View Full Version : Tacoma Transmission choice
01-18-2006, 03:43 PM
I though I might start a topic on manual vs. automatic transmissions. What are everyones thoughts on the pros & cons of both manual and automatic transmissions? What would be the advantages/disadvantages while on the trail and during expeditions? Obviously with the double cab (pre-05') there is really no choice, but if there was would you double cab owners have opted for the 5spd? I chose the 5spd because I like selecting my gears however in retrospect I think the automatic may have been a wiser choice. It seems that the R150 has a rather chunky shifting feel to it which I have yet to remidy. I replaced the transmission fluid with Red Line oil and it didn't really do anything. Comments?
01-18-2006, 07:29 PM
Back in the day I used to drive an '86 5spd Ford Ranger. But now I drive an automatic transmission Tacoma. As much as I like having control over the gears, it's really nice to be able to relax & just drive. I especially think this makes a huge difference when driving long distances at very slow speeds on difficult trails. I think that having to deal with a clutch on trips like that would get rather tiresome. However, I have never driven a standard transmission Tacoma, so I have no hard evidence for performance/durability/reliablity. In my opinion, it comes down to personal preference.
It's a Toyota. Why worry? :D
01-18-2006, 08:15 PM
Each tranny option has its pros and cons... Growing up and owning 20 manual vehicles (yeah 20...) I feel in love with manuals. My first auto was a '80 Celica, and I hated not being able to shift... but it all changes when you are offroad. I have found that the Auto is a better option for offroad, due to the fact that you can have one foot on the gas and one on the brake elimantind double clutching. On my rock crwler Jeep I had a hand throttle monted on the shifter to prevent clutch slipage and be able to have one foot on the brake and on on the clutch. Also in the Tacoma the Auto is more reliable and has a longer life than the manual (however it is a great manual and last longer than most other manuals I have ever owned.)
Being off chamber and on a slope and worring about the clutch and stalling is a manuals down fall when load with weight. However in decending situation I would prefer the manual to help save the brakes by downshifting along with braking. That is sole thing I miss the most since I got my DC, not being able to slow down by down shifting. With a manual on a rocky hill climb and while learning the clutch it is easy to spin the tires a bit during the learning curve, therefore, I see this as a downfall to the manual... Toyota did come up with the cleaver clutch overiride button to help the startup in a stall situation on a slope.
So overall it boils down to personal preference. And if I had to choose between one or another in my DC, I would have to sit down and think about it for quiet a while... and think I would end up with a Auto, just for the fact that it makes it a bit easier when the pavement ends, and might last 75,000 mile longer than a manual.
Hope that helps a bit... so hard to decide though!
01-18-2006, 08:23 PM
It seems that the R150 has a rather chunky shifting feel to it which I have yet to remidy. I replaced the transmission fluid with Red Line oil and it didn't really do anything. Comments?
Have you ever driven a big rig or a dump truck? I equate this to that, the Tacoma has an excelent Transmission, and is a bit harder to slip. The only thing you can do is learn the truck... learn the points where you can shift with out using the clutch and use those RPM points as you shifting points for smooth shifting. I have also heard that the red line and Amsoil caused abnormal shifting and switching back to dino oil cured the problem... however redline is the most recomened, so don't go run out and switch to dino oil. Try and find the shifting points as stated above and see if that helps.
Also when you changed you oil was there any metal in your fluid? I could be that your Syncro is out o whack by just a hair... and that would be obvious by small metal debris in th fluid.
01-18-2006, 08:35 PM
I thought long and hard before I bought my first ever 4x4........a 1988 Toyota 4Runner with only 52,000 Original Miles!
Before this truck, all my vehicles have been standard shift.
I chose the Auto for my first 4x4 because I felt it would be much easier on me while out on the trails ALL Day!.......or for even days at a time! I don't have to worry about shifting/clutch.........especially during up and down hill! We only have two feet ya know!
While out on the trail.....I do NOT miss a clutch AT ALL! I'm free to enjoy my surroundings....which is my purpose for being there in the first place.
There have been days where I can explore from sun up to sun down. A stick shift would just wear me out!
But then again...........As Wil said..............it's all about personal choice. This is simply what works for me at this time.
I drove 18 Wheelers for 4 years right out of college. I've been to every state except Alaska! I also drove all through Canada and Australia (driving on da wrong side of da road and shifting with my Left Hand!)! These rigs had huge Cummins engines with 13 speeds with "splitter". OK..........I've proven I can do the clutch thing! I got so tired of pushing in that clutch.....that I taught myself how to NOT use the clutch by just listening to the engine!
So that's where I'm coming from. I've done it...........now I need a rest.....and that's what the outback provides me!
So it all boils down to our own personal experience and what we feel most comfortable with.
I have the 5spd manual in my 04, and the shifting is definitely not smooth. I find that it is most noticable from 1st to 2nd, and less so from 2nd to 3rd. I read of alot of people who experienced this same condition, and who also recommended swithing to Redline oil. I did and it made abosolutely no difference. I have questioned the dealer about this and they just say that it is just a "tight" tranny. It seems to me from feel that the flywheel could be heavier in the newer trucks and the pressure plate is to lightduty, therefore not grabbing quickly enough. It seems when I hesitate just abit longer before shifting after depressing the clutch pedal, the problem smooths out slightly better. I never experienced this in my 89' that I had. It didn't matter what rpm or how fast I shifted. It has not changed in 30,000 miles so I don't think its a breakin problem, just one of those design defects.
I have always wondered if switching to a heavier clutch like a Centerforce might remedy the problem.
Just my 2cents:D
01-18-2006, 10:07 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone:
Will-I agree with you and I was almost certian I would get the type of replies I did. I have found that it is difficult to crawl over technical sections in low 4 using the 5 spd. You really have to find the transition from disengaged to engaged as it is very tourqey in low4 using 1st gear...which I have now learned to bypass. 2nd gear makes for a good starting point in Low. At the ripe age of 12 I learned how to drive using manuals and felt a small amount of loyalty to them when I purchased my truck...also hearing that there was a small percentage of power loss through the auto swayed my decision...which now seems silly based on my purpose for owning a truck...offroading. And in regards to finding shifting points I can't agree with you more. As erin mentioned, the chunk is usually only from 1st to 2nd and figuring out what RPM to up & down shift at is crucial in limiting the amount of chunk.
Also, when I changed the fluid I did not see any pieces of metal, the oil looked fine. After searching boards I found mixed reviews on the Red Line oil and seeing that it didn't serve as much of an improvement over the factory fluid, I'll probably go back to the factory stuff when it comes time to change it again.
I think I am at the point that SWR is at of just being over it and needing a rest. Although I absolutley love my truck, I will make due with the 5spd and focus on the beneficial aspects of owing the 5spd...like catching second! J/K
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