The Truth About Cars » Transmissions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 02 Aug 2014 03:20:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Transmissions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Jeep’s Nine-Speed Undergoes Second Reflash For 100k Cherokees http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/jeeps-nine-speed-undergoes-second-reflash-for-100k-cherokees/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/jeeps-nine-speed-undergoes-second-reflash-for-100k-cherokees/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834313 Remember the nine-speed transmission in the new Jeep Cherokee that gave our rising superstar managing editor a hard time, followed by everyone else giving him a hard time about the truth of this car before walking back their statements in light of their seeing the light? More than 100,000 of the crossovers built before May […]

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-002

Remember the nine-speed transmission in the new Jeep Cherokee that gave our rising superstar managing editor a hard time, followed by everyone else giving him a hard time about the truth of this car before walking back their statements in light of their seeing the light? More than 100,000 of the crossovers built before May 5 will need theirs readjusted.

Automotive News reports the software in the affected units will be subject to a five-minute software reflash, followed by a 78-minute test drive to ensure the transmission’s ability to learn how its owner drives is no longer hindered by digital bugs. While all owners will not need to bring their vehicles in for the work, those who do feel their transmission is lacking will have the fix covered for free under warranty.

The nine-speed, which also feeds power to the front and/or all four corners of the 2015 Chrysler 200, has been reflashed once before, and problems early on led to a delay in the introduction of the new Cherokee to sort out the kinks. For what it’s worth, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t concerned about what may be dinging the quality of the new transmission:

There are always teething issues with every transmission I’ve ever built, and I mean that literally. We keep tuning the transmission more and more as we get more familiar with it.

I’m never satisfied, but I think I’m OK with its application in the current car. It will get better six months from now, trust me.

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Diesels, Refinement Key To Kiefer’s Vision Of Future GM Engine Development http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/diesels-refinement-key-to-kiefers-vision-of-future-gm-engine-development/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/diesels-refinement-key-to-kiefers-vision-of-future-gm-engine-development/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:30:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=776809 General Motors head of global powertrain and former Delphi senior vice president of powertrain systems Steve Kiefer aims to steer engine development toward a brighter future, one influenced by his love for diesels, quietness and refinement. Automotive News reports Kiefer’s vision may have begun to come to fruition this week with the debut of the […]

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Steve Kiefer

General Motors head of global powertrain and former Delphi senior vice president of powertrain systems Steve Kiefer aims to steer engine development toward a brighter future, one influenced by his love for diesels, quietness and refinement.

Automotive News reports Kiefer’s vision may have begun to come to fruition this week with the debut of the new Ecotec family of engines slated to power 25 percent of GM’s global lineup by 2017. The eleven engines are based on older-though-proven technology found in the cam chains, blocks and other components, resulting in a family with lower NVH than previous engines. The new Ecotec family is a reflection of Kiefer’s method of improving existing technology to accomplish what competing engines already do — such as Ford’s EcoBoost — for little cost in development and assembly.

Speaking of Ford, both the Blue Oval and the General are collaborating on a new generation of nine- and 10-speed transmissions for their respective pickups, with the latter expected to arrive in two years. Though no word has been said on whether GM will either use diesel power or smaller gasoline engines in their fullsize trucks, Kiefer’s experience on the supply side of the industry — especially in regards to knowing what the competition is doing to be green and efficient — could prove valuable in the long run.

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Shifting Becomes Variable For 2015 Subaru WRX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/shifting-becomes-variable-for-2015-subaru-wrx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/shifting-becomes-variable-for-2015-subaru-wrx/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=651970 While those who opt for the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX STi can still row their own, those who prefer to let the transmission do the work may (or may not) be disappointed to find a CVT in their new WRX. In a leaked dealer document, customers who opt for either the WRX Premium standard model […]

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2015 Subaru WRX

While those who opt for the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX STi can still row their own, those who prefer to let the transmission do the work may (or may not) be disappointed to find a CVT in their new WRX.

In a leaked dealer document, customers who opt for either the WRX Premium standard model or the Limited with or without the sat nav/Harmon Kardon audio/keyless access triad can either row their own through a six-speed manual or Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT.

Sending the power through the CVT will be a turbocharged 2-liter flat-four, while the STi will utilize a 2.5-liter turbo flat-four and, for those who choose it, launch control.

More details to come when the WRX makes its debut at the LA Auto Show next week.

