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Manual vs Automatic

This is a discussion on Manual vs Automatic within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; I am about to purchase a 2000 TA WS6 pending a shop diagnosis. I have driven both the six speed ...

  1. #1
    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    Question Manual vs Automatic

    I am about to purchase a 2000 TA WS6 pending a shop diagnosis. I have driven both the six speed manual and the 4 speed automatic. While I would rather have the manual the best car I have found is an automatic. My budget is under 8 grand and this car is in nice shape.

    As far as performance goes is there that much of a difference between a manual vs and automatic? Differences in gear ratios or rear end gears that came with these that could affect 1/4 mile times?

    I can live with an automatic since I will likely use the car to commute, but is there a performance trade off for having an auto?

    I do plan to do some minor mods to increase performance once funds are available.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    Yes, the auto cars are a bit slower. Personally I must have a manual. However, many here will report that a stalled auto will keep up, even kill, a 6-speed. So, my vote is get the 6-speed, but I won't come hunt you down if you get a properly stalled AT with 3.73s. Factory gears for AT cars were 2.73 for normal Trans Ams, 3.23 for the WS6, and all 6 speed cars have 3.42s. A performance option for regular TAs and Formies was the 3.23.
    Last edited by Too Fast; 05-24-2010 at 02:29 PM.

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    Member jagfan93's Avatar
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    Automatics can be fun since they can be tuned several different ways for performance, plus the tuning is very easy since it's mostly electronic.
    With one of the performance rear gear ratios and with tuning an automatic can sometimes even provide an edge over manual.
    On the other hand a manual can provide more direct control over your vehicle and can usually handle more abuse..er...fun.
    In the end test-drive them all and go with the one that excites you the most.

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    Senior Member bills98ta's Avatar
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    If you plan on ever drag racing it, auto is the way to go !!! When mine was on the street, I had a 3600 stall, now it's mostly a drag car, 4600 stall in her now !

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    38 of 139 PontiacFan's Avatar
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    Punch it & steer, ..., no searchin' for gears, ...

    Read, read, & read more.
    Some of it depends on your purpose too, ..., road race, drag race, SOLO II, cruisin', etc., etc., ...

    Seriously, drive both types around your typical route.
    And then make your own decision.

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    Exalted Cyclops 67CamaroRSSS's Avatar
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    In my case my 98 Z28 DD is an M6 and my toy/racer/Saturday night cruiser is an 02 stalled A4...
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    2002 Z28: NBM/Tan, MTI smooth lid, smooth bellows, !AIR, !cats, 1-3/4" QTP SS LT's, 2-1/2" TD's with X-pipe, MagnaFlows dumped at axle, custom welded SFC's, MidWest Chassis body mount adjustable T/A, 3400 stall, 3.23 gears (was 2.73). Tuned: 343rwhp/357rwt (before TD's). Best: 12.559 @ 108+, 1.73 60' @ 3500' DA w/MT ET Street DR's.

    Carbon footprint? CLOWN SHOE!

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    Life in the Fast lane sunsetorangess's Avatar
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    M6 is a blast to drive although you cant outshift a computer...
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  8. #8
    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    I have tried both the best car for the money...

    Quote Originally Posted by jagfan93 View Post
    Automatics can be fun since they can be tuned several different ways for performance, plus the tuning is very easy since it's mostly electronic.
    With one of the performance rear gear ratios and with tuning an automatic can sometimes even provide an edge over manual.
    On the other hand a manual can provide more direct control over your vehicle and can usually handle more abuse..er...fun.
    In the end test-drive them all and go with the one that excites you the most.
    While I have driven both and prefer the manual, the best car for my under 8G budget has an automatic. I have been looking on Craigslist even surrounding States, Autotrader, Ebay, Vehix.com and if I had more money and time it would be easier to just wait and hope to find a six speed in as nice shape as this 2000 with the auto. I may end up in a commute situation with the car in which case I would not mind having the auto.

    I have owned Vettes and TA's as my performance cars in the past and plan to have fun driving the car as lack of blue flashing lights and badges allows.

    I do plan some minor alterations such as exhaust and perhaps a tuning controller, those are nice since you can always switch it back to stock too.
    Perhaps a higher flowing air box.

    I would like to have the car break in to the 12's for when I have to race a vette on the street and handle well for when I am in the turns. With the live rear axle I dont think I will ever have the handling of my previous vettes but it will be fun none the less. I guess I am saying it will be a sort of all in one car. It looks almost showroom new, and is under my 8 Grand budget. After searching for a car for 3 months it is the best within budget car I have found that is not in Florida...I live in Seattle so that just wont work out.

