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How to master driving a manual transmission?

ms244

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So, I bought a shiny brand new (15 year old) truck to help me move my things.

Its a 5spd, which I've never owned before so I am learning how to drive it.

I took it out today for a few laps in (the nearest) parking lot and down a few little local roads.

Couple of points maybe some people here can help me out with.

When you start, how do you handle the clutch? I was told that I should find the point where the RPM begin to drop, and then add gas. But then what? How fast do is the clutch supposed to be let out?

I keep missing third and hitting fifth, which is OD. How can I avoid this?

When parking and backing up slowly, how do I work the clutch and brake?

Any other advice?
 

lost in va

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I'm pretty sure that because I was born a male I came stock with all the knowledge needed to master driving a 5spd.
 

random-adam

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Originally Posted by ms244
When you start, how do you handle the clutch? I was told that I should find the point where the RPM begin to drop, and then add gas. But then what? How fast do is the clutch supposed to be let out?

Try this. Start the car, clutch in, shift into first, and SLOWLY let out the clutch until you feel the engine grab the drive and start pulling the truck along.

Do this until you can manage it eight or ten times consecutively without stalling.

Once you're reasonably sure of where that grabby point is, well, that's where you want to give it some gas.

I keep missing third and hitting fifth, which is OD. How can I avoid this?
Practice. Shift from second to third with the engine turned off. A lot.

When parking and backing up slowly, how do I work the clutch and brake?
Feather it. Find that grabby point referenced earlier and get to know exactly how the truck feels with the clutch (dis)engaged at that instant. You'll learn how to effectively manage momentum with a stickshift sooner than you think; this comes into play with tight maneuvers -- give it a bit of gas to get rolling and then hover over the brake while you pay attention to not hitting anything.

Any other advice?
Don't drive it in rush hour until you're a little more surefooted unless the phrase "trial by fire" gets you excited.

Congrats on taking a step towards being a manlier man.
 

Kempt

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Originally Posted by random-adam

Don't drive it in rush hour until you're a little more surefooted unless the phrase "trial by fire" gets you excited.


I'd add staying away from steep hills to this advice.
 

ms244

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Originally Posted by random-adam
Try this. Start the car, clutch in, shift into first, and SLOWLY let out the clutch until you feel the engine grab the drive and start pulling the truck along.

Do this until you can manage it eight or ten times consecutively without stalling.

Once you're reasonably sure of where that grabby point is, well, that's where you want to give it some gas.

Practice. Shift from second to third with the engine turned off. A lot.

Feather it. Find that grabby point referenced earlier and get to know exactly how the truck feels with the clutch (dis)engaged at that instant. You'll learn how to effectively manage momentum with a stickshift sooner than you think; this comes into play with tight maneuvers -- give it a bit of gas to get rolling and then hover over the brake while you pay attention to not hitting anything.

Don't drive it in rush hour until you're a little more surefooted unless the phrase "trial by fire" gets you excited.


I can pull away without stalling most of the time, but it does buck a little every now and then. I'll work on the 'grab' point tomorrow.

Not hitting stuff is important, truck weighs about 3 1/2 tons with a drop hitch bumper in the back.

Congrats on taking a step towards being a manlier man.




Originally Posted by Kempt
I'd add staying away from steep hills to this advice.

I have to drive up one to get back to my apartment where I keep this contraption. I stopped and started up again without too much rolling but a lot of bucking.
 

Kempt

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I should have specified hills in areas with a lot of traffic, people who have never driven automatics like to get within 6 inches of your bumper on steep hills. It just adds to the anxiety when you're first learning.

To eliminate the bucking just give it gas a little bit earlier as you let out the clutch, worst case is you lay down a little rubber which adds to the manliness factor as random-adam has said!
 

dah328

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Bucking generally happens because you haven't given it enough gas relative to the speed at which you've let out the clutch. After a month's worth of driving, you'll do this fine without even thinking about it, but in the mean time, be generous in the amount of gas that you give it while liberally slipping the clutch. Once you get good at this, slip the clutch as little as possible as that is what causes clutch wear and the eventual need for a clutch job.
 

Huntsman

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The advice so far has, surprisingly, been uniformly good. What's the configuration? L-1-2-3-4-OD?, where 1-4 are the only 'required' gears?

Two things that helped me were: 1) sitting in Neutral and working the clutch to learn the nuances of its grab, and 2) when stopped on hills (foot on brake, stick in N, clutch out), apply handbrake (presuming it can hold the truck), clutch, shift into L, release main brake, put hand on handbrake release, slowly let out clutch, begin to feather in power, and just as the truck starts to move, release the handbrake. Then up to 3k rpm in L with the clutch full out, a quick shift into 1, and you're off.

Really the best thing is to pay attention to someone who can do it well. I learned in a truck, too, but after a decade of hearing my father shift it, I already sort of knew at what point everything had to be done.

Another thing solid-axle trucks don't tolerate well (compared to cars) is downshifting to reduce speed without matching the revs -- reverse tweaking out the tires doing that is not pretty.
 

Mauby

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Yeah, getting out of first is the hardest part. Clutch all the way down, put it in first, slowly let the clutch up...you'll feel "the friction zone," the truck will pull forward a little, give it a little bit of gas and keep letting the clutch up all the way...shifting from 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 should not be hard at all after that.
 

sonick

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I recently just got a 5sp car as well (much less manly though.. it's a miata
) Just one question though, when shifting into and moving in reverse (or just in stop/go traffic or adjusting parking), should one be letting the clutch out all the way or is it ok to ride it?
 

zeni

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^ If it's just a few seconds I'll ride it but in general keep your foot off the clutch as much as possible, it'll last much longer that way. One of my friends used to keep it in waiting for red lights :\\

Good for you guys, 5sp is much more fun.
 

craig g

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don't take this the wrong way,but you really shouldn't even be trying to drive this vehicle at all.it sounds to me like you have next to no idea about it and your literally a moving danger,and like you pointed out,its a huge vehicle.just my opinion but you should be looking at maybe getting driving lessons from a qualified instructor as opposed to posting on an internet forum for general help.
 

FLMountainMan

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Originally Posted by craig g
don't take this the wrong way,but you really shouldn't even be trying to drive this vehicle at all.it sounds to me like you have next to no idea about it and your literally a moving danger,and like you pointed out,its a huge vehicle.just my opinion but you should be looking at maybe getting driving lessons from a qualified instructor as opposed to posting on an internet forum for general help.


The evolution of the Eloi continues. Just my opinion, but I completely disagree with your post. He should learn by doing. He'll have it down in a week at most.

OP should take it to a mall parking lot at night, spend about an hour there, he'll be fine. I taught my girlfriend how to drive stick in a few hours on a Sunday out in the woods (insert double entendre). And she has a vagina (at least it feels like one). This kid will be just fine.
 

Brian278

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Practice. After a while you don't even think about it, you just do. Also, and maybe this is isn't the case since you're asking about it here, but if you have a friend who has a car with a manual watch waht he does and have him give you some in-car pointers.
 

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