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Author Topic: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?  (Read 6192 times)

ltlvt

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Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« on: January 07, 2010, 11:55:55 AM »
I have the NV4500 trans in my 96 with the non-granny first gear. My truck is a wrecker so there is a lot of backing of the truck and the towed vehicle. My question is what are the preferences manual or auto transmission in the 3500Hd's. I think it would be a heck of a lot easier to back a truck with an automatic than a manual trans but i don't know how reliable the auto transmissions are. Thanks for the input. Terry
Runs like a scalded dog

BigBlockV6GMC

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2010, 12:05:33 PM »
I've driven dozen's of 1 ton tow truck's only 1 had a manual transmission, in every app i would say Go manual Go manual !

But in a tow truck application Automatics are the only way to fly, every TH400 went 200-300K miles, in a tow truck that was a 11,000-13,000LB's empty weight and they had trouble towing another 3,000-12,000LB's behind them.

I would use the 4L80E i would have the Stage 1 shift kit installed, stage 1 kit = towing/hauling RV kit.
Then i would make darn sure you got your self the big 3500HD auto trans cooler, its the of the 6.5's engine oil cooler.

Change out your fluid n filter every spring and every fall and it'll last as long as any TH400, try not to use OD on steep hills loaded.

Mike
1953 Studebaker M275.
1962 GMC K3000.
1969 AMC AMX-390.
1977 Ford F350.
1982 AMC/Jeep J-5500.
1982 AMC Eagle SX/290.
1988 AMC/Jeep MJ-343.
1992 GTA Trans AM.
2007 Honda Rubicon TRX500.

someotherguy

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2010, 03:45:05 PM »
I'll politely disagree - somewhat: as far as from the strength perspective the NV4500 is tough as nails so it's not like the TH400/4L80E have a strength advantage.

Something MrBeast and I talked about was if it's a truck you're going to put a driver in, the automatic would be better because the entire driveline will likely take less abuse.  No clutch slipping or popping, you know they're going to drive it like it's not theirs.

Regarding ease of backing up, I guess I've towed so many damn cars, plus put a few miles OTR and done a little bit of heavy wrecker driving a Pete that was longer by itself than my HD with a crew cab on the hook, I don't find myself having too much trouble backing up except in my own lot where I'm trying to just have "mower gap" between the trucks so that I can pack as many in the lot as possible; it takes a lot of back and forth to stab the truck just right.

Almost all the wreckers I've driven were automatic, but I'm glad I had the NV4500 to use for my current truck.  The ONLY drawback, and I mean only, that I see in using this in my personal truck - is that the parking brake is not incredibly strong.  If you're trying to do some recovery work, the truck may move.  However, the park pawl in the automatic is not very strong either, so the combination of "park" in the automatic plus the same exact parking brake setup on the HD whether you're auto or standard, still isn't very strong.

With that said if you're doing recovery work with your HD you might consider looking into the Mico brake lock setups so that you don't hurt your truck.  They'll lock the brakes hydraulically.  If I find myself with the spare cash someday I'll probably end up putting one on my truck, too.

BTW Terry the 1st gear in your NV4500 is pretty much considered a granny at 5.61:1, it just doesn't have an "L" on the gearshift knob.  That's close enough to the 6.xx:1 range most granny lows are for me to call it a granny.  If your NV4500 was a little older it would have a 6.34:1 1st gear.

Richard
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 03:49:05 PM by someotherguy »
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BigBlockV6GMC

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ? 2 parter
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2010, 04:23:05 PM »
1.What are you disagreeing to ? or with ?

In a tow truck application the Automatic transmission is the best option, which is what he is asking about, are you disagreeing with this ?

for a tow truck or roll back i would prefer the automatic, In the wreck biz your most likely talking on the radio writing down info that is so much easier to do when your truck shifts it's self.

or

The fact that i said i would say Manual over Automatic in every other application ?

I personally would prefer to have a manual in a dump truck, I would also prefer to have a manual in flat bed Goose neck/ Fifth wheel pulling truck.


2. The NV4500/TH400 Seem to both be rather stout and long lasting units, The 4L80E seems stout but easily malfunctioned.

Mike






1953 Studebaker M275.
1962 GMC K3000.
1969 AMC AMX-390.
1977 Ford F350.
1982 AMC/Jeep J-5500.
1982 AMC Eagle SX/290.
1988 AMC/Jeep MJ-343.
1992 GTA Trans AM.
2007 Honda Rubicon TRX500.

someotherguy

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 06:13:26 PM »
We're both delivering kind of a mixed message of go manual/go automatic!

