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Joined: Jun 17 2018
Posts: 556

I find myself wondering how you all shift your autos,

The people in the know say you should come to a complete stop before going from D-R or vice versa.
Myself in the 4,000 miles i've had her i myself have never really come to a complete stop, usually 1mph in either direction,

It seems to "go in" smoother when it is moving slightly..

H

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Joined: Feb 11 2018
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Apparently wears the pawls leading to broken box.
I always come to complete stop.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Shift while still rolling. I was told by an ex-police motor pool mechanic that one of the things plod liked about the P38 was that you could slam it into reverse while still travelling forwards if you wanted to stop really quickly and the box would just do it with no ill effects. The gearbox on mine is original having had nothing more than a filter and fluid change every 3 or 4 years and is now at 390,000 miles so it can't be doing it that much harm.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Slightly related... what is the correct thing to do at traffic lights?
Stay on the foot brake? Handbrake? Neutral? Park?
I never did a lesson in an Auto and opinion seems divided online.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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I just leave in D with foot on the brake. I'll find out what the correct approved method is in the next few weeks. Dina's daughter is going to start driving lessons to get a licence and as all the cars we have here, and most modern cars are going that way too, are auto, it seems unlikely she'll ever need to drive a manual. To insure her on a Classic policy for the Ascot will cost £442 a year fully comp compared with double that on a Citroen C3 Auto. It also means the Ascot will get some use and we won't have yet another car cluttering up the place.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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I used to always keep on the footbrake, still do if only stopped for a short time especially if there's no-one behind to dazzle with brake lights. But if I'm stopped for a fair length of time now I might shift into neutral or park and put the handbrake on... So depends for me.

I've watched a few videos from this guy who used to be a police driving instructor but now works as an IAM tester and personal driving coach. Quite fancy booking a driving session with him. The link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujwVkxDeim0
Loads of links to his videos on Pistonheads, his website is www.reglocal.com

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Joined: Sep 14 2016
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I was taught to leave in D with foot on brake for short stop, select neutral for red lights and similar. But that was on an Austin A60 with BorgWarner three speed and steering column selector.

I still think its worth learning to drive a manual, if only just in case. If nothing else it forces a much better understanding of whats actually going on dynamically when driving.

Folk I've ridden with who have only driven automatics often lack feel for the natural flow of traffic.

Then there is herladyship, the girl who re-defined the concept of MadameLeadfoot.

Allegedly passed her test on a manual but recent experience riding with her in a Mini Cooper showed serious clutch pedal operation problems coupled to a near total inability to judge and anticipate traffic movements. Thirty miles on quiet roads and my nerves were shattered. Back in an auto JCW Mini now thank god. In retrospect the experience explains a lot about her L322 = Hayabusa (or maybe cruise missile) driving style. No wonder the thing broke up on her. As the original laid-back-Larry who goes with the flow it irritates her no end that my normal road time over distance is as quick, or quicker, than hers. Motorways being different as she still figures blondes get to talk their way out of speeding tickets! 120 mph on a GSXR 1100 was pushing the envelope tho'.

Clive

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Joined: Apr 23 2019
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I always take it out of Drive at lights (I had to think carefully about that, because it's sub-conscious now). Maybe it just reminds me of a manual, being able to move the stick. When I started driving the Defender auto 15 yrs ago it was way back before I understood the anatomy of the gearbox [ EDIT, though I'm not saying i understand it much better now :o) ] and I didn't want to create any unnecessary stresses on a car I will take to the grave, and now it's just become the way I drive.

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Joined: Jan 03 2020
Posts: 26

Morning all,
In a very similar vein, though I've driven autos a few times, I'm not that experienced with them.

In the P38 though, I've found that if I'm coasting to a stop at some traffic lights or a queue at a junction, I feel as if I'm applying the brakes harder than I should - as if the brakes are fighting against the engine gearbox which is still trying to drive the car forward. So, I've taken to just slipping the car into neutral and coasting to a stop with more gentle braking. The car stops more easily.

This is what I'd do in a manual, but is it OK in an auto? I don't know anything at all about the 'anatomy' of an auto box, so good to know if this is fine. Certainly feels more mechanically sympathetic.

Ta

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Joined: Aug 19 2019
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In my 4 1/2 decades of driving, I've probably driven manual and auto boxes about evenly. I'm not sure what the official "right" way is, but as I slow down for a light, or other reasons, I usually shift down to 3rd, then 2nd to aid in braking. I think some people feel using an auto for braking is hard on the box, but I've gotten pretty long life out of all of mine. I've never been in the habit of going into neutral, partly because I'm concerned that I'll go right through N into R, but Richard indicates that I won't harm the trans by doing that. That's good to know.

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Joined: Aug 19 2019
Posts: 166

I'm also interested in hearing some of your opinions on manually shifting down for hills. I'm in the habit of shifting into 3rd, or even 2nd climbing steeper hills. My feeling is that it's better for the transmission to stay in 3rd than for it to keep shifting back and forth between 3rd and 4th, or even back and forth from lock-up to unlock. It also keeps the water pump turning faster, aiding in cooling. Where I live, there are significant hills to climb and descend no matter which direction I go.

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Joined: Feb 11 2018
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I always change into 2nd or third going down hills.
Going up it varies.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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I also change into lower gears when going down steep hills to save the brakes.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Same here, particularly when I've got a 3 tonne trailer on the back, drop it down to 3 or even 2 when going down hills (and watch the temperature gauge plummet down to the blue bit) and drop it down to 3 going up hill if the revs drop below 2,000 rpm when it is in D.

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Joined: Jun 17 2018
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If i hoofed mine i'd have to be mindful to give it the pedal before dropping to 2-3 otherwise it felt like it was locking the wheels up, obvs that it the engine braking doing feature of the box doing it's thing i imagine..

Mind you, it would fly like nothing else ;)

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Joined: Aug 19 2019
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Thanks for the replies. It sounds like I'm in good company.

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Joined: Jan 05 2016
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I find myself dropping to 3-2 going downhill etc too, to prevent it running away with itself. Foot on brake in D while waiting unless its going to be a long time, then into park. Not fussed with the handbrake unless its a steep incline - where I'm more likely to keep my foot on the brake myself than rely on the P38's hand brake setup.

One of the few things I like about my E60 BMW - the autobox will shift down itself when going down hills much more willingly to maintain speed. That, and the cruise control despite not being adaptive does apply the brakes to maintain speed as well as shift the box. Something the P38 is comparatively hopeless in doing when going downhill relying on CC..

But unlike my E60 at the moment with a dead starter, my P38 is being my daily this week... it has however developed a new noise that might result in a thread in a oily bits later :/

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Joined: Feb 25 2020
Posts: 142

Copy all of you guys, N for longer stops, use the manual downshifting. I also keep it off the overdrive in slow traffic if I do not want to go into 4th.

Since we are in the subject, I wonder if when warming up the vehicle in very cold weather, if is worth more to keep the selector in N rather than P, to get the pump/converter fluid moving.
And I am sure is a topic beaten to death, but use the handbrake when in slopes, and do not rely on the g-bx in P.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
Posts: 1922

Honestly, I hadn't even considered the internal lubrication of the gearbox. I thought the ATF would circulate whenever the engine is running - is this not so?

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Joined: Aug 19 2019
Posts: 166

I don't know a lot about auto box internals, but I've been told that Park and Neutral are the same except for the pin that goes into place in Park.