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MOAB SUPERSTAR
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In my opinion manual trans can be dangerous in some rock crawling scenarios. I often wheel two-footed with my auto tranny, and would need a third foot to be safe in some extreme situations. And as mentioned above there’s the pain of stop n go traffic whereas with auto, you can just idle along, zero footed :wink I’ve had numerous manual vehicles and don’t miss it now, not even a little...
 

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In my opinion manual trans can be dangerous in some rock crawling scenarios. I often wheel two-footed with my auto tranny, and would need a third foot to be safe in some extreme situations. And as mentioned above there’s the pain of stop n go traffic whereas with auto, you can just idle along, zero footed :wink I’ve had numerous manual vehicles and don’t miss it now, not even a little...
Horses for courses.
In rocks I think AT is going to be a better choice - I don't like the smell of burning clutch.
With the advent of CRAWL, ATs are eerily good at extracting themselves from the sh1t in soft, deep sand.
AT is a good choice for most situations. MT is technically more demanding, and much less forgiving when you screw it up. In the desert, my hands & feet are all over the place, locking & unlocking diffs and gear changes, although if the workload is getting too much, I'll lock the rear, let the LSD take care of the centre, keep the shifts to a minimum and make good use of throttle steer.
 

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MOAB SUPERSTAR
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My third foot is the e brake right there next to my right hand. Easy and simple


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There is no way I’d want to steer one-handed in some situations, nor would I want to divide my attention any further - to remember to take hand off the wheel and carefully modulate pressure of ebrake. Nope, not on steep rocky off-camber type extreme stuff....not a good idea to add factors for driver input error there.
 

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If you are not capable of driving a MT don’t. My experience of both MT and AT is vast. Steering a person away from a MT by trying to scare them is a scam.


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MOAB SUPERSTAR
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If you are not capable of driving a MT don’t. My experience of both MT and AT is vast. Steering a person away from a MT by trying to scare them is a scam.


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Not meaning to imply you do not know how to drive both, or attempting to “scare” anyone away from using manual for general off-roading. No personal insult intended. Simply, there is good reason for consensus that manual is not the best for the specific sport of rockcrawling, and I wholeheartedly agree with the reasoning based on my experience crawling some of the toughest terrain in the country. While OP has not stated he is getting into extreme stuff, he might at some point in the future and felt my answer to his posted question should include comments about potential issues.
 

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In my opinion manual trans can be dangerous in some rock crawling scenarios. I often wheel two-footed with my auto tranny, and would need a third foot to be safe in some extreme situations. And as mentioned above there’s the pain of stop n go traffic whereas with auto, you can just idle along, zero footed :wink I’ve had numerous manual vehicles and don’t miss it now, not even a little...
The crawling scenarios your are referring to maybe 1% of owners would be in those situations.

Heel and toe - anyone who drives a manual should learn how to do....it just not for down shifting

Driving the FJ in traffic in stop n go is a breeze. In 1st the response to throttle input is great add in brake control you'll never have to clutch. But it also requires the driver to pay attention and a smidge of planning.

Idling along "zero footed" is giving up a measure of control and that is a dangerous.
 

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Of the 20 or 30 cars I've owned in my life, I've only bought one AT vehicle, and that's my recently acquired winter (rust) vehicle, because it was so cheap.

MT all of the way.
As noted by others above, the rock crawling scenarios are a unique case, but for everything else I like being in control, have never felt "too busy" and even in stop and go driving, as mikey pointed out, isn't an issue when one gets in the zone.

The thing is, driving an MT well, used to be a true right of passage, for any hard core car nut. But with modern cars, you can't get one, and also anyone can simply sit down and "turn the big knob" (that's the steering wheel part), taking away what used to matter.

So, the choice, which is solely personal, will always bring out strong opinions, and like most opinions, are strongly held and one's has little/nothing to do with someone else's.

Norm
 

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If you are not capable of driving a MT don’t. My experience of both MT and AT is vast. Steering a person away from a MT by trying to scare them is a scam.
Sharing the fact that rock crawling with a MT is more work than with an AT is honesty, not a scam. It's not a question of being capable, it's a question of not having enough feet or hands to use all 3 pedals with 2 hands on the steering wheel when doing some of the most difficult terrain your truck can do.

I can spot 100 vehicles up a difficult obstacle here in Colorado an tell you every single one that is an MT. They're the ones having a harder time of it, doing it less smoothly, revving the engine. If you find this challenge enjoyable, good for you. Telling other people that this challenge exists is not a scam.
 

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Manuals are fun plus, children now a days don't have a clue how to drive them. While I'm happy as can be with my slushbox, there are times I do miss running the gears myself.
There's a ton of info here on just about every bolt on the FJ. Search and research!
Oh my - you found the weakest link in the MT argument.

When I used to park the FJ60 in the driveway, behind SWMBO, it meant I had to wake up or be dressed in order to go out and move the FJ60 because she does NOT drive MT. If there was any issue about moving the FJ60, I had to do it.

