Which is best for 4Wheeling - auto or manual trans?

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Which is best for 4Wheeling - auto or manual trans?

Unread post by bulleit » November 27th, 2016, 7:04 pm

Just after peoples opinions on what box, auto/manual is best for 4wding. Ive always been a manual guy but a few mates have recently bought autos and say that is the way to go, but they don't do much 4wding just towing boats. Id mainly be doing beach, sand driving and can see the benefit of an auto, no pushing in a clutch and losing momentum in soft stuff but I'm worried about overheating, towing/snatching, any real life experience/knowledge would be appreciated

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Re: Which is best for 4Wheeling - auto or manual trans?

Unread post by stockhorse » November 28th, 2016, 12:59 pm

I was always a manual guy but after getting an auto cruiser I am a convert. Auto does the same as manual with more ease and I haven't had any issues with mine yet.
I don't do beach but do medium to hard wheeling out bush and am more than happy with the auto.

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Re: Which is best for 4Wheeling - auto or manual trans?

Unread post by Peter Aawen » November 28th, 2016, 3:18 pm

Most modern auto 4WD's will waaaay outperform a similar manual everywhere except maybe downhill engine braking, and many have descent control to cater for that anyway!! But regardless of their age or design, they will all benefit from fitting a larger purpose designed auto trans fluid cooler than the factory supplied unit - the stock unit (if there is one fitted) is likely to be so small that it will only just (barely) manage Aust on-road conditions, and when you start your auto working hard off road up steep hills, on beaches, &/or towing, etc, it's gonna be real easy to heat things beyond the capability of that stock cooler pdq - but then, most of the stock units were probably originally designed to serve as a Northern Hemisphere Auto trans fluid Heater anyway, so that's probably not surprising!! Simple fix for that short-coming tho; just buy & install a larger aftermarket cooler (there are good units readily available from most auto access or 4WD places) and install it so you don't pump heated auto trans fluid directly thru the bottom of the radiator before knocking some of the heat out of it first!! While you are at it, you might consider adding an in-line filter just to help keep the fluid clean as well as cool!!

Wholesale Automatics do some really good kits for many modern auto's, well worth checking out what's on offer, or even giving their 'Ask Orto' FAQ line a call - their gear is designed, tested, & proven to make them even better off road &/or towing & to make them even more indestructible as the off roading transmission weapon of choice that they are to start with!! :thumb:
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Re: Which is best for 4Wheeling - auto or manual trans?

Unread post by smwhiskey » November 30th, 2016, 9:17 am

Driven my auto Pajero on both Fraser and Moreton islands without any problems. But I do appreciate the ability to go to manual mode on those odd occasions when the auto can't make up its mind what gear it wants.

Just like the fact that I really don't have to think about which gear I should be in. I can just point and go.

But I havn't towed a trailer on the sand...yet.

2003 NP Exceed Pajero with a bit of lift, a large plastic straw to breathe through and hunk of steel on the front with a few bits and pieces hanging off it.

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Re: Which is best for 4Wheeling - auto or manual trans?

Unread post by cmar » January 5th, 2017, 7:03 pm

I've had both over the years, both have pros and cons, auto is better in sand, but - also more prone to overheating, in a manual you can run the gearbox hot on extended sand drive, come home, change the oil, no harm done, a modern auto will either limp out on you, or possible get some damage. If an auto sucks in water on a deep creek crossing - it will most likely be cactus, in a manual you can just change the oil and move on. However if you take precautions, and the truck is also your daily driver then auto all the way!
Haven't owned a 2WD since 1982.

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