Driving a Stick

CollegeBoy

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So today I spent a few hours sitting on a backup ambulance when our county got really busy at one point, and the ambulance that we used has been having problems shifting since about the time we first bought it (doesnt help it was low on transmission fluid, I checked it out of curiosity). But after about my hundreth time of having to let off the gas for a few seconds so it could manage to make the shift I raised up the question to my fellow EMT. How many people in this service do you think could drive a stick? We did some thinking and we figured less than half of the full timers could manage it. So I ask you, how many of you could handle a stick in an ambulance?
 

HotelCo

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So today I spent a few hours sitting on a backup ambulance when our county got really busy at one point, and the ambulance that we used has been having problems shifting since about the time we first bought it (doesnt help it was low on transmission fluid, I checked it out of curiosity). But after about my hundreth time of having to let off the gas for a few seconds so it could manage to make the shift I raised up the question to my fellow EMT. How many people in this service do you think could drive a stick? We did some thinking and we figured less than half of the full timers could manage it. So I ask you, how many of you could handle a stick in an ambulance?

Why would I want a manual transmission in the ambulance?
 

Handsome Robb

Youngin'
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Dirtbike, car, truck, a stick is a stick, and not hard to drive. With that said I wouldn't want to have to deal with it, but I would have no problem doing it.
 

JPINFV

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Why would I want a manual transmission in the ambulance?

[troll]...because all of those New York EMTs (most likely Wankee fans anyways) always wanted to be a bus driver... [/troll]

/Is it really trolling if it's marked "trolling?"
 

mycrofft

Still crazy but elsewhere
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Done it.

Old "crackerbox" USAF ambulances. Also drove '70 Dodge Powerwagon rescue truck (RS-32-P-6 forcible entry vehicle, USAF). Snapped the shift collar on that one away from the station one day.
 

JJR512

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Dirtbike, car, truck, a stick is a stick, and not hard to drive. With that said I wouldn't want to have to deal with it, but I would have no problem doing it.

Umm...manually-shifted dirtbikes, and motorcycles in general, in my experience do not actually have a "stick". Unless you'd call the footpeg a stick since it bears extremely minor and vague resemblence to a very stubby stick...but I digress. Anyway, anyone who has experience driving a manual automobile might have difficulty with the transmission on a motorcycle since it's not a random-access shifter, but rather a sequential shifter. Sure, if the concept was actually explained first to the newbie bike rider they'd probably pick up the concept pretty easily, but my point is that for most people it wouldn't come naturally or intuitively. Merely having experience in a manual car doesn't mean someone could just hop on a motorcycle and shift away (not to mention all the other differences).

I'll continue my disagreement over to trucks as well. Not sure if you meant pickup trucks or 18-wheeler "big rigs", but I'm going to talk about 18-wheelers. Those are far from intuitive as well, again even for someone with manual car experience. I've owned (and had fun driving) a few manual cars in my lifetime so far. I've read the instructions on how to shift one manufacturer's 18-wheeler and still didn't get it.

So no, a stick isn't always a stick, and they aren't all as equally easy to drive. That being said, a manual transmission in a van- or pickup-based ambulance would work the same, and be as easy (or difficult, depending on your point of view) as the manual in just about any passenger car.
 

Handsome Robb

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An 18 wheeler is a completely different beast. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this ambulance didn't have a 13 speed transmission.

I should clarify my statement, I used the term 'stick' loosely and should have said 'manual transmission'.

I have only ever owned one car that was not a manual, and that's the jeep I own now, have ridden motorcycles since I was young and raced time trials so I'm a little jaded on driving manual transmissions.

What I was getting at is the concept of the friction point is the same, it's all feel. Sequential and selective gear boxes are different, I will agree with you on that one.
 

DesertMedic66

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I could handle a stick, but it would not be too smooth of a ride for the patients.

