France slowly accepts the automatic gear box
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Thread: France slowly accepts the automatic gear box

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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    Default France slowly accepts the automatic gear box

    I had the flu last week and was stuck in bed. The gardener had to move a trailer of cuttings out of the garden and needed to move the Honda. I gave him the keys and after a lot of nasty gearbox noises it was pushed out onto the road and parked. Turned out that neither he nor the owner of the trailer had ever driven an automatic.

    Meanwhile the industry organisation the CCFA has published some data on automatic sales in France. They were 7% of cars sold in 2003 and steadily climbed to 11.3% in 2007 and then interest fell away again.

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    They have have hung around 8% until recently when last year interest revived and now 14,5% of cars sold are automatics.

    It still seems unusual that 60 year olds have never driven one (and have no intention of doing so)!
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    It might have something to do with the added cost of an auto Gerry! Next to the Scots, I believe at least some Frenchmen are more than slightly parsimonious, particularly in relation to cars and the purchasing thereof which is why they are not buying as much French but are making loud noises about it?

    P.S: The Scottish are very annoyed they can't buy a car without a gearbox of any kind.
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    If only Andre Citroen had been succesful in his quest for an automatic for the Traction, maybe things would have been different in France.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    It might have something to do with the[b added cost of an auto[b/] Gerry! Next to the Scots, I believe at least some Frenchmen are more than slightly parsimonious, particularly in relation to cars and the purchasing thereof which is why they are not buying as much French but are making loud noises about it?

    P.S: The Scottish are very annoyed they can't buy a car without a gearbox of any kind.
    Don't know about the 7, 8 or 10 speed autos but when you look at the insides of a four speed i can't see the added cost in making it. I think they are simpler.
    "The enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it's the illusion of knowledge"
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    Driving a manual in Paris traffic is a pain in the left leg - even with a modern. Why people would buy a manual to pump their way to work each day beats the heck out of me.
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    It keeps their right hand (LHD car) occupied honourably?

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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    Real men change gear.
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    Real women remove theirs.

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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Not everyone can change gear properly anyway. Drivers that don't need synchromesh to select their next gear might be different, but the rest of the motoring public are probably well served by the ubiquitous and ever improving auto.
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    The argument has been that the auto changes gear according to conditions in the car. A driver selects the gear appropriate to the traffic, road and weather conditions.
    Now that the French are forced to drive in stately processions it doesn't make much difference.
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerry freed View Post
    The argument has been that the auto changes gear according to conditions in the car. A driver selects the gear appropriate to the traffic, road and weather conditions.
    Now that the French are forced to drive in stately processions it doesn't make much difference.
    For some obscure reason Gerry, I've found that I have been able to select a gear manually in an automatic transmission (going back to the GM and Ford two-speeds) that suits the traffic, road and weather conditions. I've done it with column and floor shift autos any time I've driven them over the last fifty two years. Maybe not enough people know about this amazing feature included at no extra cost in virtually every automatic gearbox ever made?
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    Hmm. Where I come from, nobody would buy a car they can't bump start. The youth of course don't now nuffin and rely on their mobiles for this as well.
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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    For some obscure reason Gerry, I've found that I have been able to select a gear manually in an automatic transmission (going back to the GM and Ford two-speeds) that suits the traffic, road and weather conditions. I've done it with column and floor shift autos any time I've driven them over the last fifty two years. Maybe not enough people know about this amazing feature included at no extra cost in virtually every automatic gearbox ever made?
    It has the same limitation as the DS, the change time and take up is fixed by the box. With a clutch, accelerator and no torque converter you can be more in control. I have never experienced in Australia or the US the cut and thrust of Paris driving that was current up until the 1980's. You needed a manual and lots of skill which was in plentiful supply to average 60 when the traffic moved at 50, especially when others had the same ambition. Even today, I would rather have a clutch and lever, getting round the Place de l'Etoile.
    Last edited by gerry freed; 11th December 2013 at 01:16 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerry freed View Post
    It has the same limitation as the DS, the change time and take up is fixed by the box. With a clutch, accelerator and no torque converter you can be more in control..
    to say nothing of having more that 3 gears. or in the case of some hi tech americo/australian offerings, more than 2 gears.

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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    That is historic. Look at these neat pieces of engineering
    An introduction to 8-speed and 9-speed automatic transmissions - Autoweek
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexander View Post
    to say nothing of having more that 3 gears. or in the case of some hi tech americo/australian offerings, more than 2 gears.
    HI
    In general France has produced some very forgettable autos and fitted then to underpowered cars that made a very poor combination No wonder the motoring public there did not "take to them".

    However I was interested in these figures from ZF. The usual bumpf from the spin merchants :
    ZF claims up to an 11 percent improvement in fuel economy over its own six-speed automatic.
    ZF claims as much as a 16 percent combined fuel-economy increase compared to equivalent six-speed transverse automatics.
    Perhaps we just need to link several in series and start collecting the petrol as it overflows the tank .

