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?

deserteagle56

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It's nice that we have a choice.

I've been driving Jeeps probably since before a lot of you guys were born...my first was a 1948 with a 3 speed. All have been manual transmission, and I can say I've never had a problem with a transmission or clutch. But then, when I was learning to drive in the early 50s almost all vehicles were manual transmission.

My next Jeep will be an automatic. Not just because I'm getting old and lazy but the auto trannies today are just so good compared to any from the past. There's a section of road I regularly drive that's 12 miles long...with a deep washout every 50 to 100 yards. So - constant shifting every minute or so for 12 miles as the Jeep crawls across the washouts. By the end of which I'm cussing my 6 speed - the constant clutching and shifting and wishing I had an auto. (The county has stated they will no longer maintain this road so it will not be fixed.)
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omnitonic

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I ended up on the manual and gas engine side of this exact choice. I had some concerns about the reliability and cost of ownership of the diesel, and I really wanted a manual transmission.

I'm not sorry I went the way I did. This is actually the first vehicle I've ever personally owned that had a manual transmission. I always ended up getting an automatic, either because nothing else was offered (Ford F150 I'm looking at you), because the automatic had a significantly higher fuel economy rating than the manual, or because I was buying used, and used manuals are rare. I had driven lots and lots of manual-equipped vehicles over the years, and I always wanted to own one. This was my chance, and in spite of the not inconsiderable downside of owning a 3.6L with the 6MT, I'm glad I did it.

I told my son today, "I'm glad I finally got a manual transmission, even if the 3.45 final drive ratio sucks. This will be my first, and most likely my last manual transmission. My next Jeep will most likely be fully electric, because that's all they're going to be selling in a few years. This is the end of an era right here, and this is a good way to send that era off with a bang."

So anyway, what I'm getting at is that if you have no concerns about the diesel, and the transmission is the only thing holding you back, then I would get the diesel. I haven't driven a diesel with a manual transmission since 2011. All the 18-wheelers are automatics now. I hated them at first, but I got over it. They shift nice, and you can usually bludgeon one into not being in a stupid gear most of the time. (Except for that one dumb truck I drove that kept going into "eco mode" and kicked itself into neutral when I was going off a steep mountain. Sure, let's go off an 11% grade in neutral in a gasoline truck. What could possibly go wrong?)

After all, you already had plenty of time to enjoy manual transmissions, and they are about to die anyway.

Also, as much as love having a stick to row, I would be getting fuel economy if I had the 8-speed. I was looking at the ratios today. I regularly go up a long grade in 2nd gear, because it's too steep for 3rd. I can go up that hill as fast as I want in 2nd, but my gas mileage is el sucko in so doing. If I had the 8-speed, not only would I not have to row a shifter, I would be in a gear with a better ratio for that hill.

I think the 8-speed would be less of a pain in the ass off-road too. Just today, my ass end slid sideways as I was negotiating a very deep and awkward washout. I hit the brakes in a panic without hitting the clutch, and stalled it out, in 1st gear in 4 low. Embarrassing. The automatic wouldn't have cared though.
 

OldGuyNewJeep

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I'm glad I finally got a manual transmission, even if the 3.45 final drive ratio sucks.
You saved significant money by skipping the 8sp diesel. Reward yourself with a regear!
 

SecondTJ

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I then drove V6 and I4 Wranglers with the ZF 850RE transmission.
The 2.0L/3.6L’s 850RE is made by Chrysler/Jeep/Stellanis

Only the 3.0L/6.4L/4xe get a ZF built transmission (8HP75)
 

jeepoch

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@SecondTJ, et., al.,

You are correct.

However in 2013 Chrysler reached a supply and license agreement with ZF Friedrichshafen AG to build the 8HP at the Kokomo IN Transmission Plant. Chrysler then manufactured this ZF8 reference design as the Torqueflite. Chrysler branded this as the 850RE but it's still based on ZF's 2nd generation 8HP50.

Whether built in the US or Germany these transmissions (or any of their torque rated variants), all stem from the ZF8 common design specifications.

You can call it either 'potato' or 'potatao' but which ever way you slice it, it produces the best Julien Fries on the market.

ZF Friedrichshafen AG gets their well deserved royalties on each and every transmission unit manufactured by any licensed entity.

Many automotive companies including Alpha Romeo, Alpina, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Chrysler/FCA/Stellanis, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, Porsche, Range/Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Toyota and Volkswagen/Audi all install the exact same or modified variants of the ZF 8HP transmission.

Some pretty good company for the JL Wrangler to rub elbows, (or spin the wheels) with.

And no, I own stock in none of the above companies, unless they are somehow packaged into my 401K portfolio.

Even though I enjoy rowing a manual as much as any true gear-head, driving this ZF8, especially off-road, is a real delight.

I both value and appreciate a very good product and it's application. Please for all you stubborn Manual or Drop-Dead ideologues, continue to be as closed minded as you want. I'm giving the OP (@PetePetePete) a good and honest assessment independent of any emotional attachments to the clutch pedal.

Jay
 
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