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Unread 12-28-2011, 10:39 AM   #1
jrwdlw
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Starting Out With a Load in 1st Gear - Manual vs. Auto

I'm looking at buying a 2005 or 2006 Unlimited with a 4.0. I will be towing a 2000-2500 lb folding trailer. I'm trying to decide the manual vs. auto trans issue. I love manual transmissions, but I'm wondering if the auto would be a better choice. I test drove a manual the other day. Of course, I loved it, but I'm wondering how it will be when you try to get 2500 lbs (or more) moving in first gear. I know it can be done, but I'm not sure how "clutch friendly" the process will be. Every manual transmission that I have used to tow (7-10K loads!) had a compound low of about 6.5:1. The 6sp has a 4.46:1 first, but that's a long way from 6.5:1. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone with a manual trans Jeep that I could "test".

So, I would appreciate any comments or personal experiences.

Thanks,
John

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Unread 12-28-2011, 10:42 AM   #2
giggityjeeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwdlw View Post
I'm looking at buying a 2005 or 2006 Unlimited with a 4.0. I will be towing a 2000-2500 lb folding trailer. I'm trying to decide the manual vs. auto trans issue. I love manual transmissions, but I'm wondering if the auto would be a better choice. I test drove a manual the other day. Of course, I loved it, but I'm wondering how it will be when you try to get 2500 lbs (or more) moving in first gear. I know it can be done, but I'm not sure how "clutch friendly" the process will be. Every manual transmission that I have used to tow (7-10K loads!) had a compound low of about 6.5:1. The 6sp has a 4.46:1 first, but that's a long way from 6.5:1. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone with a manual trans Jeep that I could "test". So, I would appreciate any comments or personal experiences.

Thanks,
John
maybe the guy who your buying it off of...... just saying..... mostly it would come down to how well you can drive a manual I guess
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Unread 12-28-2011, 12:37 PM   #3
JohnnyWhitehead
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I have an 05 manual and I tow my 13ft trailer with two ATVs on it with no problems. Take off is fine, it is the stopping that is greatly increased. So you should be good. If you like the manual, get the manual. I love mine.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 01:35 PM   #4
LJameson
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The NSG370 has a very low first gear, so that helps.

If you get an auto, invest in a good cooler.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 01:44 PM   #5
Marauder_Pilot
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I've towed a fair bit with my Jeep (Including a few trips with a 3000+-pound trailer), and while I've only got the NV3550, it tows very nicely on stock gearing, I barely noticed the trailer on acceleration (Braking was another story...), and, since the NSG370 has a lower first gear, I can imagine that it'll tow as well or better.

However, I will note that towing with a lower-than-stock gear ratio BLOWS. Take-off isn't too bad still, because Wranglers have such a low first gear, but highway acceleration...well, you just don't have any. If you lift and put on larger tires, make sure you regear appropriately. Even towing a small unloaded cargo trailer tanked my acceleration.

And, if you plan on doing any regular towing with it, cough up $800 and invest in a Vanco Big Brake kit (Or similar). It's not a huge deal if you only tow once or twice a year for short distances, but if you're towing on any measurable basis, the loss of braking is, honestly, downright dangerous.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 02:21 PM   #6
jrwdlw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyWhitehead View Post
I have an 05 manual and I tow my 13ft trailer with two ATVs on it with no problems.
What do you estimate your trailer and ATVs weigh? Also, what's your axle ratio? The LJs I'm looking at are 3.37 axles.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 02:38 PM   #7
jrwdlw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marauder_Pilot View Post
I've towed a fair bit with my Jeep (Including a few trips with a 3000+-pound trailer), and while I've only got the NV3550, it tows very nicely on stock gearing, I barely noticed the trailer on acceleration (Braking was another story...), and, since the NSG370 has a lower first gear, I can imagine that it'll tow as well or better.

