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Old 03-14-2012, 07:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Emissions regs = less manual trannies?

The other day I was talking with a friend who also owns a Dodge Ram with a Cummins. I mentioned the fact that Dodge is now the only manufacturer left that sells a full-sized pickup with a manual transmission. He said that he heard a rumor that Dodge will soon also be doing away with the manual transmission option Rumor has it that the emission regs are part of the reason for this. Not that a manual transmission prevents the truck from meeting emissions but that, given the relatively small percentage of trucks sold with the option, it's not worth all the effort and time to design, tune, and certify two different models.

Anybody else heard of this? From a business perspective, it seems plausible to me. The "cost of compliance" so to speak is going to be roughly double for two different models, but if you sell fewer manuals, then there's less oportunity to recoup the cost.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I doubt that emissions regulations are the ONLY reason. My guess is, they just aren't selling enough units to make it profitable/worth their time.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladogaboy View Post
I doubt that emissions regulations are the ONLY reason. My guess is, they just aren't selling enough units to make it profitable/worth their time.
I wasn't implying that the regs were the ONLY reason--it just pushes them over the edge. Maybe if they could just certify the automatic version and then take the same engine and vehicle and swap in a mannual tranny, then it would make sense. But if only say, 5-10% of the vehicles are sold with a manual then it doesn't make up for the additional cost & time required to do another certification.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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With E-Throttles, meeting emissions with manuals is perfectly doable. All MTs nowadays have delayed throttle response and throttle over-run on lift-off to meet emissions requirements.

And if you have a shift light programmed for economy, you can overcome the inherent handicap manuals have on the EPA economy testing regimen (set shift points).

The biggest issue is designing and engineering two different drivetrains when one won't sell very well... which is probably why they're dropping the MT.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Seems a plausible factor to me, Dave - another nail in the manual transmission's coffin in North America.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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i think its because the new diesels w/ 750+lbs of torque tend to break stuff. i remember seeing that the duramax was detuned since it came out to reduce power at low rpm when equiped with a manual transmission... back when it only had 500lbs of torque
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have heard in my field that the hardest part of meeting emissions with a diesel is transient events - shifting gears, when the engine goes from 0%-100% fuel, or coasting down a hill and then flooring it for the uphill. This event in a diesel always causes the puff of black smoke or any other number of pollutants that must be caught by the aftertreatment, if possible. Using an automatic, at least, eliminates the transient events during shifting, making it easier to meet emissions. I am told that in an upcoming diesel emission step (2017?), we are likely to see a mandatory switch to advanced powertrains (aka: hybrids? automatics?) even in the heavy duty truck side for this reason.
Who knows.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I read somewhere that Acura only produced 6% manual transmissions for the TSX model. This is quite a low percentage given the sporty nature of the car and the most excellent 6-speed manual they supplied. I'd imagine a manual would be an even harder sell for most people looking at a full-sized truck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000mc View Post
i think its because the new diesels w/ 750+lbs of torque tend to break stuff.
The 2nd generation Dodge Ram trucks had notoriously terrible automatic transmissions that would overheat or otherwise destroy themselves in relatively short order. I've got one ('98.5) in dire need of rebuilding.

Off topic question- has the reliability of the 3rd gen Dodge/Cummins automatic transmission been improved? I'm thinking it might be time to buy another used full-size diesel.

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Originally Posted by mechman600 View Post
I have heard in my field that the hardest part of meeting emissions with a diesel is transient events - shifting gears, when the engine goes from 0%-100% fuel, or coasting down a hill and then flooring it for the uphill. This event in a diesel always causes the puff of black smoke or any other number of pollutants that must be caught by the aftertreatment, if possible. Using an automatic, at least, eliminates the transient events during shifting, making it easier to meet emissions. I am told that in an upcoming diesel emission step (2017?), we are likely to see a mandatory switch to advanced powertrains (aka: hybrids? automatics?) even in the heavy duty truck side for this reason.
Who knows.
Makes sense to me.

Hybrids seem to make the most sense for a large truck since they have so much mass to move, have extra space for batteries, controllers, etc, and require lots of torque- which electric motors are most efficient at delivering. I'm very surprised these were not the first vehicles to support the technology. I actually figured UPS (delivery trucks) would be first to embrace electric hybrids.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niky View Post
With E-Throttles, meeting emissions with manuals is perfectly doable. All MTs nowadays have delayed throttle response and throttle over-run on lift-off to meet emissions requirements.

And if you have a shift light programmed for economy, you can overcome the inherent handicap manuals have on the EPA economy testing regimen (set shift points).
As I understand it, the issue isn't that meeting emissions is any more or less difficult with a manual vs. an automatic--it's that once they've done all the work for the automatic, they need to go and do a bunch more work for the manual. I've been to some of the facilities where the "offical" emissions certifications are done, and they are huge and expensive (multiple millions of dollars for all the equiptment), plus a crew of technical support people. I remember hearing that it cost multiple thousands of dollars per hour of testing time to go into one of those facilities. Even if they didn't have to change a thing about the tuning of the engine, I wonder what the cost would be just to test it and certify it.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Gotcha. And when it really comes down to it, it really only about ROI. Will spending $XXX to certify a manual vehicle get $XXXX back over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
has the reliability of the 3rd gen Dodge/Cummins automatic transmission been improved?
Yes. Torque converters are still the weak spot if you add a tuner/modify to add power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
I actually figured UPS (delivery trucks) would be first to embrace electric hybrids.
Hybrids make great sense for P&D trucks. They have been available for a few years but hardly anybody has bought them because of the $50K additional cost. You can buy a lot of extra fuel for $50K. Where hybrids also make sense in heavy trucks is in applications that use a PTO to drive a small crane or other device for extended periods. The hybrid system can run the PTO on batteries for 45 minutes, engine off. And if there's one thing that diesel aftertreatment systems hate the most, it is extended idling.

Hybrids will not work well in highway tractor applications, where I'm sure some sort of CVT transmission would be better. But good luck building one of those that can handle 2000+ ft/lbs torque and last a million miles.

We are starting to see some alternative fuels as well. In Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks you can factory order a 15L engine LNG engine. LIQUID natural gas - the engine runs on 5% diesel/95% natural gas and has up to two 120 gallon cryogenic (-260F) storage tanks. With LNG you get 6X the fuel range as CNG.
Westport HD :: Natural Gas Engines for Heavy-Duty Trucks

Off topic, but interesting.

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