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clutch or auto

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by staley52, Dec 30, 2001.

  1. staley52

    staley52 Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 98

    the question clutch or automatic
    I love clutches my first truck that I drove was a 84 f800 with 5+2 8.2 detroit and electric plow I loved that truck ecept the electric plow pump the boss went and bought a 89 L8000 w auto+2 and central hydralics love the hydralics hate the auto all of his small trucks are auto and my personal plow is manual and everyone is amazed and asks if I am stupid for having a clutch but I believe that the clutch just makes you plow smarter
  2. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I would say an auto is a better choice when you have multiple drivers, because it is easier to drive. The trucks that I own that aren't autos have drivers assigned to them year round. It would be verry hard to assign someone to one truck all year, however i do try to keep one guy from driving a different truck every day of the month.

    All my small trucks are auto, and a lot of my mediums are auto, however the bigger ones are sticks, those have assigned year round drivers.

  3. intimidator

    intimidator Member
    Messages: 69

    My first plow truck was a manual, and I absolutely hated it. trying to run the plow and shift with one hand was a pain in the wazoo (that means ass by the way). I pulled it out and put an auto in and it was a whole new truck. All of them since have been autos also. Just my 2 cents worth.


    49 days til Daytona
  4. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    My first two pickups were standard, but as my route grew the clutch became a nuicence. I do residential work with the pickup and it was time consuming to wait for the gears to stop spinning to change directions. The pressure plate wouldn't release completely as it heated up and made shifting difficult. Not to mention how sore my ankle was at the end of the run. About 6 years ago, I converted my old pickup to a C6 automatic and was absolutely stunned the first time I plowed with it. Like my buddy had said, "Plowing snow is why God made automatics". The new pickup's an auto.

    My dump truck, on the other hand, is a 5 speed standard. This truck plows municipal streets so there isn't a lot of backing involved. I'm fortunate to have a driver that's good with a clutch and haven't had any problems. I went with the standard for the heavy loads that this truck hauls, I cooked the auto in the previous dump truck I had.

    Hey Intimidator, it's funny, I was just thinkin' about Daytona today, how everyone must be scrambling to get ready...
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2001
  5. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    You cant beat an automatic for plowing,they may not be the besy for towing,but for plowing,nothing beats them.On my chevy's and my Dodge's in all they yrs ive been plowing (15),Ive had one problem,it was with my 84 S10,last winter,i had a hard part fail,the main drum balloned,I think it was my wife's abusive driving more than anything else,it still worked fine though,and allowed me to finish the storm.I used to plow with a 77 Dodge W300,with a 4spd,granny standard,after 20 hrs,my clutch leg was so cramped up,it had a very stiff pedal,I dont miss that one bit.I also dont miss backing upat 3500 RPm's and 2 mph,all night long one bit.The auto is just so mauch faster in ever respect,without putting any more strain on the truck.
  6. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    By golly I think I`m going to seriously look into the options of throwing an auto in my W250 Dodge Cummins 4x4 '91'. The question is would it be worth the linkage problem and will it readily adapt to the transfer case. That`d be the s....Wonder if it`s too much hassel . I`m thinking of the steering column and all those components....think I`ve answered my own question.
  7. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    MGardner, you'd be surprised how easy it is, at least my Ford was. What I did was buy a junker with an automatic that was complete, had the transmission rebuilt, and then started swapping parts. Ford uses the same transfer case for all their trannies, I would think Dodge would too. Think about it, does it make much sense for them to make a different transfer case for each application? That's a lot of tooling costs. The only thing I had to fabricate was the nuetral safety line. I didn't want to change the whole harness so I just ran the wire to the starter solenoid through the transmission switch to lock out the starter outside of nuetral and park. The only thing I was sorry about on this job was that I hadn't done it sooner!
  8. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Pelican01 Think that sounds feasable.Think I`ll look around and find a price on a junker . Guess the sterring column assymbly is the only thing I can`t picture unless it will fit on the column and I`d have to get the guts off the junker too. It would be sweet to handle with an auto and the Allison is supposed to be good.Sounds like DiMartino has had good luck with his Dodge autos .Thanks again and Ill post as this project proceeds.:cool:
  9. johngus

    johngus Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    swapping an auto on a late model truck is not quite so easy as new trannies are electronic and need the trans modules to work correctly.Also if it's OBD2 compatable theres another nightmare.Problaby better to sell your truck and buy an auto from the factory.Why anyone would want an auto. in any late model I can't understand because from what I hear the're all crap{maybe not the Allison though}Be a man and push that clutch all night long!!!!It's not that bad
  10. Big Todd

    Big Todd Senior Member
    Messages: 126

    For those of us who plow with our own personal vehicles, plowing is kind of a "run what ya brung" type of deal (especially when you are first starting out).

