Bic Lighters on Wheels

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You buy a disposable lighter, use it until the fluid inside is used up – then you throw it away and buy a new one.disposable lighter pic

Hence disposable.

Cars are becoming that way.

Hell, they already are.

Have you priced a replacement automated manual transmission?

Emphasis on replacement. These boxes don’t get rebuilt. When they break, they get tossed – and your choice is to spend from $3,200 to $6,700 (see here) on a new automated manual transmission.

Or, toss the car.

Which becomes the more sensible choice when the car itself is no longer worth more than the cost of a new transmission. Which is a nexus that arrives sooner than you might think.

Or, hope.

Automated manuals are hugely complex – hence expensive. Both to service and (when the time comes) to replace. Probably because they are literally two transmissions in one. A manual and an automatic. Or more accurately, a manual that has been automated. There are clutches, but they are controlled by computers – not you.VW DSG 1 pic

These boxes have been marketed on the merits of their quick-shifting abilities, which is true. But the real reason for their now-widespread use is because of the slight efficiency advantage they have over a conventional automatic (or manual) transmission. They shift more precisely and more consistently precisely than a human can (besting the efficiency of a human-shifted manual) and because there is a direct mechanical connection between the engine, the transmission and the drive wheels (as is the case with a human-controlled manual transmission) they are more efficient than a conventional automatic (which slips a little through the hydraulic connection between the engine, the transmission and the drive wheels).

It’s worth about 3 MPG, on average vs. a conventional (hydraulic) automatic and about 5 vs. a conventional (human shifted) manual.

But it costs about $1,500 more up front than a conventional automatic or a conventional manual. Some of them cost several hundred bucks a pop to service, too. Instead of $60 for a fluid/filter change, it’s on the order of $400. This happens about once every 40,000 miles.

And then there’s the replacement cost, when the unit fails.

Which it will, eventually.

This is normal. Because all things mechanical (and biological) eventually wear out.

Entropy.tranny 2 pic

What’s not normal – well, not in terms of what we’re used to – is what you’re facing when the tranny fails. The replacement cost is often twice if not three or four times what it used to be. For instance, the VW DSG automated manual (see the link posted above), which is representative. About $3,200 on the low end for a new one.

Some (the “high-performance” versions) list for more than $6,500.

Not counting the labor to remove and install.

This undermines the economic value of the mileage gains because the total ownership cost has gone up – a lot. A car that cost you say $15,000 that needs a rebuilt $1,200 transmission (conventional; e.g., a four or five-speed overdrive) at 150,000 miles that averages 25 MPG is much more economical to own than an $18,000 car that hits you with a $3,200 bill for a replacement automated manual at 150,000 miles that averages 28 MPG.

$6,500 – and it’s throw away time for sure.

So, why?

You have to think in terms of government logic. Or rather, in terms of the perverse incentives created by government.Benz 9 speed

Fuel efficiency uber alles, for instance. The government decrees that all cars – all vehicles, including trucks – will average no less than 35.5 MPG (by next year). There are several ways to achieve this. One, vehicles can be made lighter. But this conflicts with another government decree – that all vehicles shall be “safe” (defined according to compliance with various bumper/side and rollover impact standards). It is hard to make a light car “safe” for the same reason that it is hard to make a light battleship – or at least, a light battleship that can absorb a broadside from another battleship.

So, technology.

Automated manuals. And continuously variable (CVT) automatics. And automatics with eight and nine (and soon, ten) forward speeds. Incremental gains in fuel-efficiency. At ever-escalating up-front (and down-the-road) costs. But these are not touted to the buyer. He is swooned by the EPA mileage numbers on the window sticker; cheers the politicians who decree that new vehicles will achieve “x” MPG by the year whatever-they-choose.

Then a few years roll by and the DSG develops a hiccup that turns out to be a $3,200 burp. You’re long out of warranty – and very much out of luck.

Who gets the blame?

It isn’t Uncle.

The car companies feel the wrath of disgusted customers, who had no idea what they were buying into.

It’s what they call in Vegas the long con. It’s not immediately obvious, takes time to mature. Feed the mark plausible BS to make him feel comfortable, at ease. Wait for your moment. Then take his money.

Done right, he’ll never know what hit him until you (and his money) are long gone.

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  1. Eric…Working in the automotive recycling world for 35 years I couldnt agree more.
    I often wonder how many of the engines and transmissions I have sold over the years were not even needed but sold to unsuspecting and uniformed victims. And now cars vehicles come with VIN’S burned into many parts to insure that they are not re usable. Pretty soon …run out of gas…get a new car.. sealed gas tank for our own safety!!! Thanks Remember at Ford quality was once a job.

    • Hi Lee,


      Just the other day, I was out driving around in a brand-new (2016) vehicle. Descending a grade, not going particularly fast (definitely not “drifting” or on the cusp of losing traction) all of a sudden the (I think) Collision Avoidance System goes absolutely bonkers. Frantic – automatic – application of the brakes. Throttle cut. Vehicle jerked awkwardly left-right and then almost stopped dead before the software stopped burping or whatever it was and the thing resumed driving normally.

      I’d hate to own this thing post warranty.

      • Bad engineering is one thing; bad engineering that hits the marketplace after it has been reviewed and authorized is frightening.

        Let me digress. Why is there summer and winter windshield washer? Mine froze last winter in Chicago. It can’t be drained without taking apart the bumper. My mechanic didn’t have the ability to pump it out. Two seasonal products are two different inventory headaches. I believe that this is one more example of creating a problem. Because this is astounding dumb, I had to check it out on the internet myself; or, maybe I am the dumb one and don’t understand. I would appreciate feedback.

        • Because inflation and we are being impoverished or marketing. For normal and cheap washer fluid the lower temp mix is more expensive. For expensive washer fluid the summer stuff is formulated to remove bug guts and such.

  2. How about it clover. If you’re smart enough to make at least two million dollars, you’re smart enough to prove your bona fides on the internet in a general way.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the forum accepts eightsouth and brent as legitimate, even though they have never asserted their unique identity in a specific government verifiable way.
    – – –

    You say you’re an investor, how can we tell if this is true or not.

    Here’s my stock recommendation I posted here regarding LGF on 2012/06/30 at 12:30 pm

    It’s one of only 4 comments to the article, so it’s easy to verify. Rise to the challenge in some fashion if you can. I’m rather like The Aquatic Uncle, in ways these landlubbers may never be able to grok. Who are you, clover?

    It would still be a great investment, though of course past results are no indicator of future success

    I would think oooorgle could verify the amount of traffic I sent here from reddit before I was shadowbanned there for spamming their site with too high of a percentage of links emanating from a single domain.

    I still send smaller amounts of viewers here from facebook, twitter, liveleak, and voat, which might also be verifiable.

    If not that, then demonstrate to the group how smart you are.

    Imagine you aren’t actually human, but are instead a being made entirely of photons of light.

    Given that premise, that you’re a photo sapien, tell us how much time you have spent posting on this blog, given your personal time perspective.

    What do you look like in your imagination, now that you’re the actual photons of light that emanate from your display and are absorbed by your eyes.

    Describe this region of the universe designated epautos as you have perceived it, being that you are a photo sapien, and not at all of our realm.

