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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

What you need to know about Ford's "automated manual" transmission

The enthusiast community has been decrying the death of the manual transmission for what feels like decades, and for good reason. The numbers of manuals offered in new cars has shrunk year after year to the point that by our best estimations, just 1 percent of new cars are sold with a three-pedal setup.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/what-you-need-to-know-about-fords-automated-manua...
146 REPLIES 146
Bostwick9
Advanced Driver

Ford paid off the lawsuits for that junk big time.
Looks like they refuse to learn.
Jsereno
Pit Crew

I agree with hyperv6, gonna do a manual do it traditional....less expensive and easier to fix. What's a DTC?
Tom9716
Detailer

It’s actually DCT - Dual Clutch Transmission
elldorado2000
Advanced Driver

New transmissions and Ford don't instill a whole lot of confidence. Their DCT was a complete disaster.
RJB
Pit Crew

SAVE THE STICK!
This is great! Hope it become a reality soon.
Mogowner
Detailer

Why complicate your ride with additional failure possibilities? If you like a manual gearbox then work the clutch pedal, if not, an automatic of some sort will fit the bill. All our family vehicles (toys and daily drivers) have manual gearboxes, I guess we're too old to change (even the young'uns).
MysticCtDon
Pit Crew

The Mercedes version of this was the HYDRAK, an electromechanical system .Microswitches on the shifter and differential controlled upshifts and a sprag clutch in the converter allowed for engine compression to help with deceleration. they were a PIA. I know I had one in a 58 220s.
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

Pretty sure they only offered that "durchshist" one year in the US 1959. my friend just finished one up on a restore...an odd beast to drive
MysticCtDon
Pit Crew

Many were converted. I purchased two that still had the switches on the shifter but a traditional clutch and flywheel. Tell your pal to set the differential switch to engage the clutch slowly on downshifts/decelleration or youll break the sprag clutch inside the aluminum converter. Ask me how i know.......The '58 was a European grey mkt. car.
gggdds
Pit Crew

It would be nice for one of the Hagerty writers to do an article on the different transmissions thru the years and how they differ from each other...I recently had a friend explain that a Ferrari F-1 tranny was a type of automatic, but not a dual clutch...fast, but not quite as fast as a dual clutch....
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

Do any of you remember the Sportmatic? ( VW Porsche) How about the Austin/BMC 4 speed auto that could be shifted like a manual? They guy who designed it made his fame in Horticulture...not transmissions . I didn't like working on either .....few working examples are left. How about a Furlec auto clutch on a Renault....? Nothing new here ....ish.....sorta ...
ZZZPR
Intermediate Driver

Kyle, your worries about the patent giving Ford the ability to "lock down" the idea and make it "untouchable" are unfounded. Anybody can take the idea, add features that are not disclosed in the Ford patent (or elsewhere), and get their own patent on the improved idea. One of the reasons the government established the patent system was to spur innovation. A patent grants to the inventor the exclusive right to use the invention for a period of time, but in exchange the inventor must teach all of the relevant details about it. Thus, anybody can read the patent, learn how the invention works, and come up with their own improved version of it. Innovation spurred!
Ranger240
Intermediate Driver

It surprises me that this idea was patented in 2018. It seems to be a repackage of existing ideas/tech.

Have thought about how great it would be to have a shifter actuated clutch in my CJ7, but instead do clutchless shifts when my left leg is hanging out the door jam.

A little clutch lever on the shifter as is seen on old steam engine type stuff would be another way to go.

Adding a magnetic piston to an existing throwout bearing arm seems simple enough, couple that with an electric throttle to keep revs stable, or adjusted to the rpm of the incoming gear and you’re in two pedal manual trans nirvana, with the conventional clutch when you want, or as a backup or the auto clutch fails. Or do away with the flywheel/disc all together and make the clutch an electromagnetic coupler. Ignore this last paragraph, I’m off to patent rent-seek off this simple amalgam of existing tech.
EJD
New Driver

I sort of can't believe that Ford didn't learn their lesson from the "PowerShift" fiasco in the Fiesta and Focus, (and almost the Escape, before they bailed out on that model) that lost them millions and millions in Class and Mass action suits, and the number of buy backs they were compelled to complete. I know, I tried with both models and that "auto-manual", which just never made the "grade".
Bostwick9
Advanced Driver

