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Manual transmission driving tips - Page 2

post #41 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Sondjata
ehh don't believe the hype on the two hand things. One can drive a vehicle just fine with one hand and there's nothing wrong with having your hand aon the gear shift. the problem is putting weight on it. If the situation calls for two hands then use 'em both but this "two hand or you're an idiot idea is idiotic." Besides, you're supposed to be able to knock your hands off the steeing wheel without changing the direction of the vehicle. The white knuckle types scare me.

So present one *reason* why the second hand should be on the shifter instead of on the wheel when you are not shifting.

Under all circumstances, if you only use one hand, that hand will tire quicker and be less accurate. Even when you have just grabbed the wheel, the one hand will lack control because two hands only have to exert half the force each.

I find it hard to imagine a situation where you have to shift as quickly as possible. But there are plenty of surprise situations that require you to use the wheel quickly and precisely, or else. Tire blows. A kid runs on the road. Five cars pile up in front of you. You feel the rear sliding out in rain/ice/oil spill. A 600kg moose trots in front of you. Et cetera.
post #42 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Gon
Engine braking:
In *normal traffic* as THT asked, most of the time you should be engine braking. This because most modern cars have fuel injection, and they can cut all fuel under engine braking. This is a tremendous saving in gas, in urban traffic you can get +20% to your mpg. (This straight from driver's ed.) I don't mean you should do drastic downshifts to brake fast...

I'm a manual driver for a number of years now and when I hop into an automatic, like others have said, it just feels like the car is driving you and I feel like I'm completely out of touch with the outside world - but in a manual I'm much more aware and in charge.

Gon has got some good points there but particularly the one about looking ahead. If you're concentrating on driving and want to cut your fuel consumption and wear on the car by 20%, 25% or possibly even more (and conditions permit) it's very easy to do by simply knowing what's coming up and planning for it.
That is, to say that you don't accelerate toward the red light, but time it so that you're going at 20 km/h when you get to it.
If there are no other cars behind you then you don't need to have the car going at full speed when you crest a hill. Drop of 5 or 10 km/h and regain it as you descend the other side.
Basically, if you minimise the amount that you're braking (down a hill, to a red light, or in stop and go traffic) then you're minimising wasted petrol - as long as you're driving safely and not infuriating other drivers.

Mendosi

P.S. and as much as the cool and lazy part of me wants to leave one hand on the gear stick all the time, it's really true that the emergencies that occur will invariably use the wheel long before they require you to shift. Same can be said of the right foot on the accel/brake pedal.
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post #43 of 63
Personally I coast to lights. Clutch in.
down hill, leave car in gear and let the engine keep control of the descent. I don't ride brakes. I will put them on in intervals.
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post #44 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Sondjata
Personally I coast to lights. Clutch in.
down hill, leave car in gear and let the engine keep control of the descent. I don't ride brakes. I will put them on in intervals.

That's actually what got me thinking about it. Clutch in vs neutral and no clutch. I've been driving a manual for nearly 20 years now, and I just sort of go back and forth between clutch-in and putting it in neutral.

What's the tradeoff here? Wear on the clutch versus wear on the engine/brakes?
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post #45 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Sondjata
ehh don't believe the hype on the two hand things. One can drive a vehicle just fine with one hand and there's nothing wrong with having your hand aon the gear shift. the problem is putting weight on it. If the situation calls for two hands then use 'em both but this "two hand or you're an idiot idea is idiotic." Besides, you're supposed to be able to knock your hands off the steeing wheel without changing the direction of the vehicle. The white knuckle types scare me.

Agreed. I drive mostly one-handed, and it's even an automatic! Now, there may be an exception when it comes to full manual steering vs. power-assisted and full-power steering. I imagine a full manual steering setup would be the most critical of both hands on the wheel requirements.
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post #46 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Gon

Eugene: the F1's have *manual* transmissions. They do not have a torque converter. Take a look at Ferrari Enzo: no clutch, no stick, but it's a 6-speed manual.

I never said that F1 cars or clutchless manuals used torque converters. The issue was the notion that manuals are better. If manuals are better, why are high-end cars coming with manual trannys that are nearly automatic in every possible way?

Quote:
9) How does one make upshifts smoother?

