So what would be better to tow with, a Manual or Auto

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418
Location
Ohio
I am going to be selling my 2003 Tacoma 4x4 (only gets 18-19mpg) and I am going get a 2005 Corolla S or LE. I was wondering what would be better to tow with a manual transmission or Automatic? The Corolla has a 1500lb tow capacity and I will be towing a trailer with one sportbike. I have only owned manual transmissions and I was considering an auto this time but I dont want to cause any undue wear on the little corolla. (i have always thought it to be cheaper to replace a clutch than a transmission) I will be towing the bike for about 2K miles a year tops. What is everyones thoughts on this?
 
Messages
2,329
Location
Lexington, KY
Unless working the clutch is a challenge for you, I think a manual is far better for towing. 1. Much less heat generated in the direct mechanical transmission compared to the auto that trasmits power through fluid in the torque converter until you reach lock-up. 2. If you have a good feel for the engine, you can keep the engine speed close to what you feel is best without having to do battle with the automatic.
 
Messages
570
Location
Maine
quote:
Originally posted by BearZDefect: Unless working the clutch is a challenge for you, I think a manual is far better for towing.
I think you'll find that most (if not all) manufacturors spec a higher tow rating for autos. I've known people who have towed with older toyota car manuals and it did nothing but really screw up the transmission.. i.e. popping out of gear, barely functioning syncros, etc. if it was me and it had to be a corrolla, I'd get the auto.
 
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4,872
Location
MN
An auto might be better, but why not go with the manual for a little better fuel economy and acceleration?
 
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2,329
Location
Lexington, KY
Bret may have a good case for this specific vehicle. Also consider the weight you will tow: Sport Bike: ~400 lbs Trailer: ? lbs Total weight about that of 4 passengers? If you are driving alone you are not putting an extra high load on your transmission or engine. I defer to those who have experience with this vehicle, but in this case it might not make much difference.
 
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2,837
Location
MO
Interestingly, if you peek at some manufacturer's towing specs, SOME vehicles are rated at higher towing weights with an auto tranny. Ain't that sumpthin'.
 
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13,132
Location
By Detroit
quote:
Originally posted by Bret Chase: I think you'll find that most (if not all) manufacturors spec a higher tow rating for autos. I've known people who have towed with older toyota car manuals and it did nothing but really screw up the transmission.. i.e. popping out of gear, barely functioning syncros, etc.
I don't know if this is correct (and this is general, not about Toyotas), but I heard that because most people don't know how to drive a stick (or at least don't have much experience with a stick) and when towing would quickly tear up a clutch. The auto manufacturers don't want to deal with this on warranty and so downgrade the towing rating on sticks.
 

2003TRD

Thread starter
Messages
418
Location
Ohio
Well I have no problem driving a manual and the tow ratings are the same for both auto/manual= 1500 Lbs. I am assuming that tow rating doesnt include passengers or gear in the car? I figured that didnt include that because my truck has a 1500lb payload capacity but a 5000lb tow capacity. So am assuming the 1500 isnt combined payload and tow, does anyone know for sure otherwise? I dont think it would be much of a problem anyway as the trailer I was looking at was pretty light 300lb and the bike is probably 450lbs full of fluids. So Including myself I am still under the 1500lbs (god I hope so) BUT I may get a double bike trailer then I would be towing my bike and another so it would be about 1300lbs in tow plus two passengers and 100lbs in gear. Do you guys think that would be too much for that little 1.8L engine? I just dont haul that much very often so I am not sure I can justify a 18mpg truck
 
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2,635
Location
Chicago
Automatic trans, the biggest cooler you can find, tow with overdrive off, change fluid at 1/2 the recommended time frame.
 

2003TRD

Thread starter
Messages
418
Location
Ohio
Thats a good point paul, I am sure some people would glaze the crap out of clutch trying to get it rolling. Maybe if I am going to be pulling the max it would be better to get the auto. I like the cost of a clutch vs transmission (<400.00 clutch VS 1500.00 transmission) plus the MPG is a hair better Does anyone know if they make a transmission cooler for the newer corolla? I hate to get rid of the truck because it is great in this northeast Ohio winter but dangit the milage sucks
 
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2,187
Location
Arizona
The tow rating is for the trailer, not the total combined carrying/hauling capacity of the vehicle. I like a stick for towing over longer distances, but if I'm towing a HEAVY trailer and/or will be starting the load a lot, I prefer an automatic by a long stretch. I don't think you'll have particular trouble either way with what you describe. Our Neon has the same tow rating as the Corolla you're talking about and quite honestly, I think the limit is 1,500 lbs. due to considerations of the unibody structure more than anything else.
 
