Drive vs 3 What's better???
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Drive vs 3 What's better??? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Hello all, I'm sure this has been asked before and YES I did a search and could not find anything. ...
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    momsdeville's Avatar
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    Drive vs 3 What's better???

    Hello all,
    I'm sure this has been asked before and YES I did a search and could not find anything. I own a 2001 DTS.

    Here's my question,

    Using the same logic as in past cars I have owned, "D" = Overdrive and "3" = drive

    Which is better for city driving?

    By better, I mean not just gas mileage but more importantly, wear and tear on the tranny. I have heard that driving in "D"(overdrive) is harder on the tranny when you accelerate to pass.

    Is this true?

    Any opinions would be greatly appriciated.

    Although my commute is only about 20 km each way, it can take me anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour ( on a bad day). So that should give an idea on the traffic I drive in o

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    How are you passing in the city, and how? Anyway, I'm not sure it matters. When you put ypur foot in it to pass, it will downshift anyway.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    On the flip side, when I go to visit someone or someplace in a city, as soon as I'm off the highway the car gets dropped to "3" with "Traction off" and stays there until back on the highway at 65........No problems so far.......2 years.

    Probably doesn't matter one way or t'other.......

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    Zorb750 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    Actually the third position is not as good for the coast mode clutches in the transmission as the D position is, due to the way the gearbox works. Just let it do its thing.

    Incidentally, the season reminds me to remind people that driving in a lower gear for winter is a BAD thing to do. I know a lot of people around here who continue to believe it will help traction or something of that sort to drive in third, or even second, in winter. In actuality, you want the HIGHEST gear possible and available, as a lower gear puts compression braking forces against the drive wheels when you close the throttle, which on a front wheel drive car can be very dangerous, as breaking traction slowing down will cause loss of steering control.

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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    I think in "D" you floor it the tranny to shift down to 2 , in "3" it will go down to "1" during kick downs . I find "D" more comfortable and safe ,I read a material for using D 321 . So, it said you should use 2 in congested traffic jams ,but that was for conventional trannies .

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    Zorb750 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadillacboy View Post
    I think in "D" you floor it the tranny to shift down to 2 , in "3" it will go down to "1" during kick downs . I find "D" more comfortable and safe ,I read a material for using D 321 . So, it said you should use 2 in congested traffic jams ,but that was for conventional trannies .
    Conventional as in manual. Second gear is an old thing to do, pop it in second (or third if it works better) and idle it, the space in front of you grows and shrinks, you really don't lose any time.

    In 3 is will kick down to 1 as well if it's in an acceptable speed range. As far as actual shifting, the number you set it at (assuming D was 4) is just the upper limit on the gear. It really doesn't affect anything else, except for that coast mode thing.

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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    Leave it in drive.

    if you are doing alot of ~40mph driving with hills and its shifting between 3rd and 5th alot, then yeah, put it in 3.

    Alot of imports started with the O/D off switch, a small 4cyl in an automatic dosn't have the torque to lug the car around at a lower speed in overdrive, unlike larger V8's or V6's In that case, it helps alot.

    Ford takes a different approach with D21, as there is an O/D off switch. Pretty much the same thing driving in 3 on GM.... I've tried driving in town with O/D off, but I don't like it... only in some rare cases if the speed and stuff is just right I will.

    However how Ford differs from GM is that, on the Ford, when the shifter is in 2, the transmission is forced into 2nd gear, on GM, it goes into first, and will upshift to 2nd, and stay in 2nd.

    Manually putting the auto trans in 2nd is good for a few things.... first, sitting in traffic, the car fosn't try to move forward as much, less force required on the brakes. Also, for winter driving, you can accellerate and have better throttle control in slippery conditions and stuff.

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    Zorb750 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    There is no 5th.

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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    I use 3 and sometimes manually shift through the gears to get better pick up as the computer is not geared for agressive driving.
    What I mean by that is start out in two and let the rpms go up a little higher before going into three. You get a much better pickup speed.

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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    Well, that answered my question!

    Thanks everyone for their input!

    It didn't "feel" like it made too much difference when passing but better to ask than end up with an un-needed repair bill for foolishness!

    I do tend to "putter" on my way to work but when the opportunity is there to pass I do. I am on a highway with a speed limit of 90k after all

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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    I shift between 3rd and drive all the time everyday, I have to... takes too much time for it to kick down and go.

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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    It's an automatic.

    Put it in Drive and forget it. Use your right foot as necessary for speed changes. And let the transmission do its thing.

    Unless - You have low traction (snow, ice). Then you can place the transmission in '2' and it will start in second gear, reducing tire spin, or at least giving more control over tire spin because torque is reduced (compared to starting in 1st gear).

    I know, someone else earlier in this thread said it would not start in 2nd gear, but they are wrong. Try it. You can easily feel there is less torque when starting from a stop in '2nd' gear.

    Fords have done this for almost forever. GM started quite some time ago doing this with their automatics. My Hondas do this.

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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    Putting the shifter in 2 will not start the transmission in second, it only prevents the transmission from shifting beyond second under normal driving (not floored).

    I have never found any difference in kickdown speed between 3 and drive. There are dead spots in these cars (mainly 40 and 80mph) where no change in gear selection will help. It doesn't matter where the selector is, if you put your foot to the floor, the transmission will shift to the lowest possible gear. Leave it drive at 30mph and put your foot into the headlights.....you get the top of first gear. Put the selector in 3 at 65mph and mash your foot to the floor.....you get the top of second. The transmission will do what it wants regardless of where you put the selector. Leave it in first, and it will still shift through every gear...at redline of course.

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    Crown Vic Owner is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Drive vs 3 What's better???

    Quote Originally Posted by danbuc View Post
    Putting the shifter in 2 will not start the transmission in second, it only prevents the transmission from shifting beyond second under normal driving (not floored).

    I have never found any difference in kickdown speed between 3 and drive. There are dead spots in these cars (mainly 40 and 80mph) where no change in gear selection will help. It doesn't matter where the selector is, if you put your foot to the floor, the transmission will shift to the lowest possible gear. Leave it drive at 30mph and put your foot into the headlights.....you get the top of first gear. Put the selector in 3 at 65mph and mash your foot to the floor.....you get the top of second. The transmission will do what it wants regardless of where you put the selector. Leave it in first, and it will still shift through every gear...at redline of course.
    Yes, i know.


    I AM intrested to hear AJ chime in on this as i believe he KNOWS someone that made a tiptronic / flappy pedal gearbox type deal out of one of these transmissions. dont take my word on it, i believe something with a line or valve body pressure, adding a few solenoids, i know it was mentioned here somewhere.


    Also, the other thing i was going to metnion is that this is the prime reason a professional commercial tune (sorry AJ) is needed on these cars.

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