    – – –
    text of LGF recommendation post is below
    – – –

    Tor Munkov
    Submitted on 2012/06/30 at 12:30 pm
    I’ve booked a nice profit on Vancouver’s LGF, so far, and Hunger Games is number 1 in China’s box office. Madmen & other LGF products are also doing well there in the midst of the greatest Copyright-Free-Zone known to man.

    The American market is sick, however. Houses, autos, everything can be confiscated at will, with no lender recourse. Who can afford to do business here?

    A cynical play might be to invest in TASR, but it is against my principles to invest in that, or anything else in AnarchoTyranny America.

    Soon all new capital will be Homeland Security Capital. Existing capital will be designated as such by the Feds as they see fit.

    In the final years, 75% of the Nazi Germany economy was related to the war bureaucracy machine. America looks to be on track for a similar nightmare as well.

    • Tor, Government employees often make $100K and above. It’s very easy for a government employee, even a dim witted one to make a couple million dollars over the course of a career just in salary not to mention the lavish pensions. Just recently a president for the college of dupage here in Illinois got $763K for going away. That’s just a public junior college.

      • And that includes the ‘poor, underpaid public school teachers,’ who often make more than the median income in their respective districts.
        I have a simple suggestion for those ‘teachers’ who think they deserve more – abolish mandatory attendance, and see how many show up for class.

        • Yeah the underpaid teachers who after a number of years in have caught up with engineering salaries. Gets worse when the benefits and time off are considered. Of course I believe engineers are vastly underpaid because of the corporatist economy desires that. Otherwise we’d be paid compared to what we did for the bottom line and many would make much much more.

          • I used to work for an engineering firm that I like to think of as the Borg Collective. It was truly shameful how little they would pay the Engineers In Training. None of the ‘trained’ engineers ever mentioned their salary – programming completed and all.

      • clover is clearly a piece of human garbage. I doubt even someone with his identical beliefs will ever stop by here and say “atta girl/(boy)” keep up the good work.

        Even a creep who posts sexualized pics of his kids on the internet provides more value than clover. At least he is providing content that someone values, despite the masses who find him despicable and infamous.

        Nobody values anything clover has posted here, ever.

        Well, unless you count the things he inspires eric to write about.

        The will of democratic DuPage County Power goes by the name general.

        This general will crushes each individual beneath the weight of the sum of individuals represented by it.

        It oppresses each private interest in the name of a general interest which is incarnate in itself.

        The democratic fiction confers on the rulers the authority of the whole.

        You and I have each lost the game most likely, because we all lose as individuals, and only accrue wealth only as parts of belligerent collectives.

        The accomplished leading citizens in great cities wrongly consider themselves great. Which is clearly untrue, because they’re greatness exists only as a part of a great colossus whole.

        They are by and large, morally insolvent and deeper in debt to the rest of the less urban debtors by force who reside in far more rural locales and do far less impressive deeds.

        This personification of the whole is a great novelty in the Western world, and is a throwback to the world of the Greeks, from whom its inspiration comes.

        The citizens of an ancient city state, being enclosed within its walls and having been conditioned by much the same education, showing in social standing differences that were but of degree, came much nearer to being a real whole than the people of an extensive nation, of various origins and traditions, and marked by a diversity of functions.

        This whole is not a fact, for all the care that is taken to break down every private formation and tradition in existence. It is a fiction, which it is sought the harder to accredit for being the title deed of Power.

        tl’dr: the forcibly open society of America is a cruel mockery of ancient Greek city states.

        The Judeo Christian tradition is a long litany of usurpations and pretensions that strengthens the violent and corrupt at the expense of the industrious and useful.

        Clover is the most cloveritic of us all, but the majority here at root, are likely also clovers like him to some degree or others, including myself, I’m sad to say.

        Western history is by and large a long slog deeper and deeper into the ice cream with more and more types of turds being dropped and being probably beyond retrieval, all along the way.

  3. This article is another example of my pet-peeve: people throwing around acronyms like everybody is just supposed to already know them. Nowhere in this article is DSG defined.

  4. Hi Eric:

    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience” – George Carlin


  5. Hello Eric,
    What was your top speed at red-line with the old tranny verses the newer one?
    You an others have in the past mentioned the potential increase of power and mileage by replacing a carb with a TBI. Wouldn’t a multiport fuel injection system work better yet? I used to drive an ’87 Chevy Cavalier Z-24 that had a High Output 2.8 liter engine in it with multiport FI and an automatic transmission. Back during that time most modern cars were very wimpy, and I just loved the very fast acceleration that this car had. That car very badly needed an overdrive though! It red lined at 110 mph, but it obviously could easily have gone much faster with an OD transmission.

    • If you are looking for an increase in power, stay far away from a TBI. A properly tuned quadrajet will deliver fuel economy equal to or better than a TBI setup and will make more power at WOT. If you are looking for an increase in fuel economy, stay far away from a Holley 😉

      I’ve never been a fan of the throttle body injections but they are somewhat better than the computer controlled carbs that preceded them (kind of like saying I’d rather get shot in the foot than stabbed in the eye…).
      Port injection is nice but, depending on what you are wanting from the vehicle, it isn’t necessarily better than a carb. For instance, the early/mid 90s LT-1 guys are reporting a gain of over 40 lb-ft when dumping the factory port injection for a carburator. A short runner/low volume intake (i.e. factory LT-1 port injection) on a street motor that redlines at 6k rpm seems like a waste anyways (though it fits under the hood of a vette nicely).

  6. Does the average Joe really care about the “quick shifting abilities”? 99% of people put it in R, back out, put it in D, get to where they’re going, put it in P. A Powerglide does the same thing.

    • I agree, Adam.

      Like low aspect ratio tires on 19 inch wheels, it’s to a great extent superfluous – wasteful – stuff for most drivers, who are A to B drivers.

      I constantly gripe about finding myself stuck behind a Clover doing 3-5 MPH below the already under-posted PSL in a car with 275-300 hp. Such a driver would never miss half the hp and capability the vehicle has.

      • Clovers should be made to ride tricycles. Then they wouldn’t be so fat, unhealthy, and have better brains (but not in their heads)!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Any motorised contrivance is wasted on clover and his and her ilk!!

  7. Phew! I just sold my DSG equipped 2006 Beetle TDI. Couldn’t get anywhere near KBB private party despite the car being in mint condition (grandma owned).

    But let me tell you that I’m relieved as hell to see it gone.

    If it don’t have 3 pedals I ain’t a drivin’ it. They call that ‘straight drive’ ’round these parts.

    I call it a manual transmission.

    When asked by the buyer why I was selling the car, I said “because I inherited it and because I don’t do cars with 2 pedals”. he looked confused for a few seconds and I said “I need a clutch pedal”. Oh he said, i never learned to drive one.

    Good for me I figure. Lower demand for used M/T means lower price for me. Yeah they don’t hardly make new ones with M/T… But with all the nannies and built in spy capabilities on newer cars, who wants one anyway?

    Anyway, I’ll take $4k (not enough to fix the DSG should it go out) and say good riddance.

    I’ll put $1200 aside for a new clutch on my Jetta TDI 5 MT, 200k on stock clutch still going strong knocking down average of 43 mpg all around.