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1,967
Location
Kitsap, WA
I think a lot of the man vs auto comments are based on rwd pickup trucks and full size vehicles. A FWD economy car is a whole different animal IMO. I'm suprised you were even able to find a tow spec for that car? did the manual or spec also mention recomended transmission or option? Bottom line I'd bet that your going to use the vehicle far more without the trailer, so I'd go with your personal preference and just take it ez when you tow. That triler rolling along behind you is probably no more load on the transmission than a car full of people with junk in the trunk (the car trunk too).
 
Messages
9,448
Location
USA
What is the mechanicaly best or what works best for most people??? Their is a reason why tractror trailers/semi's here in the USA are equiped with a manual transmission 99.9% of the time! Now with that said most people do better towing with an automatic and that is why so many 3/4 and 1 tons light duty pickups are sold with automatics. THe term "Heavy Duty" is mis-used by OEM light duty truck manufatures ie Generalmotors,Ford,Dodge etc.....
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
When I bought my 2003 Dodge pickup something like 60% of the diesels were sold with a manual, which is what I have even though I don't tow anything. I like the engine braking, putting along in a gear of my choosing, and most of all the robust simplicity. A coworker didn't believe so many were sold with a stick, but agreed after buying one with an auto. A friend that also bought one also bought it with an auto, and both have been pleased with it when towing. While making small talk while waiting for a meeting to start people again didn't believe that so many were sold with a stick, or why I'd want one, but a couple of coworkers with Ford trucks piped up and said that they'd buy a manual the next time. The auto will be eaiser to handle, but on average a manual will last longer and have fewer problems. Some friends with autos don't expect it to last as long, and plan on rebuilding it stronger when it does fail. Currently GM defuels their trucks in 1st and 5th gear in order to protect the Allison, and Ford may do the same per some descriptions that I've heard. One gentleman with an older Dodge that had a Cummins with a stick delivered a heavier than max load of hay to someone with a new Ford 6.0 diesel. The Ford owner couldn't even move the load, so the deliverer had to place the load for him. Automatics are about as complicated as engines, with a high part count, lots of wiring, sensors, actuators, etc., so you're about doubling the complexity in a modern vehicle. It won't be a big deal if you don't plan on keeping it long.
 
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3,094
Location
Metro Detroit
The biggest reason you always hear the recommendation to tow with an automatic is that you'll burn through clutches much faster when towing with a stick. That holds true for any "light duty" vehicle, be it a FWD sedan or a RWD pickup. Semis are a different animal, though. You don't ride the clutch when driving a semi. From a stop, you press the clutch, put it in gear (usually second, first for very heavy loads) then pull your foot completely off the clutch pedal. The gearing is so low and the engine has so much torque that the truck will just start rolling slowly. You then apply gas to accelerate. Obviously you'd stall a normal car or truck trying to do that.
 
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
quote:
Originally posted by 1sttruck: I like the engine braking, putting along in a gear of my choosing, and most of all the robust simplicity.
Ya right; you just like the great sound of the turbo spooling up and down as you go through the gears. [Big Grin] I'd follow wileyE's advice and just go with personal preference, which would be a stick for me.
 
Messages
570
Location
Maine
quote:
2003 Dodge pickup something like 60% of the diesels were sold with a manual
that's because Dodge autos blow... we've got a '96 cummins at work that's on the 3rd tranny WE put in it.
quote:
Currently GM defuels their trucks in 1st and 5th gear in order to protect the Allison,
you can't even *get* the 605tq Duramax w/ a stick ).. the stick truck gets gets the lower output 520tq. [Off Topic!] funny thing is though.. the highest rated gm truck is still a gasser.. a 2wd 2500hd shortbed w/ the 8100 and allision
 
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