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View Full Version : opinions NEEDED! 5spd or automatic?



fullride85
11-12-2007, 05:29 AM
I am in the market for a t-bird sc but am torn on the transmission issue due to the scarcity of the 5spds. so especially to all you 5spd owners: is it worth waiting out for a nice 5spd? i grew up on driving a manual and it is a pretty big deal for me. but so is having a car again!

i've been looking for weeks and can only find one possible 5spd worth buying. and it's iffy. every other 5spd has been a fixer-upper sort of deal and i dont have the time to bother with something like that right now. i MIGHT consider a transmission swap for the sake of getting a good condition t-bird but i need to commit to a decision soon b/c i currently don't have a car ...

XxSlowpokexX
11-12-2007, 09:22 AM
I love the drive of a 5 speed SC. But If you want to go fast Id go auto. Its just easier and less stressful on all the parts of your 4000lb car with driver (approximate)

garsc
11-12-2007, 09:30 AM
If given a choice I'd rather have a 5 spd. I have owned 2 91s an auto and a five spd definately liked the 5spd better even tho the auto was a lower mileage car. I started out with a 94 5spd which I still have there is a substancial performance difference between the early and late model cars. My 94 is by far faster than the 91s. If you can find a good 94-95 5spd car you will also own one of the more rare models. Good Luck

fturner
11-12-2007, 09:48 AM
As Damon pointed out, its more what are your intentions... if you want to race hard to win on the strip, then get an AOD and upgrade it with Lentech stuff, or if its a DD and you only occasionally go racing then the 5spd would be good.

the-big-e
11-12-2007, 11:09 AM
If you live in the city thern I would go with the automatic.....

Look at it this way.....

If there are 20 traffic lights between home and work, there is the possability of having to shift 100 times each way.....

Think about stop and go traffic.....

Autos are much more easier to drive in those conditions.....

scbird1
11-12-2007, 01:17 PM
On the other hand you have a mazda truck trans with parts that are not being made anymore. I love stick shifts but this trans is a little notchey at best. With both auto`s (4R70W and AOD) the parts are still being made and since they were used in mustangs and just about every other Ford its parts -o- plenty.

Mercutio
11-12-2007, 02:09 PM
I am in the market for a t-bird sc but am torn on the transmission issue due to the scarcity of the 5spds. so especially to all you 5spd owners: is it worth waiting out for a nice 5spd?

Yes.

But to elaborate: I'm more interested in handling than drag racing, so I absolutely love my 5-speed SCs.

Want2LearnTBIRD
11-12-2007, 02:12 PM
slowmatics are weak son, don't be a wimp and get one

SuperCharged91
11-12-2007, 02:29 PM
I have a 5 speed and now i will not even but a auto SC if that tells u anything

fullride85
11-12-2007, 02:36 PM
thanks for all your input. this has definitely helped.

so from what i'm seeing i'm basically weighing these options:

5spd
-FUN factor
-better handling
-rare

vs

auto
-better mpg
-faster
-cheaper to maintain
-easier in traffic (i probably wouldnt mind a stick in traffic tho)

i'm really surprised to hear that the auto gets better mpg, and is faster. really surprised, actually :confused:. i'm still going to look for a 5spd but if i dont find one within a week i won't feel as bad settling for an auto especially since it will mainly be used for a DD. and if i find a 5spd i'm going to make sure the tranny shifts PERFECTLY before i ever commit.

fullride85
11-12-2007, 02:40 PM
As Damon pointed out, its more what are your intentions... if you want to race hard to win on the strip, then get an AOD and upgrade it with Lentech stuff, or if its a DD and you only occasionally go racing then the 5spd would be good.

supposing i were to settle for an automatic, is there an easy way to tell if the car is an AOD or a 4R70W?

SuperCharged91
11-12-2007, 02:43 PM
Btw i would not say autos are "Faster" just a lot easier to drive in the 1/4mile a lot easier lol

kenewagner
11-12-2007, 02:43 PM
thanks for all your input. this has definitely helped.

so from what i'm seeing i'm basically weighing these options:

5spd
-FUN factor
-better handling
-rare

vs

auto
-better mpg
-faster
-cheaper to maintain
-easier in traffic (i probably wouldnt mind a stick in traffic tho)

i'm really surprised to hear that the auto gets better mpg, and is faster. really surprised, actually :confused:. i'm still going to look for a 5spd but if i dont find one within a week i won't feel as bad settling for an auto especially since it will mainly be used for a DD. and if i find a 5spd i'm going to make sure the tranny shifts PERFECTLY before i ever commit.


