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Auto vs 4 sp
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ron3865
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:15 pm    Post subject: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

I've had a couple of baywindows and now looking for a Vanagon Westaflia. I have never considered an automatic trans...maybe I'm just old fashioned.

Anyway, I came across a really nice looking 1990 with an auto. My question is...all things being equal, is there an advantage of one over the other? Also, is one more trouble prone?

It's easy enough to see if there are leaks and a test drive should tell me how it shifts, but I don't know exactly how it supposed to shift. I'm thinking of the late model Harley trans...it works fine but it still shifts "harder" than other bikes that are smoother.

Should I expect it to perform as any other 27 year old car?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Do y'all have oil threads on the bay forum? Auto v manual is a bit like that round these parts. Lots of good opinions in favor of both. I prefer a manual cause I've never considered an auto. Lots of folks will say I'm missing out on a great driving experience.

Some previous threads:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7786197

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=643425

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=8055120
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E1
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Call me old-fashioned, but if only for that chance to kick start when I *really need to*, it's always been stick for me.

Better mileage never hurts, either, nor does ability to change revs accurately when really needed -- on a moment's notice, if able -- and I'm a believer that stick well done is a helluva lot easier on motors and all drive train components as well. All control is human.

I'll always take my rigs and my cameras in manual. And like with everything else manual it seems to cost less as well.

Edit: But I have a friend loving his Auto -- so if you want it and it's a great deal, then get it.
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Last edited by E1 on Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ron3865
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

" I prefer a manual cause I've never considered an auto"....that's sort of the way I looked at it too.
I read the suggested threads and i think what I was really looking for was not necessarily an opinion but is one factually better that the other. However, there were enough opinions in favor of the auto that I think I'll consider it. At least no one said they were a piece of crap and to stay away from them.
Change comes hard when you've spent 40 years driving a big rig and owned only manual trans cars.
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E1
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Well, your stick experience will serve you well in really feeling an Auto, though.

I always felt the process to be a bit disengaging.

Signed,
A. Manuel Snobb
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Mine's an auto, but it just worked out that way. I got the van from a family friend, and that's what it came with. I always figured I would get a stick if I went out looking for one, for many of the reasons listed. However, I've got to say that the auto shifts nicely and works well! Mine's a rebuilt unit, and it's smooth. One other advantage of the auto, is it's less to teach someone else to drive. I let my fiancÚ drive day one and it was a non-issue to drive the van. I would absolutely consider the auto if I were you. I would say it comes down to the condition of the whole van, don't let the tranny dictate the choice so much. There are also a few threads on here about people praising the auto. That really helped me feel confident about my decision.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

we have both in the family and each van is unique to it's combination of engine&transmission
I always love these threads and the multitude of posters with strong opinions and only experience in one side of the equation.
then factor in that not everybody has the same personal physical limitations and driving can be arduous.
there's really no reason to like a stick because it's more driver 'intimate' or 'organic' experience..

the automatic vanagon drives really well, especially in traffic or slow touristy places.

there's few times when i say oh heck I'm glad mine camper is a standard..
but there are times when I'd love it to be an automatic..
then again it's handy to pop start it in gear, when I've stalled it creeping along in pedestrian tourist town traffic that is.

there is a MPG penalty, but finances of westy travel are another argument altogether.


the long standing 'right' answer is to buy the van in the best overall condition. it's far more $$ and aggravation buying a poorly cared for van.
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E1
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Eric_Taylor wrote:
One other advantage of the auto, is it's less to teach someone else to drive. I let my fiancÚ drive day one and it was a non-issue to drive the van.
Oh, oh buddy, No, you mean without a pre-nup??? Wink Wink Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

I've owned dozens and dozens of cars over the last 30 years. The vast majority of them have been manual. But, when I decided to buy a 2WD Westy I specifically searched with the following non-negotiable criteria:

1. It had to be auto.
2. It had to be a Weekender (Multivan).
3. It had to have a/c.
4. I planned to do an engine conversion from day one.
5. It had to be rust-free.

Why didn't I want a manual 2WD Westy you ask? Because, although I've loved all of my manual trans sports cars (including race cars), I wanted my Westy to be a comfortable cruiser. One that I didn't have to worry about rowing through the gears on all the hills I regularly drive with a hot coffee in hand taking in all the scenery.

4-5 years later... Zero regrets. Couldn't be happier with my choices.

To each his/her own.

