Automatic - good or bad?

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Pastis
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Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Pastis » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:17 pm

What's the general feeling about auto BXs? Seems to be mixed opinions, but having spent an hour crawling along the Marylebone/Euston Road, and bearing the almost universal UK road congestion, the benefits of an auto are alluring!

The ZF box used in the BX was used in a variety of makes quite successfully, yet a forum search brings up quite a few remarks about unreliability.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by St.Eve » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:56 am

Hi Pastis,

in my opinion - if you live in a city / high traffic area, AT is fine. If you live in countryside, MT has more pro's.
Biggest bad point is - fuel consume. Might not be true for modern AT boxes, but the classic converter just needs some more. And it takes some power away.
In BX, the classic ZF is pretty durable, since you change oil from time to time. By the time, things like leveler cable or reverse switch starts to become faulty, but all in all they can last long.
I always prefer MT, because you can drive much more economic but also can have much more fun. I don't like characteristics of a converter, and i like to have some work while driving ;) Plus MT boxes in BX are pretty good, depending on driver and use, a clutch can last 200.000kms. By the time, the linkage of the shifter gets worn, and shifting gears become a bit fiddly. But - that fits to the whole car aswell :D

Greetings from Germany!
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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Pastis » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:54 am

Hi St.Eve. Wie gehts?

Thanks, I appreciate your opinion. Very much what I thought 'true' situation would be. I remember my old DTR wasn't too bad in traffic, would trickle along at idle in 2nd quite happily on the flat!

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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by St.Eve » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:37 pm

Hi Pastis, danke, gut! :)

Yes, esp. for diesel-powered engines i never understood the combination with a converter automatic box. It completely ruins the standalone effect of a diesel - crawling. With the right car and enough feeling in the clutch-foot you can climb thru busy traffic without touching gas pedal. Plus diesel has its torque very low and it just makes no sense to not shift gears by yourself. Kickdown is totally worthless, even more harmful. I drove a C5 2.0 Diesel with converter AT for a short while, it just made me pull my hair out. High consumtion and totally idiotic shiftpoints and loss of power / torque. I couldn't stand it longer than 3 weeks. Same car, same engine, sixspeed manual gearbox - perfect. 2 (!) Litres less and the whole car became sporty and efficent to drive.

I testdrove the newer C5 with that 6 speed Aisin-AT, which is doing a good job, shifts fast and clever. But thats not even a classic converter anymore, so its hard to compare, i think.
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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Kitch » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:29 pm

I had a 1.6 auto once, and it was too gutless. I think you'd need the 1.9 petrol (GTi, ideally) to make it anything close to nice to drive! A turbo diesel would work well too, but they never did those. The n/a diesel would probably feel more responsive than the 16 petrol auto (despite it probably being slower overall).

And with the 16 petrol, the economy was awful, because I had to mash my foot down to go anywhere!

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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Defender110 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:58 am

Nothing wrong with the autos unless you are a speed freak. My TGD auto was an excellent commuter car keeping up well with modern traffic in it's own sedate way, lovely smooth changes and a quiet motorway cruiser. I wouldn't hesitate to have another. Finding a good one would be a hard task though.
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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Kitch » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:24 pm

Defender110 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:58 am
Nothing wrong with the autos unless you are a speed freak.


Translation: They're slow. :wink:

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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Defender110 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:18 pm

Not fast but I certainly didn't find mine slow but I am not a speed freak unlike many drivers these days who seam to want to be the first to arrive at every red light ;-)
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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by rutter123 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:59 pm

With the average speed on our motorways now being around 50mph if you're lucky, and city traffic at 10mph I think the auto is the ideal candidate and the frugal 1.9d should give 40's mpg.
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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Kitch » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:47 am

Defender110 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:18 pm
Not fast but I certainly didn't find mine slow but I am not a speed freak unlike many drivers these days who seam to want to be the first to arrive at every red light ;-)


It was the hills on the M27 that my 16 auto struggled with! Was always on the cusp of a downchange at 65-70mph, and did 20-25mpg while doing it. Hateful thing!

