h a l f b a k e r y
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My car is all too willing to unlock the torque converter when it hits a hill. Then it'll drop to a lower gear when, in the brief interlude while the torque converter absorbs some of the engine's effort, the car slows even further.
This drives me nuts. It isn't quite an economy car, but the fuel
economy it gets is poor. It could do better.
The torque converter would be one good place to start - I want a switch on the dash that I can press that tells it to lock and stay locked above a certain speed, say, 35 mph. That same switch also commands the transmission to stay in high gear, also above 35 mph. I reckon having the TC locked would cause this by default, but let's not have them bickering with each other.
Like the cruise control, should your speed drop below the minimum 35mph, then all bets are off and normal vehicle function resumes: the tranny can shift, the torque converter's clutch can disengage, etc. But I'm willing to give up some of the very responsive drivetrain's responsiveness when I'm in cruise control and moseying along at 55mph - I shouldn't have to feel dollar bills clambering out of my fuel pocket every time I hit a slight uphill and the car reacts as if I've decided to ascend Everest.
||... or stop being lazy and get a car with a manual gearshift.
||My preference is for a manual. However, the car had all the attributes I like, but for the clutch pedal: plenty of room down there with two pedals, add the third and my size 12s get awfully cramped.
||I had a similar problem driving my dad's SAAB a few years ago, there just wasn't room. I've noticed this same problem in other cars as well. As automatics become more reliable and fewer people order manuals, that option becomes less common.