Guide me here... I'm a life-long manual transmission driver & I am considering making the change to automatic only because I want the diesel! Crazy?

dchemphill1

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I have to Second that, Old Bear, as a die- hard manual transmission fan, I chose the 8 speed auto over the JL manual. That dual- mass flywheel, and the serious issues resulting in a " Stop Sale " recall vindicated my decision. The clutch had no " feel", and just no fun to drive. The automatic is seamless, shifts just right. And has a manual mode if you want to Row the Boat. Really surprised me, it is so good.
I do not have the diesel but have the auto 8 with the 2.0t. The manual side of the auto was awesome in the mountains, especially when doing the trails on steep downhill switch backs when in 4 lo....just leave it in M1 or M2 and it walked right down and around the hill and switchback. I use manual mode often rather than riding the brakes....let the engine do the work.
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AlgUSF

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I always get a giggle out of these memes. People act like driving a manual transmission is some secret dark magic skill that only a few can master, but in reality any seven year old with 5 minutes of training in a parking lot can do it.
My mid-20's salesman couldn't do it. Dude looked through the window and said "It's a stick, have you ever driven one of these". The Jeep was between a rock and a hard place and he would have to have another salesman pull it out for him (read, pay him some money). I did a 10 point turn in the mud between a ditch and a few other Wrangler's and Gladiators out by the highway.

It took two of them to drive it to get gas, one running the clutch (my salesman) and another to run the shifter. I was only told that after the fact. :-(
 

zouch

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note that (at least in a 2021) getting the diesel/automatic also means you get the D44 front and rear in a Willys,... might be the same for all Sports and others.
that might make a difference in the considerations for some folks that takes a little pain out of the few thousand extra charged for an EcoDiesel.
 

Yaak392

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I was pretty "sold" on getting a base 4-dr with manual trans and tow-package.

The more I read, the more I love the diesel, but I hate automatic transmissions with a passion. However, I love diesel almost the same as I hate automatics.

What can folks tell me on this? How delayed is the auto that is paired with the diesel? I'm also hearing that the manual trans with the gasser isn't so great... which is concerning...

Anything else you could share?

Thanks!
The 8 speed automatic transmission is satisfying. I have one in my 392 but wouldn't want anything else.
 

Richtor

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Stick!
 

MIAZ

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We did an almost 200 mile backroads and forest service roads drive yesterday in the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No rock crawling or major mud holes, the region is in a huge rainfall deficit, but exploring back roads during the midst of peak summer tourist season to get away from the hordes out looking for their wilderness adventure was our objective.
That almost 200 miles was added to another 100 miles that was 2 lane road driving at 60-62 mph. As I’ve said before, when you are in some real remote spots and there’s many in the lower 48, let alone Alaska and Canada, range can be or can become the most important element in a trip.
I’ve been on motorcycle trips in northern BC , the Yukon and Alaska where the road sign says 250 or some other high number miles to the next fuel and service. With 6 or so gallons on board, you really watch your throttle operation and other capabilities of your rig become secondary to making it to the next gas station. Yes, you can carry auxiliary fuel along by various means and with associated problems, but adequate onboard fuel without any muss or fuss is real nice.
I realize that most of the population lives with lots of gas stations real close and few ever think about fuel range, but if you’ve got some ideas floating around in your mind about going on a real long and remote adventure, the diesel with way better mpg’s might be a better option. I’ve been in some remote areas and the only other people and rigs I’ve run into were mining, logging, fishing, construction ,agriculture, trucking, oil field operations or some other similar type operations that all run on diesel fuel. If you’re in a pinch for fuel, I think some $$$ and all those pickups with refueling tanks in the back running around at those types of operations would be a good fit. That can really make your day!
FUEL for thought when deciding on engine options!

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jeepoch

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I think it’s funny how people defend driving an automatic Jeep.
Pete,

The other side of the coin is also true. I've been blocked on a manual thread for suggesting that the MT6 drivers were closed minded when not accepting any reason to consider the ZF8 auto in any capacity whatsoever. I was a heretic for even making such a looney suggestion as wanting to drive an auto. You yourself, maybe even unknowingly, is certainly helping to make this point.