I slept in today, due to doing bedliner until 10pm and then driving 2 hrs home. I did NOT HAVE TO WAKE UP AT 5AM when she did - because HelTeef is an AT!
 

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Sharing the fact that rock crawling with a MT is more work than with an AT is honesty, not a scam. It's not a question of being capable, it's a question of not having enough feet or hands to use all 3 pedals with 2 hands on the steering wheel when doing some of the most difficult terrain your truck can do.



I can spot 100 vehicles up a difficult obstacle here in Colorado an tell you every single one that is an MT. They're the ones having a harder time of it, doing it less smoothly, revving the engine. If you find this challenge enjoyable, good for you. Telling other people that this challenge exists is not a scam.

The MT is geared lower, can be bumped started and is a breeze down hills.
If you don’t have the skills or knowledge then get AT I guess. Maybe it’s the thin air or something in the air that makes it difficult where your at.


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The MT is geared lower, can be bumped started and is a breeze down hills.
1st gear is geared marginally lower, which is the only benefit to rock crawling. All 5 forward gears are selectable on the AT FJ, this is a common misconception of MT owners who have never driven an AT FJ:



If you don’t have the skills or knowledge then get AT I guess.
You drive a slow, heavy, unaerodynamic box. It is not "fun" to drive on the road, not as a manual or an automatic. It's nice to be riding above other people, if that's your thing. The MT on-road is not faster, it does not handle better, it does not magically become aerodynamic. It is not a sportscar. It's the same slow, heavy, squishy box as the rest of us.

My weekend fun car is a mid-engined, targa-top'd, 20 year old Honda. In this type of car, for driving on the road, you buy the manual. Your slow, heavy, squishy box isn't this.

You will never crawl a rock as well -- as smoothly, as slowly, as quietly, as controlled -- in your MT as a modern AT truck with ATRAC and Lockers will. Skills and knowledge have nothing to do with it. You don't have 3 legs and 3 arms, you can't detect and respond to wheel slip faster or better than the car's ABS computer. You can't push 3 pedals at the same time, you only have 2 legs. Heel-toe works but is less precise than 1 foot per pedal. Use your e-brake instead of heel-toe and now you have just one hand on the steering wheel, and you're only braking two wheels.

On some obstacles, your best result will be close enough for the casual observer to not be able to tell the difference. On some, it won't.

Your mindset is common in the subset of people who came to this hobby in an era where AT's had none of the traction technology that they do today. Go slow in an AT, lift a wheel and you're done. Feather the brake, go faster, bump it. Pick one.

None of this ^^^ has been true in these trucks for 14 years. Longer for the Land Cruiser. Your "skills and knowledge" are out of date for the vehicle that this forum is named for. At which point, you're arguing for personal preference. Which is fine! You can have a preference. But that's all your opinion is right now, in the modern world of driving slow square boxes that have advanced technologically over the last 30 years. A preference for what you know, not a knowledge of the current state of things.

Alternately, you can go have this argument on IH8MUD and actually be right.

Maybe it’s the thin air or something in the air that makes it difficult where your at.
I see a lot of pretty trucks with California plates in Ouray every year. Not for lack of terrain, Cali's a big state, I don't know that wheeling here is any different than there.

Please understand what I'm saying here. For most of how most of us use these trucks, MT vs AT as personal preference makes no difference. MT > AT for full-time AWD in bad weather. You can bump start a MT. You can teach your kids to drive with it. AT > MT for driving in heavy traffic, but honestly if you do that a lot, buy a second car.

Crawling hard rocks in 2019 with a Toyota built in the last 15 years, AT > MT. "Skills and knowledge" has nothing to with it. Human physiology, the number of controls you have to interact with and modern offroading traction technology are why.

I meet a lot of new offroaders who don't have your experience, but who do have your mindset. We get to hard obstacles and they struggle. They get frustrated, embarrassed, upset with their vehicles.

I have no interest in talking that person into buying an AT over a MT. It's a free country, do what you like. I just want them to know that this difference exists, so that when (if) they experience it, they aren't surprised by it.
 

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Well stated, @jimmy-buffett :rocker: Only thing I don’t agree with is not relevant to this thread - I find my “box” tremendously FUN to drive, and still smile every time I hop in :grin But as you point out, each to their own!
I disagree, it has everything to with this thread since the OP asked AT or MT?

Thoughts and opinions were offered as requested.
 

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1st gear is geared marginally lower, which is the only benefit to rock crawling. All 5 forward gears are selectable on the AT FJ, this is a common misconception of MT owners who have never driven an AT FJ:











You drive a slow, heavy, unaerodynamic box. It is not "fun" to drive on the road, not as a manual or an automatic. It's nice to be riding above other people, if that's your thing. The MT on-road is not faster, it does not handle better, it does not magically become aerodynamic. It is not a sportscar. It's the same slow, heavy, squishy box as the rest of us.



