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Old 12-09-2005, 09:59 PM
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Shifting Habits When Plowing

Hope everyone made out well with this most recent storm in the northeast.

I have a few questions for everyone that drives a truck with an auto tranny.
1) When do you shift from foward to reverse or vice versa? Are you always at a complete stop or do you have a tendency to slip it in while moving in the opposite direction.?

2) Reverse to Foward: How much do you guys "ride neutral". I have developed a habit of this, i get going at a good clip in reverse then shift to neutral and the second I come to a stop or a split second before, drive is only one slot away, knock it in, as I drop the plow for the next pass.

3) Foward to Reverse: Neutral is not very useful as you usually need the power until the last second for stacking. When do you tend to shift to reverse? Do you get to the end of a pass, slow down and throw it in at 2 MPH, the second you finish stacking or do you wait until all foward motion has stopped?

Iam just curious, I watch others plow frequently and see varying habits but it seems to me that most are pretty reckless shifting the tranny. Common to see people hitting reverse while going foward and they shift from reverse to foward going even faster in the opposite direction.

Since iam not a transmission/drivetrain expert, I have a question for you guys; how bad is this really for the transmission. It seems to be conventional wisdom that you can get away with a little momentum. It also seems to be that people think its not as harmful to go from Reverse to Drive while moving in the opposite direction. Is this true, it seems that it takes a little while to actually engage in both directions but more so from reverse to drive. Are heavier duty trannys (like 3/4 ton and up) made to have some play in them?

Also (auto) Floor Shifters vs. Steering colum shifters: It seems that the column shifters give you a few seconds between movement and engagement of geers, the floor shifter is instant. What is the reason for this? Iam assuming that with the column shifters its because it electronically actuated and the floor shifter is a direct, "mechanical link". So is it less stress on a truck with a column shifter then it is on say my cherokee with a floor shifter if you decide to slam the gears around. I would think its less stress with a column shifter if done right, but iam not that bright when it comes to these things so I want your opinions.

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Old 12-09-2005, 10:26 PM
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I've ALWAYS come to full stop before engaging back to reverse or drive...I heard the "if you aint breaking something you aint pushin hard enough" on here a while back. Well, if you wanna break the tranny do the forward/reverse while truck is still in motion and you'll get it done. Most of the idiots you see doing this either have too much money beating their own rigs that they'll trade off next spring, or they're typical "helpers" driving somebody elses rig and dont give a fock about what happens.

I've never heard of trannies designed to have "slop" in them, usually if there's slop, something is going bad.

As far as column vs floor, that will depend on mfr and how their transmission is supposed to work. I assume the transmissions will shift into gear at the same speed on the same model trans regardless of where shifter is located-engaugement is engaugement no matter where it's coming from.

Save yourself the possbility of a broken down truck, the cost to repair it, the headache of finding a sub to finish your work and waste that extra 2 seconds per push by coming to a full stop......you might add 1 minute or 5 minutes more to the job. Now add up typical tranny rebuild and downtimn, sure alot more than 1-5 minutes more per lot and COSTS YOU money instead of making you money
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:29 PM
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I never use neutral.I always want it in a gear,for engine braking,or control.

With a stock trans,and a loose convertor,I'll put it in reverse 10 feet out as I'm coming into the pile.It will not start to reverse until you give it gas,then back it goes.This is due to the torque convertor not transmitting power until you give it more throttle.Not all trucks are like this,but most are.

There is no difference between column shift or floor shift.They are both mechanically connected by linkage or cable directly to the trans.

It's not how or when you slam it into gear,it's when you apply the throttle.Most trannies have a small delay as the passages and accumulators fill,which causes the trans to slowly slide into gear.If you mash the throttle when this is happening,the clutches are not fully applied,and they slip.This will tear a trans up real quick.That is another reason why I always shift into gear early,so I know it's in before I mash it.

With my new trans,it is heavily modified,and goes into gear quick and hard.The convertor is also very very tight,so it's like dumping a clutch hard when you put it in gear.I now have to make sure I'm at a dead stop when shifting.

The best thing you can do for the tranny,is drive it HARD.The harder you drive it,the higher the line pressures in the trans,and the better it holds.If you baby it when pushing snow,it will slowly slip,and cook the trans.I hear it all the time,guys unable to figure out why they go through trannies all the time.I baby it,I don't drive it hard.They answered their own question.

A shift kit also helps,but this can make it go into gear hard and quick,so it can be tougher to plow with.Knowing how to set up the accumulator volume\spring rate so it goes in quickly,but softly is the key.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyldman
The best thing you can do for the tranny,is drive it HARD.The harder you drive it,the higher the line pressures in the trans,and the better it holds.If you baby it when pushing snow,it will slowly slip,and cook the trans.I hear it all the time,guys unable to figure out why they go through trannies all the time.I baby it,I don't drive it hard.They answered their own question.
You must own a tranmission repair shop??

Knock on wood I've "babied" my truck for over 100K most of which are loaded with job material in the bed, loaded to a trailer pulling my car everyweeknd to a track somewhere, and plowing for the past 6 years. Every spring I dump the fluid and every spring it comes out as red and clean smelling as the day I put it in..and it's a F-150 with the AODE no less LOL!!

