Millennials...

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Seattle, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    For many years, automatic transmissions reduced the efficiency of the engine, resulting in less fuel economy. But today's computer-controlled automatics are much more precise, and therefore increase fuel economy. Manual transmissions are for nostalgia only.
     
    DaveC426913 likes this.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    You live in a place without a serious winter. And you hire all of of your car maintenance. Did I guess right?

    A lot of millennials don't drive at all, I've noticed - especially the poorer ones. In the modern world, if your parents don't buy you a car you probably can't afford one - it's kind of beginning to look like a class thing. Years ago in college I knew a guy from New York who told me that in NYC nobody in his crowd got a driver's license unless they were looking for a driving job or filthy rich. That was maybe the wave of the future.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    And purist sports cars. Also, I don't know how people maintain a constant speed when the car is shifting itself all the time.
     
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  7. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    Depends on the car and transmission. Case in point - the CVT transmissions used in newer Subaru vehicles is quite nice - it has a huge number of overall gear ratios, allowing the engine to stay in its "sweet spot" (be it for power / acceleration / torque, or for efficiency / mileage) instead of being locked to a handful of ratios. Basically, you learn to adjust your throttle control a bit better, and reap the reward of greater fuel economy (or, if you desire, a superior acceleration curve!)
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Then just use a CVT. Much easier than manual OR automatic.
     
  9. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    That's just another form of automatic. Also they are even farther removed from the immediate connection of a manual.
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Not really. There's no shifting; it's a very different feeling/connection to the car. From a pure torque-to-wheels perspective it's almost as good as an electric drive.
    Well, and all cars nowadays are removed from the immediate connection of the choke, crank starter and manual (unboosted) brakes. But we still manage to drive pretty well.
     
  11. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, no shifting, just like an automatic. I've read a ton of car reviews, and CVTs are for transportation appliances, not driving fun. The acceleration and RPMs are completely disconnected.

    No one needs an immediate connection to the choke or starter, that's silly. Hydraulic brakes with braided brake lines do feel like an immediate connection if set up properly.

    I would make some exceptions to high end sports cars, which all seem to be transitioning to automatics, mostly dual clutch set-ups. But you also get paddle shifters.
     
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Automatics shift gear ratios automatically (hence the name.) With CVT's there are no discrete gear ratios.
    That's how it should be. The accelerator should control torque, not "well, it controls torque as long as you're between 1500 and 6000 RPM; below that you won't get any power and higher than that you can damage the engine." Engine RPM's shouldn't matter.
    I agree! And no one needs manual transmissions, either.
    No worries there. You can add paddle shifters to any CVT or EV to give you the feeling that you are shifting.
     
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I do.
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, you LIKE manual transmissions, which is a bit different. If you had to get a friend to the hospital, I have a feeling you'd be willing to drive his automatic transmission car to get him there.
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Hey guys?

    Millenials. Hm?
     
  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know how to drive an automatic.
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    For ice and snow they are quite helpful - if you are stuck with an automatic you pretty much have to have four wheel drive for the bad stuff, and even with that you have power feed problems unless the whole thing is perfectly - perfectly - set up. (4WD gets lower gas mileage, even when you aren't using it).

    They are also a nice safety margin for those who live in the country - you can push start a dead battery, say. They lend themselves better to various off-market uses, like pulling stumps. Also, a manual, when it breaks down, usually allows home garage level repair, or at least maintains enough function to allow a driver to limp it a few miles to a shop.

    I have never met a millenial who had any idea what I'm talking about, there. But that doesn't seem to be restricted to millenials.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  18. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    Uhm... if you know how to use the brake pedal, steering wheel, and the accelerator, then you can drive an automatic

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  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I presume he doesn't drive and was being facetious.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    In the ice and snow (and clay mud, etc) situations common in my life, I would value at least one potential skill in driving an automatic: being able to modulate the feed so that the driven wheels are behaving exactly as if they were freewheeling, without imparting acceleration force either negative or positive to the surface, and then either add or subtract incrementally from there.

    This is fairly easy to do with a clutch, and some practice learning the feel is all it takes. It appears to be far more difficult - and mechanically far touchier, requiring beautifully smooth operation of the footfeed and engine response as well as all drivetrain components - in an automatic. At least, I can't do it very well, and I don't know anyone who can.

    So I would really appreciate a clutch in an automatic, especially in a working pickup truck - not to use all the time, just there for when I need it. Either that or an idle speed that can be lowered and feed pedal that can be adjusted for gain on the fly - so the range can be stretched to where I can modulate precisely at low speeds on a moment's notice - and an engine with concomitant smoothness of response. It seems like the new electrics might accommodate that - I'm hopeful. The shifting's not so important - I'll miss the option, especially a solid low gear for pulling, but it's not critical (and the geniuses have been phasing the grandma gear out of the manuals anyway - my current truck runs over five mph in first. That's to get 75 mph midrange in fifth, like a pickup ever needs. Bah, humbug).

