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  #1  
Old 04-09-2008, 09:18 PM
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MANUAL SHIFTING HELP

i am new to a manual and i would like any advice on how to better drive the car. when should i shift? how do i know if im being too rough on the clutch? whats the best way to shift for optimum mileage? any opinions or advice would be appreciated, thanks.
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:02 PM
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A good friend as a tutor in an empty parking lot works ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jorr19 View Post
i am new to a manual and i would like any advice on how to better drive the car. when should i shift? how do i know if im being too rough on the clutch? whats the best way to shift for optimum mileage? any opinions or advice would be appreciated, thanks.
Get a friend to tutor you ... a big empty parking lot works great ... avoids rude gestures, blaring horns, and creating unsafe on-the-road conditions. I did that with my daughter with her Honda Civic years ago ... since then, she's been through manual gear box-equipped 528i, R53, her hubby's M3, and current Audi S4 -- the V8 variant.

You can often tell when you're rough on the clutch if you feel shudders, hear clanks, grinding noises, or repeated stalling ... I seem to get better mileage when shifts occur at 2500 to 3000 ... with an occasional burst to 5500 or so when situation demands doing so ... watching the 'instant mileage' on the tach is also a good idea as you can immediately see the effects of too much gas pedal or not.

Good luck ... wls

Last edited by MCS07MGM; 04-09-2008 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:07 PM
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Well I know for me the day I took delivery was the day I first drove stick...I would highly recommend watch this video...plus the guy is in a MINI haha
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B59-pWSPoZU

The time when to optimally shift will be something for you to determine as you get the hang of driving, but for starting out I would say anywhere from 2100-2600 rpm is good to get the hang of shifting in normal acceleration...any lower than 2100 now and you will lug ur engine in the lower gears...being too rough on the clutch is something i worry about to...ive decided that I'm better of slipping it more than just dropping it...dropping it u hurt the engine, drive train, mounts, etc...slipping just hurts the clutch. Now I do not mean slipping the clutch for many seconds, but 1-3 on launch (1st gear from stop) and the rest should be kinda under a second, but don't worry about that until you get the hang of it.
So basically don't drop the clutch...and the times that you can drop it faster is when you have the hang of it and have the engine rev matched for the gear/speed...when u let out the clutch and no jerking occurs then you have done a good shift with no wrong doing toward the clutch.
Also when you do go to downshifting (3-2...4-3...etc) blip the throttle while the clutch is pressed and you are shifting gears to keep the rpms up...again as you get experience you will know the exact rpm for the speed/gear

For milage the better would be to shift just around 2100 rpm...but trust me once you get the hang of it the few extra miles are worth loosing to shift at least around 2700+ rpm haha

if you have any questions you can always pm me and definitely check out some of those videos...they REALLY help
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:16 PM
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mcm07mgm, i am not having a problem driving the car. my first manual experience was driving it home from the dealer. the only problem i had was stalling at a stop sign in my neighborhood. the second part of your post was more what im looking for. the subtle aspects of driving the car really well is what im looking to learn. im fine when it comes to daily driving, but i am definately looking to refine my skills and be as smooth and efficiant as possible. thanks for the response i appreciate it.
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:23 PM
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it is just something that you perfect over time. It just becomes second nature after a while and you will learn what your MINI does and doesn't like.
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:34 PM
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Aha ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jorr19 View Post
the subtle aspects of driving the car really well is what im looking to learn.
Aha ... then, I'm thinking that watching the 'instant MPG' and/or supposing you have three minutes more worth of fuel to get to the gas station that's five minutes driving time away -- works for first part of mileage ... as for doing really well --->>> practice, practice, and practice ... at least has worked for me for about 60 years of driving various vehicles ...

wls
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:24 AM
Doesnotcompute Doesnotcompute is offline
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Without any slight intended to the OP, as a Brit I'm amazed that here in the US you can get into a manual/stick shift car and be legal to drive without knowing how it works.

In the UK I would estimate that 80% of cars are manual and 99% of people learn how to drive in a manual car. If you learn and pass your test in an automatic, you are only allowed to drive an automatic, until you re-take your test in a manual. That's a 40-50 minute driving test too.

Anyway, to the OP's question, treat the clutch like a beautiful woman (or gentleman if you prefer). To pull away from a standstill, lift the clutch up until you feel the transmission engage slightly and hold the clutch there for a moment. Dip the gas to bring the RPM's up to about 2000 and then continue to lift the clutch and depress the throttle at the same time in a smooth fashion.

Once you're rolling, you can be a little less loving on the clutch for quicker changes. You can change up to the next gear anywhere between 3000 and the redline area around 7000 depending on how you like to drive.

If you want to drive fast, this might be useful as a guide
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doesnotcompute View Post
Without any slight intended to the OP, as a Brit I'm amazed that here in the US you can get into a manual/stick shift car and be legal to drive without knowing how it works.