I've seen the guys that drive hard and I've bailed out the guys that drive'em hard. If your trans is in proper working order you'll have full line pressure by 2000 rpm with a typical stocker. I have much respect with all your knowledge here, but I think the way you worded it alot of guys that dont know any better will take it wrong and pretty soon the board will be filled with, "My tranny broke" threads
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:47 PM
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Thanks guys!

Chris, Good explaination, I was hoping you would reply.
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:01 PM
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You don't have to beat it,just drive it hard.Keep the RPM's up and your foot a little further to the floor.Line pressures are modified based on throttle input.The more you give it the more the line pressure rises.

It's just that I see so many guys pushing a ton of snow,in a heavily loaded truck,but just babying it (the throttle) trying to be easy on the truck.This is killer on the trans,and it it will eventually start to slip.It's even worse with the diesels,as they make so much torque,you don't need to give it much throttle for it to go.This causes lower line pressure and the gobs of bottom end torque tears up the trans quickly.



Quote:
Originally Posted by IHI
You must own a tranmission repair shop??

Knock on wood I've "babied" my truck for over 100K most of which are loaded with job material in the bed, loaded to a trailer pulling my car everyweeknd to a track somewhere, and plowing for the past 6 years. Every spring I dump the fluid and every spring it comes out as red and clean smelling as the day I put it in..and it's a F-150 with the AODE no less LOL!!

I've seen the guys that drive hard and I've bailed out the guys that drive'em hard. If your trans is in proper working order you'll have full line pressure by 2000 rpm with a typical stocker. I have much respect with all your knowledge here, but I think the way you worded it alot of guys that dont know any better will take it wrong and pretty soon the board will be filled with, "My tranny broke" threads
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:15 AM
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Ok chris, help me with this one,

driving and 02 f350 diesel w/ auto. Started driving the truck in june. Noticed right away that it shifts quickly into 2nd and it feels like it slams into 2nd (it literally feels like some slammed into the back of me at times). Tranny went out 2 days ago, noticed that the bang into 2nd sounded different at one time during the night and about 5 hours later it started slipping and then with a resounding bang while going into 2nd (of course) it let go. Tranny guy says that by it shifting "hard" into gear it helps keep the tranny together (yeah, thats why its back at your shop) and that its better for pulling loads. I'm not buying it yet, drive and od are a little stiff going in which is fine but not a bang into gear.
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:08 AM
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I agree with Chris. When we shifted our business from mostly residential drives and diversified into parking lots, I started having a higher failure rate in our trannies. I finally figured out that "tractoring" across a large parking lot with a heavy snow in front of the blade was a bad thing.

You want to use speed and the weight of the truck to move the snow as much as you can. Putzing along can cause excessive heat in the trans due to a lack of line pressure, as Chris indicates. You can plow slower, and keep the line pressure up if you run 4 LO in the transfer case. With our Dodge diesels, I find that to be a little too slow.

I do, however, put the auto trans in the L (1) position when plowing. I've been told that this engages some clutches in the auto trans that would not engage in the D or 2 position. Is this correct, Chris?

Just my .02

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Old 12-10-2005, 08:30 AM
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Using the low position just bypasses the sprag clutch to give you engine braking.

A trans that shifts harder will usually last longer,as there is less slippage between shifts,and it's the slippage that causes heat and wear.Doesn't mean it has to slam into gear though.The accumulators are used to delay and soften the shifts,and can be tuned to make it shift faster,but not too hard.
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Old 12-10-2005, 10:49 AM
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Well considering mine is a you need to come to a almost complete stop.But when we plow the big parking lot(3 football fields)and it is empty,when we get to the end of the push the plow gets angled to the right and it get thrown into the woods and then downshift from 5-3 and bring the back end around and take off for another pass.:Later when we are done we stack it.
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Old 12-10-2005, 05:05 PM
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My first plow truck was a stick. Plowing with a stick forced me to wait till the truck was stopped, or rolling in the opposite direction to shift. A manual trans will not change direction w/o the truck changing direction.

This habbit carried over to when I had an auto.

I'm back in a stick now, and it was just as easy for me to plow with as my auto was, so I think I must still be doing something right.

If you want to have a good habbit of waiting till your stopped, plow with a stick!
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Old 12-10-2005, 05:19 PM
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How about on the GM trucks.

My truck has a Tow/Haul mode a frined said put it in the tow haul mode it's better for the truck helps the fluid's flow better and cool things down.

Tow/Haul is a overdrive mode or something?

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Old 12-10-2005, 05:40 PM
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Not to hijack this thread but since were on the subject of trannys.


A buddy of mine was telling me something about how much wear you will save an auto tranny by putting it in neutral at long stop lights,train crossings ect.

Any truth to this ?
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_DJinn
Not to hijack this thread but since were on the subject of trannys.


A buddy of mine was telling me something about how much wear you will save an auto tranny by putting it in neutral at long stop lights,train crossings ect.