I've driven manuals my entire life, but trying to say anything at all positive about the ZF8 automatic was/is met with downright hostility. It doesn't matter to me that some people won't even attempt to try and see both sides of this.

I [personally] really like this particular auto transmission mated with the 3.6L especially in my 2 door JL. As a former Powertrain Engineer who worked for Chrysler for over a decade developing engine controllers, I feel well qualified to make a decent comparison.

The MT6 folks did not (or still don't) want to hear any of it...

I was blocked for having an alternate opinion of merely suggesting the idea of eliminating their beloved clutch pedal.

So I think it's funny how people defend driving a manual Jeep.

I like both, but really do favor the auto for it's very well calibrated implementation. With AutoStick, it's like having the best of both worlds. As long as the ZF8 transmission responds to my explicit commands in manual mode (AutoStick) or does everything on it's own, I get the benefit of having both. I could care less about the clutching effort. As long as the transmission shifts to the gear I select within several hundreds of milliseconds, I'm happy as a clam in salt water. It's the resultant applied torque to the wheels I'm most interested in.

I enjoy the technology at my fingertips. But hey that just may be the Software Engineer nerd in me. Everyone is entitled to ignore what cool things computers can provide. They can chose to do all the shifting, all the time, with absolutely no assistance. I however like delegating that responsibility occasionally. Compare me to a pilot flying with the auto-pilot engaged. Sometimes watching the world go by as I navigate through it has my undivided attention.

The ZF8 is very happy to apply the right amount of torque when I could care less. And it's also very happy to select any of the 8 available gears when I do.

So yes, I will very gladly defend (and promote) driving an automatic with any available powerplant on these JL's. It's fun...

Jay
 

ctJLnewbie

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Pete,

The other side of the coin is also true. I've been blocked on a manual thread for suggesting that the MT6 drivers were closed minded when not accepting any reason to consider the ZF8 auto in any capacity whatsoever. I was a heretic for even making such a looney suggestion as wanting to drive an auto. You yourself, maybe even unknowingly, is certainly helping to make this point.

I've driven manuals my entire life, but trying to say anything at all positive about the ZF8 automatic was/is met with downright hostility. It doesn't matter to me that some people won't even attempt to try and see both sides of this.

I [personally] really like this particular auto transmission mated with the 3.6L especially in my 2 door JL. As a former Powertrain Engineer who worked for Chrysler for over a decade developing engine controllers, I feel well qualified to make a decent comparison.

The MT6 folks did not (or still don't) want to hear any of it...

I was blocked for having an alternate opinion of merely suggesting the idea of eliminating their beloved clutch pedal.

So I think it's funny how people defend driving a manual Jeep.

I like both, but really do favor the auto for it's very well calibrated implementation. With AutoStick, it's like having the best of both worlds. As long as the ZF8 transmission responds to my explicit commands in manual mode (AutoStick) or does everything on it's own, I get the benefit of having both. I could care less about the clutching effort. As long as the transmission shifts to the gear I select within several hundreds of milliseconds, I'm happy as a clam in salt water. It's the resultant applied torque to the wheels I'm most interested in.

I enjoy the technology at my fingertips. But hey that just may be the Software Engineer nerd in me. Everyone is entitled to ignore what cool things computers can provide. They can chose to do all the shifting, all the time, with absolutely no assistance. I however like delegating that responsibility occasionally. Compare me to a pilot flying with the auto-pilot engaged. Sometimes watching the world go by as I navigate through it has my undivided attention.

The ZF8 is very happy to apply the right amount of torque when I could care less. And it's also very happy to select any of the 8 available gears when I do.

So yes, I will very gladly defend (and promote) driving an automatic with any available powerplant on these JL's. It's fun...

