It’s been a while since I’ve been on a good rant. Lately I keep stumbling across news that the manual transmission is dying in the States. This has been an issue for a long, long time across many makes and models. And it has finally made it’s way to the last holdout in the full-size truck segment, the RAM 2500.
Before this news, I was entertaining the idea of trading my current tow rig for something newer with more bells and whistles such as nav and bluetooth. RAM’s decision to axe the manual transmission officially killed that desire. I will gladly keep driving my current rig, a 2015 Ram 2500 Tradesman simply to keep shifting my own gears.
To drive the point home, I purchased the truck new in 2014 looking for a full size diesel truck. Ford and Chevy had already phased the manual out so RAM was my only option. It didn’t hurt that the 2500 is coupled with a Cummins 6.7l motor. A motor known for it’s reliability and ease of maintenance. Making the purchase pretty easy and straight forward a the RAM was literally the only manufacturer that could meet my criteria of diesel, manual, 4×4 and 4 door.
Shifting gears with a manual equipped diesel is a little different from the gas powered motors most are used to. For instance, the redline is around 3k rpm and with such a heavy flywheel, the Cummins motor revs a lot slower. In fact, after purchase, I promptly bounced the tach off the rev limiter on the way home. Oh well, that’s what it is there for. The clutch is pretty heavy as well and you aren’t going to go around town rev matching. (Believe me I tried) However, this is probably the most rewarding manual I have driven. The heavy clutch, low revs, short initial gearing and substantial shifts all combine to make you feel like you are really driving something special. It’s a different feeling from a sports car and everything must be done with purpose and intent. Forceful while remaining smooth. Other drivetrains in this segment are simply boring next to the 6 speed equipped Cummins.
Some of my fellow racers swear by manual tow rigs and others think it’s crazy. We tow to areas that can be quite hilly and one of the great features on the truck is an anti-rollback system that slowly releases the rear brakes as you release the clutch. This eliminates rollback on tricky hills which is a worry for some. Especially towing. Aside from that, the truck tows as expected.
Back to the Rant
Every vehicle I own, aside from my wife’s Jeep, is a manual. This will continue to be the case as long as possible. That means I will keep the current truck for the foreseeable future and am out of the new truck market till someone high enough at Dodge comes to their senses. Until then, I will do whatever I need to in order to prolong it’s service life.
On a positive note, this opens up more avenues here and I will start adding maintenance and modification guides in the tech section for anyone else finding themselves facing the same scenario.