Any truth to this ?
I was kind of wondering that myself, the only benefit I see is that that fluid would be circulating and help cool off the tranny, even still, some vehicles circulate reguardless of weather its in neutral or not. I dont know what other benefits it would have, i only do it when I want to stretch my right foot and iam on a flat surface, i suppose that the parking brake would do the same though.
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Old 12-10-2005, 11:59 PM
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Tow/Haul is a overdrive mode or something?

Dave.[/QUOTE]





Correct me if i'm wrong but i'm pretty sure towing and hauling should have nothing to do with overdrive. i always thought overdrive is like an extra gear. at highway speeds it keeps you running lower rpm and saves gas, but i'm positive your not supposed to tow / haul in OD. IMO.
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:16 AM
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I can't speak for GM and Dodge because I haven't done the research, but I know on Fords, the Tow/Haul is exactly that. You turn it on when the truck is under a heavy load.

Basically, it allows the engine to reach higher RPMs before shifting, creating more power and such. Also, on the Power Strokes, it activates the engine brake.
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:31 AM
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The tow haul mode is like a factory installed shift kit, designed to hold the gear longer and firmer shift to help reduce the slipping between gears. Our chevy's at work are always in tow haul mode while plowing. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 12-11-2005, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_DJinn
Not to hijack this thread but since were on the subject of trannys.


A buddy of mine was telling me something about how much wear you will save an auto tranny by putting it in neutral at long stop lights,train crossings ect.

Any truth to this ?
If you were to wait in traffic for a long period of time, like say 10 -15 minutes, this would help because the torque converter is not slipping and building up heat for that entire time.

But for regular stop lights, you are actually hurting yourself. The adding shifting from N to D will add marginal wear to the clutch packs. It compounds itself when you forget, drop it in gear and mash the petal. Then you have a situtation that Chris was explaining above.

I used to do this before I installed a tranny temp guage. Once I had the guage, it was obvious that leaving it in gear was the way to go, because the tranny really sees very little heat build up when waiting in traffic. In my experience, shifting an auto as little as possible is best.
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Old 12-12-2005, 06:10 AM
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On a GM product the tow haul mode is designed to make the transmission shift in the higest torque range of the motor. It also increases line pressure to help the clutched apply. Running in tow/haul is a good thing for the trans. Same thing goes for the Ford.
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Old 12-13-2005, 08:24 PM
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is overdrive the same as tow/haul

I'm curious, their are multiple things were talking about here. Their is a Drive with a circle around it. their is an overdrive button to turn o/d off. and now theirs a tow/haul button. are these the same. has anyone else heard you are not to tow in o/d. maybe i just got bad info!!!
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Old 12-13-2005, 09:19 PM
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The babying the trans is really only an issue with the old style transmissions that use a cable for the line rise.Chryslers in particular by design have very long shift overlaps at light throttle,this is what kills them,you cannot slip a chrysler auto light throttling it pushing snow,its just not going to happen.You will overheat it eventually if you "tractor" snow at slow speeds at or under the stall speed of the TC.You can slip it if you've modified the engine,and allow the stock convertor to lock up and roll into the throttle gently,but this can only be done at higher speeds than most of us plow at(except Chris).
Apkole, using manual low takes the pressure off the one way sprag,since manual low applys the rear band,and rear clutch,the band holds the lo reverse drum.If you put it in D,the drum tries to spin backwards,but the sprag catches it the instant it trys to.To be honest with you,that rear sprag is very strong,ive never seen one fail in a 47 or 48,weve put over 400hp (40psi launches)thru them sitting still,stalling the TC with shifter in D and they never let go.We've had to build Billet shafts for the trannies,but were using the stock sprags still in the 700+Hp units.I use D to plow in my truck,i have that much faith in the rear sprag.
A shift kit can be tuned to provide positive engagement without an abrupt jolt.This process on Dodge trucks is very different from truck to truck,and unless you know the truck and the mods,its best left to someone who is good at them. Ill give you an example, a long bed excab 4x4 will shift much softer than a reg cab or a excab SWB truck all other things being equal.So you'd need to open the fill port more on a long bed.If you did the same mod to a reg cab ,the truck may jolt or drop in too hard.
Snowboy,be careful with the 4L80E in reverse, it is very weak.You want to come to a full stop with that trans,and if the pushing gets hard ,drop to low range until the load lightens a bit.You dont need to worry about babying that trans,its calibration and electronic controls are very good.
2_DJinn ,if you are sitting still for long periods of time with a fully warmed up or hot trand,than yes ,you should pop it in N too cool.Otherwise keep it in gear for short stops,and redlights unless theres a ton of them.Sitting still whips the trans fluid pretty good, the stator is sitting still(0) RPM when your stopped,and the TC is running at idle speed,so theres alot of heat generated by the TC,and it goes into the hot cooler line,and onto the radiator to get cooled off.If your plowing or have the trans real hot,sitting in gear for a long time could overheat it and cook it.Different TCs build heat at different rates,the TCs behind most small blocks buld heat slow,some TCs behind a modded diesel will build heat 2-3X as fast sitting still.Sitting still at idle,tighter TCs build heat quickly,loose ones slowly.
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