1. Manual or automatic?

    Hi everyone!

    I love Rubicon, don't own one, yet.
    Question is: which transmission is better to do off road, manual or automatic?
    How does it do when comparing rock climbing vs. mudding?
    What is the difference?
    Thank you for your help.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Felton Delaware
    Manuals are fun, but I'd say auto is easier to control on the trail...

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Jeepz

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    Re: Manual or automatic?

    I personally like manuals, my only complaint about a auto off road is, I have been in spots where the auto didn't have the power to pull me further. I have been told it was the converter that stopped me, still didn't leave me feeling good. I think its a personal preference thing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Re: Manual or automatic?

    That's like asking which color is better!!

    I prefer automatics for control off road.

  5. #5

    Re: Manual or automatic?

    Like asking Ford or Chevy

    I prefer the manual for the trail riding I do. The trails here in the Midwest are tight, and I prefer to clutch and roll on tight 3+ point turns. Those with Autos have to stop, shift, stop, shift, stop, shift, etc.... I also like the broad selection of gears for a particular hill or obstacle.

    Most automatics are more susceptible to water contamination and damage. Manuals are generally pretty bulletproof.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Springboro, Ohio
    I like auto, but I have never driven a manual offroad. I could just drop the auto in 2nd and creep along without accidentally killing the engine while attempting to climb a challenging obstacle. I agree with Bounty Hunter that autos are more susceptible to damage. My 42RLE in the 06 LJ had to be swapped out after 51,000 miles... Many hours of those miles were spent in mud, creeks, clay, and sand. Maybe you could go out with a friend's manual and another's automatic and see which you like.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Virginia Beach VA

    Re: Manual or automatic?

    I've driven both offroad and like the auto better. It can be tough trying to shift to second on a hill climb.

    Having said that, many TJ autos tend to overheat offroad (mine included). You have to be more aware of heat in auto, do fluid changes, etc, while as Bounty said, the manuals are bulletproof.
    My 2005 Wrangler Build Thread

    “He who is without oil shall throw the first rod.” -Compressions 8.7:1

  8. #8

    Re: Manual or automatic?

    My vote goes to the Auto. I think you get much better control off road with it.
    07 JKU with a lot of mods.
    See my jeep in action and mods @
    CEO of Black Sheep 4x4s http://www.blacksheep4x4s.org

    Member of CCJ, White Jeep Club Member #137.

  9. #9
    I've always liked manual trans. As mentioned before, its bullet proof and simple to repair if something goes bad internally. Less maintenance than and automatic. Shift on demand and engine brake option is good too.

    Sent from my iPad using Jeepz
    Confucious says: Don't eat the snow where the huskies go!

  10. #10

    Re: Manual or automatic?

    I can't drive stick anymore (broke my right shoulder and tore the ligaments in my left leg) but I drove stick from knee high to a grasshopper and I still preferred auto for serious hillclimbing.
    '87 Comanche 4x4 lifted 5 1/2" on 33" tires 4.0L/AW4/NP242 $3500
    Perfect combination but too small to haul my Grand Kids and wife in.

  11. Re: Manual or automatic?

    Definitely automatic. Though I can drive a stick shift, I prefer an A/T when off-roading.

  12. Re: Manual or automatic?

    I've got used to having a M/T car, but automatic is way easier to use when going for an off-road adventure.

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