Advice driving manual transmission....

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by yg17, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #1
    So I got my brand new Volkswagen GTI today, a 6 speed manual, which is my first manual (and driving home from the dealer was my first time driving a stick, EVER. Needless to say, it was interesting. And yes, I give you permission to call me a dumbass for driving a brand new car without any manual experience. Although the sales manager did give me a quick crash course which helped)

    Launching from a stop is where I'm having the most trouble. If I don't stall, the launch is extremely jerky. I think I may be letting off the clutch too early, would that be causing it? Once the car starts moving, my reflexes lift my left foot off the clutch and all hell breaks loose, I think I just need to practice and overcome that.

    Also, my shift from 1-2 is also a bit jerky. No idea what I'm doing wrong here. I shift around 3k RPMs (maybe a bit higher while I'm getting the hang of things).

    Other than those 2 things, I'm doing quite well for a n00b. 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 and 5-6 are very smooth, you'd think I was driving an auto. And I'm not too bad at downshifting either (I was having a bit of fun on the empty highway on the way home, I was practicing downshifting into 5th gear to get some more power....that's a skill that will be a must for me :p)

    Any advice on the launch and 1-2 shift? And any other pointers you may have? Thanks
     
  2. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    #2
    I think you should give me your GTI, and take the Jetta GLS automatic my wife made me trade in our old Golf GLS manual for.

    Please?
     
  3. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #3
    Your shifting is not better in 3,4,5 and 6 - you just can't notice it as much.

    In gears 1 and 2, the engine puts a great deal of torque down, and the car is moving slow (or not at all) this is why it's easier to stall. At higher gears - the engine exerts less torque - while the road exerts more - this is why you don't "feel the jerk".

    It sounds you're dumping the clutch too quickly. You need to find the "medium point" - where you're allowing the clutch to slide JUST ENOUGH while applying power through the throttle. Doing this in 1st gear will prevent stalls and spinouts. It'll make 2nd a lot smoother, too. Bear in mind, do not do this too long - 99.999% of stick drivers aren't aware of how quickly (and intensely) heat builds up on your clutch when you ride it too long.

    I'd say find a nice safe (empty) parking lot, and practice stop and go, and hill starts. You get those down pat, and you're sailing smoothly.

    Also - VW - Vwvortex.com - lots of good advice on FAQs.

    Drive safely.

    I just realized - you're learning stick on a NEW car? Wow you're (#*$ing crazy. Clutches are expensive, as are throw bearings and flywheels. I'd say rent a car that is a stick (if one can be found) and learn on that. If possible - drive something with a weaker engine, or fewer cylinders. (if I'm not mistaken - GTI is now exclusively 4 cyl? Or do they still have the VR6?)

    Regardless - weaker engines are harder to learn on - and will make your GTI a cake walk when you get back to it.

    Don't do stupid (#*$ for the first 2K miles or so, let it break in before bouncing off the rev limiter. And if it's cold out - don't be a retard and reach into the back seat to get something immediately after starting it, and floor it on a cold engine. I know someone who did this - killed his GTI, and blamed VW?!? (he is a retard)

    Um - what else, oh yeah, if you have ASR, ESP or some other traction control - turn it off for now, that will allow you to spin your tires, and will help you to learn faster. Otherwise, if the tires spin, it chokes fuel to the engine, making it lose power (in order to stop the wheels from spinning) and mine even applies the ABS too. It might make a noob have more trouble learning hill starts and what not.
     
  4. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    #4
    Okay, to be more helpful, the secret is in the practice. You can't have somebody talk you through finding the sweet spot with the clutch, and just how much gas to give when releasing. Besides, the challenge is starting from a complete stop while on a hill. Practice THAT, and you can do anything.

    BTW: I will not put you down for buying a manual when you're learning. Learning on a putter won't prepare you for launching that pocket rocket you've got in your driveway.
     
  5. sananda macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #5
    just practice slowly raising the clutch until you feel the biting point and then slowly feeding in the power while releasing the clutch further. it'll soon become second nature.
     
  6. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #6
    This can't be stressed enough. You want to spend as little time as possible letting out the clutch while still providing a smooth start or transition from gear to gear. Do not drive around with the clutch pushed in even part way.

    I would suggest practicing on a different car, preferably a junker, but then there is the problem of every car shifting differently. I will say, after both my sister and I learned on my mom's car, she ended up having to replace the clutch a couple years later... I'll blame my sister for that one though.

    Driving around in parking lots is where it's at. Just knowing what to do can't make it perfect without lots of practice. Soon your feet will just know what to do without thinking.
     
