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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After years living in the mountains and having an '08 FJ with a 6-speed manual transmission, frequent shifting is a way of life and a way to manage smooth driving, mileage, and saving brakes. My '08 is no longer with us (RIP :crying) and I, given limited choices, replaced the '08 with a sweet, low-mileage 2013 TTSE with Automatic Transmission.

I find myself running through the AT gears, much like a manual tranny. I'm downshifting for engine braking, shifting through gears to manage my acceleration curve, and trying to avoid annoying gear-searching that the AT frequently does. When I'm on level roads and during most highway driving I'm leaving the transmission in 4th or Drive.

I am concerned I'm doing harm to the transmission. What to the folks on this thread think?
 

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Downshifting on downgrades is a totally acceptable and common practice.

I don't see much reason to up-shift... to avoid the hunting around in 5th I keep it in 4th if I need to.... or may manually go to 4th and back to 5th when things level out.

I'm almost always in 4th... but the highway driving I do is usually towing something as well. It almost feels like a treat to have no load and drive in 5th on the highway :D
 

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I’ve manually shifted mine since I’ve had it and it’s got 97K on her. The simple truth is that if you’re running a modded FJ with extra weight sometimes you need to manually shift it or it’ll drive you crazy up and down shifting, and I always manually shift on trails, just easier on the valve body IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Downshifting on downgrades is a totally acceptable and common practice.



I don't see much reason to up-shift... to avoid the hunting around in 5th I keep it in 4th if I need to.... or may manually go to 4th and back to 5th when things level out.



I'm almost always in 4th... but the highway driving I do is usually towing something as well. It almost feels like a treat to have no load and drive in 5th on the highway :D


Very similar to my practice. I'm the urban areas , I sometimes stay in 3rd so I can get some engine breaking too.

Gear hunting is annoying in the mountains on the highway, also given the 5000+ weight, I like to accelerate to speed in 3rd or
4th when merging on highway.


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x2 manually shifting AT won't harm anything


People love to say how brakes are cheaper, but that's not what's being done when shifting (load is nothing like the same).

It is possible to damage a transmission by mistreating it, but manually selecting the gears in reasonable rev range is just normal as far as the transmission is concerned.


Just don't over rev the engine, or hit R by accident (!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Brakes are cheaper than a transmission/engine. Using transmission gears/ with engine compression braking by downshifting is okay as it does it already from the factory, but I'd be sure to do it along with foot braking.


I had a rental SUV when mine was in the shop. It had a sport/hill mode and was great for holding downhill speed.

I miss my 6 speed manual ;)


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’ve manually shifted mine since I’ve had it and it’s got 97K on her. The simple truth is that if you’re running a modded FJ with extra weight sometimes you need to manually shift it or it’ll drive you crazy up and down shifting, and I always manually shift on trails, just easier on the valve body IMO.


Makes sense. I have a lift, ARB bumper, aftermarket wheels with 33" and winch.

I try to be care when and how I shift trying to keep it "smooth"

Sounds like damage is from aggressively shifting and getting RPM "shock."


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I shift a lot. Mostly on the freeway between 4th and 5th. The sprint booster is a great mod, pricey but so worth it. Also with the ultra gauge I am constantly monitoring the trans pan temp. Its amazing how fast the temp can change....and I put in a trans cooler. I try to keep the temp below 200.
 

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Makes sense. I have a lift, ARB bumper, aftermarket wheels with 33" and winch.

I try to be care when and how I shift trying to keep it "smooth"

Sounds like damage is from aggressively shifting and getting RPM "shock."


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I don't find myself manually shifting as much as I did prior to installing my new gears, they keep everything in a sweet spot with the extra weight and 35's. I still manually shifted the hell out of it in the mountains, yea brakes may be cheap but not when they overheat and fade on a 25 degree downgrade approaching a switchback. Brakes become almost useless at high temps, keep em cool and use the tranny, I barely touched my brakes descending extreme inclines in Ouray.
 

