Transmission Trivia for Truck Fans

By: Ian Fortey
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
1 - transmission gearbox Do you know which of these isn't a type of gearbox?
Automatic
Non-Synchromesh
Longitudinal
Odds are if you're driving, you're using an automatic gearbox, a synchromesh gear box, or a non-synchromesh. The first is obviously automatic while the second two are manual. Non-synchromesh requires you to double-clutch to shift. There's no such thing as longitudinal, though.
Synchromesh

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2 - Ford model T What kind of transmission did the Ford Model T have anyway?
Three-speed planetary
Ford introduced the Model T back in 1908 with what it called a three-speed planetary gear transmission. Today, it gets a gear knocked out of the mix because one of those three is reverse and we wouldn't count that.
Six-speed automatic
Dual clutch
Continuously variable

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3 - continuously variable transmission Another name for a continuously variable transmission is what?
Latent
Manual
Planetary gear
Shiftless
Continuously variable transmission is also known as shiftless transmission and is a kind of automatic transmission that easily shifts through gear ratios. It uses a belt-driven design that's still less effective than automatic but makes up for it by being cheaper and better at allowing an engine to operate at its highest RPMs.

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4 - manual transmission What's a good rough estimate of the market share of manual transmissions in the US?
Around 0.1%
Less than 4%
About 10%
No one collects data on that anymore.
The market share for manual transmissions is under 4% in the US and it seems like few people are even aware of how to drive a manual transmission car anymore. That said, manual transmissions are generally cheaper to make and more fuel-efficient and better-performing than automatics.

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5 -  automatic transmission Which one of these things makes automatic transmission more costly than manual?
Transmission control unit
The TCU or transmission control unit adds more cost to an automatic transmission, as a manual doesn't require one. The TCU uses senses and data from the engine control unit to operate the transmission, which means it needs software and proper calibration as opposed to the simple mechanics of a manual transmission.
Transmission gear restraints
Drivetrain
Flex gears

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6 - Dodge Ram SRT10 Which of these trucks used to use the Borg-Warner T-56 transmission?
Ford F-100
Chevy Blazer
Toyota Tacoma
Dodge Ram SRT-10
Usually shortened to the T-56, the Borg-Warner T-56 transmission was first built for the Dodge Viper in 1992 and then found its way into the Dodge Ram among many other vehicles. Ram was one of the only trucks that used the transmission, but you could also find it in Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs, Aston Martins and more.

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7 - 1958 Ford Customline Fordomatic What was the first automatic transmission used by Ford called?
Cruise-O-Matic
Ford-O-Matic
Merc-O-Matic
All of the above
Ford developed the Ford-O-Matic transmission at the end of the '40s for market in 1950. By 1958, the company had opted to call it the Cruise-O-Matic but it was essentially the same transmission. Of course, for Mercury models, the company went with the name Merc-O-Matic.

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8 - Ford Bronco In the '80s and '90s, what company made the M5OD transmission found in Ford Broncos, Rangers, F-150s and more?
Chevy
Mazda
The M5OD transmission was made by Mazda and stood for Mazda 5-speed with Over Drive. It was a manual transmission available for light-duty and medium-duty vehicles. The 2011 Ford Ranger was the last truck to make use of it.
BMW
Leer

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9 - 2020 Chevy Silverado What transmission are you going to find in a 2020 Chevy Silverado?
Tremec TR 6060
AXOD-E
Allison 10-speed
Chevy's newest trucks are outfitted with an Allison 10-speed transmission, which seems to be a response to RAM's increased torque. As a GM rep said, they may offer more torque "but that’s academic if you can’t put all of that torque to the ground."
ZF Powerline

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10 - 9-speed automatic transmission Do you know which vehicle had the first nine-speed automatic transmission?
Chevy Avalanche
Ford Bronco
Toyota Tundra
Jeep Cherokee
Automatic transmission makers keep adding more speeds to them. Four and six used to be the norm, but in 2014 Jeep Cherokee became the first to have a nine-speed, and you can find 10-speed all over the place today, including in Chevy and Ford trucks.