I say it depends on the exact application for the truck, personally, in MY tow truck, I prefer the manual.  If I were going to put a driver in it, I would prefer it be automatic to reduce wear and tear on the driveline.

I guess if I were a wreck chaser I might want an automatic since I'd be on the radio a little bit, but I don't chase wrecks.  Last time I did that was about 5 years ago and it was on rotation which doesn't require any radio work other than hearing your number called over the scanner.  The way wrecks are done in larger areas is absolutely ridiculous, with guys having 6 or more radios in their trucks, speakers all over the place all blaring, guys speeding from one scene to another hoping to throw their chip in and get the tow.  Forget it. :D

If it helps explain my perspective, the primary type of wrecker work I did was impound and repo.  The wrecker I have right now is just for work here at my lot and the occasional pickup of my own stuff.  It's not licensed to use as a wrecker on the roads (it is street legal, just not registered as a wrecker) but if I ever did put it into service, it would again be for impound and repo.

Richard
06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8

BigBlockV6GMC

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010, 08:42:13 PM »
Well then you not disagreeing really your simply proposing another tow truck application then i was.

Mike
1953 Studebaker M275.
1962 GMC K3000.
1969 AMC AMX-390.
1977 Ford F350.
1982 AMC/Jeep J-5500.
1982 AMC Eagle SX/290.
1988 AMC/Jeep MJ-343.
1992 GTA Trans AM.
2007 Honda Rubicon TRX500.

merlin5577

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2010, 11:56:23 PM »
I've driven dozen's of 1 ton tow truck's only 1 had a manual transmission, in every app i would say Go manual Go manual !

But in a tow truck application Automatics are the only way to fly, every TH400 went 200-300K miles, in a tow truck that was a 11,000-13,000LB's empty weight and they had trouble towing another 3,000-12,000LB's behind them.

I would use the 4L80E i would have the Stage 1 shift kit installed, stage 1 kit = towing/hauling RV kit.
Then i would make darn sure you got your self the big 3500HD auto trans cooler, its the of the 6.5's engine oil cooler.

Change out your fluid n filter every spring and every fall and it'll last as long as any TH400, try not to use OD on steep hills loaded.

Mike

I agree. Manual transmissions tend to have a much larger ability for user error, and especially when towing, that can be disasterous. The NV-4500 is a very tough unit and will serve you well, but the clutch will bear the brunt of your towing work.
-Robert.
My Trucks;
2003 Chevrolet Silverado K2500HD 4X4 6.6L w/Allison 1000
1997 GMC Suburban K1500 4X4 5.7L w/4L60-E
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KargoMaster

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2010, 06:53:04 PM »
If I had my druthers...  Manual every time...


Personal preference really...  guess I'm just skeered of the slushbox. (or I appreciate the simplicity of a box full of gears, and nothing but...)
I had a Sierra with 5.3L and 4L60e (that I severely abused towing it's "limit"), and mine has a 4L80e now... but I would still prefer a clutch.


I would trade straight up any time...  4L80e (our RV version even!) for NV4500
brad

Tow Vehicle: 1995 C3500HD CrewCab TBI-454 | 4L80e | 37spl Dana80 | 8' Flatbed | (SAS candidate)
Toy Vehicle: 1979 CJ-7 5.0L | NP435 | NP203 | Dana300 | Dana60/14BFF

ltlvt

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2010, 01:20:54 AM »
Thanks Kargomaster. I needed to hear it like that. I learned to drive back in the 60's with a clutch and believe it or not a foot starter on my dads ole 53 chevy pickup. So a clutch is not a problem for me. I think a lot of it is just got used to the automatics in pickup trucks and need to get used to the stick in the tow truck. I have 4 trucks with manual transmissions and mostly because of the seats in the trucks the clutch is a little different in all of them. I really kind of wish the ratio on the reverse on my NV4500 was a little lower. It seems i have to give it the gas to keep it going when i let out on the clutch and I would prefer to be able to just creep backwards when backing up with something on the boom or wheel lift. I guess I will just have to get used to it. Thanks again for the response. Terry     
Runs like a scalded dog

BigBlockV6GMC

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2010, 12:34:21 PM »
Nothing wrong with a foot starter, i've got a truck with one ;) . . . foot starter manual transmission, manual choke the way it ought to be  ;) . . . back everything ran for 30 years . . .

