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Volvo I-Shift Premium Shifter Upgrade


bmzero

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My truck (I-Shift) came equipped with the basic transmission controller. I was told, by a long time Volvo salesman, that I could swap out to the premium controller and reprogram the transmission to take advantage of the other shifting options (Gentle Shift, etc.). Most of the time, I'm happy with the gear selected by the I-Shift, but not always, especially when starting from a dead stop. Even in Economy mode, the truck starts off in first gear way too often for my liking. Very rarely do I get a fourth gear start. I'm hoping the premium shifter would allow me to have more control over the gear selection.

 

However, my local Nextran Volvo dealer is clueless about this swap. Is anyone here familiar with this swap?

 

Comparrison of controllers (starting on slide 9) - http://www.wshema.com/past_presentations/Volvo_I-Shift-D_WHSEMA.ppt

 

Premium Controller (photo from Jack's site):

I-Shift%20shifters.JPG

 

Basic Controller (from my truck):

17289914575_7eb6387a10_c.jpg

 

17102510248_18f63cc1f4_c.jpg

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I forget what issues Roger has....but I can tell you that I have absolutely zero issues. My IShift operates exactly how you would "imagine" a perfect transmission to operate. The ONLY quirk I have ever seen is that one time as I took my foot off the throttle when turning a sweeping turn the trans got a little confused and would not take up power again. I simply moved to neutral and back to drive and it "rediscovered" itself. All while in motion (slow). That is the ONLY anomaly I have ever seen.

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Changing the I-shifter from the basic to premium was one of things I had Gregg at RV Haulers do during my build, he agreed it was a good idea, Volvo in Calgary had no problem changing it. I have never driven driven with the basic shifter, but I feel that the cost was worth the change, $1k.

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Mine will lugg going up a hill and not downshift till about 1000 rpm. It will start off in too high a gear when going up a hill from a standing start and doesn't shift like Greggs does in the Kicking Horse Pass video.

 

The shifter seems to have the buttons in an easier location for me with the detached thumb tendon.

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Mine will lugg going up a hill and not downshift till about 1000 rpm. It will start off in too high a gear when going up a hill from a standing start and doesn't shift like Greggs does in the Kicking Horse Pass video.

 

The shifter seems to have the buttons in an easier location for me with the detached thumb tendon.

 

Mine does the same. What year is your truck, Roger? Does yours have the premium shifter?

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My truck never luggs....however it will slow down more than necessary on a steep hill before shifting down. It shifts down around 1050 or so. This is by design. You will lose some speed though if you take no actions....like pressing down on the throttle to cause a downshift (this may be a feature of the advanced IShift programing). I do force the downshift if I know that I want to maintain speed. Sometimes the operator IS smarter than the trans :)

 

Under no circumstance will my transmission cause the engine to lug - but it does allow longer before the shift than I would. You should not allow that to happen if it is.

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m

 

Mine does the same. What year is your truck, Roger? Does yours have the premium shifter?

Mine is an '09 D13. Don't know about the premium shifter. What would indicate one way or the other?

 

Jack may have something in saying Press down the throttle to downshift maybe. I read the last line several times but my head started to throb.

 

It never did shift like Greggs so I can only think Volvo in Calgary didn't do something right when reprogramming the ECU. They goofed on something else and I wound up getting a refund.

 

There is a Berks Intertruck dealer up island that has the capability of reprogramming but to what?? They don't know. This kind thing is not what they normally do. They handle dump trucks and logging trucks.

If I knew the settings or parameters the ECU was changed to for recreational use, then we would have a fighting chance. I asked them about the new shifter last fall when lawyer/goldminer Jim had issues with his but Berks knew nothing.

 

Gregg is knowledgeable, I am not. All I can do is have fluids and filters changed. Listen to what others do or have done, ie., MB's topic of going to 17.5's, Eternabond tape on the roof joints plus a number of others. Do what is needed on a priority cost basis and trust the rest to good judgement or to put into flying terms, the definition of a good pilot is one who uses his superior intellect to keep him or her out of situations where his superior skills are needed.

 

I don't have the tools nor the knowhow to be stranded by the side of the road trying to diagnose/repair this monster.

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After a couple of million miles driving manual transmission trucks (some weighing upwards of 200,000lbs) I dislike the way my Freedomline works on everything but flat land. Like Jack says it can't see the road ahead so it still requires extra input from the driver to perform properly such as forcing a downshift before a hill or when you lift of the throttle it tries its hardest to bring the truck to a stop when all you want to do is coast a little. Plus I dislike Freightliners "paddle" shifter design, it might be better if it had a shifter like the Volvo I-Shift.