I beleive he said it was a low milage car not that it got low miles to the gallon. Automatic dont get better gas milage. With a upgrade of a Lentec valve body you can get some real hard shifting and manually shift the car as well hold it in any gear. On the track they are softer on the drive train and give robotic shifting for consistancy. 5 speeds are fun drive buts lots of shifting gets old in traffic

Ken

SuperCharged91
11-12-2007, 02:46 PM
I guess i dont mind shifting in traffic if your in it every day you get used to it in about a week



Edit: Just what we need another so cal SC Lol.

fullride85
11-12-2007, 02:53 PM
I beleive he said it was a low milage car not that it got low miles to the gallon. Automatic dont get better gas milage. With a upgrade of a Lentec valve body you can get some real hard shifting and manually shift the car as well hold it in any gear. On the track they are softer on the drive train and give robotic shifting for consistancy. % speeds are fun drive buts lots of shifting gets old in traffic

Ken

oh wow. i guess i might have read that wrong. so if i scratch 'better mpg' and 'faster' off the auto list i am back to square one! aaghhh. it does sound like the autos would be more reliable as a DD. i might have to flip a coin lol.

fullride85
11-12-2007, 02:58 PM
I guess i dont mind shifting in traffic if your in it every day you get used to it in about a week



Edit: Just what we need another so cal SC Lol.

lol sounds like socal has a reputation lol. if it makes you feel any better i just moved here about 6months ago from your neck of the woods

garsc
11-12-2007, 05:51 PM
The 89-93 SCs have the Aod tranny the 94-95 have that other ~~~ tranny. The AOD is more reliable but both auto trannys in stock form are pretty fragile. The m5r2 tranny is a Mazda design Tranny also used in the Ford F150 They are a bit notchy but as long as you know how to drive a stick shift reliability shouldnt be a problem. Parts are readily available for the manual tranny[so my tranny guy assures me].I am sure Ford will continue to support the F150 or the aftermarket will.As far as driving in traffic I have a bad left knee and have absolutely no problem, the hydraulic clutch is accurate and easy on my bad knee. For my money the rarety,performance and the fun factor the 5 spd is the ticket.BTW my tranny has way over 150k on it it still works perfect and has never been apart.

thunderkid84
11-12-2007, 06:24 PM
i asked this same question over a year ago

the thread shows more opinions on the manual vs. auto debate

enjoy http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78190

fullride85
11-13-2007, 04:12 AM
i asked this same question over a year ago

the thread shows more opinions on the manual vs. auto debate

enjoy http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78190

thanks for the link!!!
...the more i read the less i know. i need to get behind a wheel!! :(

from what i read in that thread the clutch is heavy and it isn't easy to shift? and also, according to consumer guide: "the 5-speed manual gearshift gets balky, making automatic the better choice for an SC." now like i said i haven't driven a 5spd yet but would it be a bad idea to bypass the M5R2 and get an automatic with plans of transplanting a different manual transmission (say, t56??)..

i might be better off that way anyways b/c i can see myself getting into trouble by testing the limits with a 5spd and i'm definitely not in a position to have to replace anything from rubber to differentials b/c of something stupid right now. i doubt that a few small upgrades would manage to blow a differential but i've found myself in the hands of freak circumstances in the past. :rolleyes:

fullride85
11-13-2007, 04:24 AM
The 89-93 SCs have the Aod tranny the 94-95 have that other ~~~ tranny. The AOD is more reliable but both auto trannys in stock form are pretty fragile. The m5r2 tranny is a Mazda design Tranny also used in the Ford F150 They are a bit notchy but as long as you know how to drive a stick shift reliability shouldnt be a problem. Parts are readily available for the manual tranny[so my tranny guy assures me].I am sure Ford will continue to support the F150 or the aftermarket will.As far as driving in traffic I have a bad left knee and have absolutely no problem, the hydraulic clutch is accurate and easy on my bad knee. For my money the rarety,performance and the fun factor the 5 spd is the ticket.BTW my tranny has way over 150k on it it still works perfect and has never been apart.

considering a 94-95 comes with the bonus of a stronger engine, would that ~~~ tranny last me a year or two? even if i have to baby it along?