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11 - gear engine Do you know what connects a manual transmission to your engine?
Camshaft
Drivetrain
Clutch
The clutch is what connects the transmission and the engine in a vehicle. In basic terms, the clutch works by connecting or disconnecting rotating shafts. One is for the engine and one for the wheels. The clutch controls the slippage between the always-spinning engine and the only-spinning-when-you-want-them-to wheels.
Gearbox

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12 - truck 18 gears How many gears can a truck have?
10
12
18
For the most part, the highest number of gears you'll ever see in a semi-truck is 18. Pickups often have 10 these days and not all semis need 18, but they can be helpful for when a truck is hauling a massive trailer that weighs tons and they're trying to go down or up a hill safely.
22

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13 - manual transmission When you hear grinding in a manual transmission, what could you be hearing?
Worn-out clutch
The collar colliding with the gear
Out of transmission fluid
All of the above
Part of the reason manual transmission fell out of favor is that when people use them incorrectly, they produce a terrible noise and can be damaged more easily than automatics. Anything from a lack of transmission fluid to a worn clutch to the collar literally grinding the gears could cause those sounds.

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14 - tachometer Do you know what your tachometer does?
Measures speed
Measures transmission fluid
Measures distance
Measures RPMs
The tachometer on your dashboard measures the revolution per minute, or RPMs, of the spinning crankshaft in your engine. The name comes from the Greek word "tachos" which means speeds. The tachometer is pretty key for knowing when to shift gears.

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15 - teeth gears When the collar in your transmission engages with a gear, how do they stay together?
Teeth
Gears are wheels with teeth on them and have been made that way for centuries. When the collar slips over the gear, it holds in place by meshing teeth together to create a pretty firm and solid meshing of the two.
Magnets
Oil pressure
Friction

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16 - truck Italy In which country are you likely to find more manual transmissions than in the United States?
Japan
Italy
China
All of the above
Manual transmissions are still hugely popular in most other countries around the world, including places like Italy, China and Japan. Part of this is an economic factor as they're cheaper to buy and many countries don't have the same income to spend on cars, so a cheaper option is always better.

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17 - truck downhill Due to the potential for runaways, what kind of transmission would be bad in a heavy truck going down a hill?
Planetary gear
Planetary gear automatic transmission is generally fine in cars, but in a heavy truck it could spell disaster. If the clutch slips as a truck is heading downhill it will cause the truck to accelerate and that can, and has, lead to fatalities.
Manual
Dual clutch
Variable

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18 - automatic transmission If you don't have a manual transmission, then which of these are you also not going to have?
Alternator
Clutch pedal
No need for a clutch pedal in your truck if you're driving automatic. If you know manual, though, then you've experienced the third pedal alongside the gas and the brake that operates the clutch in the vehicle.
Gears
Flywheel

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19 - RPMs When you're shifting down, how many RPMs should you be looking for to do it properly?
Any
3000
2000
1000
Ideally, you want to downshift when the tachometer reads 1 or about 1,000 RPM. That's just going to be better on your transmission overall and better for your fuel economy. Once you're really good at driving stick you can feel when's a good time to shift more than by just reading the tachometer, though.

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20 - clutch truck How long does the average clutch last?
5,000 miles
20,000 miles
40,000 miles
60,000 miles
Don't take this as gospel and consult your truck's manual to know for sure but, in general, a clutch is good for at least 60,000 miles these days. That said, some only make it about half that distance and some are good for more. Your mileage may vary, literally.

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21 - truck maintenance If you're changing your clutch, what else should you change?
Air filter
Transmission fluid
If it's time to change the cutch you may as well take care of the whole transmission. You could use some new transmission fluid and, while you're in there, take the time to clean up the flywheel as well so everything runs smoothly.
Tires
Oil

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22 - transmission fluid  milky What can cause transmission fluid to go milky?
Coolant has leaked into it.
Transmission fluid is often described as milky although, to be fair, it's still pink in color so it's more creamy than anything and will often look like Pepto Bismol or strawberry milk. That said, a coolant leak is the most likely culprit here.
It got old.
It overheated.
Oil got into it.