Oh FFS... is this April Fool's Day or something?
After Ford's Eff U to it's customers with that automated manual POS PowerShift transmission they palmed off on the unsuspecting Focus and Diesta buyers for ten frigging years knowing it was defective and un-fixable ? That Ford ?
https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/ford-workers-break-silence-faulty-145800004.html
https://www.freep.com/in-depth/money/cars/ford/2019/07/11/ford-focus-fiesta-transmission-defect/1671...
https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/ford/2019/07/11/ford-focus-fiesta-response-investigation/1693...
http://fordpowershiftlawsuit.com/
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/thousands-join-mass-action-lawsuit-against-ford-motor-compa...
https://www.hotcars.com/dual-clutch-transmission/
Dual clutch, automated manual, call it what you will. Ford knowingly pumped this crap out to the most price sensitive of customers.
But then Ford [or GM ] never GAF about small car buyers since their first ones came out, even though the "common man" made Ford what it is.
Now there are law suits about Ford's 10 speed automatic.
https://www.classaction.org/blog/defective-10-speed-ford-f-150-transmissions-shift-harshly-and-errat...
I just got back from running errands in my 63 Valiant. 3 speed manual on the column. Totally second nature, and unobtrusive. Hardly " the leg-cramping clutch-in, clutch-out from stop-and-go traffic" . Stop exaggerating.
I drove this car for 30 years in LA traffic and never experienced this alleged "leg cramping".
Another modern garbage trans set to cost thousands to replace out of warranty.
I'll keep what I have.
And if I do buy a new one... it won't be a Ford. I'm not interested in $80,000 5000 lb trucks with 10 year notes. It's all Ford wants to sell anyway. Go for it. But not with my money.
Powershift and Ford's duplicity and gas lighting have precluded it's vehicles from ever being considered for purchase.
Oldroad1
Gearhead

My Mom had a 2012 Fiesta with the problems you described. She won a buy back case and used the money to by a Honda.
TonyT
Technician

The VW A.S.S. (Automatic Stick Shift) was very similar to the Borg Warner ElectroShift that was in a 1965 IH five-ton truck I used to drive. The VW used a very sensitive microswitch that disengaged the clutch when the shift lever was touched, but the Cornbinder had a manually operated microswitch on the bottom of the shift knob. Both were very smooth in operation as I recall. Is everything that is old going to be new again? I can see it now: a manual crank handle sticking out of the bumper of the next Mustang...
Bertone780
Detailer

In future years one of the best anti theft devices will likely be a manual transmission.
rbranch
Pit Crew

I’m glad to see so many remember the VW crap. My Ghia was a fun car, but clutch was always being activated whenever my knee would touch the shifter. At 6’1”, the car may have been too small for me, but I loved it, and learned to live with it. Sounds like Ford is stealing an idea.
MR
Intermediate Driver

I'm guessing this is going to involve more difficult to source microchips?
Why not a simple mechanical manual slushbox?
ed
Advanced Driver

But so much of the fun is that part of clutch operation between all the way in and all the way out.

The Ferrari F1 tranny is the same thing. Automation of a manual gearbox.
RG440
Instructor

I may be mistaken here, I was wrong once back in ‘08, but I’m under the impression that ICE, Transmissions and differentials are a thing of the past being replaced by a large number of automakers (ford included) in the very near future along with springs, trans fluid, oil, rear lube with the 21st century electric motor along with after burners. Now don’t get me wrong I’m still to this day pressing down the old school clutch pedal with the old school ICE and to this day haven’t had leg cramps in stop and go traffic, just cus’ the open road, less even stop lights is more my style. Yep!, back roads and off the beaten path with a pistol grip in hand sings to me the tunes only Merrill Haggard would be familiar with and maybe Hank….My girlfriend back in the 70’s showed me how to pull the wheels off the ground of my MoTec built NASCAR 340 in a 69 Dart….she would laugh at leg cramps on a stiff clutch….yep, all hundred pounds of her! Fire Up that Electric Motor ! And that’s my two cents…..
SAABV4
Pit Crew

I, also, was thinking Ford has already effectively scuttled this idea. Didn't they just announce they were going all EV to pander to their stock holders?
Hymie60
Intermediate Driver

This sounds very similar to the vacuum assisted manual shifters from the 40s, Hudson and Chevrolet and Chrysler’s early automatic trans with a clutch pedal. Vacuum shifters had problems most owners disconnected the feature. Give me a third pedal and let me make up my own mind when to shift!
tabboo
Pit Crew

Great idea. Brought to you by the same people who designed the Focus and Fiesta dry dual clutch transmission. Ford will cheapen it up enough to make it fail.
Air_and_Water
Instructor

This is not like VW's Auto-stick/Porsche's Sportomatic. This actually has a clutch pedal, but the pedal makes a request to the computer to disengage the clutch. The VW/Porsche system did not have a pedal and used a simple vacuum servo to disengage a (very small) clutch, plus a torque converter to keep clutch abuse to a minimum. No, I don't want one.

