VW Vortex - Volkswagen Forum banner
1 - 20 of 141 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All manuals are not worth saving. Dare I say, over history, maybe most? IIRC I've owned 3 manual Nissans (2 4th gen Maximas and a 350Z) and have driven some others. They are part of the reason I ditched manuals completely. Shifters that "don't like to be rushed", ridiculously long + heavy clutch pedals.... yuck. I used to go back and forth between Nissans and Hondas and the gulf between the transmission inputs was as wide as the Atlantic. I remember the exact moment I was in my 350Z where I thought "this thing would prob be better with 2 pedals". G37 proved my theory :D

What manuals left you shaking your head
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,260 Posts
Back in 2003 my father had a brand new Mazda 6 with the 4cyl manual and it had to be just about the work setup i've driven from new. You couldn't be smooth with that thing to save your soul. I think it was earl DBW that was the culprit as the shifter action itself was OK but the clutch action was so numb and unforgiving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,407 Posts
MTX-75 might not be the worst but if you do anything above spirited driving you're gonna blow the diff. 3rd gear synchros wore out fairly quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,207 Posts


As much as it pains me to nominate because I truly love the cars, the classic Saab 900 gearbox was just all kinds of kooky --- engine oil sump incorporated into it, vague shift feel, not strong enough to cope with the turbo torks...

...but,
you would adapt to it and drive accordingly.

Gas Auto part Machine Metal Automotive exterior

Motor vehicle White Font Mode of transport Line


A very very strange arrangement!

Bonus points for ease of clutch change though,
right front and center.

 

·
Registered
2018 VW Jetta SE 1.4T 5-speed manual
Joined
·
9,723 Posts
The cumbersome, tractor-like 3-speed gearboxes that U.S. automakers kept putting in vehicles long after they were obsolete -- often with no synchro on first gear. The only way to make driving one of these passable was to pair it with a big torquey engine so you could get into top gear as quickly as possible and just leave it there. These left an entire generation of Americans with the impression that manual transmissions are all work and no fun, and greatly contributed to the majority of the U.S. population switching to automatics and never looking back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
The cumbersome, tractor-like 3-speed gearboxes that U.S. automakers kept putting in vehicles long after they were obsolete -- often with no synchro on first gear. The only way to make driving one of these passable was to pair it with a big torquey engine so you could get into top gear as quickly as possible and just leave it there. These left an entire generation of Americans with the impression that manual transmissions are all work and no fun, and greatly contributed to the majority of the U.S. population switching to automatics and never looking back.
You beat me to it. And remember these 3-speed transmissions often had a column shifter that was vague and sloppy. This added to the frustration.

My father had an aging Ford with the “three on the tree”. I learned to drive a manual transmission on this car. When I drove my first European car with a nice 4-speed manual, I was in absolute heaven.

🍺
 
  • Like
Reactions: VWestlife

·
Registered
2019 Mazda 3
Joined
·
4,120 Posts
Back in 2003 my father had a brand new Mazda 6 with the 4cyl manual and it had to be just about the work setup i've driven from new. You couldn't be smooth with that thing to save your soul. I think it was earl DBW that was the culprit as the shifter action itself was OK but the clutch action was so numb and unforgiving.
I unfortunately very much agree. There are more garbage feeling manuals out there, but my dad's 2007 Mazda 6 takes it for being the most difficult to drive smoothly. Same generation Ford Fusion was plagued with the same issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48,323 Posts
The worst I've owned were a couple Mk3 8v's, which felt like rowing a stick in rocks. My Wrangler 4.0 was pretty terrible too, but mainly by design with the way it was geared. I had to commute through DC traffic in that thing, which was possibly the worst vehicle choice.
That transmission is "okay" at worst. The throws are long and it isn't a satisfying one, but it works well and smoothly. If yours felt like rocks then it's probably a matter of the condition of the linkage (there are several wear parts) rather than basic design.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
The worst I've owned were a couple Mk3 8v's, which felt like rowing a stick in rocks. My Wrangler 4.0 was pretty terrible too, but mainly by design with the way it was geared. I had to commute through DC traffic in that thing, which was possibly the worst vehicle choice.
I didnt mind the o2o mk3 transmissions, but will say that the linkage REQUIRED attention to ensure good shift feel. They have numerous bushings and a strange nylon/plastic shift ball that would all wear out. If not given attention, the shifting would become a bit of a suggestion. That said, their cable shift counterpart, the o2a, is leaps and bounds better. The o2m in my GLI is amazing. Shifts are nice and crisp. First is a little short, but otherwise, the ratios are a near perfect match the the engine and car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
That transmission is "okay" at worst. The throws are long and it isn't a satisfying one, but it works well and smoothly. If yours felt like rocks then it's probably a matter of the condition of the linkage (there are several wear parts) rather than basic design.
The design of the shifter linkage on my Mk3 Jetta was very similar to my Mk1 Rabbit. The relay rod and the bushings needed to be replaced on a fairly frequent basis. The later models with cable linkage seemed to be better.