Now, if I buy a Doka... that will be a different story Laughing Dancing
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E1
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

danfromsyr wrote:
I always love these threads and the multitude of posters with strong opinions and only experience in one side of the equation.
then factor in that not everybody has the same personal physical limitations and driving can be arduous.
there's really no reason to like a stick because it's more driver 'intimate' or 'organic' experience.
I would add nothing about an "organic " experience, but manual transmissions used well are safer in escaping clutch issues (Pardon the pun).
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
danfromsyr wrote:
I always love these threads and the multitude of posters with strong opinions and only experience in one side of the equation.
then factor in that not everybody has the same personal physical limitations and driving can be arduous.
there's really no reason to like a stick because it's more driver 'intimate' or 'organic' experience.
I would add nothing about an "organic " experience, but manual transmissions used well are safer in escaping clutch issues (Pardon the pun).


Simple to overcome all of those issues with an auto Westy:

1. Don't put yourself in any (2WD Wink) "clutch issues".
2. Peloquin TBD.
3. New high torque starter with Westy Ventures adapter.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

1). Deer aren't a choice.

Edit: But oh, race cars? All ears. Shocked
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
1). Deer aren't a choice.


I hear you, but you mean to tell me you'll have time to react faster (brake and downshift) and actually stop faster with a manual trans than an auto if a deer jumps in front of you? Depends. But I wouldn't give the manual extra points for that one. I've been in more than a few situations with manual vehicles that you only have time to stomp on the brakes and depress the clutch... period. No better than an auto vehicle in that case.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

You're quoting one scenario but yes, that's what I'm saying.

Autos don't allow much control beyond untethered braking. You as a race guy know this as well (been around it my whole life, five-time karting champion).

I'm not talking about racing a bus, I'm talking about controlling a car with a clutch and rpm vs. a dead stick and getting the most out of any vehicle when things get tight.

And lest we forget, the thread is about advantages and costs, not preferences.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Agreed. But for the record, I frequently "shift" my auto Westy as needed, and although not quite the same as shifting a manual transmission, I find it very effective vs. not shifting it as needed.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Oh, you bet, there's ways to trick an Auto. But yeah, there's nothing wrong with 'em.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Automatic vs. Manual Debate
2005
2005
2008
2009
2009
2011
2012
2015
2015
2017
GoWesty's Opinion

^Now in the FAQ. Wink Laughing

ron3865 wrote:
but I don't know exactly how it supposed to shift.


Mine shifts so smoothly I often don't know if it has shifted. Shocked At this point in the game, each van is different in how they drive. I'd suggest driving this '90 and report back with anything you feel might be abnormal (pictures/video are great enhancements to text).

For the record, and I've said it a few times now, had I ruled out automatics, I would have passed up what has turned out to be a fabulous van that has taken me on lots of adventures (speaking of which, I really need to update my blog!). Furthermore, a) some injuries prevent shifting a manual... been there, done that; b) had my van been a manual, I would've gone insane last year driving through Los Angeles' nightmare traffic (timed it oh-so-wrong leaving the coast!).
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

The Vanagon auto is generally considered to be more robust than the manuals, and is more DIY friendly for intrepid souls who wish to service their internals. I'm still strongly considering converting my Bluestar from manual to auto in the future.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:38 am    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
The Vanagon auto is generally considered to be more robust than the manuals, and is more DIY friendly for intrepid souls who wish to service their internals. I'm still strongly considering converting my Bluestar from manual to auto in the future.


^^this response.

The auto is easier to maintain, more forgiving of abuse, more robust, more available for spare parts (millions of cars used the 010/087/090 transmission), cheaper and much easier to rebuild, and easier to drive. Yeah, some of those things are subjective.

I look at it this way: manually shifting gears is work that demands attention. With an automatic, I can choose to manually shift (and often do, when conditions demand it), or opt out that work and just put it in drive. With a manual, you don't have that option; with that logic, I see a manual transmission as giving the driver less control over the driving environment (because of the lack of the automatic option). This analogy easily applies to all sorts of modern machines--guns, watches, phones, cameras, computers, thermostats, clothes washers and other appliances--where partial or total automatic features (and the option to enable or disable them) are extremely valued, and yet folks get real clingy about their manual transmissions that totally lack the automatic option.

My automatic can shift manually or automatically. Manuals cannot. I choose the transmission with more options (and other aforementioned benefits over the manual).

kourt
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Auto vs 4 sp Reply with quote

In time, manual shifting becomes a motor skill; automatic.
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