Compression Ignition Addict
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Billings, MT
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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.
2001 CCLB SRW 6spd - 375K and counting
2003 GMC Yukon - Her baby Hauler
1992 Acura NSX
1997 Honda Civic Hatchback - 2.4 liter, 6266 Turbo
Build Thread for the Honda