CVT or Dual Clutch soon to be only option?

ibsam2005

Veteran Member
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Apr 21, 2013
Location
Mobile, AL
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2011 Jetta TDI 6M
With it nearly impossible to find any vehicle (car, truck SUV) with a manual transmission, it seems as the only transmission options are CVT or Dual Clutch(much less common than CVT).

My worry #1: RELIABILITY!!!
The dual clutch transmission in VW and Ford have had serious problems. Especially the Ford Focus. My brothers was replaced for the second time at around 80k.

The CVT seems to do ok for very light weight applications. But I know Nissan has had several problems, having to extend warranties to 120k. Honda and other manufactures seem too new to the game to really know what theirs will be like. I think Honda started 2014/2015???

My worry #2: Cost of Maintenance
CVT and Dual Clutch both require quite costly maintenance. More expensive lubricants and more frequent maintenance than a traditional automatic, especially a manual transmission!

I guess I am really writing this to have yall calm my nerves and tell me CVT and Dual Clutch transmission are just as strong. These especially worry me because I would like to have a small SUV or wagon that can tow my kayaks (maybe 800lbs including gear and trailer??) and neither of these transmission types inspire much confidence to allow me to tow anything.

Thoughts? Am I crazy?
 

GoFaster

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Jun 16, 1999
Location
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
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2006 Jetta TDI
A customer of mine will be building parts for the co-developed Ford and GM 10-speed automatic longitudinal transmission, and that is a torque-converter automatic. Same place builds parts for the ZF/FiatChrysler 8-speed longitudinal and 9-speed transverse automatics. GM and Ford are also co-developing a new 9-speed front-drive automatic although I don't know anything about it yet. The Ford PowerShift dual-clutch automatic is soon to be replaced with a torque-converter automatic.

These new-generation transmissions pretty much only use the torque converter for starting off from a stop and to cushion gear changes through the first couple of gears (the 1-2 shift would be a jolt with the torque converter locked). The higher ratios are close enough together that they can leave it locked, so there's no efficiency penalty.

The Japanese are gung-ho for CVT; if you don't like them (I don't), buy something else. Japanese in their home market spend lots of time driving at low speeds and stop and go. CVT is fine for that.

The American manufacturers know full well that a lot of their home-market customers don't like the feel of CVT (although many drivers wouldn't have a clue). And a CVT that will stand up to heavy-duty towing (trucks etc) has not been developed, so the pickup trucks and larger CUV/SUV models will keep torque-converter automatics for quite a while.

If you want a Japanese vehicle without CVT ... Mazda. They don't have one, and don't seem interested in one.
 

ibsam2005

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Location
Mobile, AL
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2011 Jetta TDI 6M
Aren't about all of those transmission you mentioned for much larger SUV's and trucks? Like the new 10 speed is for the F150/Silverado, the 8sp in the Ram/Grand Cherokee(probably a few other models as well).. I was thinking like the econo box size cars, CRV size SUV, all the way to the Murano is CVT. I wouldn't ever trust a Murano size with a CVT. That is a lot of weight to get up and moving. A lot of stress on that little clutch and chain...
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
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Dec 11, 2001
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outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
We love Nissan CVTs here. They break. A LOT. Especially the Versas. The newer ones seem to be better, though.

Most CVTs have a bad history of being pretty bad durability wise... the first one I can remember was in the Subaru Justy. Little crackerbox of a car made from cardboard and spiderwebs, with an angry little 3 cylinder chainsaw engine... yet they still managed to blow up every CVT.

The ones that Ford used for a bit, sort of mixed in with the joint-GM-developed 6sp automatic and the Aisin 6sp automatic (also a transmission that GM used) were pretty bad, too. Not many cars actually got those, thankfully.

The FWD Audi A4 and A6 models that used them were so abysmal a class action lawsuit was brought up with those, and I think they ended up extending the warranty on them. Not many FWD Audis were sold here, and the FWD Volkswagens based on the same platform thankfully just stuck with a conventional ZF slushbox.

But really, manuals are just going the way of the do-do. A lot of people nowadays don't really even know what they are, let alone how to drive one or if they'd even like them. Couple that with fewer and fewer choices that have them available and the ones that do often being limited to an otherwise stripper model would seem to make them rarer that consumers would even want them in the first place. :(

Fortunately, at least from a reliability standpoint, most automatics are much better than they used to be...of course some are actually worse. You really just need to go on a case-by-case model-by-model basis to get any good idea. And a lot of it has to do with manufacturers forever cheapening things. But at least drive-by-wire throttles and some pretty sophisticated engine/transmission management can be programmed to work pretty well with automatics and allowing them a better service life.

