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teaching stick shift

Postby Robotnik on Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:24 pm

I have a friend who wants to learn how to drive a manual transmission. Trouble is we don't have a three pedal car easily at our disposal, which the owner wouldn't mind being thrashed a bit by a learner. If one were to obtain a car with standard transmission for learning, which would be better. A small car with a small displacement engine, or a big car with say a large displacement V8 engine (read iron block 302 Windsor here, or something like that - an old fashioned pushrod motor)? I'm thinking a torquey V8 might be easier to learn in, because you'd just keep in it in gear and not shift it as much. You could run a V8 in 3rd for example at low speeds and it wouldn't stall out. Also anyone have some good tips for teaching stick shifting to someone?

:)
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Postby BuddhaTB on Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:34 pm

I wanna learn out to drive a stick too. So any info provided here would be beneficial to me too. :D
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Postby Ian on Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:45 pm

Take em to a parking lot at first. Not on the road. A mall at night is a good place.

A small car would probably be better. Less damage if you hit something.
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Postby Turkeyscore.com on Sun Jun 15, 2003 10:19 pm

heh heh, i should learn before moving to California....
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Postby UALOneKPlus on Mon Jun 16, 2003 12:05 am

I agree with Ian. A smaller car is much easier to learn. A v8 is intimidating to begin with, and add the manual tranny is really tough.

I love driving my manual tranny car ;)
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Postby Robotnik on Mon Jun 16, 2003 12:20 am

UALOneKPlus wrote:I agree with Ian. A smaller car is much easier to learn. A v8 is intimidating to begin with, and add the manual tranny is really tough.


Yes a V8 might be intimidating, but then again the student in question has been driving for a number of years and actually drives an automatic car with a 350 cube Chevy V8 engine.
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Postby eliminator on Mon Jun 16, 2003 1:34 am

Small car & an empty parking space, up & down the hill, parallel parking too ! :wink:
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Postby Boone on Mon Jun 16, 2003 10:21 am

small cars usually have awful clutches. I learned to drive a stick on a Civic Si, which has absolutely no feel. Later I drove a BMW 330i and an Audi TT... I swear an idiot could drive those manuals easily (worked for me!) as there was definite feedback when the clutch was engaging.
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Postby MikeTR on Mon Jun 16, 2003 10:53 am

LOL...

Almost forgot that by far most of the cars in the US are automatic transmissions. To me it's an abbaration, driving a Mustang without a stick. Allmost disrespectfull to such a classic. I never had anything but a stick shift in my cars. Guess it comes with the territory.

The best type of car to learn driving a stick, is a small car with a smooth pedal-action. A heavy engine might be more difficult to control initially. You run the risk of over-revving the engine. If this doesn't intimidate you, any size engine will do.

Driving a manual transmission is actually quite easy. The only 'hard' part is trying to get the feel for the gear-pedal. From there it is like dancing, all depends on the rythm. Don't let anyone tell you it is difficult.

The main pointers are:
-release the gaspedal before pressing down on the gearpedal
-press down the gearpedal all the way
-shift up (or down)
-slowly let the gearpedal rise back up and press down gently on the gaspedal (watch the rev's)
-simultaniously add pressure on the gaspedal end let the gearpedal rise further
-that's all there is to it.

The simultanious action of both feet is the most difficult part to get a hang of. Once you get the feeling it's plain sailing from there. Just be patient and do not rush your footwork.

Just swing by a rent-a-car and find an empty mall-parking lot and you'll get it soon enough.
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Postby MonteLDS on Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:07 am

teaching someone how to drive a stick shift is so much fun. I personally have only drive 4 cars that have been auto. a tottal of maybe 10 hours. Where I have been driving my stick shift since 17 and its been 5 years now... and I have about 876413156+3054 hours behind a stick shift and will never go back...

o ya small car for sure!
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Postby Reg-da-Ripper on Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:47 am

I'm a fan of cars with manual-transmission cars as well. I learned how to launch a car in first gear when I was 12 (on a '71 Beetle in my parents' driveway). :) Ever since I had a license, I've driven a car with a stick-shift [my current car is a '98 Ford Contour SVT (Ford Mondeo ST200 to all of you outside North America)].

I've also taught others how to drive one. I agree with Ian: find a big, empty parking lot (mall/shopping center, school, convention center, etc.) and practice there.

IMHO, launching a car from a dead stop is the key. When I taught others, I made them practice the following: stopping, moving the car from first gear, driving a few feet, stopping. I made my "students" repeat this over and over until I felt comfortable (and until they felt confident). Once I got to that point, I would have them drive the car some more and shift from first to second gear and from second to third gear (just to practice changing gears and downshifting). I would have them go no faster than 25 mph in third gear. After a few rounds of this, the real test comes: driving with traffic in a "downtown" section. By this time, they are "master novices" at driving a manual transmission. :)

The car you use depends on the personality of the driver who wants to learn: Most of the people I taught were intimidated by a big-torque V8 engine; thus, a car with a four-cylinder engine sufficed.