You wait for 'manuals' that do everything for you (except actually decide to switch gears) like those found in nice cars to trickle down to the average Honda Accord. And even then there will be the option to let the computer decide when to shift too, and it will be better than you at doing so.
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post #47 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Eugene
I never said that F1 cars or clutchless manuals used torque converters. The issue was the notion that manuals are better. If manuals are better, why are high-end cars coming with manual trannys that are nearly automatic in every possible way?

You wait for 'manuals' that do everything for you (except actually decide to switch gears) like those found in nice cars to trickle down to the average Honda Accord. And even then there will be the option to let the computer decide when to shift too, and it will be better than you at doing so.

So, automatics have desirable features like more accurate shifting, but these features must be incorporated in a manual transmission to be better than "plain" manual.

The computer, no matter how advanced, can't make the best decision about where to shift unless it knows what the driver plans to do, and knows what the road is like in front. There could be additional automation - for instance, the driver could keep a button depressed to tell the car he wants an optimum straight line acceleration shift - but in the end, driver must have the *control*.

I expect clutchless manuals and CVT will emerge as winners in the long term. CVT for road cars, manual for racing seems likely, or maybe CVT will also suit fast cars. Till that day, I'll be driving a manual. I'd only recommend an auto for people who have to use their shift hand for something else: police, taxi drivers, delivery truck drivers.
post #48 of 63
coasting isn't smart thing to do really. again, the oil pressure will become a bit less, and therefor less on the breaks. I myself would like to have full control all the time. If the breakes don't break the way you are used to, then there is a dangerous situation. Maybe a bit paranoid, but it could happen, that's all. Have been driving manual all my life now driving an automatic and love it ! hehe
post #49 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Eugene
Not that I'm a torque converter whore or anything, but for most people, what's the damned point of owning a car manual/standard transmission?

Considering the 90% to 95% of cars sold in the USA are automatics, "most people" actually don't see any point in owning manuals. They agree with you.

My reasons:[list=A][*]Manuals are more fun, automatics are boring. I get more pleasure out of manually controlling the gearing in my car.[*]I've got more fine-grained control of the engine and transmission, and enjoy the effort and process of that control.[*]The 4-gear automatic option for my car had 29 mpg highway. My wife demands 30+ mpg for our cars, and the 5-gear manual transmission is rated at 32 mpg.[*]Manuals are usually cheaper than automatics, though they actually cost the same for my vehicle.[/list=A]

In essence, I think driving a manual is similar to a pilot's relationship to the auto-pilot. It's not that they don't trust the auto-pilot, it's that they like the act of flying the plane themselves.
post #50 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Gon
The computer, no matter how advanced, can't make the best decision about where to shift unless it knows what the driver plans to do, and knows what the road is like in front.

There is no reason you cannot make this happen in an automatic, just as well. You have a gear selector, you can use it to do just that. If you see a turn up ahead, you can just as easily pop it down a gear to anticipate just as easily as shifting a manual (even easier, actually). If you want to hold a gear, you simply keep the selector in manumatic mode. Simple. There is no reason whatsoever to lament over an automatic not being able to read the driver's mind. The driver still has control. The automatic simply offers the extra perk of handling the shifting business when you care not to.

Quote:
I expect clutchless manuals and CVT will emerge as winners in the long term.

Ironically, what does a CVT end up feeling like? It drives much like an automatic. At least, the one they use in the Murano does. Had someone not pointed it out to me, I would still believe they were conventional automatics to this day, by the way they drive.

Quote:
CVT for road cars, manual for racing seems likely, or maybe CVT will also suit fast cars. Till that day, I'll be driving a manual. I'd only recommend an auto for people who have to use their shift hand for something else: police, taxi drivers, delivery truck drivers.

Aside from issues where the engine lacks suitable torque and powerband for a particular vehicle (which does plaque a good number of vehicles these days that would not do well with anything but a manual), it simply comes down to personal taste and being able to appreciate things from the perspective of an open mind. If you are carrying enough torque and powerband, then you will have all the engine response you need with an automatic in whatever gear it chooses for you. If you still want a lower gear, your control is still accessible right there in the form of a gear selector.
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post #51 of 63
While I love driving a 5 speed manual, I am embarrassed to say that I have never quite gotten the hang of going from 1st to 2nd. The other gears are fine. But going from 1st to 2nd the transition is either too jerky or I've given too much fuel. Whatever the case, any top tips?
post #52 of 63
baaack from the dead...