 

I would much rather be in full control, but scratch building a motorcoach with a manual did not make economic sense compared to buying a used one with autoshift. So you take the good with the bad and make the best of it

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I'm in the same boat. Personally, I like shifting gears and being able to be smooth when I need to and aggressive when necessary. However, there's zero chance of my wife driving a manual. Plus, resale will be a lot better on an I-Shift than a manual.

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My trans is very smart. BUT, it (and your Freedomlines, Ultras and Autoshifts), cannot see the road ahead. I can. So I can keep the truck from upshifting on a flat in a long hill climb when I KNOW the road is going to climb again just ahead.

 

By putting shifter into manual and selecting the gear?

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The option price for the premium shifter when I ordered my truck was $29.00. I also had to specify kick down mode as there are many fleets that order with out kick down mode. I also ordered the Comprehensive mode with hill start assist and Eco-Roll enabled. Like others have mentioned if coming up to a hill where the kick-down seems late I'll use the accelerator a head of time. I very seldom touch anything on highway when cruise control is set whether in the mountains or the flats....I just let the i-shift do its thing. :)

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What does the Premium shifter do that the regular one does not? Or is it tied into other things that I do not have?

 

What is kick down mode??? Hit the throttle into passing gear so to speak?

 

What is Comprehensive mode?

 

Hill assist is the truck holds its position on the uphill at a stop, am I correct? At least for a few seconds.

 

What is Eco roll?

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Roger, this is from the link above....some great info.

 

http://www.wshema.com/past_presentations/Volvo_I-Shift-D_WHSEMA.ppt

 

The Basic shifter is used for the Basic, Enhanced Basic and Fuel Economy software packages.
This shifter limits the amount of driver interface with the transmission, allowing it to remain in Economy mode and operate in the most efficient manner at all times.i-Shift can be trusted to provide the right gear for the right conditions every time. The Basic shifter has no +/- buttons and prevents the driver from operating the vehicle in the way he is used to “hearing it sound”.

 

 

The Premium shifter is used for the Performance, Comprehensive and Gentle Shift software packages.

When equipped with the Premium shifter, I-Shift comes with two selectable personalities - Economy and Performance/P+ modes.
The shifter also adds the feature of manual shifting capabilities to the transmission and is recommended for Owner Operators, Vocational and Heavy Duty applications where additional driver interaction may be desired

 

Basic Shifter
No E/P or Up/Down Buttons
Minimum driver intervention

Premium Shifter
Full driver Control

 

Software packages for i-shift

 

Eco-Roll®
I-Shift’s unique Eco-Roll feature utilizes kinetic energy—the
truck’s motion—to make the vehicle more efficient on any type
of non-flat terrain, saving up to 2% in fuel when utilized.
Eco-Roll allows the transmission to disengage the engine in
certain situations, such as moderate hills. The vehicle will roll
out longer, delaying the need to return power to the engine,
saving fuel.

 

The Hill Start Assist option will reduce or prevent such rolling back and the safety risk it represents. The feature can also provide reduction of driveline component damage by minimizing shock loads during start-up on a hill.

 

It works by applying the vehicle brakes when in a forward gear and starting on an incline, or in a reverse gear starting on a decline, enabled by a dash-mounted switch. When it’s switched on, Hill Start Assist automatically activates when the truck is at a complete stop with the brake pedal fully engaged and the truck is in gear, forward or reverse. The triggering factor is the release of the brake pedal. Once Hill Start Assist is activated, the brakes are applied for up to three seconds or until the accelerator is pressed, whichever occurs first.

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My trans is very smart. BUT, it (and your Freedomlines, Ultras and Autoshifts), cannot see the road ahead. I can. So I can keep the truck from upshifting on a flat in a long hill climb when I KNOW the road is going to climb again just ahead.

 

I believe one of the features of the Premium shifter is its ability to "sense" grade change and shift appropriately. Pretty soon, we'll all be out of a job.

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I believe one of the features of the Premium shifter is its ability to "sense" grade change and shift appropriately. Pretty soon, we'll all be out of a job.

 

My truck does that very well. Unfortunately, it does it when I don't want it to. There is a particular spot going into my neighborhood with a short, steep down hill followed by a steep, longer up hill. The I-Shift shifts up twice on that short down hill and of course is very surprised by the following up hill grade. I agree that this is a one-off circumstance and I have learned to compensate for this by dropping down into manual mode prior to going down the short hill, but I did want to share it as an illustration of how the I-Shift cannot see what's ahead. I have had similar problems pulling onto the interstate from a downhill on-ramp that turns to up hill before merging into traffic. If it was a manual truck, I would have maintained a higher RPM before merging knowing that I was going to be going up hill soon.

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