That said, it is exactly what I don't want in a transmission. I like the visceral feel of the clutch pedal, and finding the friction point when the clutch starts to engage. Modern clutch pedals already feel so removed from their mechanical origins that it is "less fun" than it was, so why would I want a robot to remove the last vestiges of clutch pedal feel? This deletes the direct mechanical link for... what reason exactly?
JohnnydVette
Pit Crew

I like this idea. I have many collector cars including a 2019 Mustang Bullitt 5 speed..My "regular driver" is my 2021 Bronco, auto trans. U don't want to be half pregnant. When I feel like shifting on a pleasure drive, drive a stick. If ur going into heavy city traffic, go automatic. But if Ford can come up with an auto stick that works well and doesn't have maintenance issues, then I say do it.
Air_and_Water
Instructor

Since automatics are inarguably faster, shift amazingly well, can be controlled through paddles and are reliable, the only thing left for manuals is the feel. With this system half of the feel is simply gone. No, thank you.
bblhed
Instructor

You might find it interesting to know that Automatics are only faster because Most manual drivers are being penalized by the EPA. Don't believe me, check out this video from Hagerty's own "Know it all". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BH-N8t_1Fc

Air_and_Water
Instructor

I don't even have to click on it to know what it's about (but I did).
Gear spacing is horrible on new cars because of the dictated shift points in the test and mileage requirements. It doesn't reflect the vehicle's weight, the engine's RPM range, gear spacing, or intent of the vehicle itself. It has almost completely ruined the fun of cheap manual cars. Many years ago I had a '92 VW Jetta GLI 16V, and I've never had a car that was a better match from its power band to its gearing. That car literally could not be built today because of that fact alone. It's gone. Because of a stupidly laid-out test. It could all be fixed if instead of requiring particular speed/throttle position/RPM they would let the manufacturer dictate those things, or at least present them to the EPA for approval for testing. Of course that won't happen, because it would mean a government agency giving up a tiny bit of its authority, which they never do if they don't have to (which they don't).
bblhed
Instructor

I have to disagree with you on that "removed" feeling, I have driven hydraulic, cable, and mechanical rod linkage clutches, and the only time I feel a difference in them is when there is come sort of imperfection in the system such as a fray in the cable causing a drag or the ball stud wearing causing there to be a "bump" in the travel. A hydraulic clutch that is working properly should feel like a steel rod connected to the clutch, not disconnected at all.

bblhed
Instructor

Wondering what the drive experience with this would be like for someone like myself who has the ability to shift a manual without using the clutch already.

For all who will say that I am destroying the transmission I would present my 2005 Scion that will be getting its 240,000 mile tune-up in two weeks, I drove it off the lot with less than 4 miles on it and started shifting it without the clutch on the way home that day. Still original tranny and clutch, I have only changed the tranny oil.
Tom9716
Detailer

As others have said, this concept is virtually identical to the old VW AutoStick from the ‘70s. It worked ok, but was no speed demon.

I also owned a 2002 Toyota MR2 Spyder that also had a real single disc clutch that was shifted by an electro-hydraulic system called SMT (aka Sequential Manual Transmission). It originally used the standard 5-Speed transmission, but switched to the 6-Speed when Toyota made that change to the regular manual transmission. It wasn’t the fastest, but it eliminated the third pedal for easier shifting in traffic. It automatically downshifted to first gear when you were stopped, but the driver had to control the up and down shifting at all other times. I loved that car.
Joee383
Intermediate Driver

I have enjoyed many manual shift cars in the past. Now that automatics are better in every way shifting my last manual vehicle feels foolish.
PatrickH
New Driver

So Ford reinvented the VW autostick from the 70's, kudos. I will go dig out my bell bottoms and paisley shirts.
Hodag
Pit Crew

My 2014 Ford Focus has always been auto shifting manual transmission. It is a manual transmission shifted by a computer.
MARTY_ROTH
New Driver