  8. Haven’t they always been disposable? Yes, you managed to keep a museum piece from the 1970s running a few miles a year, but if it became your only daily driver I’d bet it would be in the junk yard in no time.

    Most of the 1960s and 70s cars were cheaply made because everyone bought new cars every 3 years or so. It wasn’t until the 1980s and the invasion of the Japanese and Germans that cars got better. A friend of mine’s father had a “collection” of older Cadillacs and Buicks, only 2 of which were garaged. They were all rotted out below the door handles and never started without a lot of persuasion. My last 3 cars, as bad as they were when traded in, had no rust, no big engine problems (aside from the leaking cover where the rotor used to go on the Luminia that would have been over $1k in labor). Just mostly cosmetic problems and high dollar routine maintenance due). And I know I’ve only owned a fraction of the cars my parents owned over the years. In fact, by the time my dad was my current age he owned 7 cars to my 4. And I still remember the salesman laughing at him trying to get one or two of them to start when he was trading in.

    It is said that Henry Ford commissioned a few engineers to go out into the World and find out what component of the Model T was most reliable. The word came back that it was the differential. They couldn’t find any instance of the diff going bad on any Model T. Henry used this information to figure out a way to make a cheaper, less reliable differential.

    That said, it does suck that the likely death knell for my A3 will be the stupid DSG.

    • In the land of rust the cars were always disposable. Where I live the body was completely rusted out by the time engine or drivetrain replacement was needed. I am talking structural end of life rust. It wasn’t worth it. In places where the body stays wonderful then engine and transmission replacement is much more meaningful.

  9. Making a law that vehicle fleets average 35.5 MPG is comparable to making a law that average people will reach old age without the need for expensive medical care.

  10. Out of warranty? You’re never supposed to have a car out of warranty. You’re supposed to go get a new one when the warranty runs out! People are supposed to be good consumers. Saving is bad. People need to have a car payment ever month forever or take public transportation or walk. Keep an old car? That’s unamerican. Spend money on a new car. Better yet, lease! Oh if they could only get everyone one a month-to-month consumption basis. No savings, just paying as they go, forever on a treadmill chained to the corporate system. Obamacare can only do so much to tie people to the corporate system.

  11. VW TDI with a manual transmission vs automatic. The DSG tranny adds over $1k to the price and requires an expensive service every 40k miles. And it still dings you with a mileage penalty compared to the manual, although much less than a traditional torque converter automatic. At least VW keeps final drive gearing the same between the transmission offerings, Honda has the engines mated to manuals screaming at highway speeds compared to their “thriftier” automatics.

    • And there’s no getting around it. You simply can’t order a VW or Audi from the factory with only what you want on it, at least in the US. The DSG is in all the TDI packages no matter what.

      • A very nice six speed manual transmission is currently installed in a significant percentage of new TDI Volkswagens like Jetta and smaller even in top shelf versions. But there is not such thing as a factory ordered VW, whatever rolls off the assembly line is what you get, period. My guess is their bean counters have a solid handle on what sells in what percentages and combinations in various locales and that is what they ship to those dealers. Building cars like that is both cost efficient in assembly and inflates profit by forcing superfluous, unwanted bric-a-brac with any desirable option as a singular package or trim.

  12. eric, come on now. Don’t know how many F-1 races I’ve seen and almost never see a tranny failure….even in those long 200 mile races.

    • Ha! 🙂

      Now, I hope people grok that I admire the technology. What I question is the economic sense of it in a passenger car.

      It seems to me the apotheosis of automatic transmission development happened in the late ’80s. Seriously. I have one such box in the Trans-Am right now. It’s a 2004-R, which – my opinion here – is one of the best automatics ever made. It’s simple, but modern. Has a lock-up converter but no computer. Just one 12V connection is all it needs. Has a deep overdrive fourth (.67, IIRC) that cuts the revs in a ’76 Trans-Am with a 3.90 rear axle ratio to around 2,000 at 70. The car (which has a humungous 455 fed by a big four barrel carburetor and no electronic controls) gets about the same gas mileage as a current direct-injected V6 minivan or twin-turbo V6 Ford F-150.

      If my Firebird had a mild 350 with a 3.08 rear, I bet it would be capable of 30 on the highway, maybe better.

      • Eric again are these your lies again or is it you do not have a clue about vehicles? I would sure like to see the 30 mpg 350 Firebird. Maybe possible with a 40 mph tailwind.Clover

        • Clover,

          My car averages about 18 MPG with a fairly aggressive 455 (7.4 liter) V8 and a 3.90 rear axle. It’s capable of low 20s on the highway, because of the overdrive transmission I installed (something you’ve never done, I am certain) and because it is comparatively light (about 400 pounds lighter than a current Camaro, its modern analog).

          A 350 (much smaller engine) with a mild cam and tuned for economy, with an overdrive transmission and less aggressive rear axle would do considerably better and very likely be capable of high 20s/low 30s on the highway.

          Keep in mind, Clover, that a current Corvette with a very high-powered 6.2 liter V8 manages 29 on the highway.

          • eric, I’d say a simple TBI hooked to a 9 to 1 compression ratio 350 with the old style(2000 era) aluminum heads and the even older style camshaft such as the early 90’s GM pickups had and 30 mpg would be quite doable.

            I’ve had friends with spare engines and engine parts get some middle 20’s from half ton pickups with OD transmissions, even one like the New Venture Gear 4500 and that’s the original turbo-diesel transmission with OD. Use a smaller transmission like the 200 R4 or even the 700 R4 and it would surely be possible.

            Back when GM came out with the early 90’s model pickups with ext. cabs I knew people who regularly got 22-24 mpg.

          • Eric you are such a liar I would bet you never even checked gas mileage. You are too busy testing other cars you say. Why burn your own gas? Eric we can not believe anything you say since every other statement from you is lie. ? For another thing Eric why the hell have an overdrive transmission in your cars because you are all about power not gas mileage. Tell us why we should ever believe you? I would bet you do not even know how to test gas mileage. You said yourself you are poor at math.Clover

            • Clover,

              I’ve posted videos and photos of my Trans-Am; written stories (published in major magazines) about the modifications I’ve done to it. That’s me, turning the wrenches. If you had any mechanical knowledge or experience, you’d grok why someone might want to install an overdrive transmission in an old muscle car, gas mileage notwithstanding.

              Can you guess, Clover?

              • Eric every newer vehicle in the past 20 years or more has an overdrive transmission. Who the hell cares. My older truck has an overdrive transmission. Yes at 70 mph it has very low rpms. It still sucks gas compared to my modern 4 cylinder car. I get twice the gas mileage in my 4 cylinder driving at twice the rpms. Eric you are stupid.Clover

                • Clover,

                  Your ability to avoid/evade a direct question is truly astounding.

                  Now, let’s try again.

                  Why do you suppose someone might want to install an OD transmission in an old muscle car?

                  • Eric the only thing an overdrive transmission does in an old muscle car is change the gas mileage from very poor to just very bad. Who the hell cares?Clover

                    • Clover,

                      I asked the question to bait you into revealing your mechanical ignorance. Thank you for obliging (again).

