overall, which is more reliable - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 08-03-2005
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overall, which is more reliable

i've heard many conflicting opinions on which tranny is better for street/ off-road/ etc... and it seems to just come down to preference

since i'm fine driving with either stick or auto...I will base my decision on reliability.

usually autos fail more often, but i've heard of pressure plate, slave cylinder, and other issues with the manual

i'd like to hear opinions on which will be most RELIABLE with 90% street driving and most of the 10% of off road being in the dunes/desert...no rock crawling or muddin'.

thanks for input.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2005
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i forgot to mention that this would be on a 2wd truck w/ a 4.0L
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2005
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In my experience, manuals are cheaper and easier to maintain.
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  #4  
Old 08-03-2005
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Auto's are built stronger and will last longer with maintainance (regular fluid/filter changes) An Auto will go well over 100,000 miles with no problems if you treat it good.
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rngprerunner
Auto's are built stronger and will last longer with maintainance (regular fluid/filter changes) An Auto will go well over 100,000 miles with no problems if you treat it good.
couldnt have said it better myself.
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2005
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Automatic transmissions are the king...sticks are just more fun, at times.
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2005
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With manuals, you have to anticipate clutch changes down the road.
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  #8  
Old 08-04-2005
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go manual! Less maintance, more FUN. I wont settle for an automatic until im a senior citizen
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  #9  
Old 08-04-2005
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WoW... You auto guys sure are biased. How the hell you figure autos are "built stronger", I dunno...
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  #10  
Old 08-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LiterBeater
WoW... You auto guys sure are biased. How the hell you figure autos are "built stronger", I dunno...
Well, I drive three 5-speeds, yet I say "auto". I'm the opposite of biased. Look it up online, and get an educated, technical explanation if this isn't good enough. I don't think any of us are master mechanics, and can tell you the operation of every bearing in the torque converter, or this or that.
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  #11  
Old 08-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LiterBeater
WoW... You auto guys sure are biased. How the hell you figure autos are "built stronger", I dunno...
If I am not mistaken, the towing capacity of a manual ranger is significantly less than an automatic Ranger. I get reminded everytime I smell my clutch burning when I tow my race truck to the track.
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  #12  
Old 08-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graniteguy
If I am not mistaken, the towing capacity of a manual ranger is significantly less than an automatic Ranger. I get reminded everytime I smell my clutch burning when I tow my race truck to the track.
Your correct. Torque converters multiply torque, they pull heavy loads better. Manuals will not tow heavy loads well without super low gears...

Last edited by 3LiterBeater; 08-04-2005 at 05:48 AM.
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  #13  
Old 08-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rngprerunner
Auto's are built stronger and will last longer with maintainance (regular fluid/filter changes) An Auto will go well over 100,000 miles with no problems if you treat it good.
How is an auto "built stronger"... seems like a pretty bold statement to me. How do they last longer? Shouldn't a manual go well over 100,000 miles with no problems if you treat it good? You may have had a valid argument if we were comparing my 5 speed against a TH400 or something, but your auto is still a small, light duty tranny just like mine...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Swoop1156
Well, I drive three 5-speeds, yet I say "auto". I'm the opposite of biased. Look it up online, and get an educated, technical explanation if this isn't good enough. I don't think any of us are master mechanics, and can tell you the operation of every bearing in the torque converter, or this or that.
I don't need to look anything up on line, I'm educated enough on this subject to know whats not factual. Every bearing in the torque convert operates one simple task... They spin. I don't need a master mechanico to tell me that, maybe you do... I think this guy wanted factual information, statistics, or proof NOT someones opinion because thats what they have in their truck and it lasted 100,000 miles... This isn't a black and white discussion. Its preference. The only thing we could really, honestly provide him with is if he wants to drive lazy, get an auto. If he wants to tow, he should probably get an auto if the loads heavy. If he wants to put big whp #s down, he should get a stick. If he wants to lay down times at the track, he should get a stick. I think his question is too broad to be answered, but I don't think anyone should post all this stuff and back it up so willingly as factual evidence when its still just their opinion/preference...