    Seeing as these will be fitted to very heavy large cars with large powerfull motors, a thought that occures to me, poor uninformed person that I am, a more modest car may elicit an even better increase in economy and perhaps initial cost saving, not to mention saving some resources What a thought !!!
    jaahn



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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    Although a Frenchman is credited with the invention of the automatic gearbox and fought GM and the other Americans for royalties, very few were actually made in France. The famous Cotal push button electric went into some luxury cars. The locals just didn't buy them and for the export markets the French makers usually sourced imports - the quantities did not justify the investment. When interest shifted to computer control, boxes like the AL4 and the ZF were imported from Germany. Then they moved to Japanese sourcing.
    Australia has been enjoying for some time gearboxes made in the Ford factory at Blanquefort near Bordeaux. The factory was to be phased out by Ford but the modest volumes needed in Australia stretched out its life.
    One of the major reasons that they were not popular was the need for economy within the economic constraints of car ownership in Europe. Now with economy and pollution control so politically important and a core competitive advantage of Europe, especially France it is no surprise that ZF are selling their boxes on economy. Homologation here demands accurate economy figues because government bonus schemes are based on them so exaggerated claims go nowhere. Every car ad here has to quote consumption and economy figures. The US approach of overweight, overpowered, resource gobbling cars with minimal handling and braking just did not fit in Europe.
    Here is a list of some of the European cars in which you will find ZF boxes
    boite auto zf 5HP et 6HP Echange standard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    For some obscure reason Gerry, I've found that I have been able to select a gear manually in an automatic transmission (going back to the GM and Ford two-speeds) that suits the traffic, road and weather conditions. I've done it with column and floor shift autos any time I've driven them over the last fifty two years. Maybe not enough people know about this amazing feature included at no extra cost in virtually every automatic gearbox ever made?
    It is remarkable how many people are not aware of this feature. My sister was a passenger in a (ditzy) cousin's Toyota Kiddie Crusher on the way from Sydney to Dubbo earlier this year. Our cousin was driving down Bells Line of Road and was freaking that she was using the brakes too much. My sister suggested she pull the auto box back a gear or two. My cousin further freaked that she might break the car and her husband would be peeved.

    Needless to say the cousin eventually did move back a couple of years and got things under control. However my sister has decreed she will never ride with the cousin driving ever again!
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    JBN
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    The setup of the ZF automatics on the BX and Xantia make the switch from top to 3rd very easy - just hit the lever back, no pushing buttons. To return it to 4th, just push the lever forward till it stops. Again no pushing buttons. Those auto boxes also brake the engine with a trailing throttle, changing down before you come to a stop at the lights.

    I rarely brake on Mt Ousley as I hit it into 3rd at the top and just let it run. Yep, its over the 80kph limit, but the car is balanced and the brakes are cool. Some courteous drivers are happy to yield to the left, hoping I will draw the cops. Its just a little community service that I am happy to provide.

    John

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    It is a pity that Peugeot did not continue with the Jaeger Coupleur in the 1960's , available on 403 and early 404's. It is a semi automatic clutch ( no clutch pedal ) which makes for very easy driving , simply change gears with the gear lever and the clutch takes care of itself - no hand brake starts on hills and no kangaroo hopping with unskilled clutch users. I have no idea how much extra it cost , probably not a great amount and it is very effective , I have one in a 403 and would not go back to a clutch.

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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Ah! Ferlec Clutches in Dauphines! Anyone still got one?

    But what about the Smiths Electric Automatic fitted in Hillmans?

    THE SMITHS EASIDRIVE TRANSMISSION
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    1000+ Posts daffyduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    Ah! Ferlec Clutches in Dauphines! Anyone still got one?

    But what about the Smiths Electric Automatic fitted in Hillmans?

    THE SMITHS EASIDRIVE TRANSMISSION
    I heard all the Ferlec stuff died about 40 years ago.

    Via the aussiefrogs App

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    Ah! Ferlec Clutches in Dauphines! Anyone still got one?

    But what about the Smiths Electric Automatic fitted in Hillmans?

    THE SMITHS EASIDRIVE TRANSMISSION
    Peugeot 403 and 404 were made with a device called a Jaeger Coupler. The Jaeger coupler used technology licenced from Smiths Industries.

    AF member "restorer" has a 403 with the Jaeger Coupler. I had some small input into the un-picking of the donor car and tracing the circuit.

    Without writing a treatise it uses a third brush in the dynamo to sense engine revs, has a speed sensing "governor" on the gearbox, throttle position switch and box-de-jesus of relays and resistors which is fully electro mechanical.

    The "clutch" is a metal disk running a "bath" of finely divided iron powder. A carbon brush carries current to the clutch mechanism When 12 volts is applied the iron filings lock up the clutch. A nice part of the design is a reduced voltage allows the clutch slip, like balancing clutch/accelerator on hill.

    The clutch is disengaged by pressing "pogol" which forms the end of the gear lever.

    It works a treat and is easy drive.
    Last edited by robmac; 12th December 2013 at 05:48 PM.

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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    All that iron oxide powder left the industry because after a while it clumped and made the clutch engagement erratic.
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerry freed View Post
    All that iron oxide powder left the industry because after a while it clumped and made the clutch engagement erratic.
    Not sure if that was the cause of it's general demise Gerry, I feel it had more to do with corrosion of all the many relays involved in the Mk1 versions, later replaced by newly invented transistors in the later transmissions, but by then the early corrosion problems had made the Easidrive transmission smell. One always wonders what a brand new version would go like?
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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