                      Old muscle cars were geared for maximum acceleration through the quarter mile. 3.23, 3:42, 3:73 and 4:11 final axle ratios were typical.

                      But, there was a problem. Or rather, this gearing entailed a compromise.

                      Back in those days, transmissions did not not have overdrive gearing. Most automatics had two or three forward speeds (and most manuals had three or four) with the final ratio being “1:1.”

                      When you paired such a transmission with an aggressive (performance-minded) ring and pinion, the result was quick acceleration but high cruise RPMs and a lower top speed.

                      By replacing a three speed automatic (as an example) with a four speed overdrive automatic (with a .67 overdrive vs. the three-speed’s 1:1) you dramatically reduce cruise RPM, even with the aggressive rear axle ratio. In other words, you no longer have to pick either quick acceleration or high-speed highway capability.

                      You get both.

                      The gas mileage advantage is incidental.

                      But, it’s significant.

                      My TA, for example. At 70 with the original transmission and 3:90 axle, was running around 3,300 RPM. With the overdrive transmission, the engine is running just over 2,000 at the same speed.

                      Even a Clover ought to be be able to grok the advantages.

                    • Like I said Eric who cares? It is not like you are saving a huge amount of money. How many of these vehicles in the country drive 15,000 miles a year? I would guess very very few. I know yours does not. Again Eric, I get almost twice the gas mileage that you get. I can probably go 30 to 35 miles on the same gas as yours uses at idle in an hour. If you really wanted to save gas you would change out the engine or get another car.Clover

                    • Who said anything about saving, money?

                      I thought it was to keep the revs down at highway speeds. (reduce stress on engine and have a quieter running engine)

                      A bit off topic:

                      IIRC, there were (at one time) cars designed to run @ 1:1 top gear. The axle ratio would be reduced as needed to meet their top speed criteria (if any).

                      Why don’t car companies do this any more? (at least I am not aware of any companies still using a 1:1 top gear ratio.)

                      If I had to guess, it would be to use a smaller (more fuel efficient) engine, where previously a larger engine was more appropriate.

                    • So Eric if it is not about saving money to spend many hours and costs in replacing a transmission and then bragging about better gas mileage then what is it? It certainly is not about saving the world with less pollution and not using up all the fuel on the planet. Those types of things you brag against doing.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      Can you read?

                      The overdrive makes it possible for a muscle car with a 3.90 axle to cruise at 70-75 MPH with the engine turning just over 2,000 RPM vs. 3,200 RPM with the original (non-overdrive) transmission.

                      If you had any car smarts at all, you’d grok what that means.

                    • Tell me Eric what does that mean? Why spend many hours and bucks replacing a transmission on a car you seldom drive? You said it was about fuel savings and then you said that really does not matter that much. Is it for resale value or is it that you just wanted to do something that I prefer not to because I like to get better gas mileage than the car you just improved on?Clover

                    • Well, Clover, it’s not “many hours” (unlike you, I am a competent mechanic and can pull/replace a transmission in about one hour).

                      And “what it means” is a muscle car that can be taken on the highway, to attend a car show 50 miles (or 500 miles) away.

                      PS: It takes a true Clover to compare a V8 muscle car with a four cylinder economy car.

                    • Well Eric the majority miles you travel each day are from 30 mph to 55 mph. With those speeds an overdrive barely kicks in. Just an observation. Clover

                      You said you are a good mechanic. I would guess you would be far better at that then all the lies you tell daily.

                    • Amazing, Clover.

                      I don’t recall you riding shogun with me…

                      I cruise at 75-80, usually. Frequent blasts up to 100-plus, depending on the situation.

                      Besides which, OD engages well below 55 MPH. Which you’d know – if you knew anything about mechanical things!

                    • Eric,

                      You are wasting your time arguing with that imbecile. You’d have more success teaching the rationale behind overdrive transmissions to your cat.

                    • Clover you ignorant slut, OD is engaged below 55mph. I commute to work and back entirely on surface streets and I use the overdrive gear (MT) for most of the distance and the fastest I go is 50mph and that’s just for a couple miles on the way home. If you really drove an MT car you would know this, but you don’t so that exposes another one of your lies.

                    • Dear Clover,

                      Are you familiar with the term, “Glutton for punishment”?

                      I can only assume you consider the government paycheck worth the indignity.

                    • Thanks idiots Brent and Eric. I said at speed from 30 mph to 55 mph overdrive transmissions barely kick in. What part of that do you not understand? Brent you are a true idiot. Tell me what an manual transmission has to do with when overdrive kicks in on an automatic? Tell me what the hell is wrong with what I stated above? You guys are dumb asses.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      You’re wrong on the facts (again) and demonstrating your mechanical ignorance (again) and lecturing a mechanical engineer about a subject you clearly know nothing about.

                      Here’s the deal, Clover: Most modern automatics are programmed to “kick in” to overdrive as soon as possible to cut engine RPMs and save fuel. This occurs well below 55 MPH; many modern automatics will shift into OD at around 30 – certainly by 40. They’ll remain there, too, unless the driver pushes the accelerator or conditions (e.g., a hill) warrant a downshift.

                      And overdrive is overdrive, Clover. Automatic or manual.

                    • Clover you ignorant slut, gear ratios are gear ratios. Today’s automatics are computer controlled and programmed for maximum fuel economy. They are certainly shifting into OD as much or more as I would. For older automatic transmissions the shiftpoints are controlled by mechanical means. When someone puts an OD automatic in an older car, one that is mechanically controlled, it should be very easy to set it for fuel economy in ordinary without sacrificing 0-60 and 1/4 time when hammering it if so desired.

                    • Hi Brent,

                      The 2004-R in my Pontiac shifts into OD right around 35 MPH, under light throttle pressure. This allows me to trundle along with the engine turning a fast idle (around 1,800 RPM) just like a modern performance car. At 70, cruise RPM is about 2,200.

                      It’s fantastic.

                    • Well Eric I have seen many automatics kick into overdrive at 45 and above. That is way above the 30 mph that I quoted. Just say it Eric, you are a jerk. Tell us Eric go and test your car and check to see when it goes into overdrive. The liar that you are would probably say 25.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      What you “have seen” is as meaningless as the claims made by some that they “have seen” Jesus’ image burned onto a piece of french toast.

                      The fact is that modern transmissions are programmed to shift into OD at road speeds well below 45 when conditions allow (note: you’ve already ceded 10 MPH from your original 55 MPH claim) in order to reduce fuel consumption.

                      You’ve got no engineering or mechanical knowledge – just your infantile, ignorant opinions.

                    • So Eric if your car shifts into over drive at 35 mph and at 70 mph you are traveling 2200 rpm that would make it 1100 rpm at 35 mph. Yes Eric that would be a slow idle. Good for you. So if you are driving 30 to 35 mph in town your car is shifting in and out of overdrive constantly. So if it shifts into overdrive at 35 mph then when does it shift back out of overdrive? Is it at 800 rpm?Good for you. My car still gets twice the gas mileage.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      It shifts into overdrive when road speed and throttle input indicate. Just loping along at 40 MPH or so , it will be in overdrive. If I depress the accelerator, it will downshift. Then, later, it will upshift. This is what automatic transmissions.

