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Old 02-28-2016, 03:12 PM   #1
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Manual transmission truck for 30' Airstream

Guys,

Curious about your thoughts and especially if you have any experience pulling an Airstream with a manual transmission truck. There is a good priced 4WD Dodge Ram 2500HD in town. We just bought our Airstream so we need a truck to go with it. I am very comfortable with manual transmission.

But naturally, my concern is whether the manual transmission would be too much of a pain in the ass, especially when backing the trailer up.

Does anyone out there have experience with manual transmission trucks? If so, is this not a big deal, or would you never consider a manual transmission to pull a trailer?

Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:19 PM   #2
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I used to tow with a manual but no longer. To me unless driving one of my Miata's or Mustangs or Harleys a manual is simple a pain in the next in campgrounds, fuels stops etc. I guess I towed a trailer about 50,000 miles before I switched. Can be done, but just not as much fun (for me).
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:23 PM   #3
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Driving for 55 years, we got our first automatic transmission recently because could not get a manual in a half-ton for our Airstream. Much prefer manual.

A bigger pain in the rear, especially parking the Airstream, might be if the truck is exceptionally long wheelbase. Knowing that might help with the opinions, as well as the size of the Airstream.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Driving for 55 years, we got our first automatic transmission recently because could not get a manual in a half-ton for our Airstream. Much prefer manual.

A bigger pain in the rear, especially parking the Airstream, might be if the truck is exceptionally long wheelbase. Knowing that might help with the opinions, as well as the size of the Airstream.
Thanks for your thoughts - we bought a 2005 30' Airstream Classic.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:43 PM   #5
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Steve,

I tow with a 2005 Dodge Ram 5.9L 6 speed NV5600. Bought new now has 180K. I'm not a cross country towing guy, still working.

If you're used to a manual I think you'll enjoy it but there are a few things that can mess it up. But low mileage is really in your favor.

Full model details, especially what year the truck is. Then I'll know what the clutch OEM design is.

One of the big things you might have in your favor is 4WD. Not for pulling or getting into mucky areas, in 4LOW if conditions permit that truck will just creep so slow backing up should be a snap.

One thing that some owners do is get talked into getting an aggressive HD clutch. In some situations that can decrease the driving comfort.

Many will extol the virtues of an automatic, their choice not mine.

Gary
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:54 PM   #6
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Manual transmission guy forever - changed to automatics because you can never tell when an injury will make your clutch leg unavailable and those legs are not so stable anymore. The new multi-speed autos are really nice. An eight speed transmission kind of sealed the deal for me.

You said "we"! Would that be a wife in the picture? Is she "very comfortable" with a manual?

Got no operational issues with a manual other than traffic and good planning should keep you on the move. If you are hard on clutches or if the truck will soon need one, that might be a consideration. Resale would also be a consideration as that is likely why it is a good deal now. But if you are a use until it's gone person that's covered.

Interested to see if someone has a technical reason for not purchasing a Ram 2500 with a manual transmission. Pat
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:00 PM   #7
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Torque multiplication is the only technical reason to choose an automatic over a stick.
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:08 PM   #8
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Full model details, especially what year the truck is. Then I'll know what the clutch OEM design is.
Thanks Gary. It's a 2008 Dodge RAM 2500. Here is the link to the ad online:

http://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used-...ting=131603832
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:11 PM   #9
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You said "we"! Would that be a wife in the picture? Is she "very comfortable" with a manual?
Yup, the wife, but no, she hasn't driven a manual before so I'd be teaching her how to drive a stick.

And yeah, I'm doing into this assuming that I'll use it until it drops - or we do.
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:23 PM   #10
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Even though manual transmissions have synchronizers these days, learning the nearly lost art of double clutching will reduce clutch and gear wear when downshifting.


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Old 02-28-2016, 05:13 PM   #11
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Manual is my preference, and although I've driven some very nice automatics, I've driven nothing but manuals in trucks and cars for over forty years. I especially like them (both cars and trucks) for mountain driving. And I've had no problems towing my 25-footer. But I really like the very low four-wheel capabilities with a manual. My mechanic likes the manuals--cheaper and easier maintenance. I also like it for mountain driving. But they are getting harder to find . . .
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:30 PM   #12
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Steve,

This truck has the 6 speed trans known as G56. It uses a dual mass flywheel, torsion dampened clutch disc, self adjusting clutch cover and a hydraulic system that included features designed to make it even more friendly to drive.

In its original configuration it has the lowest clutch pedal effort, quietest transmission and a hydraulic system designed to even take out any minor pulsations that can be telegraphed from the powertrain.

The previous 6 speed NV5600 had a much less complicated clutch system, solid FW, and a traditional diaphragm clutch cover.

To inspect this clutch/transmission if you select 1st or 2nd (empty) as you bring the pedal up should move 1 1/2" or more before engagement. Normal and expected. Truck should move smoothly during the clutch engagement forward and reverse.

Now here's the acid test. Get it on the highway, 60-65 'ish MPH in 6th give it about 1/4 throttle for a second and then floor it. Engine RPM cannot spike it has to hold and pull. RPM spike is clutch slippage.

But buying any used vehicle, hard to pin down how it was used. If it has any clutch issues and you really like the truck, that's a bargaining chip in my book to play and then fix the clutch if req'd.

Does it have an exhaust brake?

Manuals are pretty rare and I think one reason in addition to very low % in the field is that the handshaker version is a keeper.

My rig climbs a 7% 7 mile long grade when we visit Virginia Highland Haven on I-77 and IIRC the engine picked up about 10 degrees on my Banks monitor. Cummins is kinda saying is that all you need? I got more.
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:45 PM   #13
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12 tires on the ground.

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Love every inch of it.
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Old 02-28-2016, 06:01 PM   #14
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2007 Dodge DRW, 6.7 TD, 6 speed manual pulling a 34' stream.
Thanks sandlapper. I've heard that RAMs from either the '06 or '07 years had issues with engine knocking - just curious if you've heard of this problem or if you've had any issues with your '07 in that regard.
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