Mike
1953 Studebaker M275.
1962 GMC K3000.
1969 AMC AMX-390.
1977 Ford F350.
1982 AMC/Jeep J-5500.
1982 AMC Eagle SX/290.
1988 AMC/Jeep MJ-343.
1992 GTA Trans AM.
2007 Honda Rubicon TRX500.

someotherguy

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2010, 01:28:26 PM »
I really kind of wish the ratio on the reverse on my NV4500 was a little lower. It seems i have to give it the gas to keep it going when i let out on the clutch and I would prefer to be able to just creep backwards when backing up with something on the boom or wheel lift. I guess I will just have to get used to it.
You can thank folks that complained about the gear ratio.  From what I've read, '96 is the year they changed 1st/Reverse to 5.61:1 from the older 6.34:1 to give them "better manners."  This is the same kind of compromise stuff that brought out the EVO steering in '97, because people complained that steering effort was too high at low speeds.  When you start compromising to make a truck drive like a car, you make it less of a truck!

I've got the '94 gears in my '96 case and I love the 1st/reverse.  I basically never use 1st while on the road, but I do use it on occasion when coming in/out of my gate; I open the gate and then clutch with my right foot, slip it into 1st, and let it out to creep through the gate without having to climb all the way in the truck and press the gas.  I also use 1st when stopped on a steep incline like the nearby toll road overpass that is horribly designed.  When it's wet out, it's tricky to start out in 2nd and people here will crawl right up to your license plate leaving you no roll room.  So I use 1st and start letting the clutch out while keeping my right foot on the brake instead of worrying about the gas.

Richard
06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8

ltlvt

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2010, 09:52:51 PM »
Richard I can't personally see where they helped the transmission by changing the raito. 1st gear in mine is too high to let her creep like you are talking about yet when i pull out my gate i bet i don't drive more than 30 or 40 feet before i need to shift into 2nd yet if you don't give some gass in 1st and reverse it will lugg and possibly die. i'm afraid i am putting un-due stress on the clutch. i would love to have your transmission ratio.
Runs like a scalded dog

someotherguy

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2010, 11:28:53 AM »
I don't think they helped it either; I think it was a poor decision.  But some people that bought a 5 speed must have been angry that 1st gear was "useless" and didn't understand that just because it said "1" on the knob, doesn't mean you must use it every time you pull away from a dead stop, with no load on the truck at all.  So an attempt at "fixing" the "problem" was made, and the results were poor.  Just my take on it, anyhow.  Maybe they're more tolerable in trucks with rear gear ratios that aren't quite as steep, though smaller tire sizes are going to offset some of that effect.

Just yesterday I  was moving some trucks around in the lot, still getting used to the new wrecker, and found myself creeping them backwards into spots - and not touching the gas.  I'm pretty happy with the way it behaves in regards to that.

If you intend on sticking with the standard trans in your truck, you might just keep an eye out for an earlier transmission - and talk to your transmission builder friend about swapping the guts out.  My guy charged me $250 labor to disassemble both transmissions and put one back together out of the best parts of the two (along with a few parts that needed replacing, which I picked up at the supply house for about $130 - seals, brake shoes, etc.)  I only ended up with the old gears by accident; he chose them because they were in better condition.

Richard
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 11:30:50 AM by someotherguy »
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BigBlockV6GMC

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2010, 01:01:53 PM »
 ;) worked out well in the end ;)

tho lowing the rear end gears can also counter act the lousy transmission ratios ;) . . .

Thos truck's are already geared low tho: 4.56, 4.63,4.88,5.13 gearing options for those axles. . .

Mike
1953 Studebaker M275.
1962 GMC K3000.
1969 AMC AMX-390.
1977 Ford F350.
1982 AMC/Jeep J-5500.
1982 AMC Eagle SX/290.
1988 AMC/Jeep MJ-343.
1992 GTA Trans AM.
2007 Honda Rubicon TRX500.

ltlvt

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Re: Automatic tranmission verses manual 5 speed ?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2010, 02:37:21 PM »
Yep I've got the granny gears in my Ford 350 yard jocky truck. I very seldome even have to touch the gas pedal when moving a car or truck around my place. The distributor on the ford is not even advancing like it should so the engine is pretty sad as far as power is concerned but with the granny gears it is a peice of cake to get it going in 1st and reverse. Maybe once i get used to the clutch on the 3500Hd it won't be such a problem. Hell the truck has 374k miles on it so you can just imagine how many cars and trucks it has already towed before I got it. No telling how many dollars the origional owner made with this truck. ;D
Runs like a scalded dog

 


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