Jay
Great - you love the auto and it works for you. I get bored by the auto's and have had very poor reliability with the auto's I've owned vs the manuals. I prefer the manual in my Jeep. Point is - they are both fantastic options for people - and I'm happy that Jeep makes something for everyone.
 

Ridgway Jeeper

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I think it’s funny how people defend driving an automatic Jeep.
EVERYBODY defends their choice, regardless of what it is. I am just happy Jeep still allows the choice when so many others no longer do. ZERO regrets on the manual. There are lots of "good" automatics on the market today, doesn't mean a single one of them would ever sway me over an offered manual option.
 

Blanco802

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I'm happy with the manual as well. It's actually one of the main reasons I purchased a Wrangler to begin with. With that said, I've driven vehicles that were equipped with the ZF8 transmission and if auto is the only option for you, it will do a good job. I personally prefer to full control that a manual transmission affords, even if it may not be the most efficient option available from a transmission perspective. Good luck with your choice
 

dgoodhue

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Drive a VW TDI with a six speed… and get 50mpg… and it’s fun to drive…
My ex-wife had a 6MT TDI Sportwagen. It got 50mpg on the highway and it was surprisingly fun to drive despite only having 140hp plus she was looking at buying a Prius V which is practically definitely of boring car. I lucked out when TDI settlement came out around the time of the finalization divorce which gave her the full purchase price. Her car wasn't even 2 years old when dieselgate broke. Nothing like having a 2 year old $30k car with trade in value of $12k for asset division. That car sacred me for all the problems it had with intercooler icing, the diesel gelling and pulling the fuel filter, the DPF failing. Never mind it had a few electrical gremlins and the BT on the radio seems to randomly work.
 

BRuby

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Driving manuals is so much more engaging vs autos. But some benefits of the auto are the remote start and hill descent. If those options are not important to you then go for the stick.

The auto is generally ok - and since you can go into manual mode - it makes it just bearable. Definitely for constant bumper to bumper traffic get the auto.

We ended up with the auto because of our use case - and since we have other much more sporty manuals to choose from. So really just depends on your preference and your situation. If however we had to make a choice for only one vehicle - would get a JL stick because driving an auto is super boring and not intuitive for us.

Horses for courses.
 

Heimkehr

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I think it’s funny how people defend driving an automatic Jeep.
My first Wrangler, a YJ, had a five speed manual transmission. This gave the six speed in the JL generation an automatic (ha) leg up when I started my pre-purchase test drives.

My first impression in a 3-pedal Jeep was that the shift lever was oddly positioned, meaning imperfect ergos (yes, this is subjective). My second takeaway was that the V6 required too much right pedal just to get the vehicle down the road. That's really the fault of the engine tuning, not the transmission. Since the Pentastar is the only choice if we want to row our own, though, it's still a black mark.

I then drove V6 and I4 Wranglers with the ZF 850RE transmission. The performance of the latter combination in particular was such that it felt like a different vehicle. Wholly superlative. As the 8-speed includes an AutoStick feature, it can't be blackballed as just a slushbox, either.

While the word gamechanger is probably overused, the ZF transmission currently available in the Wrangler JL/JLUs is very well suited to its task, and not at all boring. I'll always like manual transmissions, but I'm also willing to give credit where it's due. And so I signed a check for the 2.0T/850RE.
 

daveprice7

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I think it’s funny how people defend driving an automatic Jeep.
I have owned a few autos in my life, but I've driven mostly manuals, when I had the choice, because I hate the sluggish & schizophrenic behavior of most autos. I wanted a manual when I got my first JL, but it's the worst manual I've over owned, by far. Two years with it and I still can't get a feel for the clutch (because it has no feel), not to mention it's spent nearly a month in the shop for various recalls and a failed cylinder... And the gearing is all wrong with 3.45s.

My 2nd JL (wife's) is an auto and is the best auto I've ever owned. Would I rather have a manual? Yes, if it didn't suck like the JL's 6MT, but that 8AT is very, very good... No sluggish feeling and it makes the right shifting decisions 95% of the time.
 
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