My weekend fun car is a mid-engined, targa-top'd, 20 year old Honda. In this type of car, for driving on the road, you buy the manual. Your slow, heavy, squishy box isn't this.



You will never crawl a rock as well -- as smoothly, as slowly, as quietly, as controlled -- in your MT as a modern AT truck with ATRAC and Lockers will. Skills and knowledge have nothing to do with it. You don't have 3 legs and 3 arms, you can't detect and respond to wheel slip faster or better than the car's ABS computer. You can't push 3 pedals at the same time, you only have 2 legs. Heel-toe works but is less precise than 1 foot per pedal. Use your e-brake instead of heel-toe and now you have just one hand on the steering wheel, and you're only braking two wheels.



On some obstacles, your best result will be close enough for the casual observer to not be able to tell the difference. On some, it won't.



Your mindset is common in the subset of people who came to this hobby in an era where AT's had none of the traction technology that they do today. Go slow in an AT, lift a wheel and you're done. Feather the brake, go faster, bump it. Pick one.



None of this ^^^ has been true in these trucks for 14 years. Longer for the Land Cruiser. Your "skills and knowledge" are out of date for the vehicle that this forum is named for. At which point, you're arguing for personal preference. Which is fine! You can have a preference. But that's all your opinion is right now, in the modern world of driving slow square boxes that have advanced technologically over the last 30 years. A preference for what you know, not a knowledge of the current state of things.



Alternately, you can go have this argument on IH8MUD and actually be right.







I see a lot of pretty trucks with California plates in Ouray every year. Not for lack of terrain, Cali's a big state, I don't know that wheeling here is any different than there.



Please understand what I'm saying here. For most of how most of us use these trucks, MT vs AT as personal preference makes no difference. MT > AT for full-time AWD in bad weather. You can bump start a MT. You can teach your kids to drive with it. AT > MT for driving in heavy traffic, but honestly if you do that a lot, buy a second car.



Crawling hard rocks in 2019 with a Toyota built in the last 15 years, AT > MT. "Skills and knowledge" has nothing to with it. Human physiology, the number of controls you have to interact with and modern offroading traction technology are why.



I meet a lot of new offroaders who don't have your experience, but who do have your mindset. We get to hard obstacles and they struggle. They get frustrated, embarrassed, upset with their vehicles.



I have no interest in talking that person into buying an AT over a MT. It's a free country, do what you like. I just want them to know that this difference exists, so that when (if) they experience it, they aren't surprised by it.


A lot of that was what you accused me of, opinion. I don’t understand the driving with one hand deal while using e brake. You only have one hand on the wheel the split second or few seconds needed to set yourself. The only 2 wheel braking comment is nothing.


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You drive a slow, heavy, unaerodynamic box. It is not "fun" to drive on the road, not as a manual or an automatic. It's nice to be riding above other people, if that's your thing. The MT on-road is not faster, it does not handle better, it does not magically become aerodynamic. It is not a sportscar. It's the same slow, heavy, squishy box as the rest of us.
Gotta disagree with this after having driven my MT and other AT FJ's extensively. The ATs are missing a certain directness, a certain connection. Had my FJ been an AT, I likely would've sold it years ago. Like a woman, when you find that connection, you marry her, haha.

I've got a 5MT Supra and a 6MT SS sedan that I daily drive, and the FJ is just as pleasurable to drive on the street, though in a completely different way.
 

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MOAB SUPERSTAR
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I disagree, it has everything to with this thread since the OP asked AT or MT?

Thoughts and opinions were offered as requested.
If you re-read my post you’ll see I was commenting on the issue of whether FJs in general are fun to drive which is not the OP question.
 

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A lot of that was what you accused me of, opinion.
Let me suggest a clarification. You concede that MT is harder on rocks than AT, suggesting that it takes "skills and knowledge". I'm not disagreeing with you. It does take more experience and driver skill to drive a MT FJ over a hard obstacle.

The clarification is this: some people prefer the challenge, and some people don't. My only interest here is to identify the challenge for people who aren't aware of it.

If a person asking this question is the type of person who likes this type of challenge, buy the MT. If they don't trust their skills / experience, or don't want the challenge, buy the AT.

My father-in-law is original owner on a '69 Bronco, he's 78 years old now. Manual steering, stick shift, no lockers. A day on the trails driving that truck is exhausting. He's physically incapable of spending a day on the trails in that truck anymore.

My 4Runner, by comparison, is a Cadillac.

Pick your spot on that sliding scale of self-imposed difficulties -- manual steering vs power, manual transmission vs automatic, carburetor vs fuel injection, lockers / traction control vs not -- then enjoy it. But let's not pretend that these equipment choices don't lead to an easier or harder day on the trail. Hard enough for you to care? For me? For Deb? We all have different limits.
 
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