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Thread: Auto box questions

  1. #1
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    Default Auto box questions

    Test-drove a 3.0 V6 the other day and loved it, but was particularly taken with the auto box. Before I drive another one, I wanted to ask the following:

    Why would it not change up when I told it to? I understand it not wanting to go in to a gear that would make it stall, but just checking this isn't some fault I should look out for.
    Also, (stupid question alert) will changing an auto box down do it any harm at all? One of the things I think I'll really miss with an auto is engine braking, which is why I love the idea of a tiptronic box - despite the fact I found it a little clumsy (probably more me to be honest)

    Finally, I was a little startled to see it slot it to sixth gear as I was sure it had a five speed box. It didn't seem that different to fifth and would only let me in at certain speeds. Is this some sort of electronic overdrive, or does it actually have six gears?


    One more point if I may, slightly unrelated, I noticed a fairly loud clattering under load - mainly when cold. Is this normal on the 3.0? Or is it something to watch out for on the test drive.
    (Is it obvious I've never had a diesel before?)

  2. #2
    Regular Member bigcarman79's Avatar
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    Why would it not change up when I told it to? I understand it not wanting to go in to a gear that would make it stall, but just checking this isn't some fault I should look out for.

    No Fault, It wont let you change up at too low revs because it will labour the engine and is in danger of stalling.

    Also, (stupid question alert) will changing an auto box down do it any harm at all? One of the things I think I'll really miss with an auto is engine braking, which is why I love the idea of a tiptronic box - despite the fact I found it a little clumsy (probably more me to be honest)

    Nope, Change down at will ........and yes they're not the brightest of things.

    Finally, I was a little startled to see it slot it to sixth gear as I was sure it had a five speed box. It didn't seem that different to fifth and would only let me in at certain speeds. Is this some sort of electronic overdrive, or does it actually have six gears?

    I think they changed to a 6spd box in 2005


    One more point if I may, slightly unrelated, I noticed a fairly loud clattering under load - mainly when cold. Is this normal on the 3.0? Or is it something to watch out for on the test drive.
    (Is it obvious I've never had a diesel before?

    Probably not, could be injectors but as i have a petrol......what do i know ......Im sure someone will tell you if it is or not soon enough

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    That's s really helpful, thanks very much!

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    Regular Member gtr1000's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Insignia

    Trim : Sri

    Engine : 140 Ecoflex S/S

    Year : 2013

    Default

    To check it has six gears - drive it in manual/tiptronic mode and it should read "6" on the dash at say motorway speeds.

    There's a steep hill by me and as your speed picks up, the engine will change down one or two gears on its own. Depends on how long and steep the hill is. If you've got your foot off the gas and the car's picking up speed, the box in auto mode should sense this and change down to offer some engine braking.

    Or, as you said, use the tiptronic mode for instant engine braking.

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    I have the 6 speed box in my 2.8T V6. It's really not very clever when it comes to shifting. It's okay in town but on the open road, I put it into tiptronic mode. I lock it into 6th for motorway use as it's too eager to kick down.

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    Regular Member 67688c's Avatar
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    As stated, the Tiptronic box won't let you do anything that's outside it's safe operating range, I don't know about on the VX autos but you may notice in manual mode that it will often select 2nd gear to pull away, supposedly for snow conditions etc. while drive mode will be in first gear.
    They are auto-learning too, so they adjust to your driving style, though this gets reset each time the cars started on some boxes. ie settings not stored permanently, depending on make of box.

    Later boxes will be 6 speed, though I know GM have also come out with a 7 speed auto box, to match other manufacturers auto's, I think one of the latest Mercs now use a 8 speed auto box.

    GM auto boxes generally have a good record for reliability, the thing I like about auto's is the total smoothness that the oil driven torq converter gives over a normal clutch, and they are just great in stop/start traffic jams of course.

    Do the VX auto boxes also have a sports mode as well as the manual and normal drive positions, I assume they probably do. It's quite handy for those really fast overtakes, though may not always be 100% completely smooth changes like you get in normal drive mode.

    After 40odd years of manuals I bought my first auto last September, now on my second auto, and I love them now, if only for the smoothness they give, okay its a bit like driving a fairground bumpercar..lol but it just makes everything so easy, and leaves you to concentrate on your drivng.

    Modern boxes will also allow you force to the next lower gear, similar to where you force a stepdown by hitting the pedal to the floor, but instead you just give it a little tiny quick blip on the pedal, same when going down hill, 2 quick light jabs in succession on the brake will drop it down a cog.

    BTW when using manual mode, you will get smoother changes, if you lift your foot off the accelerator quickly as you change gear, like you would in a manual, should'nt need to I know but it results in a dead smooth change everytime.

    Easy to understand why people who passed their tests in auto's are not allowed to drive manuals.
    Last edited by 67688c; 4th March 2010 at 03:17.

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