a manual you have to get your brain into gear before you can drive off, not so with an auto.

Peter

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myglaren
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by myglaren »

I'd best stick to manual gearchange then :roll:

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Stickyfinger
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by Stickyfinger »

or try one and see ?........times/boxes have changed a lot in 50 years to the extent that some cars are faster with them (torque).
Try commuting into a larger town with a stick shift every day.....what a pain in the final drive that is !

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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by howiedean »

The two American cars I owned both had high miles and automatic gearboxes, I changed the fluids regularly and didn't have any issues.
If I could find a suitable car with an auto box here (slush box) in the UK I would definitely make it my next car.

Regards,

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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Just read a few opinions on changing ATF, from the great and the good on youtube. I personally have put off going in for the full flush job at the automatic transmission specialist, and its 95,000 on the same fluid since my rebuild, and touchwood still working fine.

I always thought that a full flush, and the box, torque converter et al all working with fresh fluid would be a good thing, and better than a drain and refill of the 3 litres or so from the drain plug.

Opinions vary from dire warnings about doing a full flush due to redistribution of sediment/metal particles etc, recommendations never to do an ATF change on a vehicle with over 100,000 miles on it, stick to the drain and refill method, or do nothing at all.

My particular box is an Aisin Warner 6-speed, ( TF-80SC ( aka....AWF21, AF40-6, AM6, AW6A-EL)) fitted by many manufacturers inc Citroen, has an internal filter only changeable with the box out of the vehicle. Probably a point against the full flush option if the redistribution of debris is indeed a danger.

Intuitavely changing ATF by drain and refill at regular intervals with the right spec fluid, should produce the maximum lifetime for the box. I think I have been sufficiently "put-off" not to bother with a full-flush.

Regards Neil

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CitroJim
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by CitroJim »

It's an interesting subject Neil, Having sorted a number of high-mileage HP20s and seeing how much sediment and swarf is present inside, I'd be tempted to agree with you.

Get a bit of sediment and swarf in the valve block and it's game over...

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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

The other dilemma I have in freshening up the fluid, is that it is quite easy to get the original spec AW1 mineral based ATF, at a good price but its anyone's guess what stuff the AT Specialist put into the box from the communal vat when the transmission was rebuilt.

I wonder if 8.0 litres of 95,000 miles old semi-synthetic Dexron VI (which is most likely what they put in), is better than a mix of 5 litres 95,000 miles-old Dexron VI, and 3 Litres original spec new AW1 mineral based oil as it would be potentially after a drain and refilll.

The "if its not broke yet don't fix it" approach is winning out at the moment.

Regards Neil
Last edited by NewcastleFalcon on 05 Nov 2015, 19:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by Zelandeth »

The Borg Warner type 35 had a pretty close mechanical relation albeit with a vastly different casing and form factor, the Type 37 which saw service in Saab 900s right up to the end of the production of the Classic 900 in 1993/4. Do wish they'd carried over the locking torque converter from the Type 35 as it would make high speed cruising a good deal quieter and more fuel efficient...

It's a pretty good box I reckon, especially for a fully mechanical job. It generally chooses pretty sensibly which of the three gears to pick, and kickdown is all but instant when you stamp on the right hand pedal, which has been my main grumble when dealing with a lot of autos where it feels that you need to send a telegram to the 'box that you want to accelerate. It never feels dim-witted, which I think is important. Initial launch is a bit slow (it's a three speeder so first is quite long, and the C900 is a pretty heavy car to get rolling), and it does tend to go into third with a bit of a thump when you're giving it beans, though I've been reliably informed that this is just a quirk of this box and that so long as it's not hanging onto gears when it shouldn't or making horrible noises that it should be fine.

Another headache with some auto boxes when they're being serviced by so called specialists is that there are such a plethora of different fluid types out there - Sticking any of the Dexron fluids in a Type 37 is basically game over. It requires a very particular type of fluid which was a right royal pain to find when I was originally looking for it. I don't doubt that the same is true for many autos, just that this is the only car I've had with one (well, two of them actually...but identical models save for the number of doors...).

I'm one of the many people who finds himself wondering whether I should change the fluid (as I've no idea when it was last done), but don't want that to be an invitation for further problems! This box does have a filter that can be cleaned/replaced with the box in situ I believe, but it does mean removing the sump plate - and the thought of doing that scares me half to death.

I think the auto/manual argument is very car specific as well. I think it suits my Saab quite well in that it's a comfortable old barge to waft along in, a proper tourer. Yet as mentioned earlier, it's clever enough to keep up when you do want to have some fun in the twisties. Sensibly geared too, with really surprising mid-range pull for such a heavy car (a healthy 8v injected auto is quicker between 30 and 70 than the manual 16v, much to the surprise of the 16v car's owner!). Now, the same auto box on the 16v engine, or god forbid, the turbo versions, is dire. It just doesn't work with the torque curve of the unit, the 16v being much more peaky in the power delivery department. The 8v though seems perfectly matched to the box. I reckon this is why it's got such a bad name among Saab enthusiasts, as the vast majority of autos were obviously sold in the US, where most of the cars were 16v versions (and of course from year dot produced a lot less power than the UK versions due to the emission control gear they had to run). I do shudder to think what an auto on a single carb C900 would be like...My second C900 was a carb fed manual, and it struggled at the best of times for get up and go!

I had a shot a few years back of a Sierra with an auto box, and it just didn't suit the car I felt (aside from the fact that it was an infuriatingly dim witted box - maintaining 60 on a slight incline resulted in it endlessly hunting between the top two gears about every ten seconds), and I'd have far preferred it with a manual even over a well sorted auto.

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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by xantia_v6 »

All of the Borg Warners up to and including the Model 35 require 'Type F' (F for Ford) fluid, which is a bit less slippery than Dextron, If you put Dextron into a BW transmission, and drive it gently, it feels like an improvement, because the up-shifts are all much smoother, but if you put your foot down, the bands start slipping, and eventually they are burned out.

Unfortunately there are few professionals who know that.

A relative, who was a lubricants engineer by profession said that when you are designing an automatic transmission, you decide which fluid you want to use, and then design the rest of the transmission to suit it.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Automatic Choice?

Post by Zelandeth »

Yep, it's a Ford type fluid the 37 needs. Ford type G if memory serves.

Still wish I'd kept the box from my first one when I scrapped it, would have loved to strip it down to find how it worked (and at times didn't due to the severe neglect every system in that car had suffered).