Dieselfumes: Trucks with Automated Manual and Allison Automatic Transmissions; I drive them, to explain them.

This past weekend, I decided to try out two different Freightliner Trucks, one equipped with a Mercedes-Benz Automated Manual (AGS), and one with an Allison Fully Automatic, with a throwback shift control. I even included videos, and I never realized how uncomfortable I am in front of a camera. Oh well, it’s time for you to see my endeavors after the jump.

Allison 3000 Truck Automatic Transmission

Mercedes-Benz Automated Grar Shift (AGS) Automated Manual Truck Transmission


Daimler has stated that as part of the reorganization of its commercial truck operations, it would move toward greater internal sourcing of components for its vehicles. Some of these manifestations are beginning to be seen as Mercedes-Benz transmissions and engines became available for its truck line. The Mercedes-Benz Automated Gear Shift (AGS) transmission has been available for Freightliner Business Class M2 vehicles since 2004.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gOhGD6Zdj0[/youtube]
The AGS transmission features a two-pedal, automated clutch actuation system. With the transmission no manual shifting or clutching is required. The transmission automatically manages all gear shifts, which makes the truck more efficient and easier to drive. Because the transmission is computer automates the life of the clutch and the transmission are significantly extended, which makes it economical to maintain.
The AGS is designed as an automated transmission, but a manual shift option is offered. Freightliner’s Smart-Shift lever allows drivers to drift manually, depending on conditions or preference. This allows for total control and versatility while driving in tough road conditions.
At the heart of this unit is the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) controls the automated clutch actuator, which provides a smoother engagement than a traditional clutch pedal. The TCU continuously senses road conditions, load conditions and grades to precisely determine shift points. Based on the Mercedes-Benz six-speed manual transmission, the AGS consists of parts that require little or no maintenance. The hydraulic shift actuator is compact and virtually maintenance-free, while heat-treated steel alloy gears and sealed bearings have undergone a rigorous performance test for quality. The AGS transmission is lightweight, utilizing an aluminum alloy housing with an integrated bell housing.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuSGu8mZ1X0[/youtube]
The other truck is equipped with an Allison Automatic, which is your typical Torque Converter equipped automatic, only with the ability to handle higher payloads. Allison Transmission is the world leader in designing, and manufacturing fully automatic transmissions for commercial applications. Allison has a wide variety of models to cover the diverse vocations and chassis types and sizes of commercial vehicles worldwide.
Allison has assembly plants in Indianapolis, USA and Szentgottard, Hungary. Utilizing state-of-the-art electronic controls, Allison is the only automatic transmission manufacturer that can offer a vast number of features to customize our products into different types of vocations. The 3000 Series, which this truck was equipped, Is flexible enough to work in a wide variety of vehicles, designed with a choice of close ratio for city streets and highway driving and wide ratio for construction and refuse applications. The torque converter results in better startability than the Automated Manual, particularly on an incline.
So, which one is the choice for the Medium Duty Truck Market? Right now, it is the Allison, becuse it is offered on so many different brands of truck, both domestically produced, as well as imported. Volvo Trucks is now offering their own version of the Automated Manual, called the I-Shift, for their heavy duty models. Eaton is also offering an Automated Manual for the Heavy Duty Truck Market, called the Ultra-Shift (And if you catch the beginning of the first video, I said Ultra-Shift was on the Freightliner.) While the Automated Manuals are as fuel thrifty as regular manuals, Allison has the market tied up.

0 Comments

      1. I wish he would have set the brake at the end, because that PSSHHHTT! of the air evacuating the system warms the cockles of every truck drivers heart, because that means you're done, and sleep/pie/coffee is on the way!

  1. Great video, UDMan…!
    I remember the first time I'd ever heard of Jake Brakes was when visiting friends who lived in lovely Mt. Vernon, WA. In their hilly and bucolic neighborhood were large signs scolding any passing lumber trucks with "Quiet Zone… No Jakes!" I had to ask them what in the world the sign was referring to. Lesson learned.
    And now, thanks to UDMan, I know how to turn them on and off in the cab…!

    1. Ahhh! St. Jacob's Engine Retarder! A finer gift to humankind has never been given. The total number of lives saved by this simple yet complex invention will never be known, but it must be in the bajillions. You know those "Run-away Truck Ramps" that you see on steep mountain grades out here in the West? Those are for trucks without Jake-Brakes, mainly Eastern trucks that run where they don't have mountains. How it works is pretty cool. In a nutshell, what it does is open the exhaust valve just before detonation at the top of the compression stroke, so the piston isn't driven downward by the 'splosion, the intake valve doesn't open until the very bottom of the stroke, so the piston is sucking a vacuum on the way down, essentially running backwards. Brilliant!

      1. Yes, while going down a steep hill I had a retaining spring break on a clutch. The Jake had sensor that when the clutch was depressed the Jake turned off so as not to stall the engine when shifting. Every time I hit a frost heave on the road the Jake would cut out and I would gain speed. Thankfully I did not have a heavy load and was able to easily use my brakes.

  2. So the Benz trans. Does it feel like a pro stick driver, where as the shifts are smooth and almost unnoticeable (nearly automatic), or does it feel more jerky?

    1. Hopefully it doesn't have any Chrysler DNA. Worst. Shift-logic. In the World.
      1 2! 3 2? 4. 1,2 … 3,4! 3!
      If they could cut out the unnecessary shifts, they would last twice as long as anything else instead of half as long.

  3. The Allison transmission is really the going thing. The serious RV'ers, the full timers hauling gigantic 5th wheels, swear by them. Prefer them over manuals. My parents put like 80k miles on one when they lived full time in their 35 foot Winnebago, trouble free, pulling various Suzukis or their trike trailer, with the rig loaded with all their stuff. Best truck transmission going, as far as I know.

  4. nice job UD, now all wee need you to do it test an IVT, unfortunately the easiest way to get your hands on one of those is in a John Deere tractor…

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