  7. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #7
    Future advice: When driving stick becomes 100% subconscious, use extreme caution driving an auto again. Your left foot looks for that clutch - and instead finds a double-wide break pedal.

    You'd be amazed how fast your left foot can stop an auto. Your neck will be too. :eek:
    :D
     
  8. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #8
    Uhhh....no :p

    Damn, I thought I was doing fine in 3-4-5-6. When I do those, I just get off the gas, clutch in, change gear and get on the gas while releasing the clutch. I've got this down to maybe a second, if that long (my biggest issue right now is still getting used to the shifter, I've done a bunch of accidental 2-5 shifts and such. But I sat in my car while parked in the garage for a few minutes and just went up and down through all the gears and think I'm getting better at that too. 2-3 is easier once I realized I can take advantage of the centering springs in the shifter) Is there something I'm screwing up in there?

    When you say "do not do this too long" about how long is too long? I'm taking quite awhile to get going, but I slowly let up on the clutch until I hit the engagement point (about halfway up, the GTI's engagement point is a bit high) and once I hit that and feel the car move, I dump it....reflexes I guess.

    I don't have a parking lot, but I live in a quiet neighborhood that I'll practice in. Plus, there's a giant hill for me to practice on too (fortunately, I don't drive up that hill when leaving my neighborhood, but it's good for practicing)

    And yep, I'm on the vortex. Same username there as here.

    Guess I'll just need to practice then :D I'm still learning to get a feel for the engagement point which is probably also part of the problem

    I sure hope so ;) Driving this thing's gonna suck if it doesn't become second nature
     
  9. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #9
    Being new to it - you ARE going to take a bit longer to get going from a dead stop. So I'd say no more than 3 seconds of clutch-slippage before engagement.

    I don't honestly time it, but I have to be less than 1/2 second on average in first from a dead stop. But seriously, I don't know.

    Its even less when I'm driving my diesel. But that's Apples to PCs - very different.
     
  10. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    #10
    :(

    Oh, don't worry, it will. An it will be sooo worth it when it does. Enjoy!
     
  11. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #11
    In the UK you aren't allowed to drive a manual unless you have completed your test on a manual. This is due to safety implications because you don't want to jerk out and stall on a roundabout/junction. Or roll backwards down a hill.

    That's because you are driving a GTI.

    In regards to changing into the wrong gear this can have a huge impact on your gearbox, i.e. cause it to shred.

    Gearsticks are designed for a natural flow through the gears don't try and force it to switch simply guide it and you notice that it automatically trys to go up and down in the right direct.

    Driving manual is a skill luckily one that doesn't take too long to get but can take a little while to master smoothly. Once you got it nailed though that is when the fun begins especially in the GTI.
     
  12. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #12

    Yeah, we're back asswards in the US :D

    Regarding the wrong gear, it's my understanding that if you go into too high of a gear, the worst that may happen is that you'll lug the engine and possibly stall, but if you downshift into the wrong gear, really bad things may happen, right? So the occasional accidental 2-5 shouldn't be that bad, but the accidental 5-2 could be really bad
     
  13. walangij macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Location:
    MI
    #13
    CONGRATS ON THE GTI!

    I learned manual on my 06 GTI, well I actually learned on my friend's honda and an old broken geo metro but driving stick in them & in the GTI is really different since the clutch has a lot longer travel. After a couple weeks I was fine and I'm sure you will be too.

    Anyways, one thing that is specific to the GTI in shifting from 1-2 is to make sure you are pulling the shifter straight down, it'll make the shift way smoother. It is really easy to pull it down and left w/o noticing it which is why the shift is jerkier sometimes, I read a post about it and realized that I did the same thing w/o knowing. Check out golfmkv.com as well, all mark 5 golf GTI owners there and meetups, ect.
     
  14. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #14
    Just youtube over-rev or 6-3 shift. There were a bunch of Acura RSX 6 speeds this happened to. Bunch of boy-racer kids trying to show off on camera, slapping it from 6th to 3rd.

    I know Hondas can rev high - but 11K - not quite. ;)
     
  15. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #15
    Don't I want to be pulling it to the left a little bit to prevent the centering springs from kicking in and bringing me into 4th?

    Also, while we're talking about downshifting, say I'm in 5th (could be any gear really though) and need to take a turn slowly and have some power when I'm done turning. I start breaking, and then closer to the turn, I clutch in and go to 2nd, and leave the clutch in about halfway through the turn, then when I need to get going again, I let off the clutch (somewhat quickly I might add) while getting on the gas and my RPMs are still well in the safe range (3,000ish maybe? I wasn't looking at the tach) and it wasn't really jerky, but not really smooth either. Should I be a bit slower off the clutch?
     