    I was not able to drive either of the cars (auto or manual) as if it were my own during the test drives, so I dont have a good feeling for maximum performance capabilities, but they did not seem viciously fast to me...but I was driving a 300 Hp Mark VIII to the test drives and my motorcycle does the 1/4 in 10.0 seconds so it makes judging acceleration a bit more difficult for me.

    I became Jaded with my last Vettes acceleration until I had to drive a rental car and then got back in it, then I noticed the difference.

    Were I to buy new I would go manual, but with my budget in mind and the cars out there this seems to be about as well as I am going to do.

  9. #9
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    That was my dilemma with our car -- it's an A4 and I was struggling with the thought of driving an auto. One test drive is all it took though. The car pulls strong and is still unquestionably a muscle car even without the ability to row through the gears. At the track, it laid down a 13.395 at about 105-106 while still essentially stock (lid, SFC's, catback). I have no regrets buying an A4. That being said, you're the one who will have to live with the choice, so really it is entirely up to you.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    IMO it sounds as if you are "settling" for an auto by your very own words. Every post you've made has resorted to not getting a M6 because you have yet to find one.

    With that said, you will regret not getting a M6 if you buy the auto IMO.

    However, like said from other members, if you do get the auto and you stall it, you're going to be one happy camper. I personally like driving my M6 and even taking it to the track is a lot of fun.

    The T56 seems to be a little bit more robust of a transmission also.

    Either way, these cars are a lot of fun to drive. Good luck with your hunt.

  11. #11
    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    Sort of settling, but not exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    IMO it sounds as if you are "settling" for an auto by your very own words. Every post you've made has resorted to not getting a M6 because you have yet to find one.

    With that said, you will regret not getting a M6 if you buy the auto IMO.

    However, like said from other members, if you do get the auto and you stall it, you're going to be one happy camper. I personally like driving my M6 and even taking it to the track is a lot of fun.

    The T56 seems to be a little bit more robust of a transmission also.

    Either way, these cars are a lot of fun to drive. Good luck with your hunt.
    Well yes with my limited experience driving these cars I would rather have the M6, but I would not need to put a thread on here if I was able to drive both of those cars flat out when test driving them, their owners were not in to that. Also I may prefer an auto when I start having to drive in traffic, its no fun on my bike to wear out my left clutch hand anymore than my left clutch leg, though on my bike I can take the carpool lanes! I am going back to school for a career change and set my budget for the car and for the price this one is in far better condition than the others, it would be stupid to buy the M6 car that is going to be in the repair shop instead of on the road taking trips before I have to become a responsible citizen again.

    Thanks for the good wishes.
    T

  12. #12
    Member godless-phoenix's Avatar
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    i have an a4, and on the street, i leave it in "3rd", then when im on the freeway and or go over 55mph i put it in "drive" ...then if i need to slow down real quick, ill go from drive-3rd-then 2nd... 2nd when i get to about 35-40 mph...you dont want to put it in "2nd" right away, proly blow up ur tranny ;p haha
    Last edited by godless-phoenix; 05-24-2010 at 04:30 PM.

  13. #13
    Exalted Cyclops 67CamaroRSSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godless-phoenix View Post
    i have an a4, and on the street, i leave it in "3rd", then when im on the freeway and or go over 55mph i put it in "drive" ...then if i need to slow down real quick, ill go from drive-3rd-then 2nd... 2nd when i get to about 35-40 mph...you dont want to put it in "2nd" right away, proly blow up ur tranny ;p haha
    That's not very good for your tranny. PG, Th350 or 400 it's still not very good but they can handle it, especially the downshift part, because they are looking for engine speed (controlled by a governor) and manifold vacuum to tell it what line pressure to use and at what speed to shift.

    The 4L60E OTOH, is depending on signal from the ECM to tell it when to shift and how much pressure to apply to the clutches. Unless you've programmed Torque Management out then you're probably hurting it (in the long run). If you've deleted TM and installed a shift kit then it's another matter because, although it's looking for input (OD lock up mainly) it'll do it in the same vein as a normal tranny.

    Also leaving the gear selector in OD will allow it to apply the proper line pressure to the clutches.