In the UK I would estimate that 80% of cars are manual and 99% of people learn how to drive in a manual car. If you learn and pass your test in an automatic, you are only allowed to drive an automatic, until you re-take your test in a manual. That's a 40-50 minute driving test too.

How I wish it was this way here in the US.
We need much more training and testing before letting people drive. (Like that will ever happen.)
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:47 AM
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You know you are driving correctly in public traffic when it feels like an automatic (sure, you'll likely get the usual manual-transmission head bob on a shift, but it should still be smooth).

MINIs are really great cars to drive manuals in, in my experience. If you have an 'S', there's abundant torque pretty much everywhere, so shifting at 2600-3000 would suffice in the first 4 gears. If you hear the engine growl at low rpms, you're too low in the revs, and giving too much throttle. Downshift, or ease off.

I learned to drive a manual on a Subaru, and that was a nightmare to learn on....

good luck!


Addendum: Watching those technique videos on Youtube of race cars is really fun and entertaining, but for learning to drive on the road, concentrate on the fundamentals before going for the advanced techniques
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:53 AM
Doesnotcompute Doesnotcompute is offline
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here's a series of videos that look to be much more suited to road based driving: http://www.expertvillage.com/video/1...get-moving.htm
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  #11  
Old 04-10-2008, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doesnotcompute View Post
If you want to drive fast, this might be useful as a guide
Oh yes I started picking up heel and toe about a month or 2 after learning stick and boy is it fun and actually I find it very useful in everyday driving
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:29 AM
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One thing about the shift lever, don't grab it with your whole hand. When shifting to first, third, or fifth, use the part of your hand below the palm or the palm itself. When shifting to second, fourth, or sixth, use the tips of your two middle fingers. You want to gently guide the shifter, not force it. If you were to grab and muscle it around, you will actually slow your shifting down. Also, don't rest your hand on the shifter, it is unsafe.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:00 AM
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I don't think you want to downshift if you want to be gentle on things, unless required to by a long downgrade.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:20 AM
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thanks for all the posts guys
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:06 AM
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I know it will never happen.

But way back in ancient times when I was
in the army, you had to be licensed for
each individual vehicle.

Well, maybe we could make it a class of vehicles here.
Sub compact, compact, sedan, monster truck, etc etc.

But more importantly, I think it would be handy these people
need to take a lengthy road test while talking on the phone,
texting, etc etc etc.

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Old 04-10-2008, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by condor27596 View Post
I know it will never happen.

But more importantly, I think it would be handy these people
need to take a lengthy road test while talking on the phone,
texting, etc etc etc.


Yeah it was horrible the other day I was in a group that was doing about 75-80 on an interstate around here...calm and just in the fast lane...i look in my rearview as see some ricer approaching really fast and swerving from lane to lane....as I see him pass he has his phone directly next to the steering wheel texting while doing atleast 95-100 and being reckless...it disgusts me (im 19 and I can't stand these young drivers haha)
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:54 PM
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19? You're a shrimp jk I'm 26
To the OP try this site http://standardshift.com/forum/
They love manual transmission like we love Minis.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thulchatt View Post
How I wish it was this way here in the US.
We need much more training and testing before letting people drive. (Like that will ever happen.)
I agree - I don't know why we don't have a "tiered" licensing system here in the States. It's particularly bad with motorcycles - you can take your riding test on a 450cc Honda, and then go buy a 160+ horsepower sportbike, which is a recipe for disaster, to say the least.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:32 AM
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the revelation for me when i started driving manual is learning the biting point. go to a empty lot. pull up the hand break, and put the car into gear. press down on the clutch and stare at your RPM. slowly let up the clutch and you'll notice there's a point where the rpm drops a bit and the cars starts to shudder. that's the biting point. after you learn the biting point...

"Do your safety checks. Turn on the ignition. Clutch down. First gear. Set the gas. Clutch up to the biting point. Handbrake down. Both hands on wheel. Clutch up a fraction, more gas, then keep feet still. Finally, clutch all the way up and you’ve moved off, baby!"
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by VelvetFoot View Post
I don't think you want to downshift if you want to be gentle on things, unless required to by a long downgrade.
Knowing how to downshift while driving is an integral part of driving a stick shift. If you know how to do it properly downshifting in a stick is no more or less rough than in any other type of car. I can rev-match downshift into any gear from any speed while braking or while going in a straight line (To drop into a lower gear).

It takes a lot of practice, but I certainly wouldn't say that you don't want to do it. I could drop into any gear you wanted me to (From 5th to 2nd) and you wouldn't even be able to tell I did it unless you watched the RPM's on the car.

As for suggestions to the OP, my only suggestion is to practice! Go out late at night and find a deserted hill to practice hill starts on. Practice on flat level ground rolling your foot off the clutch slowly to find that engagement point (No gas needed, just let the clutch out slowly in gear till it bogs and starts moving, then push it back down).