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GM And Ford Get In Gear Together http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/gm-and-ford-get-in-gear-together/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/gm-and-ford-get-in-gear-together/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 12:15:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=484822 Developing cars and pieces thereof is getting increasingly costly, and that’s why even the fiercest rivals band together to share the mounting financial burden. GM and cross-town rival Ford agreed to jointly develop a new line of nine- and ten-speed automatic transmissions, Reuters says.   GM and Ford will build both FWD and RWD variants. […]

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Developing cars and pieces thereof is getting increasingly costly, and that’s why even the fiercest rivals band together to share the mounting financial burden. GM and cross-town rival Ford agreed to jointly develop a new line of nine- and ten-speed automatic transmissions, Reuters says.  

GM and Ford will build both FWD and RWD variants. The gaggle of gears is one way to cope with the U.S. government mandate that by 2025, automakers should sport a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) of 54.5 miles per gallon (23.2 km per liter). According to Reuters, “that translates to about 39 mpg in real world driving, or nearly two thirds higher than the average fuel economy for the 2012 model year vehicles.”

The new transmissions are expected to reach the market beginning in 2016. According to the New York Times, the joint effort can save “hundreds of millions of dollars and considerable development time.” What’s more, “it also saves the cost of licensing the design and production rights from a specialist transmission supplier like ZF of Germany or Aisin of Japan, which can cost up to $100 per unit.” When bought in not insignificant quantities, of course.

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Read between the lines: Volvo’s 8-speed automatic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/read-between-the-lines-volvos-8-speed-automatic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/read-between-the-lines-volvos-8-speed-automatic/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 19:40:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=484240 What do the Volvo XC60 and Lexus RX F-Sport have in common? Not much. Yet. Today’s vehicles aren’t just built on “modular” platforms, sharing parts with other vehicles from the same manufacturer, they are also “parts bin creations.” You’ll find the same power mirror switch in a Chevy, Jeep, Peugeot, Citroën, Lancia, Lincon and many […]

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What do the Volvo XC60 and Lexus RX F-Sport have in common? Not much. Yet. Today’s vehicles aren’t just built on “modular” platforms, sharing parts with other vehicles from the same manufacturer, they are also “parts bin creations.” You’ll find the same power mirror switch in a Chevy, Jeep, Peugeot, Citroën, Lancia, Lincon and many more. That’s because car parts are like Lego pieces, made by a handful of car parts companies and designed to be everything for everyone. It’s cheaper for everyone to design one switch, one control module, one key fob and just alter some of the plastics and a connector to suit your new car design.

Parts sharing isn’t new of course, it’s been going on ever since “badge engineering” was invented in 1917, but this is different. Instead of one company buying parts from another, or GM tossing a new logo on an Oldsmobile to create a Buick, these parts are made by a third party, available for sale to anyone with the cash. Ever wonder how Fiskar and Tesla can create a unique vehicle so quickly? The universal parts bin is how.

Most car companies dive into the same interior parts bins time after time, rarely seeking new foraging grounds. This is why the Big Three seem to frequently share things like those window switches, seat controls, etc. Meanwhile the Europeans and Japanese tend to have their own circle of parts suppliers. It’s also why the Coda sedan looks so odd to Americans; Coda raided a Chinese market parts bin. When it comes to powertrains, geographic divisions drop because engines and transmissions are expensive to develop resulting in a smaller global pond to fish from.

The big boys in passenger car automatic transmission design are: ZF, GM, Aisin, Mercedes, Jatco and Hyundai. Why am I not including Chrysler and Honda? Chrysler is easy: they have chosen to license/tweak transmissions from ZF rather than developing their own. Ford can’t make up their mind co-developing a 6-speed transaxle with GM, then licensing ZF’s 6-speed RWD swapper. All indications seem to point to Ford licensing the 8-speed RWD box from ZF while splitting development costs with GM on new xx-speed transaxles for smaller cars. Honda doesn’t tend to sell its in-house transmissions to other companies and if the rumor mill is correct, Honda will be buying ZF’s 9-speed transaxle while they shift R&D dollars to CVT development.

What does that mean to you as a consumer? And why are we talking Volvo and Lexus? Because companies tend to stick with a transmission maker for the long haul. BMW has a history of buying GM and ZF. Luxury car companies (and now Ford and Chrysler) typically use ZF cog-swappers. Ford Europe and Renault are in bed with Jatco. Chrysler likes Hyundai’s FWD transaxles. Toyota, Lexus, Volvo, MINI, VW, Mitsubishi and Porsche order from Aisin’s transmission catalog. Consequently when a new Euro sedan comes out with ZF’s latest widget, you know that sooner-or-later every ZF customer have it. (There is usually a delay because companies will pay extra to have a period of exclusive access to new technology.)