  14. #14
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    I have an auto....and it's boring. While it's great in traffic or just cruising around, it's very uninvolving to drive, and makes the car feel much slower than a M6. Now it's NOT slow, it runs mid 13's at the track, it just FEELS slow.

    When I got it I was on the fence on the M6 vs. A4 issue, finding a clean car with t-tops was more important to me. Well that's what I found, and it happened to be an auto.

    It was great for a while, but I just miss shifting gears (my first LS1 car, a 98 Formula, was a M6). I just feel disconnected with the A4.

    Yeah, the A4 is great for the track as far as consistancy and not blowing up the rear end as easily, but once again, less driver input...basically stomp and steer. Not much skill in racing a stockish auto.

    There's a big satisfaction in cutting great 60 foot times and great launches with the M6 that you don't get with the auto...the M6 just takes more skill to drive well.

    And the A4 guys will tell you to put a high stall converter in it....okay, so it's faster, and that will be a bit more fun, but it doesn't increase the driver involvement any. And yeah, the SERIOUS racers run auto, but most of the guys that I know that go to the track have M6's. If you only go to the track here and there, why buy or build a car set up for something that you hardly do? Like it's not worth it to me to have a car that I don't enjoy on the street everyday in order to be a few tenths faster at the track a few times a year.

    Plus, the m6 gets better mileage....driven sanely, touching 30mpg highway is not out of the question. If your commute is alot of highay, the M6 will be better in that regard. I drive 30 miles each way to work, with mine, and 2/3rds of that is highway. An extra few mpg would be nice, which is another reason I wish mine was a M6. And keep in mind that changing gearing an/or adding a stall converter is going to reduce your mileage.

    If you have even the slightest desire to get a M6 car, hold out for one. You WILL be disappointed with the A4 after a while.

    And this is coming from a guy who isn't even that big on manuals.
    Last edited by StuntmanMike; 05-24-2010 at 08:08 PM.

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    I Have a auto WS6 bone stock no even a catback runs 13.2 @ 107 with 144.000 on the clock so i cant complain. oh i never miss a shift. i gotthe auto because it was in the right place for the right price. out runs my friend 98 Z28 6 speed so it not bad at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    IMO it sounds as if you are "settling" for an auto by your very own words. Every post you've made has resorted to not getting a M6 because you have yet to find one.

    With that said, you will regret not getting a M6 if you buy the auto IMO.

    However, like said from other members, if you do get the auto and you stall it, you're going to be one happy camper. I personally like driving my M6 and even taking it to the track is a lot of fun.

    The T56 seems to be a little bit more robust of a transmission also.

    Either way, these cars are a lot of fun to drive. Good luck with your hunt.
    I was told too that if I get a stall and a shift kit I will be happy. WRONG. I wish I had an M6.

  17. #17
    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    I get the idea..but how about longevity?

    I put up a separate post to try to be proper, but no replies.

    Here is the question, and I know that it depends on how the transmission has been serviced and used and or abused, though in this case it is a one owner adult car that seems well cared for, the shop will let me know more soon.

    But assuming everything is "average" about what is the life expectancy in miles for the 4L60E?

    I plan to start a savings account for unexpected repairs, if the tranny went bad I would consider having a Monster Transmissions 500Hp model replace it. That is a good transmission for the money I have heard.

  18. #18
    LSX whore allbaugh_04's Avatar
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    IDK if I can say an M6 is funner. I got 2 friends that have converted to autos already. Apparently they weren't having fun losing to me and my "auto" friends.

    SS4000 + cam + shift kit = a pretty good time imo.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 97bluebird View Post
    I was told too that if I get a stall and a shift kit I will be happy. WRONG. I wish I had an M6.
    Yeah, that makes no sense to me when people say that. In what way does that compare to a stick?? It's still an auto...a faster auto yes, but still an auto.

  20. #20
    Member Baluchitherium's Avatar
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    It has a big wing!

    I have had both LS1 a4 and M6 cars...

    There are good and bad points to each...

    The A4s with 3.23s is such a nice car to drive but not as much fun (personally) as the M6.

    The M6 while fun, sooner or later you will have to deal with some sort of hydraulic issue... Uhhh what a headache.

    But,in the end if given the choice bewtween a perfectly running A4 or a perfectly running M6? I would probably pick the M6.As long as it's a stock or stock like clutch and hydraulic set up,it really doesn't bother me in traffic because the pedal effort is sooo lite...

    would also love to have both! hahaha... in a perfect world right?
    1999 Firehawk Trans Am #530

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