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23 - car revving Where will you find the redline?
Tachometer
Your tachometer lists numbers from 0 up to 14 and then, beyond that, you'll have numbers up to 17 in red. Above 14 is your tachometer's redline where you're pushing your engine beyond its safe operating boundaries and are risking damage.
Gear shift
Clutch
TCU

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24 - Turbo Hydramatic Which one of these is a line of transmissions designed by GM?
Vacamatic
Presto-Matic
Merc-O-Matic
Turbo-Hydromatic
GM designed the Turbo Hydromatic line of transmissions. It was the evolution of the Hydromatic which the company developed in the 1940s and had installed in nearly all of its vehicles throughout the 1950s.

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25 - 2019 Chevrolet Colorado Which transmission is inside a 2019 Chevy Colorado?
8L90
The Chevy Colorado has been rocking the 8-speed automatic GM 8L90 transmission since 2015. The same transmission can be found in the Camaro, the Cadillac CTS, the Yukon Denali and the Corvette Stingray.
Aisin BG6
MTX-75
Alisin 10-speed

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26 - 1st gear Which gear has the lowest speed output?
1st
The gears of your manual transmission go in order from 1 to whatever number you may be rocking. There's no secret to this one, the lowest gear has the lowest speed output, so if you're in no serious hurry stay in first gear.
2nd
3rd
0

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27 - transmission Which transmission is generally more powerful, a manual or an automatic?
Automatic
They're equal.
Manual
Because of how an automatic transmission works, with things like the transmission control unit assisting how it functions, it will never be able to provide as much power as a manual. In fact, a manual transmission can give you around 15% more power.
Neither

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28 - avoid the red line What can a driver do to avoid the red line?
Slow down
Shift gears
Stop
All of the above
When you hit the redline, it means you're at a dangerously high level of engine RPMs. You could stop or slow down to solve that problem and, of course, shifting gears is also an option to reduce strain on the engine.

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29 - top speed truck Can you just brake to stop from your top gear in a manual transmission truck?
Yes
No
When you're in top gear and at top speed in your truck and you want to stop, you need to brake to slow down first, then apply the clutch, downshift and brake again, then apply the clutch until you stop.
Depends on your speed
In cars not trucks

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30 - Torque converter What does an automatic transmission have instead of a clutch?
Transmission control unit
Flywheel
Torque converter
In an automatic transmission vehicle, the torque converter is a fluid coupling that does a job similar to a clutch of allowing the engine to keep working while the gears spin independent of the engine until you're in a new gear.
Crankcase

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31 - double clutching How do you double-clutch?
Hold the clutch for a two-count.
Hit the clutch, rev the engine, then clutch again and shift.
Outside of racing, it's unlikely you'd ever need to double-clutch these days, but it was more common in the past. The idea is to hit the clutch to disengage the transmission, rev the engine to get the RPMs where they need to be, then hit the clutch a second time to shift.
Accelerate and shift simultaneously.
Brake and shift simultaneously.

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32 - gear shift pattern What is a shift pattern?
The layout of the gears
Every gear shift has a pattern on it. Many of them resemble an H or a tree of some kinds. This shift pattern represents the layout of the gears in your transmission and operates like a map so you know how to shift.
The arrangement of gear teeth
The proper way to engage the clutch
How manufacturers align transmissions

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33 - fast truck When you need high speed but low torque, what gear do you want?
Low gear
High gear
A higher gear is all about higher speeds, but it sacrifices torque, which is a rotational force. The torque is important in a truck if you're hauling something heavy or towing a large trailer behind it, so you won't need that high gear for a job like that.
Doesn't matter
Depends on the vehicle

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34 - first manual transmission In which country was the first manual transmission developed?
UK
USA
France
The first manual transmission dates back to 1894 when it was invented by a pair of French inventors named Louis-Rene Panhard and Emile Levassor. The first automatic transmission was credited to Brazilian inventors in 1932.
Germany

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35 - manumatic transmission What is manumatic transmission?
Manual and automatic as one
Both transmissions that you can switch between
A Ford trademark
Automatic with a manual option
The name manumatic makes it sounds like it's manual and automatic transmission at the same time, but it's not exactly. It's automatic transmission with a limited option to override and shift manually.

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