I'm not sure why any of these videos show double clutching as an "Advanced technique" there's no reason whatsoever to ever double clutch in a car made in the last 50 years. Heel-Toe I use every day and quite a bit on the track, but I can't see any reason why I'd ever want to waste time going into neutral before downshifting.

Good luck!
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRiqui View Post
I agree - I don't know why we don't have a "tiered" licensing system here in the States. It's particularly bad with motorcycles - you can take your riding test on a 450cc Honda, and then go buy a 160+ horsepower sportbike, which is a recipe for disaster, to say the least.
Yes, when I took the MSF to get my license (Not even required, you can literally walk in, pass the written test and hop on a bike) we learned on 12 HP honda rebels. One of the people there already had his permit and had went out to purchase a brand new 750cc GSXR (120 HP, 0-60 in about 3.8 seconds, top speed of 175+).

Another had been riding with no license and had a Harley Davidson Sportster (One of those 1100 CC Monster bikes that weigh 700 lbs). She had already dropped it and knocked all her front teeth out (Wearing one of those "Cool" helmets with no front face protection).

It's sad how people think they can just go out and do things with no training whatsoever. I had NEVER been on a bike before the class, and I had the best grades in the whole class (Amid people that had been riding for years without licenses) because I listened, and practiced.

On a tangent, I think taking an MSF course geared towards cagers people who only drive cars, even if they NEVER plan on riding a bike should be REQUIRED to get your license, and mandatory if you wish to renew it (Every 8-10 years). Honestly it will help quell some of the misconceptions about bikes being more dangerous than anything in the world and might actually help to lower accident rates by making people more aware! Having driven only cars my entire life, I can say that taking the MSF really opened up my eyes about motorcycles on the road, and I'm a LOT more aware of their presence.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't slide to the left just a bit to let one squeeze by on the road and get a friendly wave from the rider.

So yea, watch out for our buddies on 2 wheels guys!

Last edited by Guest; 04-11-2008 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:36 PM
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Sometimes, it hurts to shift well. When I was fresh out of college, I bought a Toyota Celica GT Liftback with a 5 speed. There was a hot woman in my apartment complex, about 6 years older than me, who had a Fiat with a manual. I asked her if she could teach me to drive it, since I had no experience with a manual. She agreed. It turns out I was a natural. BUT, after about 10 minutes with her, she got pissed off at me and ranted thus: "I was going to ask you to spend the night at my place, but if you lied about never driving a manual, how can I trust you about other things???" I do believe I learned a few lessons that day.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:20 PM
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One suggestion is to keep the volume of your radio fairly low, so you can listen to the engine and transmission. Smooth shifts not only feel smooth, they sound smooth.
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnEl View Post
Sometimes, it hurts to shift well. When I was fresh out of college, I bought a Toyota Celica GT Liftback with a 5 speed. There was a hot woman in my apartment complex, about 6 years older than me, who had a Fiat with a manual. I asked her if she could teach me to drive it, since I had no experience with a manual. She agreed. It turns out I was a natural. BUT, after about 10 minutes with her, she got pissed off at me and ranted thus: "I was going to ask you to spend the night at my place, but if you lied about never driving a manual, how can I trust you about other things???" I do believe I learned a few lessons that day.
Lynn, that brought to mind something that happened to me back about 1979.

I was a club DJ at a pretty popular place, and I was the head jock. At the end of the night as I was putting the records away, a very pretty woman walked up to the booth and said, "Hi. How would I get the DJ to go home with me?" I just replied, "Ask him!" She says, "No, that's too easy," and left.

Lesson learned: Fully engage brain prior to opening mouth.

In reference to this thread, fully engage clutch prior to shifting gears.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jorr19 View Post
i am new to a manual and i would like any advice on how to better drive the car. when should i shift? how do i know if im being too rough on the clutch? whats the best way to shift for optimum mileage? any opinions or advice would be appreciated, thanks.
At the risk of sounding pedantic, try looking for good professional instruction. Or else find a friend who learned to drive manual from a good professional instructor. European/Japanese friends maybe? Generally overseas they mostly drive manuals and have better driving instruction than here in the US.

The problem with learning to drive from a friend is that you may unwittingly end up being taught all their bad habits. I would venture to say that most US manual drivers learned either by trial and error or from someone (friend, parent, sibling) who learned by trial and error.

Do any of these poor driving habits sound familiar?

- Undue clutch wear by 1) Not using the handbrake for hill starts; 2) holding the car on a hill by slipping the clutch; 3) left foot resting on the clutch pedal while the car is in gear; 4) revving the engine before the clutch is fully engaged.

- Undue wear on the throw out bearing by waiting at a full stop with the clutch pedal down and the car in gear.

- Undue wear on the transmission by 1) resting a hand on the shift **** between shifts; 2) muscling/forcing the transmission into gear.

- Undue engine wear by using downshifting to slow the car down.

- Unsettling the car by shifting or braking mid corner.

- Coasting with the car in neutral or with the clutch pedal down.
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