What do you drive, cargirl? Honestly, I can't say that I've ever found 1st to 2nd very difficult, and I'm thinking you might have a sticky clutch or something. Is this a problem on all cars you've driven with stick?

Also, AI admins, make old threads invisible to Google. . . please.
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post #53 of 63
Try shifting at different rpm's. Sometimes you will find one that works for you and try to hit it.
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post #54 of 63
most has been answered above, i downshift sometimes especially when turning, but sometimes will engage the clutch coast through the turn then engage the appropriate gear

i also do a 1-3-5 shift or 1-2-5 (depends on the engine characteristics), not necessary to run all the gears to get to the cruise level. i don't usually unless hit by a fun spasm run to redline--by bmw 5 and 3 series just loved this(well really I did

both hands are on the wheel when shift completed. now that's a good reason for shift paddles

we need driving schools that will teach that.....driving a standard in the US is a dying skill, also with the new automatics the big mileage gain isn't as great

also, i still prefer to use a standard in the snow

best manual trans
bmw, ferrari ,audi, honda, mazda 3 speed isn't too bad

american standards e.g. mustang gt, corvette, are just too stiff and poor modulation, poor feel
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post #55 of 63
... than manual is the only way to go.

I only leave a manual in gear going down steep curvy terrain (e. g. down mountains when unpaved or steep and continuously curvy). Otherwise tap breaks as necessary to maintain some control over speed.

Remember your car did the kinetic to potential energy thing going up that hill, why waste it through a mechanically inefficient gear (and higher engine RPM's).

Always anticipate the situation, always. In familiar terrain or traffic conditions this is relatively easy. Coast whenever possible, see the traffic situation in front of you, time the lights, break as little as possible.

Why ever put the manual in neutral? Don't have enough leg strength to keep the clutch down? Unless perhaps you start at the top of a hill with the engine off.

Optimize AC usage, remember your car is not a refrigerator. \

Use cruise control (as often as you can) in highest efficiency gear (usually highest gear for interstate driving) in relatively flat terrain.

Drive slower (stay in the right lane and let those that want to go faster pass you) and accelerate slower (ditto). In a time crunch? Than petal to the metal, balls to the wall!

Only double clutch when needing to pass quickly or going up steep mountain grades.

Anticipate your passing, good line of sight helps a lot here, if done right use cruise control, bump it up, pass, bump it down. Otherwise, smooth acceleration (and line of sight) is key to efficient passing.

When offroading always yield to those going up the steep (and relatively narrow) grade you're going down.

But heck, manuals are way fun to drive!

My first car purchase was a manual, bought it off the lot and drove it home never having driven a manual before (the car dealer gave me a two minute driving course, did surprising well driving to our home 60 miles away).
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post #56 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparhawk View Post

... the oil pressure will become a bit less, and therefor less on the breaks. I myself would like to have full control all the time. If the breakes don't break the way you are used to, then there is a dangerous situation...

Explain to me what engine oil pressure has to do with the brakes. (MY thought is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the brake system.)
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post #57 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

Explain to me what engine oil pressure has to do with the brakes. (MY thought is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the brake system.)

Off-topic - but really, finally one person who spelt "brake" correctly!

Cheers
post #58 of 63
LMAO at so much of the crappy 'advice' given in this thread! It really is shocking to read some of the replys!

A lot of your questions are subject to the age and type of car you are driving. Even the engine type (V configuration, flat, boxer) will effect some of the appropriate answers. Being an FIA licence holder I will base my answers on a modern performance car setup and the type of driving you would expect from an average proficient driver.

1. Can one take the transmission out of gear (from gear x to neutral) without disengaging the clutch (ie, stepping down on the clutch pedal)? What does it do to the transmission.

Yes, you can take a car out of gear without using the clutch, but there is no real reason why you would want to do this. Assuming your car has a single clutch setup with syncromesh on all gears, if you did need to drop the box into nutral without using the clutch only do this at low RPMs.


2. For making a turn (where one has to slow down first), how does one manage the gearing? Coast in neutral into the turn, then engage appropriate gear once the smallest radius of the turn has been passed?

