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Eaton UltraShift automated-manual transmission

Eaton-UltraShift-Plus

Based on Fuller’s 13- and 18-speed manual transmissions, the UltraShift Plus AMT uses intelligent shift software to calculate changes in grade, weight and throttle inputs to calculate the most efficient and effective shift points for the vehicle. Unit torque capacities range from 1,450 to 2,250 lb-ft and has an unlimited Gross Cargo Weight Rating for 18-speed versions.


Reviews:

630-truck fleet in Midwest

3.5 Rating
Reviewer Comments The UltraShift Plus is doing very well. We adopted some of the 2005 through 2007 vintage units, and the ones that are out today are like night and day compared to those older transmissions.

The horror stories you used to hear about poor power management, fault codes and drivers not being able to get vehicles out from under trailers or into loading docks have been resolved. Today the reliability of these AMTS is tremendous.

Fuller has done a nice job of working with the OEMs to isolate any problems. So you can now lock out in all possibilities and work around any conflicts with body controllers. The driver feedback I get today is that these transmissions don’t miss a beat out there.

Another positive is that Fuller really did a good job at looking at and emulating driver experiences and delivering the kind of performance drivers expect. While there were some limitations in performance in the past, the units certainly have more robust logic and controls today.

I like the changes to the way the Hill Start Assist feature engages now. And to me – with the advent of the safety systems like rollover stability and traction control and anti-lock brakes, the transmission is now fully integrated into what is becoming a highly advanced and safe vehicle.

Service on the UltraShift Plus is pretty easy for the most part. There is a lot of heat under the truck these days. So the transmission has to deal with that. And all the heat shielding can be an issue for our guys trying to work on them. But the unit itself is easy to work on.

Service and support are very good. I really like how Fuller has been doing a good job partnering with the engine guys. It’s a collaborative effort and it shows.

Fuel economy has been good. But we found we couldn’t justify the ROI on the AMT on fuel economy alone. But in the past couple of years, the aftermarket guys gave up on the resell and trade penalties they had for AMTs. And on the deals we’re doing now, they recognize the residuals on these AMTs. So that has made the ROI numbers a lot more do-able for us.

For us, the real advantage has been in terms of driver recruiting and retention. AMTs make it easier for us to attract and keep younger, less experienced drivers. That’s why all of the last 200 trucks we bought all had AMTs in them.

See the breakdown
  • Acquisition Cost 3
  • Overall Unit Design 4
  • Serviceability 4
  • Reliability and Durability 4
  • Fuel Economy 4
  • Driver Efficiency 4
  • Return on Investment 3
  • Impact on Fleet Fuel Economy 3
  • Impact on Driver Retention 3
  • OEM Support 3
  • Dealer Support 4
  • Access to Vehicle Inspection Points 3

100-truck fleet in Midwest

3 Rating
Reviewer Comments Overall, it’s a really good transmission. Drivers had to get used to them. We’re getting better fuel economy with the UltraShift than we would have with an automatic. The only thing I don’t like about the transmission is that it shifts too quickly in my opinion.

Overall, it’s a really good transmission. Drivers had to get used to them – they’re like your wife. If you want to get her to use something, you gotta put it in front of her for 6 months before she’ll even look at it. But now they love them. It’s different than a full automatic, which we were using.

We’ve held about even on fuel economy – but we’re a towing fleet. We spend a lot of time loading and unloading, which kills your overall average. But we’re getting better fuel economy with the UltraShift than we would have with an automatic.

Maintenance is great: You don’t even have to change the fluid in it until you get 100,000 miles on it. But other than that, we’ve haven’t had to do any work on them. We did have a small problem right up front with the shifting assembly. But that got worked out through International, and they handled it right away. So the service and support has definitely been there.

The only thing I don’t like about the transmission is that it shifts too quickly in my opinion. That’d be the one thing I’d change. It pops through the gears too fast. I’d let them stretch out a bit longer before shifting. But all in all, I think it’s a good, strong, transmission.

See the breakdown
  • Acquisition Cost 3
  • Overall Unit Design 3
  • Serviceability 3
  • Reliability and Durability 3
  • Fuel Economy 3
  • Driver Efficiency 3
  • Return on Investment 3
  • Impact on Fleet Fuel Economy 3
  • Impact on Driver Retention 3
  • OEM Support 3
  • Dealer Support 3
  • Access to Vehicle Inspection Points 3

Other comments:

Anonymous fleet review

Reviewer comments

It’s a good transmission. My drivers love it.

I had a few issues with the Generation 3 units. The Gen 4 units are much better. The issues I did have came from the Freightliner side of things – that paddle shifter they use. And there is a learning curve as to how a centrifugal clutch works compared to a computer-controlled clutch.

Overall, I haven’t had too many issues. But when we have, the Eaton folks have given us good support and helped us get up to speed on the technology.


*Averaged from 9 qualified fleet reviews

3.9 Average*
  • Acquisition Cost 3
  • Overall Unit Design 3.9
  • Serviceability 3.6
  • Reliability and Durability 4
  • Fuel Economy 4
  • Driver Efficiency 4.4
  • Return on Investment 4.1
  • Impact on Fleet Fuel Economy 3.9
  • Impact on Driver Retention 3.7
  • OEM Support 3.9
  • Dealer Support 4.2
  • Access to Vehicle Inspection Points 3.6