FWIW, while I agree the dual-clutch automatics in the Ford are terrible (we service a fleet of Focusus here, trust me, I know they are junk), I don't think VAG's 02E DSGs are all that bad. They hold up pretty well really, much better than I would have thought they would have, and their driving behavior is much improved since their debut here in 2004. The only bad thing I can point to with them, is that they use a DMF which is a common failure item regardless, and that they don't have any serviceable parts on the control side. If any one of 100 little things goes wrong, you have to buy a new $1600 Mechatronics unit. Even though the thing could easily be serviced and any of its many solenoids could be individually changed...you just can't buy them.
 
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GoFaster

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Location
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2006 Jetta TDI
Aren't about all of those transmission you mentioned for much larger SUV's and trucks? Like the new 10 speed is for the F150/Silverado, the 8sp in the Ram/Grand Cherokee(probably a few other models as well).. I was thinking like the econo box size cars, CRV size SUV, all the way to the Murano is CVT. I wouldn't ever trust a Murano size with a CVT. That is a lot of weight to get up and moving. A lot of stress on that little clutch and chain...
I repeat ... Mazda. The company has no CVTs and seems to have no interest in them.

AFAIK the only thing GM currently sells that has a CVT (optional) is the Spark. The Volt and Bolt don't count.

I don't think Ford currently sells anything with a CVT, and with the possible exception of the Jeep Patriot/whatever its twin is (and those are outgoing models), FiatChrysler doesn't, either.

I am starting to look around for a new daily-driver econobox, and it's hard to find anything with a manual transmission to test-drive. I will likely end up placing an order for one having not test-driven the specific model that I end up with. Even the Fiat 500, which in my opinion is just wrong to have with an automatic gearbox, the dealers have no manuals to test-drive.
 

Hyde7278

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Joined
Nov 11, 2012
Location
Central Mich
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2001 Golf GL
We love Nissan CVTs here. They break. A LOT. Especially the Versas. The newer ones seem to be better, though.

Most CVTs have a bad history of being pretty bad durability wise... the first one I can remember was in the Subaru Justy. Little crackerbox of a car made from cardboard and spiderwebs, with an angry little 3 cylinder chainsaw engine... yet they still managed to blow up every CVT.

The ones that Ford used for a bit, sort of mixed in with the joint-GM-developed 6sp automatic and the Aisin 6sp automatic (also a transmission that GM used) were pretty bad, too. Not many cars actually got those, thankfully.

The FWD Audi A4 and A6 models that used them were so abysmal a class action lawsuit was brought up with those, and I think they ended up extending the warranty on them. Not many FWD Audis were sold here, and the FWD Volkswagens based on the same platform thankfully just stuck with a conventional ZF slushbox.

But really, manuals are just going the way of the do-do. A lot of people nowadays don't really even know what they are, let alone how to drive one or if they'd even like them. Couple that with fewer and fewer choices that have them available and the ones that do often being limited to an otherwise stripper model would seem to make them rarer that consumers would even want them in the first place. :(

Fortunately, at least from a reliability standpoint, most automatics are much better than they used to be...of course some are actually worse. You really just need to go on a case-by-case model-by-model basis to get any good idea. And a lot of it has to do with manufacturers forever cheapening things. But at least drive-by-wire throttles and some pretty sophisticated engine/transmission management can be programmed to work pretty well with automatics and allowing them a better service life.

FWIW, while I agree the dual-clutch automatics in the Ford are terrible (we service a fleet of Focusus here, trust me, I know they are junk), I don't think VAG's 02E DSGs are all that bad. They hold up pretty well really, much better than I would have thought they would have, and their driving behavior is much improved since their debut here in 2004. The only bad thing I can point to with them, is that they use a DMF which is a common failure item regardless, and that they don't have any serviceable parts on the control side. If any one of 100 little things goes wrong, you have to buy a new $1600 Mechatronics unit. Even though the thing could easily be serviced and any of its many solenoids could be individually changed...you just can't buy them.

I've found a few places you can get solenoid from. If you want there #'s PM me I've replaced the #1 and #2 pressure solenoid and they were about $80 each shipped and they were made by Borg Warner not the cheap China ones on eBay.
 