You should always have your cornering speed sorted before you enter the corner. Keep your car stable by braking with your front wheels as strait as possible and drop to an appropriate gear before you enter the corner. Balance the power of the car through the bend and 'drive' the car out of the bend by accelerating through the exit. You should never coast while braking.


3. I always use the brakes to slow down, and rarely downshift. Best practice for slowing down and stopping?

Yes the brakes are the most important component in slowing a car down, modern cars don't require you to engine brake as much as they used to. However, it is important to change down the gears as appropriate to get the best control out of your car. For example if I was slowing down to stop at a set of lights I will change down as the car decelerates matching the engine speed with the ground speed.


4. To optimize fuel efficiency, I always want to be in the highest gear possible in order to be at the lowest RPM?

Not true. This depends on the stresses imposed on the engine. The engine is most efficient at peak power. Some engines, mainly diesels peak at a lower rev range, say 2500 rpm, whereas a high performance V12 may peak at around 6000 rpm. My car offers max torque at around 4,500 rpm. If you are accelerating it is important to change to a gear that allows the engine to work efficiently. Cursing along at 50mph in 6th gear and then flooring the gas pedal to overtake someone will send a surge of fuel to the engine that will be wasted before the engine builds up speed and has enough torque to let you pass them. It is much better and more efficient to drop a gear or two before you put your foot on the accelerator to pull away.

If you are driving quickly it is good practice to 'blip' the throttle as you disengage the clutch to match the engine rpm to the transmission speed before selecting your lower gear. With practice this can be done in one smooth motion and even done under braking (heel-toe).

If you are cursing along the motorway with little strain on the engine, then yes you do want to be in a high gear at low RMP. Make sure you do not let the engine struggle unnecessarily though.


5. 2 hands or 1 hand on the wheel? Or 1 hand on the shifter at all times?

This again depends on where and how you are driving. It is good practice to have 2 hands on the steering wheel as much as possible. There is no need to have your hand on the gear stick at any other time than when changing gear. If you are on an empty motorway crusing along at slow speeds then there is no reason why you can't relax a little!

Best hand position on the wheel is to place you thumbs over the top spokes of the steering wheel and wrap your fingers around the back between the 'ten to two' and 'quarter to three' position.


6. Near redline shifting, who's good enough to it, and has there ever been an occasion where you did it.

As mentioned before, different engine types provide best performance at different stages in the rev range. If you just want to pootle about economically, then there is no need to take your engine up to red line before changing gear, just change where you feel comfortable in your acceleration. If you want to drive quickly, then use your full rev range! The variable valve timing in Honda V-Tech engines doesn't kick in until after 5000 rpm, so you have the most fun between 5000 and 7000 rpm. My 997 provides a similar experience and when on the track I always take the car right up to around 7900 rpm before changing up. You shouldn't really red line in first gear, you will usually just bounce off your limiter and it will slow your acceleration. In fact you should try to never hit your limiter at all.

When changing down your gears to hit peak torque to overtake someone, or before entering a corner, make sure you chose your gears properly. This just comes with practice.
post #59 of 63
I like driving my manual tranny Honda Element. I chose the manual version even though it was somewhat rare and had to be delivered from another state. My reason was simple. The element only comes in a four cylinder and the manual transmission lets me get a little more performance out of it. Well... and its fun.

Coasting in neutral? It is slightly more dangerous I suppose. You can't as quickly accelerate if needed for one thing. Inexperienced drivers also might benefit from the slight drag of the engine being engaged.

But I do rely upon it in a number of scenarios. The most common one is that of being stuck in a traffic jam going downhill. It is simpler to remain in neutral and let off the brake. Attempting to constantly shift in and out of different gears in stop and go traffic jams leads to lurching. Depending on the nature of the the stop and go, I sometimes consider it safer to coast in neutral. Less chance of getting rear ended when going at a more predictable and constant pace.
post #60 of 63
"Why ever put the manual in neutral? Don't have enough leg strength to keep the clutch down? Unless perhaps you start at the top of a hill with the engine off. "



I use neutral all the time. When coming off of a 65 MPH freeway onto a long curved exit ramp ending in a 5 way stop-light, you can't see much ahead of time if there are any, or many cars lined up at the light, or if the light is Green or Red or just turning Yellow!