  16. walangij macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Location:
    MI
    #16
    Thats true, but pulling it to the left too much causes some of the jerky response. If you pull straight down with a very slight left (making sure you engage 2nd) instead of towards the bottom left corner you'll be fine. Maybe you're not even pulling it left, I pulled it towards the left corner when shifting into 2nd to make sure I wasn't going to hit 4th, I realized that I was overcompensating and could shift straight down and all of a sudden my 1-2 shifts were super smooth.
     
  17. Jeremy! macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #17
    They still make manual transmissions?


    Really?.........I didn't know that...... ;)


    Give it a week, you'll be fine. No sense practicing the high gears, practice stop to 1st. gear. Biggest feedback is in that range. Literally, like mentioned above. drive around in a parking lot. Keep it slow, and make lots of complete stops. But do change the transmission fluid ahead of the scheduled change... just in case!

    And if you just can't get the hang of it, just give me the word and I'll take it off your hands...:D
     
  18. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #18
    Don't drag the clutch like that: you will burn it out in no time. If you need to downshift to a much lower gear then you need to either: downshift to a higher gear first and let the engine match the revs for you so go 5-4-3-2.

    Or learn to heal-and-toe (if your car will let you, modern non sports cars (a GTI is not a sports car) won't let you do it properly). To do this you get on the brakes with your right foot, put in the clutch with your left, swivel the right to blip the throttle whilst moving the gear lever and let out the clutch as the engine revs match the road speed in the new lower gear. This gives absolutely smooth downshifts with the least load on the drivetrain.

    Here is a nice video on YouTube showing how to do it (in a great little Elise).
     
  19. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #19
    quick bit of advise my driving instructor gave me:

    Clutch in - wait a sec change gear, raise the clutch up slooooowly should take about a second / two seconds.

    That kinda makes a more smoother change.

    Remember to give it plenty of acceleration when setting off and don't pull off the clutch too quick.
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #20
    I don't think anyone has suggested it yet, so I will: have a friend who knows how to drive a stick to spend some time with you in the car. They should be able to straighten you out pretty quickly.
     
  21. Rhosfelt macrumors 65816

    Rhosfelt

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    I don't want to be raped :(
    #21
    I didn't really read what everyone had to say, just a few, I just had to teach myself too so here are my suggestions:

    First, don't use your new car... clutches do wear out easily especially if they are new(er).

    Second, if you have a friend or family member who is able to do so, or better yet has an older car to teach you on jump on that opportunity. (I believe someone said this..)

    Third, If you know anyone with a two-stroke motocross bike hop on that, you'll soon learn how clutches work, and how unforgiving they can be.

    Fourth, I didn't really look at your location, but manuals can be especially tricky in the winter..so you might want to even put your car away (if possible) until everything thaws...


    Honestly the best thing I would suggest is getting some one with an older car, or a dirt-bike.. I never drove a manuel car before, but I raced moto-x for a while before I could drive, and then shifting in a car came natural. Plus with a bike you won't have to worry about damaging the clutch as much, and they are much much cheaper than a car's. Like I said though, two-strokes can be mean, and offer a different feel, but if you are just looking for a way to learn, believe me it will teach you.
     
  22. ceiph macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    #22
    i learned how to drive stick when my brand new ford fusion had 14 miles on the test drive, anyways learning sucked and and at 23k miles i was getting a new clutch..... nut now i know what im doing!!!! anyways moral of my story is you better have the extended warrenty or a diffrent car to learn on?
     
  23. simontarr macrumors 6502

    simontarr

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #23
    OK, this might not help but...

    If you release your clutch really slowly without any throttle, the car will begin to pull away and you will notice the engine 'biting' (it's easier to do in a diesel).

    Well, I found this cool when I discovered it myself!
     
  24. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816

    SpookTheHamster

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #24
    Use a little more throttle. Not enough to go crazy, but it'll get rid of the jerking and stalling.
     
  25. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #25
    All good advice so far, but don't try cornering with the clutch in or changing gear at all. Set the car in the right gear for the corner and ideally brake on the straight then on to the power round the corner to the exit, at least until you've got used to the stick-shift.

    Once you've learned to drive a stick-shift you'll be able to drive more smoothly than most autos, and while not advisable, you can drive without touching the clutch, something I had to learn to do VERY quickly when a clutch cable snapped.
    I went from stick to auto once and managed to engage P at about 3mph, opps:eek:
     

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