I hope that this doesn't happen, but I can see the day when sequential gearboxes (such as those from Ferrari, Aston-Martin, BMW, and Toyota among others) will take over, and a clutch pedal will be a thing of the past.
Last edited by Reg-da-Ripper on Tue Jun 17, 2003 9:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby BurninMan921 on Mon Jun 16, 2003 1:25 pm

Ironically, I can drive a tractor-trailer but always stall a normal car (trucks are very hard to stall). Plus I've got to double-clutch otherwise I can't do it...
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Postby MikeTR on Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:07 pm

BurninMan921 wrote:Ironically, I can drive a tractor-trailer but always stall a normal car (trucks are very hard to stall). Plus I've got to double-clutch otherwise I can't do it...


LOL :D

BTW, what does 'double-clutching' mean exactly?
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Postby eliminator on Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:32 pm

That means that, in order to react faster (& go easier on the engine too), just before downshifting (in order to speed up, or go faster in a certain moment, you rev the gas pedal in a brief moment while your stick is in the neutral position...2fast2furious thingie :wink:
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Jun 16, 2003 6:12 pm

eliminator wrote:...2fast2furious thingie :wink:
LOL
every serious driver knew about that trick way before the makers of 2fast2furious were in their diapers... :D
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Postby eliminator on Mon Jun 16, 2003 7:00 pm

right, just made an up-to-date illustration point :wink:
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Postby cfitz on Mon Jun 16, 2003 9:52 pm

I've never driven a truck, but I believe your description of double-clutching is incorrect. Double-clutching is primarily (although not exclusively) used when shifting gears on transmissions without synchronizers. Shifting directly from one gear to another is difficult and potentially damaging without synchronizers, as the various pieces within the gearbox aren't running at matched rates. Double clutching is used to get around this, and is used for both up- and down-shifting.

You depress the clutch pedal, shift to neutral, release the clutch pedal to engage the clutch and spin the gears in the gearbox to the speed required for the next gear, depress the clutch pedal again and shift into your next gear, then finally release the clutch pedal one last time. The clutch pedal is pressed and released two full times, hence the term "double" clutching.

I haven't seen the movie, but what you describe simply sounds like matching engine RPM to wheel RPM a la heel-and-toeing, for example.

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Postby eliminator on Tue Jun 17, 2003 1:43 am

I think we're both kinda right... :wink:
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Postby cfitz on Tue Jun 17, 2003 1:53 am

Here are some pretty nice explanations that should clarify:

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/clutch.htm
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/transmission.htm

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Postby MikeTR on Tue Jun 17, 2003 4:44 am

I think I'll have to go with cfitz on this one. His explanation concurs with what I know about driving trucks. I just didn't know this was called a double clutch in English.
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Postby jase on Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:16 am

Manual gearboxes are the standard around these parts ;) Autos are comparatively rare, mainly being on the higher-end BMWs etc and tend to be tiptronic anyway......

I'd say the best car to start on, if you can find one, is a smallish diesel. Diesel cars' clutches are much easier to get right due to the much higher torque -- it's actually very hard to stall a diesel car (the number one thing new folks to manual transmission always do).

I don't understand why the rest of the world seems to like autos so much. They scare me; you don't feel as much in control of the car, especially in delicate manouvres (try travelling around at 1mph in an automatic, far harder than in a manual I have to say!!!) Autos tend to be slightly slower as well.
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Postby MikeTR on Tue Jun 17, 2003 1:28 pm

jase wrote:Manual gearboxes are the standard around these parts ;)


Around here too, now if only you drove on the correct side of the road (that's why they call it the right side you know. :P
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Postby Action Jackson on Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:31 pm

Robotnik,

Before driving a manual, I learned to manually shift an auto.

That's right, an auto.

That way, you can learn about rev matching the gear to the engine speed.

You can learn how to use your right foot to brake and blip the gas on a downshift [part of the "Heel and Toe"].

I also learned to use my left foot on the brake to help develop sensitivity in the left foot [the eventual clutch foot].

The best auto is a straight gate on the floor auto.

And yes, try it out in a big empty parking lot first.

Learning to use a clutch afterwards is MUCH easier.
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Postby Reg-da-Ripper on Tue Jun 17, 2003 9:37 pm

jase wrote:...I don't understand why the rest of the world seems to like autos so much...


Because we crazy Americans need both hands to simultaneously talk on the cellular phone, comb our hair, put on makeup, eat, drink, change CDs/tapes, read books/newspapers/magazines/maps, give "the finger" to an obnoxious driver, brush our teeth, and shave.

Do you really think that we could do all of that and shift gears as well? :D :D :D :D Be serious! :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Postby eliminator on Tue Jun 17, 2003 10:40 pm

Well, you can't beat auto for a busy rushour in the city ! :wink:
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