    Several years ago, when I bought my 89 chevy Z71 (350 - 5 speed manual), I never had any intention of plowing with it. I thought that I had a sweet deal set up plowing for a company that ran 10 plow trucks (driving one of their new trucks). So I fixed up my truck - beefed the engine, put in a hurst shifter, new rims and tires etc. - it was a blast to drive. Then at the last minute, they told me that they didn't have a truck for me to drive, but if I put a plow on my truck, they could use me. So I did some asking around and did it.

    Actually the truck plowed great, it had plenty of power and once I got used to it, I could plow just as efficiently as anyone with an automatic. I plowed with that truck for 5 seasons and other than replacing the cluthch 5 times... I never had too much trouble with it.

    This year I bought a 99 Chevy 2500 with an automatic, and after plowing 10 -15 hours a day for the last 7 days, I am here to tell you it is SO much more enjoyable with an automatic. As someone else mentioned, you do have to plow smarter with a stick, but with that past experience, now plowing with an auto, I can REALLY rock. The one advantage with the old truck though was gas millage (10 mpg - fully loaded w/ plow vs. 6 mpg with the new truck).
  11. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Clutch or automatic

    My preference has always been for a manual. Neither I nor any of my drivers ever burned a clutch plowing. The secret is to clutch life is to select the right gear to start off, then not to slip the clutch. After moving, use the low range and 2nd to 3rd gear and you can make good time. In reverse while moving you can double clutch, and your transfer case will shift to high range. Get a feel for your RPM range and it will go right in. Don't try to shift it the opposite way while moving!

    I did have Jeep clutches freeze up over the summer months from non use, but by placing the jeep bumper against a stout tree with my foot down on the clutch pedal, then starting the engine, it quickly freed the disk.
  12. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    You guys that swear by the standards, I've been there! There are applications where the standards are OK, but they are limited. Unless you've plowed with an automatic, you don't know what your missing! I plowed for 20 years with a standard, but the first time out with an auto, it was like going from that open tractor to a heated cab with a radio.

    Today's trucks probably are a little more difficult to convert, the trannies are computer controlled and might require some programming, but an older truck would be a serious contender for a conversion. Or you could just sell the truck and buy an auto as was suggested. In my case the price was right on the donor truck and I swapped the parts.
  13. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Uh OH, I can hear the voice of reason . I recon for now I`ll stick with the stick cause about the time I`d get in the middle of this project we`d get something like Buffalo is gettin. The Dodge clutch is real easy compared to an F250 I had with 5 speed.Now that thing was tough to pedal compared to this truck I own with the Cummins.The big thing with me is backing up drives or turn-arounds with trailer loaded.Then again I pull lotsa weight when the gooseneck is hooked up and THAT would make the auto work hard esspecially on hill intersection from a dead stop.Thanks for food for thought .I did put that Redline MT90 in this 5 speed and unless its my imagination I could swear the tranny runs quieter on the open road.9.00 a quart , not bad.
  14. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    Tommy 10 plows
    You can not duble clutch a t case in reverse. All trucks have to come to a complete stop before moving from low range to high range. From 2 wd to 4 hi is shift on the fly, otherwise complete stop. Please stop feeding us bull.
    Trust me once you have an auto, you will never go back to a stick.
  15. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Actually Toyota 5spd manuals with the 2spd transfer allow for the vehicle to shift between hi and low if going under 5 mph. I did not beleive it until i read it in the owners manual. It slipped right in when I tried it. You can actually buy a kit that allows you to go back and forth at any speed and essentially have a 10 spd Toyota. The off-roaders do this conversion. I think it is made by marlin crawler. I have never tried it in a bigger truck though.
  16. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I have managed to do it too on my F-350 5 speed, but only under the best of conditions, smooth level road and wheels turned straight ahead. I doubt very much I could do it in reverse, especially with snow on the ground. Forget about it on any incline. Maybe lighter trucks are easier.
  17. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Dino, I can assure you that the Jeep transfer case can be shifted from low to high range when moving. I have done it for years.
    I am talking about the Jeep t-90 trans coupled to the 2 speed GEAR DRIVEN transfer case. I am not suggesting that those who have "shift on the fly and hope to get by" electronic transfer case servos can do it, but if you have the good old Jeep two lever set up on the floor, try it, you will be surprised.

    Have a nice day.:D