Ddubb
11-13-2007, 07:35 AM
The 94/95 Transmissions are the worst years made but can still go for a while .. or just start slipping and lose gears one day. If you upgraded the internals of the 4r70w it could last for quite a while.

- Dan

David Neibert
11-13-2007, 08:52 AM
The AOD or the 4r70w can be made as strong as your budget allows. The transmission is the least of my concerns with either of my cars.

David

scbird1
11-13-2007, 11:38 AM
The 94/95 Transmissions are the worst years made but can still go for a while .. or just start slipping and lose gears one day. If you upgraded the internals of the 4r70w it could last for quite a while.

- Dan

You know any trans in a car with over 100k could go at any time. It all depends on the driver and mantainace. I like the 4R70W only because you can chnge the way it shifts with a chip IE( computer controlled) or there is a awsome article over at tccoa on how to improve the shifts. Its the valve body that gets the bad rap but lets look at it this way, as far as I know almost evey Ford today is using the same trans with minor updates. If you have a perfect working 5 speed thats one thing but almost evey one I had needed to be rebuilt because of grinding into gears. Your best bet is to go out and take these cars out for a spin and decide for yourself. Check craigslist.com in your area along with auto trader. Good luck

Ddubb
11-13-2007, 02:50 PM
Typical bearing life is about 100k miles, after that things start to get worn out and sloppy. A 94/95 transmission in stock form may not even last that long with proper fluid changes and a cooler. Its not un-common to hear about people going through 4 transmissoins in about 150k miles.
With the chip, you can only increase line pressure and shift points - the more line pressure makes a firmer shift. The shift kit ( valve body modification ) changes the physical shifting speed of the transmission.

Now, if you pick up a newer transmission or rebuild the current one, it will last much longer than a stock 94/95 .. the question after that is, how long will the engine last ?? :D

- Dan

XR7Kurt
11-13-2007, 06:15 PM
If you like 5-speeds, then get a 5-spd. If you can't wait for a 5-speed then get an auto, you'll still be happy. If you're not happy with the auto then you can always do a five speed swap dirt cheap because they're so crappy and people are always doing 5-speed to auto swaps.:rolleyes: Just kidding about the dirt cheap part, notchy shifting or not my manual is much more fun to drive than my auto.
Kurt

SuperCharged91
11-13-2007, 06:24 PM
Yeah my 5-speed still shifts great going in to first it sticks a little clutch is bad its fairly new

90blkbrd
11-13-2007, 06:28 PM
I have had a 14 second auto for 3 years and just purchased a low 13 second manual.

get a manual!

slowpoke
11-13-2007, 06:53 PM
i love my 5speed, also it offers slightly more power, speed, and fuel milage. keep in mind though and i also dont know if this is true or not but i think there are differant cams and a few other things differant from the auto to stick sc's. again im not sure on that, its just something i heard but might be a good idea to look into it.:D

Jeremy_K
11-13-2007, 08:46 PM
My car used to have an AOD with a shift kit and I swapped it to manual. I like the manual a lot better. I get the same exact numbers at the track that I did with the auto. I have other issues that's causing that, mainly traction. I can't launch hard without the wheelhop. I mainly drive mine to work and back mixed city and highway. The only time it sucks is when you're stuck on a hill with a long line of cars cause everyone wants to bury their front bumper up your a$$ so you can't roll back!:p

jludorf
11-13-2007, 10:26 PM
I sell far more automatic transmissions for replacments than 5 speeds. A 5 speed transmission is cheaper to rebuild too. I can get a 5 speed built for 400.00 but I've never had an automatic being built for under $1200.00 plus install and have heard of $2500.00 bills if they install the tranny too.That being said I think alot of the problems are maintenance related as cars of this age are not typically maintained properly and reliability becomes an issue. Find a nice clean low mileage car, they do exist and they will be worth the wait and extra money, just make sure you have a maintenance history.I've had the 4R70W transmission with 200k miles without a problem and with a Jmod and chip I've heard they are considerable more reliable(I'm sure it depends on how you drive). I also have sold 5 speed swaps for guys with bad auto transmissions. The auto's are slightly slower in stock form but you won't notice it on the street and as other have said it depends what you plan to do with it. If mileage is a big concern the 5 speeds get considerably better fuel economy than the automatics. I enjoyed my 94 auto and my 94 5 speed both have been enjoyable but I like to shift and if you like to shift then hold out for the 5 speed.
Good luck and post pictures of what you end up buying. Either way you should expect to become addicted to the car like the rest of us. ( I currently have 4 and have been fighting the urge to buy another. ( I had 14 in January and I do not have any of those ones anymore)
John