Last edited by 3LiterBeater; 08-04-2005 at 05:50 AM.
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  #14  
Old 08-04-2005
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i guess i was just hoping to hear how many miles you guys are getting out of your autos and/or sticks before having problems?

i didn't want to start an argument...just looking for facts
thanks...
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  #15  
Old 08-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LiterBeater
How is an auto "built stronger"... seems like a pretty bold statement to me. How do they last longer? Shouldn't a manual go well over 100,000 miles with no problems if you treat it good? You may have had a valid argument if we were comparing my 5 speed against a TH400 or something, but your auto is still a small, light duty tranny just like mine...
Your right, to a point. Manuals will last just fine, but you have to know that you will be replacing the clutch, throw out bearing, presure plate, and on these Rangers most likely the slave cylander several times during the life of the truck. While with the auto you will be doing a fluid/filter change every 50,000 miles. So by todays 'standards' autos are better.

Simple fact is Autos ARE built stronger. They have to be. Autos run such high presures with so much stress on the internals that they are tough. The 5R55E might be a light duty trans, but so is the manual in our light duty trucks.
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  #16  
Old 08-04-2005
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Sometimes the burden of proof is on the naysayer, not the ones offering their opinions based on experiences.

I too believe Auto's are stronger. Mostly because it's soo easy for someone to drive a manual improperly, but both types can be abused.

For 90% street and 10% off-roading, automatic is still the preferred method. I know, in the first 100 miles of my first Ranger (3.0l manual) I got trapped on the highway that drives by the Dallas Cowboy stadium on Sunday. Yes, it was a highway turned parking lot, and I think I fully broke in that clutch right then and there.

Manuals are fun to drive. Nothing more satisfing than droping a gear or two and letting those RPM's soar exactly the way you want them to.

But if you're on the trail or just scooting around town, in traffic, or up hill or downhill, automatics win hands down in reliability and smoothness. Manuals are just more fun. Racing is the only place a manual is better suited.
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  #17  
Old 08-04-2005
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My auto had to be rebuilt at 44k

Based on that, I'm not sure if i want another auto...but the lazy factor, plus they do well offroad..but so will a manual...and a manual you can rock back and forth to get unstuck easier than an auto

Sidenote: why are manuals better for racing? Because you control the shift points? Couldnt an auto be adjusted to shift different shift points dont know for sure...asking. but an auto can shift faster than any human on a manual...so why are manuals better for racing? that's probably an arguement similar to big displacement v8s vs turbo charged 4cyl. and maybe we should let it be so it doesnt go completely off topic.

as i said, my auto got fried at 44k and it cost close to 2k to repair...didnt have the ext warranty unfortunately...heat will kill an auto. something else to think about.
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  #18  
Old 08-04-2005
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I won't buy an auto. I LIKE having teh option to downshift in the snow. I like having the option to tac up and launch, I like havingthe option to change gears when I want to :) .

Case strengths vary. Theres NO automatic case built like a Liberty-Manual Case. Billy Gliddon ran one in the Pro 5.0 class and EVERYONE complained.

D.
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  #19  
Old 08-04-2005
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Well, I've been driving since 1959, and based on the considerable experiences that I and my family, friends, and neighbors have had in all that time, in my opinion autos have more that can go wrong with them, more does in fact go wrong with them, and they are more expensive to fix. As to clutches, anyone who has to replace the clutch several times during the course of owning a vehicle either is abusing the clutch and vehicle or does not know how to use a clutch. I've had several cars and trucks that I drove 60,000-100,000 miles or more without ever having to put a clutch in. That includes, in the past 20 years, a new 81 Toyota pickup with over 130,000 miles on it when I sold it, a new 90 Dodge pickup with over 120,000 miles on it when I gave it to one of my sons, and a 79 Dodge pickup that I bought used and drove more than 100,000 miles before I gave it to another son. In fact, I can't remember ever having to replace a clutch on any manual trans vehicle I've owned.
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  #20  
Old 08-04-2005
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If it matters any, i have an auto and nearly traded for a manual even after the rebuild. but didnt want to go through the hassle of switching vehicles and figured if it's been rebuilt it's fixed and better off. yeah, well not so sure about that :)

but if you want to make your decision on repair issues, a manual has less parts and less ways to fail and costs a lot loss to repair or replace.
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  #21  
Old 08-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rngprerunner
While with the auto you will be doing a fluid/filter change every 50,000 miles.
50k? I don't have my manual handy (rode the bike today) but I was certian it was more frequent than that. ... RPS shows that Ford recommends fluid and filter changes every 24k miles/24 mo for both the 4-banger and 3.0L (they don't have a maintenance schedule online for the 4.0, but I've gotta believe it's the same).