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I shift a lot. Mostly on the freeway between 4th and 5th. The sprint booster is a great mod, pricey but so worth it. Also with the ultra gauge I am constantly monitoring the trans pan temp. Its amazing how fast the temp can change....and I put in a trans cooler. I try to keep the temp below 200.
The shifting between 4th and 5th was driving me crazy and I held it in 4th most of the way home from Ouray last year so I decided to re-gear to 4.88's. She don't shift up and down anymore! :grin

Only problem now is my Sprint Booster is either turned off or in race mode, sport mode makes it shift wildly, I guess the gears moved the shift points around where it doesn't jive with the fuel curve in sport mode.
 

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brakes may be cheap but not when they overheat and fade on a 25 degree downgrade approaching a switchback.
Being in the wrong gear is equally as dangerous. Get better brakes that match your driving. Not necessarily replacing expensive caliper kits, but heavy duty brake pads, braided lines, and fresh fluid. If you've added 500lbs in payload and passengers plus unsprung weight of tires, can't expect the brakes to react the same.(Not necessarily you, but maybe people on the trails.) My answer is not to expect the transmission, nor brakes to do the bulk of the work.

I'm in the camp of use both brakes and gear selecting. :cheers:
 

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Lately I have been keeping it in 4th and only going to 5th on the freeway. Drive so so much better around town, ect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Being in the wrong gear is equally as dangerous. Get better brakes that match your driving. Not necessarily replacing expensive caliper kits, but heavy duty brake pads, braided lines, and fresh fluid. If you've added 500lbs in payload and passengers plus unsprung weight of tires, can't expect the brakes to react the same.(Not necessarily you, but maybe people on the trails.) My answer is not to expect the transmission, nor brakes to do the bulk of the work.



I'm in the camp of use both brakes and gear selecting. :cheers:


Would love to learn more about the spring booster and skill level required to install it.


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Would love to learn more about the spring booster and skill level required to install it.


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The sprint booster is a plug and play design that plugs into the accelerator sensor and then plugs into the line that runs to the engine. You can mount the push button anywhere you like to toggle through the modes. Easiest install I’ve had on the FJ and a hell of a lot of bang for the buck.

Ray has a demonstration video up on his site PureFJ, that’s where I purchased mine.
 

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The short answer is No.

It won't hurt at all. I down shift all the time. Always have, always will, any make, any model.

In some cases it's better for your trans, as the RPM increases during down shifting, it will actually spin the pump in the transmission, exchanging hot fluid into the cooler and cooler fluid back into the trans, as well as saving your brakes. If the transmission ECT didn't want to be down shifted, then the programming wouldn't allow it to shift into the next lowest gear. Ever notice that if you throw it into 3rd at say...85mph, it won't actually downshift until it gets closer to 60 or 70(depending on axle gear ratio)? That's the safety mechanism in the programming of the ECT that won't allow the trans to grenade itself.
 

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The short answer is No.

It won't hurt at all. I down shift all the time. Always have, always will, any make, any model.

In some cases it's better for your trans, as the RPM increases during down shifting, it will actually spin the pump in the transmission, exchanging hot fluid into the cooler and cooler fluid back into the trans, as well as saving your brakes. If the transmission ECT didn't want to be down shifted, then the programming wouldn't allow it to shift into the next lowest gear. Ever notice that if you throw it into 3rd at say...85mph, it won't actually downshift until it gets closer to 60 or 70(depending on axle gear ratio)? That's the safety mechanism in the programming of the ECT that won't allow the trans to grenade itself.
Excellent points CC, I’ve downshifted too late on a decent and the trans freewheeled until I braked slightly reducing speed.

I had never pondered it cycling the fluid, that’s a hell of a plus.
 

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That's a big reason I am always watching the trans temp. I can control the temp by shifting. It will change 20-30 degrees in a matter of 10-20 seconds. Sometimes it is counter-intuitive. Shifting up, or down does not always change the temp the way you would think. True that in most cases, downshifting to raise revs will cool it down like CC stated.
 
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