    At any rate, it seems no millenial would bother with any of this, it being on a need to know basis somewhere south of Latin grammar - which means in my old age I'm not going to be able to hire a kid to help with anything around the place. Except finding the phone call app somewhere in my phone, probably under "classic mode tools".
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  21. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    I think I see where you are coming from - I myself learned to drive in an Automatic, then learned Manual (on a very touchy, short-throw shift Jeep no less... that was fun to get a handle on ugh!) and consider myself proficient with it now (at least enough that I can do both up and down shifts sans clutch if needed, and without gear grinding).

    In many modern automatics, traction control systems will attempt to reduce wheelspin as much as possible - however, that imparts its own issue. A tactic in driving in adverse weather I've found is, when ascending an incline, keep a slow, but steady, acceleration. Don't go crazy and spin the wheels, but you don't want to slow down or else you will lose momentum and, if conditions are bad, "stall" in your forward motion, ending up stuck (granted, my wife's 2001 Subaru Legacy does a bloody fantastic job of managing a standing stop on a 30 degree incline of solid ice... I've tested it myself. A moment of wheelslip, the computer pulls back the throttle and you can physically FEEL the power shifting around the wheels as it scrabbles for grip, and then it goes. It... honestly surprised the hell out of me!)

    My daily driver for years was a 1990 Nissan Pathfinder... WD21 with a limited slip rear differential. When you locked it into 4x4, it was (optimally) a 25% power distribution to each wheel. Obviously, without an actual locker, this could result in the infamous "corner wheel" spin... but she never gave me issues with that - a small application of brakes while accelerating to force power to all four wheels allowed me to get out of many sticky situations (especially when 4x4 Lo Range was used).

    None the less, with that Jeep and the handful of other manual vehicles I've driven, I know what you mean about control of the throttle, torque, et al. You do have more control over it - the ability to start in 2nd gear instead of first to prevent initial wheel slip, or the ability to downshift instead of using brakes (especially when ABS isn't installed) to prevent wheel lockup... things like that are extremely handy!
     
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I learned to drive in an automatic. My first car was a manual, as were the next three. (Datsun 610, Honda CRX, Mazda MR3.)

    In terms of handling in bad weather, I find that the transmission type is far less important than other design decisions in the car (i.e. front/back weight balance, tire type, RWD vs FWD.) For example, I'd much rather have a front-engine, front-wheel-drive automatic than a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive manual in icy conditions.
    Years ago we went skiing in Utah. On the way to the mountain it started to snow and people started pulling off as conditions got worse. When we got there, the only vehicles still on the road were the shuttle buses (with chains) and a line of Subaru Legacys with snow tires. Our rental was an automatic Legacy and did better than the 4WD trucks that were pulling off the road.
     
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I rented a Suburu Legacy last time I had to drive in Alaska, and it was an impressive machine on ice and snow.
    Of course tires and weight and so forth are more important than transmission type - but they are assumed, if one is comparing transmission types. "All else equal".

    btw: If your snow and ice experience with rear wheel drive does not include best-practice weighted and balanced vehicles - and that would be the common experience with every stock vehicle manufactured by anyone for the American road, especially the shithead pickup with the giant engine - you may want to modify that impression as well. Somewhat. Front wheel drive (and four wheel drive, with those pickups) tends to make the weight distribution worse - the rear wheels lose traction on ice, especially when slowing down, and you swap ends in a heartbeat. An automatic transmission exaggerates that, and can even boobytrap - the normal reflex of taking your foot off the gas can spin the vehicle, by engine braking. I've seen that happen (the fastest spin I ever saw was a four wheel drive Jeep Cherokee whose driver did that on glare ice and a hill). So adding winter weight to the back wheels is just as important, but not as often taken seriously, in front drive cars. (I suspect this is a major source of the supposed advantages of ABS brakes, a "safety" innovation that needs a much closer statistical look imho).

    The biggest - and essentially only, all else being properly attended to - advantage I've found for front wheel drive in snow and ice is for starting from a dead stop, especially with a turn - getting out of a plowed-in parking spot, say. And even there, a trap is set - the ease of starting from a stop seems to reassure people about their prospects of slowing to a stop, and it's sometimes too late when they discover otherwise.

    Again: the entire discussion probably might as well be about the best way of shoeing a horse, for the millenials.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017

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