🍺
 

·
Registered
'18 Camry SE, '15 F150 XLT, '05 Golf, '91 GTI VR6
Joined
·
5,284 Posts
As much as it pains me to nominate because I truly love the cars, the classic Saab 900 gearbox was just all kinds of kooky --- engine oil sump incorporated into it, vague shift feel, not strong enough to cope with the turbo torks...
My dad had an ‘86 900 8-valve when I was born. In 1994, the trans went on it and he sold it to a friends son to fix up and drive. A base, commuter spec car that could grenade its trans inside of 8 years is pretty weak.

I’ll second the VW 020 hate. I can’t stand the linkage and durability issues almost as much as I can’t stand CIS in the modern fuel injection age. The 02A is vastly superior from a design and upgrade perspective, and takes little time/parts to transform into a crisp-shifting trans.

I don’t know the later VW trans codes/families, but the 5-speed in my Mk6 JSW was pretty bad. The 6-speed auto was a better choice in that car as much as it pains me to say it. The long ratios were the antithesis of fun, although it did help improve fuel economy over the Mk5. Iirc they were 02J’s or at least 02J-based, so maybe it could have made do with the same bushing and shifter upgrades that are in my VR6 Mk2 (02A w/ 02J shifter components) but in stock form it was rubbish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48,323 Posts
The design of the shifter linkage on my Mk3 Jetta was very similar to my Mk1 Rabbit. The relay rod and the bushings needed to be replaced on a fairly frequent basis. The later models with cable linkage seemed to be better.

🍺
Definitely. The bushings of the Mk1 and Mk2 cars were small, so I think they wore faster, but I've never done a comparison. The cable shifters are much, much smoother, though. 🍺

Unfortunately I don't have any experience with it, but the early 911s get a thorough thrashing in the magazines. I think it was Car and Driver that said the shifter "felt like a baseball bat in a barrel of marbles". :ROFLMAO:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,208 Posts
The cumbersome, tractor-like 3-speed gearboxes that U.S. automakers kept putting in vehicles long after they were obsolete -- often with no synchro on first gear. The only way to make driving one of these passable was to pair it with a big torquey engine so you could get into top gear as quickly as possible and just leave it there. These left an entire generation of Americans with the impression that manual transmissions are all work and no fun, and greatly contributed to the majority of the U.S. population switching to automatics and never looking back.
This! Any domestic 3 on the tree from the 70s-80s when such sweet gearboxes were coming from Japan and Europe. /thread
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
901 Posts
Definitely. The bushings of the Mk1 and Mk2 cars were small, so I think they wore faster, but I've never done a comparison. The cable shifters are much, much smoother, though. 🍺

Unfortunately I don't have any experience with it, but the early 911s get a thorough thrashing in the magazines. I think it was Car and Driver that said the shifter "felt like a baseball bat in a barrel of marbles". :ROFLMAO:
Unless the linkage was in top shape, they were pretty bad. There is a reason for the price premium for the G50.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I hated the manual in my 2020 Jetta R-Line so much that I returned it for an automatic. Only time I've ever done that. ** gearing, ** clutch feel.
Damn thats crazy!
 
1 - 20 of 141 Posts
Top