                      Your car may indeed get twice the mileage. So? It is an economy car or a family car with a four cylinder engine (otherwise it doesn’t get twice the mileage) while mine is a V8 muscle car. It’s not an apples-apples comparison. And the point – which you continually evade – is that I installed it chiefly to reduce highway cruise RPM, to reduce wear and tear on the engine, to make the car feel more comfortable at highway speeds.

                      Gas mileage is a plus – but incidental.

                    • For one thing Eric you exaggerated the gas savings and for another thing about the rpm savings to save on the engine then who cares. If you drive that kind of car for a lot of miles to cause engine damage then I hope you are getting a lot of people donating to you for you to pay the big gas bill. Even with the supposed gas savings you get, the bill for driving several thousand miles in a car like that I would not want.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      I did not exaggerate the fuel savings. I didn’t even give a precise figure for that. I noted the RPM reduction at higher speeds, which (in a muscle car with a 3.90 rear axle) is very significant.

                      Again, you demonstrate your ignorance of things mechanical. I doubt you have ever even driven a classic muscle car. Certainly, you’ve never owned one.

                      So what gives you any credibility to even a offer a comment about them?

                    • Eric what I said is who cares? Clover

                      If you did it for resale value or if you drive it a lot of miles or you got the transmission for free and wanted something to do then good for you. Otherwise it makes no difference.

                      If you plan on keeping it and drive it few miles and if you had to pay anything close to new price on the transmission then it flat out was not worth your time. If you do not understand that then you are the stupid one. You do not understand cost benefit analysis.

                    • “Who cares,” Clover?

                      People who own old muscle cars, that’s who.

                      What I did to mine is a common modification, done for the reasons described.

                      Why do I even bother discussing such things with you – a person who has probably never even driven an old muscle car, much less owned one?

                      Who knows nothing about it – as usual?

                    • Like you said Eric you have the right to spend your money and time as you see fit. Unless you failed to tell us something though there is not a big benefit in your case.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      If you weren’t a mechanical illiterate, you’d understand the huge benefit of installing an overdrive transmission in a classic muscle car originally equipped with a rear axle geared for maximum 0-60 and quarter-mile acceleration and a non-overdrive transmission.

                      But because you are a mechanical illiterate, you do not grok such.

                    • Eric I completely understand what putting an overdrive in one of those cars does. The point I was making is that if you drive it for few miles the savings in gas is insignificant and the savings on engine wear is insignificant. If you drive it for 10 thousand miles a year it is well worth doing. If you average a thousand miles a year or less on the vehicle then who cares? If you are somewhere in between then it is a flip of the coin.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      You understand nothing, mechanical or otherwise. You’ve never owned a classic muscle car. You’ve never driven one – and I doubt you’ve ever worked on one. You don’t wrench. You talk.

                      Yet – of course – you “know” all about them.


                    • Eric I could care less about your car. I do not want a 70s car that gets less than 10 mpg in town.
                      What I believe in is cost benefit analysis. I do not spend thousands to save hundreds like you do.

                    • Poor, pitiable Clover!

                      Whether you “care” about my car is irrelevant.

                      What’s relevant is whether the modification is worth doing in my eyes – and in the eyes of others who own classic muscle cars.

                      A mechanical and general car illiterate such as yourself does not comprehend the “cost benefit” of reducing the wear and tear on an antique engine last made 40-plus years ago because you do not grok that such an engine can only be bored so many times. That a crank for a long out-of-production engine cannot be bought new anymore. That you’d have to spend a small fortune on for a rebuildable used crank if the one you’ve got fails.

                      And so on.


                      Tell me (as you like to say) why anyone would “give a rats (sic) ass” about the opinion of a fool such you who has never owned an antique muscle car, never driven one – and never worked on one (or any other car, beyond the most basic stuff such as checking the oil and maybe changing it)?

                      Well, Clover?

                      How about it?

                    • Eric you tell me. How many years would it take to kill your engine without changing out the transmission when you in fact drive it less than 1000 miles a year? I say that it should last your lifetime. What part of that do you not understand?Clover

                    • Clover,

                      It’s beyond effrontery for someone such as yourself – who knows nothing about classic cars – to even offer an opinion about them.

                      Have you ever owned one? Worked on one? Driven one?

                      No, of course not.

                      And yet, you know all about them. Feel no shame lecturing people who do own them, do work on them and do drive them as to the value or lack thereof of various modifications.


                      But then, that’s what makes you a Clover!

                    • Again Eric I asked a classic car question and you failed to answer. I guess you know nothing about cars. I asked you how many years your car would last driving at less than 1000 miles a year without the new transmission. You failed to answer. Why? Clover

                      Actually my first car would be considered today to be a classic car. I did not want it any more because of rust not because the engine failed. That is what happens when you drive it year around and a lot of miles in the snow and rain belt.

                      I would drive my newer car any day compared to the classic. I get a lot better gas mileage, the engine oil does not go black after a thousand miles like the classics did. My car is more comfortable and the electronics in it are 100s of times better than the classic era. If someone hits me I actually might survive in my newer car.

                    • Clover,

                      I answered clearly. You simply ignored (or cannot understand) the answer. Many muscle cars – like mine – have engines that are no longer in production and haven’t been for decades. The last 455 Pontiac V8 was cast in 1975.

                      Forty year ago.

                      This means it’s neither easy nor cheap to find replacement components such as 455 engine blocks and 455 crankshafts. There is a limited supply. And having a “numbers matching” original engine in a classic car is hugely important as regards the car’s value.

                      When these cars were new, it was no big deal to rebuild (or replace) a worn or damaged engine, caused by high revs and premature/excessive wear and tear – caused by sustained high RPM operation. Which was the result of an aggressive rear axle ratio and a non-overdrive transmission. Replacing the factory non-overdrive transmission greatly reduces sustained high RPM operation, which greatly reduces wear and tear and thus extends the useful life of antique engines that cannot be easily or cheaply repaired or replaced.

                      You blithering imbecile.

                      As to the rest: I have owned (and restored) multiple muscle cars. I rebuild engines. I have written books. Unlike you, I have hands-on experience. Real knowledge.

                      What have you got?

                      Your feelings.

                    • Eric you are so proud of working on cars. Why? High school dropouts are capable of working on cars. Most of them are probably far better at it than you are. What does that say about you? Eric I do not have limited abilities that you have. Yes I have worked on cars. I have worked on electrical, I have worked on electronics, I have worked on plumbing, I have replaced roofs, I have coded computer software. I have scuba dived. I competitive ski and am competitive at volleyball. Eric I could go on for an hour on everything I have done and am capable of doing. You are proud of bolting on a transmission? Good for lowly you.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      If you’d like to compare achievements, capabilities and vitae – oh, let’s.


                      But then, you’d have to actually reveal your name, what you do – and prove your alleged credentials. Which you won’t do. Therefore, any claims you make are to be dismissed out of hand. Your poor grammar, inability to discuss a topic logically, suggest someone who has a low IQ and a poor education. A likely government “worker.” A low-level government “worker.”

                      Meanwhile, my vitae are on the table. Everyone here knows my full name, my background, what I’ve actually done.

                      How about it, Clover?

