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Old 10-03-2011, 08:03 PM
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Auto & Manual Trans Difference

I wanted to know from the people who have had experience with both the auto and 6 speed transmissions in the 99-03 7.3s, was/is there a noticeable difference between the two when pulling something? I figured the 6 speed truck to be the better tow vehicle, but I didn't think it would be such a noticeable difference.

I pulled a 3400lb vehicle on a car hauler with a 6 speed truck with not too long ago with ease. A couple days ago I used an auto 7.3 to pull a vehicle that was about the same weight as the previous car, just a lot less aerodynamic, on the same trailer. I figured the fact that this vehicle I was pulling was lifted and had a box shape wasn't helping, but the truck felt like it had a harder time.

What it felt like to me was the trans/gearing holding it back. Almost like the trans was shifting too soon, staying in too high of a gear for the weight it was pulling, bogging down and not dropping to a lower gear to get to speed and then shift to the higher gear.

Just wondering if the difference between the two transmissions' pulling capability is that noticeable. Will a tuner help an auto out in this area? Even if an auto shifts smooth, could it have problems shifting too soon, wrong points, etc?
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:00 PM
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A tuner will help, but the auto currently cann't read your mind hence it will never be in the gear you want it to be in.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:19 AM
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I own a 6 spd, my dad owns an Auto. Other than that, Identical trucks (well, i guess I've got a 4" MBRP exhaust, but still). To tell you the truth, I prefer the 6 spd for towing, however with a proper cooler (6.0, as on my dad's), it will tow anything just fine as well. My buddy who also owns an Auto and I just caravaned to WA at the beginning of september for a race. He's got a 3/4 ton, but 7.3 Auto with 6.0 cooler on it. Not one problem towing his 32' Enclosed gooseneck car trailer, with car in it over several mountain passes. My trailer loaded (24' bumper pull) weighs about what his does empty, and I had no problem towing at 75 mph on the way home.

My dad tows 8K lbs of hay several times a summer behind his for the horses. No problems.

In all honesty it is what you want. I went with a manual mainly because I am on the road ALL THE TIME for work. I figured replacing clutches would be cheaper than a transmission (although, when I broke the welds on the center of the OEM one, it still ran $1300 installed for a high performance clutch for towing). But from someone who has used both, including the Auto to tow my truck home on the gooseneck flatbed when that clutch went out, with the proper (not overkill mods) you will be plenty happy.

For what it is worth, my truck just clicked 305K miles. My dad's has 320. Both run like tops and neither burn oil.

In my opinion, it all comes down to your preference. The Auto is definitely "quicker" to get up to speed, but towing I was pulling up the passes past my friend, because I could put the rpm's right where I wanted them. I think with either you purchase, you'll be happy. The 6.0 cooler is a MUST if you plan on towing with an auto. But its a cheap mod. I found two coolers at the local wrecker for $30 each. $20 in hoses and hardware and an hour install on each truck both my dad's and friend's trucks have them now. They do make a noticable difference in trans temps, no doubt.
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:20 PM
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The auto was purchased with the intent of replacing the 6 speed truck for easier driving, it's got more space, nicer, etc.

The auto truck seems fine with daily driving, but once that load was on it, it felt like it was having a harder time than the 6 speed did. That's why I was wondering if it was a gearing/trans issue because the truck has got a fresh fuel filter, doesn't smoke, no codes, smooth idle etc.

From what I've read, it seems like a stock, 7.3 even with an auto shouldn't have an issue with that weight, but it could just be I'm just not use to how the auto handles things.

Last edited by M3xpress; 10-04-2011 at 04:17 PM.
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