However, I will note that towing with a lower-than-stock gear ratio BLOWS. Take-off isn't too bad still, because Wranglers have such a low first gear, but highway acceleration...well, you just don't have any. If you lift and put on larger tires, make sure you regear appropriately. Even towing a small unloaded cargo trailer tanked my acceleration.

And, if you plan on doing any regular towing with it, cough up $800 and invest in a Vanco Big Brake kit (Or similar). It's not a huge deal if you only tow once or twice a year for short distances, but if you're towing on any measurable basis, the loss of braking is, honestly, downright dangerous.

From specs, I see that your 1st gear is 4.01. Probably can't tell any difference between that, and the 4.46 in the NSG370. I'm sticking with stock tires, so I shouldn't need a re-gear. The trailer I'll be towing has electric brakes, so that should take care of the stopping problem.

My biggest concern is getting the load moving without having to be absolutely perfect with the gas/brake/clutch (the slightest error in timing, and you stall it). I'm in a major metropolitan area, so getting out to the sticks for some off-roading means lots of stop and go traffic along the way.


LJameson:
Definitely. If I go auto, the first thing happening is a trans cooler!
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Unread 12-28-2011, 02:42 PM   #8
keithert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyWhitehead View Post
I have an 05 manual and I tow my 13ft trailer with two ATVs on it with no problems. Take off is fine, it is the stopping that is greatly increased. So you should be good. If you like the manual, get the manual. I love mine.
I tow the same setup with an automatic. It pulls fine but stopping is much slower.

Quote:
What do you estimate your trailer and ATVs weigh? Also, what's your axle ratio? The LJs I'm looking at are 3.37 axles.
My trailer weighs 1800 pounds loaded. I believe all non-rubi LJ's have 3.73 axle ratio. Was 3.37 just a typo?
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Unread 12-28-2011, 05:27 PM   #9
jrwdlw
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Was 3.37 just a typo?
Oops, I meant to type 3.73.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 08:57 PM   #10
JohnnyWhitehead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwdlw

What do you estimate your trailer and ATVs weigh? Also, what's your axle ratio? The LJs I'm looking at are 3.37 axles.
Loaded trailer is a little over 2K. I have 3.73 gears with 33 inch tires. I have the 6 speed manual and it pulls just fine. My stopping distances is much much increased.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 09:02 PM   #11
wushaw
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It's no issue getting the load moving, it's the hyghway speed that is interesting on a SWB vehicle.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 10:15 PM   #12
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The I-6 has been used in tractors and real pulling DD farm trucks for years and their still going strong. It makes more torque down low and a manual with a low first will more than do the job.
I wouldn't want the 42rle for towing, They need a auxiliary cooler for stock tires to keep it cool and functional. Good luck either way
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Unread 12-28-2011, 11:25 PM   #13
hndswthtshdws
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2000 lbs isn't much of a load. Thats like a car full of fatties. Sometimes we put too much thought into things. Just drive it. Worry about stopping. Go with whatever transmission you prefer.

The old 4.0 XJ's had a towing capacity of 5000 lbs versus the wrangler 2000 lbs, even though they had the same drive line. Wheelbase and stopping ability is why.

A dealership should let you test drive both with your trailer behind it.
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Unread 12-29-2011, 08:11 AM   #14
Holm-z
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Originally Posted by hndswthtshdws
2000 lbs isn't much of a load. Thats like a car full of fatties.
Lol!!
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Unread 12-29-2011, 02:40 PM   #15
Marauder_Pilot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwdlw View Post
My biggest concern is getting the load moving without having to be absolutely perfect with the gas/brake/clutch (the slightest error in timing, and you stall it). I'm in a major metropolitan area, so getting out to the sticks for some off-roading means lots of stop and go traffic along the way.
That won't be a problem. I had to briefly tow a loaded U-Haul box trailer through downtown Chicago once. Getting moving wasn't any problem, even with being undergeared. Stopping, though...

A braked trailer will definitely help with the stopping though.
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