                      But the issue here is not not my resume. It is your mechanical ignorance, which led to your making an ignorant statement based on your feelings.

                      Always trying to change the subject, argue things not said…

                      Poor ol’ Clover!

                      Once again, you’ve been put in the Libertarian Camel Clutch and humbled.

                    • Good for you Eric. You can get a wrench out of your toolbox and use it. Eric I was doing that at 3rd grade. Who cares? You said yourself that you are not bright enough to work on modern vehicles. I have Eric. I say that makes me better than you. I can do more than turn a wrench. I am capable of troubleshooting problems be it mechanical, electrical or electronic or computers. Clover

                      Then you say that my grammar skills are poor so that makes me stupid? Really? I can fix anything not just 40 year old vehicles.

                      What does a writer make these days at a local paper? Is it up to 15 grand yet?

                      Eric I am smart enough to invest. Yes I went over a million dollars years ago. How about you?

                      Eric the only thing you are experienced at above all others is telling lies.

                    • Clover,

                      All we know for sure is that you’re an illiterate who cannot follow a logical chain of thought. “Tell us” who you really are… what you do for a living.

                      But you won’t.

                      The DMV probably has a non-disclosure policy.

                    • Actually, Clover, I rebuild engines and have restored vehicles (cars and bikes) from derelicts to show winners. I have the trophies (and videos, including several posted here) to prove it.

                      Ever do that, Clover?

                      The only “work” you’ve ever done on a vehicle is open the gas door. Maybe change wiper blades.

                      C’mon. Admit it.

                      Probably while wearing your short-shorts and flip-flops.

                      I’ve been published by the Wall Street Journal, the Detroit News, the Chicago Tribune – and scores of other papers around the country. Written feature articles for nationally known magazines. Published several books. Been on TV and radio.

                      Have you had even a letter-to-the-editor published?

                      What – other than being an incredibly tenacious Internet troll – have you ever done that’s noteworthy, Clover?

                      I doubt you can even ski.

                      Let alone ski well.

                    • So Eric if you are so much better than I am and you are such a brilliant writer then why is it that you lost your web support guy because you could not pay him and you constantly beg for donations. That does not sound like a brilliant person to me. Clover

                      Eric if you are so great at restoring vehicles then why be a writer that does not pay anything? All newspapers and magazines are willing to publish most anything that is cheap for them. They are always looking for cheap content.

                    • More lies, Clover.

                      I never said I was better; just listed a few of my achievements. Which are factual.

                      What about yours?

                      I ask for donations. Mark that. I ask. People voluntarily support the site. No coercion. Something you can’t abide. And which I am certain accounts for whatever income you have.

                      No? Prove me wrong.

                    • I agree Eric you are no better than I am. I claim you are far worse but who cares? I dd not have to tell lies and beg to make my first million dollars.Clover

                    • Well, I’m certainly more articulate and better educated. That much is obvious and indisputable. Probably I am more handsome. A better athlete. Without question a better writer and mechanic and driver and rider. My dick is bigger, I’ll bet. And unlike yours, mine works!

                      Now, if you have a millions dollars (which I doubt) and which is not even very much money these days, I’d be willing to bet you acquired it via government “work.”

                      But since you won’t reveal who you are or what you do, all we have to go by is your demonstrated illiteracy and dishonesty; your apparent low intelligence and lack of knowledge.

                      It speaks for itself!

          • A friend of mine who is an excellent mechanic owns a pristine 1965 Corvette Stingray with a 327 c.i. smallblock in it. It’s essentially bone stock, just well tuned. Stock transmission, stock rear end, stock carb, etc. He has run it on race tracks, but has also run it in fuel efficiency contests on occasion. Bearing in mind he didn’t tune it for efficiency the first time he competed, he won his class and averaged 32mpg.

            I suspect that, were we allowed to use the much improved technology for basic things like carburetors, headers, etc., and were not hampered by federal requirements for emissions, safety equipment, etc., there would be a marketplace full of relatively simple and inexpensive vehicles that are easy to repair and maintain under the proverbial shadetree.

            In fact, in an unfettered free market, we’d have a wider variety of options to suit the preferences of buyers. There would be low-powered, high gas mileage options. High performance options unburdened by massive safety equipment. And high luxury options festooned with the latest safety options, electronics, etc. that would require expensive repairs and maintenance.

            It’s unfair and irrational to compare a car from the 1970s to a car from today. It’s almost as silly as trying to compare a computer from the 1970s to one from today, which is in a relatively unregulated market when compared to automobiles. The progress we see in vehicle reliability, power, gas mileage, safety, etc. is not due to government regulation but rather in spite of it. The market still forges ahead despite the burdens placed on it by regulation, not because of them. There is such a thing as over-regulation. Just look at Cuba. Because of government regulations, they are stuck driving around in 1950s cars and continually repairing them because it’s prohibitively expensive to get a new car there because of the law (there’s a story idea for you, EP).

            The key comparison is not 1975 to 2015, but 2015 to the 2015 that would have been without government interference.

            • Part of the government con is to claim responsibility for what other people do for society.

              I’ve been watching Cuban Chrome and the show gets me talking back to the TV because it keeps saying they can’t have this or that because of the US embargo when it’s all available from Chinese manufacturers today as are much of the choices to buy those things in the USA. Cubans are denied basic supplies because their government denies them the supplies through its various policies intentional and not.

              The unseen 2015 would probably have cars with 1980s weight with the present powerful and efficient engines. Just think of some early 80s light weight with one these modern 3 or 4 cylinder engines. The car would be fast and probably turn 50-60mpg.

              • BrentP, China, my bane. I get so tired of inferior parts from China that break I could spit.

                Last year the tractor/trailer park brake valve began leaking on a KW. It was original I’m sure so it had good reason to be worn out. The new one, from the KW parts room, had made in China all over it. The red and yellow buttons were a funky shade but what the heck and they were big, really big for some Chinese reason I suppose. When you pulled either valve they popped out so hard as to make your fingers sting. I tried various ways of avoiding this and the only way it was avoidable was to use a rubber snubber and wrap it and pull which wasn’t a good option so most of the time I tried to keep my fingers moving fast enough to not get stung. One day I pulled the trailer button and it broke off when it hit the end of travel. It was sure fun to pull after that with only a round piece of metal through the round tube that stuck out so I would just pull the yellow and have both pop out, a real pain since I had to push the trailer back with the palm of my hand.

                In all my years of trucking I never saw a button break……never. And they were more friendly(smaller)and didn’t sting your hand.

                I had a belly dump that wouldn’t close one day after I’d been working on it after being frozen with moisture in the system. I had backed up to it and plugged in both electric cables and the air lines so I’d have brake control. I get back in the cab and see the dump starting to open with the full weight of the trailer on it. I backed under it and locked the fifth wheel and it opened completely. I’m scratching my head wondering what caused it since the switch was in the closed position. I removed the switch and found it was closed in either position. Once again, Made in China. I went looking for another switch, doors open, and finally found one made in the USA. In the last year I’ve seen several trucks dump their loads at speed and it’s almost always a bad switch. I’ve now changed to a push/pull heavy duty lighted switch with a high amp rating made in the US. It’s expensive as far as switches go but the last truck I saw open this way(week before last…..on Martin Luther King memorial bridge) caused a 9 car pile-up and one death. I’m sure that company wishes they’d spent a few extra dollars for a better switch if that was the cause. We no longer use a wire in the main trailer harness supply line and use a dedicated line so no hot wires are near any dump circuit. Now, the only way it could fail is via the switch or the solenoid valve on the trailer(have never seen one fail) and the push/pull switch can’t be inadvertently moved. So far, so good. When it comes to parts I won’t use Chinese unless it’s the only one available and that’s too often the case.