mannysc
11-28-2007, 03:32 PM
thanks for the link!!!
...the more i read the less i know. i need to get behind a wheel!! :(

from what i read in that thread the clutch is heavy and it isn't easy to shift? and also, according to consumer guide: "the 5-speed manual gearshift gets balky, making automatic the better choice for an SC." now like i said i haven't driven a 5spd yet but would it be a bad idea to bypass the M5R2 and get an automatic with plans of transplanting a different manual transmission (say, t56??)..

i might be better off that way anyways b/c i can see myself getting into trouble by testing the limits with a 5spd and i'm definitely not in a position to have to replace anything from rubber to differentials b/c of something stupid right now. i doubt that a few small upgrades would manage to blow a differential but i've found myself in the hands of freak circumstances in the past. :rolleyes:

where you live in so calif? im selling my 92 5 spd i can give you a ride then you will want a 5 spd something about getting sidways in second gear puts a smile on your face . i get like 20-30 ft of rubber going into second gear its fun as heck.

mine spoken for sort of but i could take you for a ride you would remember

dalvenjah
11-05-2009, 02:44 PM
i test drove my friends auto before i bought my 5 spd. Dont settle. IF you prefer shifting yourself. wait. if you just want the speed and handling go auto.

I personally love the 5spd

thunderkid84
11-05-2009, 03:36 PM
talk about bringing back old threads

why go with an auto for handling and speed ?

my 89 5sp has no speed or rev limiter. and having the ability to be in whatever gear i want i bet i could outrun an auto when it comes to some "tactical" driving.

90blkbrd
11-05-2009, 03:40 PM
my 89 5sp has no speed or rev limiter

From the factory every SC has a rev limiter. You must have a chip and set it really high.

thunderkid84
11-05-2009, 04:08 PM
From the factory every SC has a rev limiter. You must have a chip and set it really high.

my bad, maybe its something else it doesnt have that auto's do.

i cant think today :rolleyes:

blksc
11-05-2009, 05:12 PM
I am in the market for a t-bird sc but am torn on the transmission issue due to the scarcity of the 5spds. so especially to all you 5spd owners: is it worth waiting out for a nice 5spd? i grew up on driving a manual and it is a pretty big deal for me. but so is having a car again!

i've been looking for weeks and can only find one possible 5spd worth buying. and it's iffy. every other 5spd has been a fixer-upper sort of deal and i dont have the time to bother with something like that right now. i MIGHT consider a transmission swap for the sake of getting a good condition t-bird but i need to commit to a decision soon b/c i currently don't have a car ...

I have a 95SC 5Spd for sale and listed on the for sale board. It runs good and would be a good starting point for you. Im in lancaster,CA come out and drive it.. you'll be impressed. At $1500.00 for the last model of the SC with a 5 speed and sunroof!

oh and auto/5spd depends on your driving style and what you intend to do with the car. A weekend fun car.. 5spd would be nice to run through the gears and get a sport feel. Daily commuter. probably want the luxury of an automatic.. and auto are better for drag racing.

Mercutio
11-05-2009, 06:55 PM
What's with people digging up the ancient threads the last few weeks? Look at the last post date, people! If there's an actual reason to go all Lazarus on the thread, fine, but if you're just answering a simple, 2 year old question the last to post might have his answer by now.

XxSlowpokexX
11-05-2009, 08:14 PM
a 7 post newbie may not know..SC guys get real excited when they find this site!

thunderkid84
11-05-2009, 09:02 PM
the guy that made the thread hasnt been on here for almost 2 years.

T-bird4vr
11-05-2009, 10:45 PM
i wonder if he bought an auto or an mtx lol

90turbo1
11-05-2009, 10:50 PM
yeah so what was the verdict.....

auto or 5 speed. what did he buy?

David Neibert
11-06-2009, 12:05 AM
i wonder if he bought an auto or an mtx lol

Julian,

I wonder why anyone cares :confused:

David

PS: How's the aircraft business doing these days ?