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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default Using "low gear" in Automatic Transmission

    Can anyone tell me their experience with using "Low" with their automatic transmission.

    With the Automatic you cannot shift to a specific lower gear, which seems potentially problematic when driving steep mountain passes like what we have here in Washington state. You can cancel overdrive, but is that sufficient for *steep* grades fo...r both ascending and descending the passes?

    It seems that you might be able to use "low" for directly getting
    into any of the 6 gears, but I don't know the best technique--I don't like the idea of having to start in 1st gear and working my way up to, say 4th gear (for mountain driving), by having to redline the rpms in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, before reaching 4th gear if there is another way to do it.

    From the manual, it appears that you can move the shift lever to
    "low" at any speed, but I am hesitant to do this without having more information.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    1,960

    Default

    For going down hill there is a button for that on the shifter.
    Founder of The Poop Sock TM Patent Pending and all that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    230

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dalegood View Post
    Can anyone tell me their experience with using "Low" with their automatic transmission.

    With the Automatic you cannot shift to a specific lower gear, which seems potentially problematic when driving steep mountain passes like what we have here in Washington state. You can cancel overdrive, but is that sufficient for *steep* grades fo...r both ascending and descending the passes?

    It seems that you might be able to use "low" for directly getting
    into any of the 6 gears, but I don't know the best technique--I don't like the idea of having to start in 1st gear and working my way up to, say 4th gear (for mountain driving), by having to redline the rpms in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, before reaching 4th gear if there is another way to do it.

    From the manual, it appears that you can move the shift lever to
    "low" at any speed, but I am hesitant to do this without having more information.

    From the manual it sounds like mountain driving is exactly when you should use that feature. The computer won't shift down to a gear that would damage the engine. It's simply going to use the lowest safe gear which allows you to get more engine braking and thus avoid overheating your brakes. This is definitely an advantage in having a true gearbox instead of a slushbox automatic.
    2011 Fiesta SE
    2013 Focus ST

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    All the button does is cancel overdrive; I'm asking about how to use the "L" option on the gear shift lever. This might provide much more utility for shifting in the mountains than the button you are referring to. The manual is sketchy at best about the "L" function and how to use it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Would love to hear from someone who has figured out the "L" option from personal experience! For example, what happens if you are driving at, say 40 mile per hour, and you shift to "L". I am nervous about doing that without more information! Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    1,960

    Default

    It does more than that, from the manual:

    Overdrive cancel/grade assist
    Overdrive is deactivated.
    The transmission operates in gears one through five.
    The grade assist lamp in the
    instrument cluster is illuminated.
    Improves driving experience in hilly terrain or mountainous areas by
    providing additional grade (engine) braking and extends lower gear
    operation on uphill climbs.
    Provides additional engine braking through the automatic transmission
    shift strategy which reacts to vehicle inputs (vehicle acceleration,
    accelerator pedal, brake pedal and vehicle speed).
    Allows the transmission to select gears that will provide the desired
    engine braking based on the vehicle inputs mentioned above. This will
    increase engine RPM during engine braking.
    Overdrive cancel with grade assist is designed to provide optimal gear
    selection in hilly terrain or mountainous areas. It is recommended that
    you return to D (Drive) on flat terrain to provide the best fuel economy
    and transmission function.
    Driving
    But to answer your Q I think Low will use 1-3rd gear.
    Founder of The Poop Sock TM Patent Pending and all that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Why do you think Low only uses the first 3 gears? I can't find any mention of that in the manual and haven't heard from anyone yet who has played with Low. I was thinking from what I read that with Low you go through all of the gears but the shifting itself doesn't take place until each gear is red-lined.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    West Seneca, New York
    Posts
    4,373

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dalegood View Post
    Why do you think Low only uses the first 3 gears? I can't find any mention of that in the manual and haven't heard from anyone yet who has played with Low. I was thinking from what I read that with Low you go through all of the gears but the shifting itself doesn't take place until each gear is red-lined.
    Dale,
    It seems as though you're over analyzing the situation. billnchristy's advice is spot on. It's only his feeling or opinion that it uses 1-3 gear. That makes sense to me. Anything higher than 3rd wouldn't do much good. There is no need for Ford to explain what gears they are using. If you're concerned then be sure that you follow the manual and rely on the Ford warranty to protect you. Remember this car has been road proven in Europe for many years. In spite of the transmission problems you read about in this forum, it is not the rule but the exception.

    What I do when driving down extreme inclines is use the hill assist and intermittently use the brake for about 15 seconds then let them cool for 10 seconds before hitting them again.
    Former 2011 Blue Flame Metallic SE Fiesta
    Now a 2014 Focus SE Hatch

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    4,986

    Default

    It won't break it to shift from D into L. I do it all the time, the rev match on downshifts is a pretty sweet feature!
    Does your minkey bite?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    OK, that sounds interesting. So if I'm driving along, with overdrive canceled, in 5th gear, and I shift to Low, does that mean that the transmission then shifts to 4th gear? And if I'm driving in 4th and shift to Low, do I then go into 3rd? If that is how it works, what happens to the rpm's when the downshift first takes place. This does sound cool, especially since you have taken the "chance" and already investigated how "Low" really works. Thanks for your real-world account!

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