Driving with an automatic

#1
Does anyone here with an automatic actually use any forward gears other than D and if so when?
I ask because my 4.6 V8 is destroying the LT77 gearbox so I don't think there's any point getting it rebuilt (again) and have decided on an automatic instead - a ZF4HP22 built with 4HP24 internals as documented here will be strong enough to last.
I've always had manual gearboxes and the only automatics I've driven are a Dodge Polara (7.2 litre V8/3 speed) , a 1956 Cadillac (5.7 litre V8/4 speed) and a Suzuki Swift (1.5 litre/4 speed), I put them in D, they drove ok and I didn't find myself thinking I need to override what gear the box selected but maybe I'm missing something.
 

keynsham1

Active Member
#2
I love automatics and have had a lot. The whole point for me is that you do just put it in D and go. I do occasionally drop my 3500 into 2 going up a hill as I think the hang on to top gear too long but anything more modern and it just doesn't seem necessary. I have a Mercedes CLK320 with a 5 speed auto box. I can control it like a manual but tbh it is better equipped to know what gear it should be in than I am!!
 

quattro

Administrator
Staff member
#3
I have had a few autos in the past and as K1 says, I only used 2 for going up a hill when it changed up and down too much. My daily driver now has an 8 speed auto :oops: but only has P, R, N, and D. You can pull back past D to get S but that stands for scary, so I don't do it much
 

PeterZRH

Well-Known Member
#4
Yes.

I have the 4HP and I use 3 and 2.

I use 3 until the engine is warm and also as a "sports" mode on fast A/B roads. As you know it's 1:1 and therefore equivalent of "top" in the standard car manual or auto. Remember with the 3.08:1 axle and 0.73:1 gearing, 4th is HUGE.

I use 2 uphill or for "twisty bits".
 

cobraboy

Well-Known Member
#6
I guess you have had bad luck with your LT77. I used one behind a warmed up 4.6 and never had an issue. Several track outings and much fast highway use didn't break it.
The car was an auto and I fitted the manual, the one and only time I have owned an auto and I could not wait to ditch it.
The Cobra replica I have also has an LT77, I can't break that one either, in fact I have three LT77's in the workshop as spares. They have been in there for at least 20 years and I don't see me dragging one out anytime soon.
For donkeys years my only classic was my '72 Elan, the Elan has four rubber driveshaft joints nicknamed donuts, these joints act as shock absorbers to protect the drivetrain. The consequence of having donuts is that to drive an Elan well you have to be perfect with your clutch control otherwise you end up kangaroo hopping back and forth down the road.
Point is, it makes you a considerate driver, and forever in tune with the car's mechanics, whatever you are driving. Smoothness = quickness and drivetrain longevity !
 

roverp480

Active Member
#7
I remember my first Auto, was a Land Rover Discovery with a 4 speed ZF & I didn't like it at all, it was continually changing down at the slightest incline when with a manual I would stay in 4th or 5th . Fortunately it was a loan car and I was glad to see the back of it & back to the manual . I now have a later model with a 6 speed ZF and that is infinitely better with the electronics . You can pull virtually full torque without down shifts and control gear changes with your right foot a lot better plus manual override on all gears ,so am more satisfied with an auto than I was.
 
Last edited:

PeterZRH

Well-Known Member
#8
I remember my first Auto, was a Land Rover Discovery 4 speed ZF & I didn't like it at all, it was continually changing down at the slightest incline when with a manual I would stay in 4th or 5th . Fortunately it was a loan car and I was glad to see the back of it & back to the manual . I now have a later model with a 6 speed ZF and that is infinitely better with the electronics . You can pull virtually full torque without down shifts and control gear changes with your right foot a lot better plus manual override on all gears ,so am more satisfied with an auto than I was.
The electronically controlled box would effectively lock in every gear too as it controls the torque converter clutch. Remember also a P6 is a good tonne lighter so it isn't so bad from that behaviour point of view. Mine I think doesn't drop easily enough. But that's adjustable with a control cable.
 
#9
used my 3500 auto in 1 and 2 on rare occasions .eg hill climbing with slow twisty road and going downhill in 2 with odd dab of brakes on steep hills. think thats what the provision or 1.2 and lock is for.
 

harveyp6

Well-Known Member
#10
The added extra with the Rover BW35/65 in "2" is that facing uphill with the engine running the car won't roll backwards, no need to hold it on the brakes, or handbrake.
 
#11
Just drove a BW35 2000 over a 1000 km (750 mi) home after purchase. Kept it D the whole way, even over long grades up and down. Was afraid to do anything different, not having any experience. Drove slow and steady (ok, very slow uphill) but didn't shift up noticeably much. I seem to be missing a kick-down cable but not sure, don't see one attached. Was this the "wrong" way to operate the car? I appreciate any opinions and advice!
 

jp928

Active Member
#14
The MB autos used by Porsche had a solenoid in the box to activate the kickdown function. Normally activated by a switch under the accelerator pedal, but many users (me included) add a momentary switch on the left foot rest to power the solenoid so you can get kickdown without going to WOT (=LOTS of noise and wheelspin). It will only shift down if you are in the speed range of the lower gear, and will shift back up when you hit the end of the range. Keeps both hands on the wheel, works well.
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
#15
I used to have a VW Golf auto and only really used '2' for snow. Its rather like using second gear to pull away in snow and ice on a manual to limit torque at the wheels.
 
#16
Cheers guys, I suppose I'll just have to try it and see what works best for me.
As far as LT77's go, although mine was rebuilt by a well known company who specialise in Land Rover transmissions it still had some play, apparently some parts are unobtainable now so I've had a few more years out of it but it's time to retire it before it breaks and leaves me stranded.
If you're lucky enough to get a low mileage unworn and well maintained one then it may well not give any problems but considering their age I reckon that's unlikely nowadays .
 
#18
They did my last one, I might give them a ring and see if they've anything brand new - I don't think I'd want another repaired/rebuilt one.
 

quattro

Administrator
Staff member
#19
I got a rebuild kit from them around 10 years ago but I seem to remember having to talk them into it, can't remember why?
 
Top