Citroen did it better back in 1955 with the 4-on-the-dash pod Citro-Matic. It was the standard 4-speed and manual clutch, but hydraulically controlled from the stick, and no electric switches to go bad. This was an extremely reliable system, used for decades. The speed of clutch engagement/disengagement, as well as the speed of moving the shifting forks was easily controlled by a couple of screws near the Weber carburetor. It could be set for anywhere between ease of traffic commuting, or for Rallye competition. I really enjoyed the system in our several DS-21 and wagon versions.
Zephyr
Instructor

Citroen seems to have done everything better. A shame they were unable to make it in the American market.
MARTY_ROTH
New Driver

Citroen actually did fairly well in the American market, considering their luxury-range price point. The DS-21 Series was an amaaaaazing example of safety, comfort and speed, eclipsed only by their supercar Maserati engined 4 overhead cam, 5-speed SM, and the super-economy 2-CV. What eventually brought about the decision to leave the US market was the combination of the 5 mph bumper and bumper height standards. Going back to 1955, Citroen was engineered with both front and rear "Crumple Zones", and a true Roll Cage for occupants. That system saved my life in a head on crash when another driver in a full-sized 1970 Mercury came across the 4-lane. He was hospitalized and I had no ill effects, other than my DS being crumpled but repairable - the mid-engine-FWD assembly and front clip absorbed the impact and went under the passenger area - the windshield didn't even crack. The self-adjusting height hydraulics allowed the car to gradually lower overnight, dropping below height regs. Meeting the 5 mph bumper / height standard would have diminished Citroen's safety standards. Leaving the market was a loss to those of us who appreciated the marque.
JetDoc
New Driver

Everything old is new again! Back when I was serving with the US Air Force in the 1970's our base motor pool had a 1 1/2 ton International truck with a similar electric clutch. The truck had a regular four-speed manual transmission, but instead of a clutch pedal, there was a button under the front of the shift knob that you pushed to disconnect the clutch so you could shift gears.
69goatconv
New Driver

We had an International 10 wheel De-Icing truck at Rhein Main in the early Sixties that was a V8, 5 Speed just as you described. Easy to shift....

mc_911
New Driver

Being a former Focus owner I now know three of the scariest words in the English language are "new Ford transmission."  Good luck FoMoCo customers, you'll need it.

Zephyr
Instructor

The drawings all look like they came straight from a 1950's "learn to drive" book.
cmc
New Driver

This is nothing new. RUF had a manual without a clutch pedal in the 90's it's called EKS.
RallyeRalph
Detailer

I think Ford was inspired by this video:
https://youtu.be/jj_rrlZOBrw
okfoz
Advanced Driver

I love my 3 pedals, but my wife does too, unfortunately she has RA, and her knee cannot take much abuse of a typical clutch. Something like this really appeals to me, as it could be something that she could actually row through the gears. I am actually excited about this as it would allow her to continue to enjoy the drive...
JDull139
Intermediate Driver

Obviously this idea doesn't use the KISS Principle. 😝
Rrobgorgt
New Driver

I had a 1970-something CZ 250cc Enduro type that had an semi-automatic/manual shift mechanism.
The foot shift lever was extra long and very robust. It disengaged the clutch as it was BANGED to up or down shift. There was also a handlebar clutch lever for normal riding. But the bang shifter was bullet proof!
Hammering the 1-2 shift at full-on wide open throttle always resulted in wheelies at speed and was a hoot to scramble, though not the best bike overall (suspension shortcomings). Reminds me now of WOT paddle shifts on the dual clutch hotter cars I have driven.
Always wondered back then why other bike manufactures didn’t adopt something like this as it allowed full left hand grip (and one position right hand at WOT) at all times which was helpful in scrambles.
Yep, I’m old.
PalmSpringsJJ
Pit Crew

I absolutely abhor automatic transmission and will give up driving (average 40,000 miles a year for the last 58) and traveling if I can't have a manual. I do have a few automatics but they are collector cars (Lincoln, Thunderbird, Oldsmobile) that get 20-10-0 miles a year. My 5 daily drivers ALL are manual. My 2011 Ranger is getting a new crate engine at 200k, my 2017 Fiat 124 got one at 141k and I have a new Mustang GT 460 HP V-8 and 6 speed on order and expecting delivery in May. I told the dealer if it can't be supplied with the manual I'm not taking it. My 1991 Escort wagon has 312k ..... ETC. I will give this "idea" the benefit of the doubt but am doubtful. And I would gladly pay $10,000+ extra for what I want. Siiiigh - so thankful I'm 73 years old.
Black430
New Driver

Aside from a technicalities how's this conceptually different to F430 F1 gear shift or a Porsche pdk - both a manual box with shift and clutch control operators