Wow I did not mean for that to sound dirty :rofl:
 

Dr.T

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We didn't have anything but manual shift ambulances when I started in EMS in Y2k, so I'd be comfy with any transmission.
Now the reserve ambulances are mostly still type B Sprinters with manual transmission.
I have to admit, that it's a safety issue, having to concentrate on traffic, radio and shifting, but since pretty much all cars here in Germany have manual transmission it's not that big of a problem :p
 

JPINFV

Gadfly
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Manual transmission? Is that like when you go down past the D to where the gear shift says "1," "2," and "3"?
 

medicdan

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I like others can drive a manual transmission, but do not currently. IIRC, the KKK-1822F standards call for only automatic transmission vehicles in the US (Section 3.6.5.2). I venture that with a good driver, the ride on a manual transmission could be a lot smoother, more fuel efficient and safer in bad weather than an automatic transmission.
 

dstevens58

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Have driven both in fire service and ambulance service, although all rigs we have now (including the fire trucks) automatic transmissions.
 

lightsandsirens5

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Well I do think most people on my service could handle a manual transmission in our ambulances. I would actually prefer it to be honest. But that comes from a guy who never drove and automatic till he climbed into an structural fire engine. I was learned to drive on a old chevy truck with the stiffest clutch and crankiest transmission ever. My first truck was an old chevy diesel with a 5 speed that you almost had to double clutch to get it to work. Every vehicle I've ever owned has been a manual. Now I drive a Ford 250 TD. It has a wonderful clutch/transmission system compared to my first truck! My brush engine at the station has a 6 speed manual. Our tender has a 16 speed. So yea, I've pretty much driven nothing but manuals and I would rather not even own an automatic. Eventually, operating a manual becomes second nature. I don't even think about it any more. And what is funny is when I'm driving the ambulance, I often reach for the non existent clutch and stick when I am decelerating. Ha ha! My foot usually goes to the floor rather hard and my hand usually ends up smacking the console and switch panel. Lol. Kind of embarrassing sometimes.

Yes I would prefer a manual in the ambulance. I think better fuel efficiency could be achieved. Better control in bad conditions, smoother acceleration (unless you have one of those brand new rigs), all that good stuff. With a little training and practice, anyone can drive a manual and drive it as well as they drive an automatic.


Sent from a small, handheld electronic device that somehow manages to consume vast amounts of my time. Also know as a smart phone.
 

Shishkabob

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Manual ambulance is stupid.


There's a reason why US military vehicles are automatics.
 
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CollegeBoy

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Eventually, operating a manual becomes second nature. I don't even think about it any more. And what is funny is when I'm driving the ambulance, I often reach for the non existent clutch and stick when I am decelerating. Ha ha! My foot usually goes to the floor rather hard and my hand usually ends up smacking the console and switch panel. Lol. Kind of embarrassing sometimes.

I know this feeling. Every car and pickup that I have ever driven is an automatic, but growing up on a farm I've gotten used to all heavy vehicles being sticks. Now whenever I climb into a heavy vehicle wether it be an ambulance, a fire truck, a water tender, or for that matter sometimes in pickups when I am hauling something big, I will find myself reaching for a stick that isnt there.

Otherwise I don't mind a car or a pickup being an automatic because they don't seem to do that bad of a job. But in my honest opinion an automatic in a heavy vehicle shifts way too hard and provides a rough ride. Not to mention if you have alot of weight on the vehicle an automatic will spend half its time jumping between two gears trying to decide which is best.
 

usalsfyre

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Half the staff at my place can't give a decent ride with an auto. I shudder to think about transporting a patient if there was a clutch and gear selection involved....
 
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shfd739

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Half the staff at my place can't give a decent ride with an auto. I shudder to think about transporting a patient if there was a clutch and gear selection involved....

My thoughts exactly.

I did notice on Ford's Ambulance package PDF for 2011 that 650 size medium duty chassis have a manual trans option.


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- Sent from my electronic overbearing life controller
 
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