                But you’re right about practically all parts being made in China……to the tune of too many parts available ONLY from China……crap.

                • Hi Eight,

                  I recently bought some new Vise Grip pliers. They are now made in China – and obviously of inferior workmanship compared with the formerly US-made Vise Grip pliers.

                  But it’s almost impossible to find tools, steel parts, etc. not made in China.

                  Trump is on the money on this issue. He’s a maniac, but I like that he’s talking about the labor arbitrage rape of the U.S. economy for the sake of cartel capitalists.

                  • 100% tariff on imports and out sourcing, U.S.A. isolation, exit from NATO, the rest of the world needs us more than we need them.

                    PS What does this have to do with Trump or anybody else who would be president?

                  • eric, I haven’t bought any pliers of that sort in a while. I have some old ones I bought really cheap that are Chinese and have found they weren’t cheap enough. You don’t cry when you lose them though.

                    I didn’t know Vise Grip was Chinese now though. From now on I’ll refer to them as Vice Grip.

                    I recently bought some end wrenches and ratchet wrenches to carry in the truck and only because they were Harbor Freight el cheapos Chinese.

                    I have some wheels that require a very thin socket because they’re really thick and strong, made for rock crawling and big GVWR ratings. Nobody has a socket to fit them except me. I put a 1/2″ to 3/8″ adapter on that Snap On socket and use it exclusively to remove and install those wheels. You won’t find a Chinese socket that will take an impact wrench.

                    • Hello 8,
                      Just a few months ago I lost a vise grip. I researched on-line for a good one to buy and could not find any that were U.S. made. Snap-On and Matco probably still make them in the U.S., but I didn’t want to spend that much money. I went to eBay and found good used ones there that I bought which were made in the U.S.. eBay has their web-site set up so that specific areas of the picture get zoomed into when you mouse over it, and I made sure that the teeth were sharp before I bought them.
                      I do not want to lose any more good tools at work, so I also have bought the cheap Chinese crap to take with me.

                  • Trump and Sanders represent different aspects of Benito Mussolini. They are very dangerous. Trump only recognizes a very superficial aspect of the problem but that could get him elected to make things even worse. He wants to build trade barriers and other walls. This will make us feel the full brunt being impoverished through the last couple-three decades of economic policies.

                    The real solution is to unwind thirty years or more of financialization. Unwind it and the manufacturing of many things will grow. We might not get tools back but at least something will grow. But with the salted ground of today nothing will. Of course any president who tries do that will be JFK’d or Nixon’d.

                    Anyway there aren’t many US made tools left that aren’t outrageously priced. I don’t hate Chinese tools, they have their place on the market. The problem is that even established name brands can’t keep their tools affordable to the masses without making them in China. China labor hides much of the impoverishment of people here through financialization.

                    I have numerous HF items because I can’t justify the modern price for made-in-USA for everything because I don’t make a living with these things. I use them once a year or less. I just need something that will do the job well enough and I also have second and third sets. Tools I can modify if needed and not feel too bad about it, etc and so on. In the last problem spot I got into I cut up a china made wrench I bought from home depot. Didn’t get me out of the spot, I had to take another route, but hey, it was a sub $7 wrench instead of a $20 plus one.

                    • I know what you mean Brent. I have a few brands of tools that are literally over 50 years old and less, some about 35 years old that are still primo. But their brands don’t exist any longer and some haven’t in a long time. Great tools, lifetime guarantee but for reasons of keeping costs down I suppose and marketing a superior tool, the public didn’t have it thrown in their face all the time except for us gearheads who saw them and bought them at the parts store and they weren’t cheap.

                      I even have a Taiwan 1/2″ socket set with a long breakover handle, an evidently unbreakable parts and don’t think I ever broke a socket or any other part. They were very accurate and the 12 points would never give up. I bought them in 1968….in a steel box that’s still fine thanks. One thing I detest is the plastic boxes even expensive tools come in and they don’t last long. When thin plastic is used for a hinge…well……..

                      Some of my best tools date to well before I was born. I have a great 3/4″ Craftsman socket set. It’s hard to put into words but even now, buying the most expensive tools you can find, they don’t really compare with those Craftsman tools. Back in the 70’s and early 80’s(barely) I’d buy tools that don’t really have an equal now except for obscure American made or Japanese made forged tools you get at the professional tool dealerships and try to not look at the price.

                      And I don’t mean these tools aren’t worth the price, they are. It’s just hard to afford them unless you’re making big bucks with them.

                      Want to get hurt, try to steal a Ridgid tool I own. Way back, you could buy some superior tools that even had John Deere on them. BTW, one of those Ridgid pipe wrenches that has been used pretty hard by me is till sharp as hell(both are but one isn’t but about 40 years old I bought at a pawn shop((hot tool shop)). The other came from an aunt’s father who had it a long time.

                      As a kid I’d find old screwed up wrenches and people would give them to me. But a Crescent wrench of old didn’t really get that screwed up and if you’d soak one that seemed to be a solid piece for a couple weeks in kerosene it would come apart and you could buff it down to original specs(or close), lube it and put it back together and it would be as good or better than anything you could buy. I have one that dates from the late 30’s or early 40’s that outperforms many other adjustable wrenches I’ve had. I have an old tapered handled machinist(wide jaws, really tight tolerances)adjustable wrench that’s just as good as ever. It, like most of my best tools has been abused with big cheaters but don’t show it. My 36″ Ridgid pipe wrench was used for decades on huge tandem disc nuts with a 6 foot cheater. It’s fine now, still sharp and good as it was new. It did some terrible duty on big steel casing in water wells and if anything gave up it would be the part it was on.

            • Hi SJ,


              My TA gets not-bad mileage with just a good tune and the overdrive transmission. I’ve test driven several new vehicles – with all the latest “stuff” that don’t do much better. And a few (Infiniti Q56) that did worse.

              If I keep my foot out of it, the TA can average high teens/lows 20s. This is pretty impressive for a 40-year-old muscle car with a carbureted 7.4 liter engine and 3.90 rear axle!

              • eric, I don’t know about your transmission but 700 R 4’s and 4 L 60 E’s have a much lower first gear so you could change to a lower numerical ratio on your TA and get even better mileage without sacrificing performance.

                If my old ’82 Chevy pickup had a 4L 60E behind the 454 it would probably get in the mid-upper teens and better if I changed gears to 3.73’s instead of 4.10’s.

                I once considered buying a good used BrownLipe gearbox but they aren’t rated for that sort of torque. The under gear would be overkill since I already had a nearly 3-1 multiplication on the low side of the transfer case.