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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Defender110 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:00 am

Kitch wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:47 am
It was the hills on the M27 that my 16 auto struggled with! Was always on the cusp of a downchange at 65-70mph, and did 20-25mpg while doing it. Hateful thing!


Can't possibly be as hateful as the 850cc Austin mini auto I once owned, looked the business in red with white roof and wide 10" wheller wheels but 0-60 in 39 seconds and a neck brace needed for the gear changes. ;-(
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2003 Land Rover Discovery TD5 - hobby days and camping.
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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Pastis » Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:03 pm

I did wonder about the engine having the power to handle an auto box comfortably. But then I thought about the Volvo, 2.0 ltr (actually 1,986 cc) it's certainly not 'fast', but no problem in everyday traffic/use - it weighs nearly 50% more than a BX. So the 300 cc deficit shouldn't be that much of a problem, as long as the ratios suit?

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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Kitch » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:03 am

Well, 1986cc is a 2.0 engine, so you were correct there!

Around town there's not much problem, but then a 2CV is probably quick enough around town. My BX 16 auto (early mk1) struggled once you got out of town. There was a million rpm drop between each gear shift, and it was always inbetween them, especially on the motorway. Can't remember if it was smooth or not (I think it was) but IMO the 1.6 engine just isn't flexible enough. I had to cain it to overtake anybody on the motorway, or make progress up hills, and that just ruined the economy. I expect a 1.9 would be much, much better, and a TD would probably be an ideal combo. Just a shame they never made them.

It's not about trying to drive quickly, as no BX is about that these days. It's just that an auto is supposed to be more relaxing to drive, and there wasn't much relaxing about having a million cars sat on your bumper because you desperately wanted to achieve 30mpg!

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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by St.Eve » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:49 pm

I'm in with Kitch - it really depends on the size of the engine. I drove a Nissan Micra K13 with a 1.2 petrol and a normal AT once. I asked myself all the time, if any of these bloody engineers ever testdrove their mess. You have to work a lot with kickdown which is mostly worthless but needed to get hang on traffic. So most time spend was full throttle, leaving throttle, then full again, because there was nothing happening in its range. It would be fine to leave the gas pedal out and just install a switch instead!

Thats what i hated the most - these biiiiiig gaps between the gears. You were going on a nice accerlation, then gearbox shifts up, and the whole car accerlate much slower. Guys behind you are getting crazy and its just a bit stressful to drive behind this constellation, i can admit. So you push a bit more, and what happens, is a safe thing, you visit the gas station very often.

Anyway, a C5 3.0 petrol with AT is good to drive, it can compensate the gaps easy. Wouldnt be much more fun with MT in normal conditions i think. But small engines with a powerconsumtioning gearbox which works like "i dont give a f*ck" is just messy to drive.
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Pastis
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Re: Automatic - good or bad?

Post by Pastis » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:17 am

Kitch wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:03 am
Well, 1986cc is a 2.0 engine, so you were correct there!

Around town there's not much problem, but then a 2CV is probably quick enough around town. My BX 16 auto (early mk1) struggled once you got out of town. There was a million rpm drop between each gear shift, and it was always inbetween them, especially on the motorway. Can't remember if it was smooth or not (I think it was) but IMO the 1.6 engine just isn't flexible enough. I had to cain it to overtake anybody on the motorway, or make progress up hills, and that just ruined the economy. I expect a 1.9 would be much, much better, and a TD would probably be an ideal combo. Just a shame they never made them.


Around town there's not much problem Isn't that anywhere in the UK nowadays?! It's not until you go somewhere like France that you realise just how bad our roads are nowadays.

a 2CV is probably quick enough around town Easier to park and, in London, you can get places you can't squeeze through in anything wider. And, to illustrate a point re. 'slow' cars: From home to the centre of Bristol is exactly 60 miles. The quickest I've ever done it is in - a 2CV! I've tried to beat my time several times, caning it down the M4, never managed it......