ZippyNH

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2015 JETTA TDI SE
Honda HR-V , their new small SUV, the one smaller than the CR-V has a 6 speed stick as an option...saw a review that said it shifted like the Hondas of old, but the cluch pedal did feel kinda "dead".
Good reviews on average if you are looking for something like that.
 

ibsam2005

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Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Location
Mobile, AL
TDI
2011 Jetta TDI 6M
Thanks yall. Calmed my nerves some. Just sad, whenever you hear about cars in Europe, they say how they are all manuals. So much different here...
 

Ol'Rattler

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PNA
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Sad but true, me thinks. You can thank Drivers Ed for saving some $ and not teaching kids how to drive a manual.

IDK how many imbeciles I have had to deal with on this forum that have no clue on driving a stick and argue when I explain the basic concept of driving a manual.

One of my favorite rationalizations is that brakes are cheaper than a clutch so I(they) ALWAYS never downshift and ALWAYS coast up to a stop with the clutch in or in neutral.:rolleyes:
 

Ol'Rattler

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Location
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Sad but true, me thinks. You can thank Drivers Ed for saving some $ and not teaching kids how to drive a manual. Since the start of Drivers Ed in the 60's all of the DE cars were auto's.

IDK how many imbeciles I have had to deal with on this forum that have no clue on driving a stick and argue when I explain the basic concept of driving a manual.

One of my favorite rationalizations is that brakes are cheaper than a clutch so I(they) ALWAYS never downshift and ALWAYS coast up to a stop with the clutch in or in neutral.:rolleyes:

What's really lost on these types is that if you never had to move from a stop with the clutch (hypothetically), a clutch would last about a million miles with just up shifting and down shifting.
 
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MichaelB

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SE Wisconsin
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Sad but true, me thinks. You can thank Drivers Ed for saving some $ and not teaching kids how to drive a manual.
IDK how many imbeciles I have had to deal with on this forum that have no clue on driving a stick and argue when I explain the basic concept of driving a manual.
Well back in 1970 (I was 16)drivers ed didn't teach how to drive a manual so that's nothing new. The car I learned how to drive was my families 64 Rambler with a three on the tree, that being said how many of the children today have a manual transmission car at home to learn how to drive with? I love how you call others imbeciles because they don't agree with you.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
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Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I am very thankful my parents drove manuals exclusively when I was a kid. My dad still does, and my mom still can.

My mom is a school bus driver, and she was one of the very last that was driving manual schoolbuses... and that was a good thing, because the early automatic ones were constantly broken. I remember her having to work quite a bit extra as a backup driver not because they didn't have an extra bus, but because the extra bus had an extra pedal. One by one the drivers who could drive them retired, she is the only one left, but the last manual bus went away a long time ago.

We bought one of the last highway department dump trucks a few years ago that is not only a manual transmission, but the old non-electronic DT466 engine. It always starts, never breaks down, and we work it pretty hard and then it sits for 6 months. It will probably outlast the new ones. Our Mac tool rep, and our Cornwell tool rep, both have newer IH trucks that have the DT466E engines bolted to Allison transmissions... I've long since lost count of how many times and how many thousands of dollars those guys have spent keeping those trucks on the road. It is crazy. :cool:
 

South Coast Guy

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Oh, the same old discussion! Why aren't manufacturers putting manual transmissions in their cars? Maybe for the same reason that cars now have electronic ignition and electronic fuel injection. Who wants to return to non-power brakes and no power steering?
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Oh, the same old discussion! Why aren't manufacturers putting manual transmissions in their cars? Maybe for the same reason that cars now have electronic ignition and electronic fuel injection. Who wants to return to non-power brakes and no power steering?

I had a '79 Rabbit that had no power steering or power brakes, and it steered and stopped just fine. It was one of my favorite cars ever. I also put over 400k miles on a Mazda pickup that had no power steering. It also had a device called a carburetor. It never, ever failed to start. Never, ever broke down. And I never, ever had to mess with it. In fact, it was still running along just fine at 404k miles when a deer decided to jump out in front of it while I was doing 60+ MPH. My Vanagon also has no power steering. It, too, steers just fine without it.

If I had a time machine big enough, I would absolutely without a shadow of a doubt get me a German-built 1979 base model diesel Rabbit and a 1987 B2000 Cab Plus with its one option: Air conditioning. Those were two of my favorite cars that I sadly do not own anymore. I also liked my '73 Beetle a great deal, and I will some day maybe get another.

edit: all of those cars were/are manuals. :D But keep in mind, though, I have zero issue if people CHOOSE to drive a car with an automatic transmission. I just want the CHOICE to have a manual. I'd even pay MORE to get one. A lot of us would.
 