It's true, in the Ranger's case, throwout bearing/slave cylinder combo seem to be a weak point. I've heard the Mazda trans itself is fairly weak, although I've never had any problems w/ it myself. My first Ranger, a 2.5L powered 4x2 manual ran strong for 50k miles before I traded it w/o so much as a hickup from the entire drivetrain. Meanwhile I ended up getting a new slave cylinder/throwout bearing under warranty at only $12k miles on my new truck. While they had it apart, I got a new clutch too. Does that indicate that the manual is a POS? Maybe.. I can't say for sure. My issue struck me more as a manufacuring defect as they had a TSB and a 'new' part to fix the issue. And it largely has. I've got ~26k on the clock now and haven't had any substantial problems since.

We've got folks in our ranks that have milked well over 100k out of a clutch, replaced it, and moved on for many more miles w/ a stick. Conversely we also have folks in our ranks who have been trhough warranty hell dealing w/ mysterious mechanical and sometimes electrical problems w/ thier autos. The door does really seem to swing both ways on this one.

And we've discussed the the discrepency in towing capacity here before. Some say that the test used to set the capacity favors the auto. If you are careful, it is commonly thought that you can safely exceed the rated capacity for limited use. .. That said, the Ranger is not an ideal towing platform. If you need to tow a lot often, the Ranger probably isn't the truck for you, regardless of transmission!

Ford seemed to think the manual trans is fine though, as they've been equipping Rangers w/ this transmission since 1988!!! It can't be all that bad..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnemonic
I too believe Auto's are stronger. Mostly because it's soo easy for someone to drive a manual improperly, but both types can be abused.
Ha, well, now there's some logic that is hard to argue w/. It's quite true, if you have no idea how to drive stick, an auto is a far better option! But if you take the time to learn how to drive a manual trans correctly, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be reliable.

And you're exactly right. I could trash and auto in less than 10k miles if I put my mind to it.. just as someone that doesn't have a clue how to use a manual could..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnemonic
I got trapped on the highway that drives by the Dallas Cowboy stadium on Sunday. Yes, it was a highway turned parking lot, and I think I fully broke in that clutch right then and there.
I fully agree. If you commute through heavy traffic, the auto is the ticket for you. That's directly dependant on where you live and your lifestyle though, not on the reliablity of the trans!
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  #22  
Old 08-04-2005
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Even if you do end up needing a new clutch.. how bad is a new clutch anyhow? Especially on a 2WD truck, that really isn't all THAT hard of a job.. and therefore shouldn't be too expensive. I wonder how the ecconomics of swapping two clutches in @ 60k each compares to rebuilding or replacing an entire auto trans @ 120k each? .. Then add all those fluid/filter changes and flushes..

I ultimately think the auto is more popular in the Ranger for the same reason why it is more popular in every other non-sports car sold in the US: because people are lazy! Nobody wants to be bothered to shift anymore.

I think the latest the Rager auto trans is a marvel of reliability (compared to older autos). As of such I think the two trans are ultimately just about on par for reliability.

Chose one or the other for some other reason, be-it performance, efficiency, ease of use, whatever...
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  #23  
Old 08-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHBubba
50k? I don't have my manual handy (rode the bike today) but I was certian it was more frequent than that. ... RPS shows that Ford recommends fluid and filter changes every 24k miles/24 mo for both the 4-banger and 3.0L (they don't have a maintenance schedule online for the 4.0, but I've gotta believe it's the same).
I'll have to check my source, I thouht it was closer to 50 but like normal I could be wrong...

Even still, 70bucks for a filter/fluid change isnt bad. Do that twice in 50k your spend 140bucks, do one clutch or slave cylander for 400 in 50k...

(I need to knock on wood now...)

Quote:
I think the latest the Rager auto trans is a marvel of reliability (compared to older autos). As of such I think the two trans are ultimately just about on par for reliability.

Chose one or the other for some other reason, be-it performance, efficiency, ease of use, whatever...
Well put. Theres a bunch of good points going for both.

My friend just had a clutch done, $400. Its not a 'difficult' job if you've got the tools. But doing it in the drive way would not be fun...
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  #24  
Old 08-04-2005
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$400 for a clutch vs $1900 for an auto rebuild
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  #25  
Old 08-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawred
$400 for a clutch vs $1900 for an auto rebuild
Where are you taking your auto? The same friend also just had his Auto (dd) rebuilt and it cost 1100, but it also has 125,000 on it...

How many people actually keep a car/truck long enough for the trans to go out? On average that is, I know there are special cases when they go for no reason, or are abused.
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