When the 2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport dropped quietly last year at a Lexus event, I was excited and intrigued. Not by the refreshed RX, but by what;s under the hood: the first production 8-speed automatic transaxle. Since the RX is a Lexus, we know that the transmission was made by Aisin (Toyota doesn’t use anyone else). Logically it was only a matter of time until this tranny landed on the Aisin general catalog and today appears to be that day. As a footnote in Volvo’s press release about their new four-cylinder engine family is buried one line “Volvo will also introduce a new 8-speed automatic gearbox that contributes to a refined drive and excellent fuel economy.” I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts the new slushbox is the same 8-speed unit that’s in the RX F-Sport I’m driving this week. Next stop: 8-speed Mazda 6, VW Jetta, MINI Cooper.

If you’ve ever wondered why it took so long for the four speed automatic to be developed, while 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 speed units have happened so rapidly, part of the answer is in this shift to communal parts-bin technology. While this means technology can develop more rapidly with more resources being applied to the same development project, it also means cars lack the uniqueness they once had. No longer can we sit around the card table drinking beer and arguing the eternal question: TorqueFlite vs Cruise-O-Matic vs Hydra-Matic.

 

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Are You Ready For: 10-Speed Hyundais? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/are-you-ready-for-10-speed-hyundais/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/are-you-ready-for-10-speed-hyundais/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2011 15:25:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412961 It probably won’t help Herr Dr Martin Winterkorn’s indigestion any, but Automotive News [sub] reports that Hyundai Motor Group (the technical umbrella firm that supplies technology to both Hyundai and Kia) is developing a new 10-speed automatic transmission, which  will be for luxury models starting in 2014, possibly including the Hyundai Genesis and Equus luxury […]

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It probably won’t help Herr Dr Martin Winterkorn’s indigestion any, but Automotive News [sub] reports that Hyundai Motor Group (the technical umbrella firm that supplies technology to both Hyundai and Kia) is developing a new 10-speed automatic transmission, which

 will be for luxury models starting in 2014, possibly including the Hyundai Genesis and Equus luxury sedans.

Hyundai debuted an eight-speed autobox over a year ago, matching the industry standard for luxury cars. But with ZF announcing a new nine-speed box, Hyundai is taking things a step further… or is it a cog too far?

Some reviewers already complain that eight speeds is too many, and that too many cogs create an overly “busy” transmission. Also, ZF’s driveline boss Gerhard Wagner insisted back in 2009

a major step towards the reduction of fuel consumption such as the one we have seen from the automatic six to the eight-speed transmission will not be possible with more gear steps. If there was an ideal transmission, with our current solution we are only about 11 percent away from it.

Which raises an interesting question: is Hyundai leading the industry, or trolling it, taunting the titans of luxury with its extra gear? Or is this misinformation, leaked in hopes of luring the ultra-status-conscious luxury brands into a pointless investment? Either way, it ensures the name “Hyundai” will be echoing through automotive boardrooms for at least a little longer.

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GM Considering CVTs In Daewoo-Developed Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/gm-considering-cvts-in-daewoo-developed-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/gm-considering-cvts-in-daewoo-developed-cars/#comments Tue, 30 Nov 2010 00:27:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=374952 AutoWeek reports: GM doesn’t use [Continuously Variable Transmissions] now. But they could be used on models such as the Chevrolet Spark, Aveo and Cruze in the next three years, said Mike Arcamone, CEO of GM Daewoo Auto & Technology. GM will have to improve the mileage on these models by at least 10 percent by […]

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AutoWeek reports:

GM doesn’t use [Continuously Variable Transmissions] now. But they could be used on models such as the Chevrolet Spark, Aveo and Cruze in the next three years, said Mike Arcamone, CEO of GM Daewoo Auto & Technology.

GM will have to improve the mileage on these models by at least 10 percent by the next full-model change, said Sohn Dongyoun, vice president of engineering at GM’s global small- and minicar development team at GM Daewoo. CVTs offer an easy, quick fix, he said.
Nissan has (in my eyes) refined its CVT to the point where it can be downright eager in applications like the Juke, but GM’s track record with the the CVT is less well-proven. GM hasn’t offered the transmission since dropping it as an option from the Saturn Ion coupe and Vue and the Opel Astra in 1995. And Daewoo’s CVT would have to be incredibly good to erase fears left from the previous experience, in which GM paid Saturn owners over $100m in settlements for transmission failure. Sohn’s line about CVTs being a “easy, quick fix” should ring a few alarm bells somewhere in the RenCen.

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