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SilverGhost

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Oh, the same old discussion! Why aren't manufacturers putting manual transmissions in their cars? Maybe for the same reason that cars now have electronic ignition and electronic fuel injection. Who wants to return to non-power brakes and no power steering?
Oh, this is easy. Mandated fuel economy. Much easier to control and guarantee MPG figures with automatic and computer control.

Cars without power brakes and steering generally were much lighter and did not need them. Most modern cars weight so much from mandated safety equipment that power brakes and steering are needed. Never mind the newly mandated traction/stability control and soon to be mandated emergency braking that depend on ABS and some version of power brakes.

Jason
 

ibsam2005

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Mobile, AL
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2011 Jetta TDI 6M
My first car that I drove was a manual Mercury Topaz. No muffler, and I was about 12. I thought that cars couldn't get any better! Hahahaha...

Speaking of going back in time, I wish I could go back and buy am extended can w250 with the first generation cummins and 5 speed.
 

bhtooefr

TDIClub Enthusiast, ToofTek Inventor
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Newark, OH
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None
It's actually more than just fuel economy, it's emissions performance, and drivability.

A lot of gasoline engines nowadays keep injecting fuel after you let off the throttle, for a second or two - it's called rev hang, and it's done to keep the mixture from going lean and forming NOx (and also to keep the cat from having excess oxygen, which reduces its effectiveness massively). This makes upshifting rather tedious in a manual, unless you just want to use the clutch to drag the engine RPMs down, which will cause quite a bit of wear. A torque converter automatic, however, is designed to drag the RPMs down without fully lifting off the throttle, and the engine computer knows an upshift is coming and can tell the transmission how to do it in the lowest emission way, so even DCTs benefit.

Another thing is that running in overrun (off the throttle in gear) means the engine is blowing cold exhaust into the cat, which reduces its effectiveness. An automatic can be set up to prevent excessive running in overrun, where a manual can't prevent it, it can only inject fuel to no longer be in overrun.

All of this also means that it's very important to actually test drive a manual car before buying, so you can find out about any of these bad behaviors before you buy.

Also, it's not the safety equipment that makes modern cars so heavy, it's the safety structures. Modern cars are actually getting lighter than even some 10 year old cars, despite being bigger.

In any case, my preference for automated gearboxes nowadays is power split devices. All of the optimization of a CVT, with torque filling with electric for when it's getting the engine up to target RPM (and mine does that quickly, too - absolute worst case is that it takes as long as a single downshift in a conventional automatic, and that's usually if I confuse it by lifting off the throttle, it starts to shut the engine down, then I jump back on the throttle hard), and nothing that's an intentional wear item. (On older Toyota power split devices, the MG2 stator was bad about shorting out and burning up, but hey.)
 
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clark246810

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Not!

With it nearly impossible to find any vehicle (car, truck SUV) with a manual transmission, it seems as the only transmission options are CVT or Dual Clutch(much less common than CVT).

My worry #1: RELIABILITY!!!
The dual clutch transmission in VW and Ford have had serious problems. Especially the Ford Focus. My brothers was replaced for the second time at around 80k.

The CVT seems to do ok for very light weight applications. But I know Nissan has had several problems, having to extend warranties to 120k. Honda and other manufactures seem too new to the game to really know what theirs will be like. I think Honda started 2014/2015???

My worry #2: Cost of Maintenance
CVT and Dual Clutch both require quite costly maintenance. More expensive lubricants and more frequent maintenance than a traditional automatic, especially a manual transmission!

I guess I am really writing this to have yall calm my nerves and tell me CVT and Dual Clutch transmission are just as strong. These especially worry me because I would like to have a small SUV or wagon that can tow my kayaks (maybe 800lbs including gear and trailer??) and neither of these transmission types inspire much confidence to allow me to tow anything.

Thoughts? Am I crazy?
http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/...ages/news/us/en/2016/may/0511-10speed-gm.html
 

dremd

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May 31, 2007
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South Louisiana
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06 sprinter. 03 jetta wagon premium with 6 speed ALH swap, 14 JSW
It would appear that I just don't like transmissions especially ones that do things without my consent .
I decided to solve that by purchasing a car with a single speed gearbox as opposed to any sort of shifting. Save the manuals! But move on by avoiding ICE and transmissions entirely.
 
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