                Back in the 60’s and 70’s add-on gearboxes were fairly common on heavier pickups. Then somebody, and I can’t remember who, started making a gearbox to attach to the pinion on the rear-end and that solved some of the other problems. But once again, we got back to big engines like 454’s being able to destroy those boxes and they were of no help on a 4 wheel drive so we were back to a transmission adapted gearbox.

                Growing up as a trucker I often considered installing a two speed rear end with a 5 speed tranny but the costs are high if you can’t find a deal on used parts(of course the rear-end would be easily found used….and possibly worn out) and would have to be widened for a single wheel pickup.

                • Hi Eight,

                  I have the 2004-R. It was used in the ’80s and what’s neat about it is it has the Buick-Olds Pontiac (“BOP”) bellhousing and literally bolts right up to any Pontiac V8 except the 301. The 700 requires an adaptor plate with other-than-Chevy V8s.

                  The 200 also does not require a got-damned computer (I am pretty sure the 700 does). Just one 12V pigtail for the lock-up converter. That’s it.

                  Uses the same driveshaft and is the same overall length as a TH350, too!

                  • The early 700r4s do not require a computer to operate, just a switched 12v to the lockup, same as your 200r4. IIRC the 4L60E (updated 700r4) are the ones requiring more than just 12v to the lockup.

                    Stock vs. stock, the 700 is stronger but the gear spread on the 200 is more desireable IMO. The extra low 1st (3.06 ack!) on the 700 makes the rpm drop too far going into 2nd gear (bog much?).

                    • I was actually thinking about the 4 L 80 when I was comparing transmissions so never mind. That entire family of transmissions is very good stuff.

                      I had a transmission rebuilder tell me my wife’s Cutlass with a 4 L 60E was unbreakable with any size tire you could install on the car. They are durable for sure. But the 80 and 85E’s are the real workhorses even though a 700 will live with 700 hp and 700 lb ft of torque. The Grand Nationals came with the 200 so that should speak for itself.

                      Or you can get the new Supermatic 4L 85E designed for the ZZ572/720 engine with the same bolt patterns of all Chevy V-8’s(and most other GM BB engines). Straight from GM for $3100 I’d consider that one hell of a bargain(less torque converter).

                    • Hi Eight,
                      don’t think I would trust even a well built 700/4L60 behind 700 lb-ft, I’ve seen lesser motors shred 700r4s with ease though the right builder can work wonders.

                    • DBB, Several sites like Hot Rod and even a GM site said 700’s could take 700 hp so I’m just quoting them. The GM site said the 85 series would handle 1,000 hp. Of course the Hot Rod site said the life of one if hooking up some 30″ tires and getting maximum HP quickly would affect the life. I don’t think they had to say that.

                      But GM trannies is one reason I’ve always preferred GM products. I’ve had TH 375’s built for street use that would handle 450 hp day in and out.

                      I’d warn you to not skip your Z-28 sidewasy(or any other way) across a couple hundred yards of lava rock in Johnson county like a friend did. It’s hell on tires, wheels and the transmission. I drove it the next day and wondered why it didn’t seem to have the power and he finally fessed up. His car, he can do what he wants. He said he was just trying to run the road like I did the day before. I suggested being sober and doing it in daylight might help.

                    • Hi Eight,

                      My understanding about the 2004-R is that it was not very strong (relatively speaking) when new but when built properly (as mine has been) it can handle fairly high output reliably. Mine’s been in the TA for years now and has held up behind a 455 with a RA III cam that prolly makes about 320 honest hp and 450-ish foot-pounds of torque. Enough to be fun!

                      The overdrive box has made the car a viable “go anywhere” car – which it was not before. With the stock (non overdrive) transmission and a 3.90 rear, the thing was a beast on the highway or even secondary roads if you needed to maintain 60 MPH or more.

                      Now it will cruise at 70-75 at 2,200 or so – like any modern car!

                    • eric, the 200 was only weak in the first run probably due to something like a inferior-made sun gear or some similar thing. GM did it the first six months of production of the 60 series till cars began to arrive back in dealerships with defective transmissions. It was the supplier not building one main component to spec, some softer material. Once those were replaced with the proper part the transmission was fine. Things like that will kill a car line so it was fixed immediately. Same thing for the 200 which was later used in Grand Nationals without problems. A case of suppliers doing something cheaper and causing the weakest link syndrome.

                    • Horsepower won’t kill a trans, torque will. You could have a NA 3.0L motor that makes 800+ hp at 18k rpm (and all the torque of a leafblower) that won’t destroy your trans. Use that same trans behind a boosted 454 that makes 800 hp at 6500 rpm and watch that transmission explode into tiny bite sized chunks. HP=(tq x rpm)/5252
                      I’ve seen plenty of high dollar 200r4s in 9 and 10 second cars (think Art Carr trans), but have no idea about their longevity. A trans like this probably costs as much or more than a brand new 4L85E w/controller but has less parasitic power loss and I would suspect a correspondingly shorter lifespan.

  13. Thanks for the heads-up. I hadn’t looked into the paddle-shift trannies guts before. The pic you used from Audi is probably overly complex as all things German seem to be. I wonder, for example, what Mazda has as a design for say a Miata since I rebuild those for my race car.

    • I’ve driven paddle shift automatics from Lexus and Infiniti.

      You know what I noticed? That the shifts lag. You push the paddle, then the car’s computer decides when it will shift. Typically a 1 second delay.

      Now on DSG, when you shift (as long as you don’t try to hurt it like 1st gear at 50) it responds almost as quickly as a manual. But not quite.

      It is the best shifting auto trans I’ve ever driven. But if you own one plan on getting rid of it prior to the 100k mile mark, or create an ‘impound account’ with $5k in it to be prepared for the inevitable transmission replacment (it cannot be rebuilt).

      I’ll sacrifice a little ease and convenience for long term reliability. I know, that damn near makes me Un-American, sacrificing convenience and all…

      • I’ll sacrifice a little ease and convenience for long term reliability. I know, that damn near makes me Un-American, sacrificing convenience and all…

        You said a mouthful, man!
        Need a “like” button here…. We are PUSSIES….

    • Disclaimer: I work for Mazda at a very low level, but speak only for myself.

      The new 2016 Miata offers a manual or a six–speed auto. The auto has the ability to shift manually using the lever in the console if the driver prefers. Generally all SKYACTIV Mazda models are that way.

      To my knowledge the only Mazda that has had shift paddles was the RX-8 with automatic, and even in the US I’d say most of those cars were instead sold with manual transmissions.

      Personally, I fail to see the point of most paddle shifter options. As has been pointed out, the average driver puts ‘er in “D” and goes… Paddles add unnecessary complexity. Complexity adds weight and something else to break. My opinion is that even with government safety, emissions, and fuel efficiency mandates, most new cars are just way too damned unnecessarily complicated.

  14. Government is an exercise in the long con. I find myself ever trying to explain to people the century plus long cons in education and medical care. They don’t want to know. They just emotionally fall into doing the next step because it feels right for where we are today when ignorant of the longer con. They aren’t listening to the long con for transportation either.

    Now I want to know why the so-called elite are so interested in these long time scale cons. The people who started them are long since dead and the cons still have a long way to go before achieving the end goals. Even if were just keeping their children on top these cons are just way too much effort and expense for that.


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