When hitting such an exit ramp, I push in the clutch, and coast or brake around the bend at appropriate speed. I move the shifter to neutral because you don't know until you " 'round the bend" if you are going to have to speed up or slow down.
Am I gonna need 1st or 3rd or 4th?
It's easier to get to any of the above from neutral.

Not being a smart-ass, but just want to know if there is any good reason this is a "bad" practice?

Jimmy.
post #61 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmysnook View Post

"Why ever put the manual in neutral? Don't have enough leg strength to keep the clutch down? Unless perhaps you start at the top of a hill with the engine off. "



I use neutral all the time. When coming off of a 65 MPH freeway onto a long curved exit ramp ending in a 5 way stop-light, you can't see much ahead of time if there are any, or many cars lined up at the light, or if the light is Green or Red or just turning Yellow!

When hitting such an exit ramp, I push in the clutch, and coast or brake around the bend at appropriate speed. I move the shifter to neutral because you don't know until you " 'round the bend" if you are going to have to speed up or slow down.
Am I gonna need 1st or 3rd or 4th?
It's easier to get to any of the above from neutral.

Not being a smart-ass, but just want to know if there is any good reason this is a "bad" practice?

Jimmy.

The transmission is used accelerate the vehicle, and to decelerate it, you should never have it out of gear while the vehicle is moving.
post #62 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmysnook View Post

"Why ever put the manual in neutral? Don't have enough leg strength to keep the clutch down? Unless perhaps you start at the top of a hill with the engine off. "

I use neutral all the time. When coming off of a 65 MPH freeway onto a long curved exit ramp ending in a 5 way stop-light, you can't see much ahead of time if there are any, or many cars lined up at the light, or if the light is Green or Red or just turning Yellow!

When hitting such an exit ramp, I push in the clutch, and coast or brake around the bend at appropriate speed. I move the shifter to neutral because you don't know until you " 'round the bend" if you are going to have to speed up or slow down.
Am I gonna need 1st or 3rd or 4th?
It's easier to get to any of the above from neutral.

Not being a smart-ass, but just want to know if there is any good reason this is a "bad" practice?

You are forgoing engine braking, screwing with your fuel economy and wearing your brakes more than necessary.
At any given moment, you are at X rpm. From X rpm, it might make sense to switch into lower gear or higher gear, but not both.
Doing the gear change in two steps, you are spending more attention on it than you really need to. That attention comes out of your other activity, like observing what goes on around you.
Your hand spends more time on the gearstick instead of the wheel. In any emergency situation, the control from having two hands on the wheel is superior. Even if it's a ramp with no intersecting traffic, a tire can always blow up, there could be an oil slick, or whatever.
Likewise, sometimes in an emergency you need to use throttle for control or to get out of the way of something. If you do it at all, it is going to be a reflexive action. There's no time to think. Realistically, you'll be distracted enough that you won't switch gears on instinct, so if you are on neutral to start with, there's a high likelihood you'll just rev the engine and have no power.

Pro drivers do as little as possible. Hands on the wheel, fast and fluid gear change, hands back on the wheel. Simple.
See Ross Bentley, Bob Bondurant, Curt Rich, etc.
post #63 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post

Not that I'm a torque converter whore or anything, but for most people, what's the damned point of owning a car manual/standard transmission? Hell, even drivers in motorsports like F1 don't have to deal with clutches anymore. And the Pi dashes on most of those cars tell you precisely when to shift as well.

Quite honestly, for me it came down to cost/maintenance, a majority of standard manual cars are cheaper than their automatic counterparts. This isn't always the case, but it's a general rule. Working at a Mazda/VW dealership, all the higher end and more expensive packages tend to be automatic, with the manual version saved for the baseline model. This may change as parts for a manual transmission get harder to find and as equipment for an automatic transmission get cheaper, but as it stands, manuals are usually(a universal to particular modifier, so if I'm to be corrected on this, use statistics and not an exception.) cheaper. 

 

Also, a manual transmission is (for me) easier and cheaper to work on/repair. Being on a lower budget, therefore owning lower end cars, when an automatic transmission in a car goes, the replacement of the transmission cost usually rivals that of the car. However on a manual, a good deal of the repairs I'm able to do myself, and what I can't do, I can usually order all the parts I need myself and simply pay for labor.

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