Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

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enniroc
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Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby enniroc » Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:31 pm

Greetings, folks. This seems like quite the supportive, collaborative community. I've only been lurking for 24 hours - couldn't wait any longer to introduce myself.

I got promoted to management a few weeks ago, and made good on a promise to myself and my family: I bought myself a car! Well, leased: a 2015 Nissan Juke SV. I picked it up Wednesday night, and this is Friday night, so... 48 hours! Feels like longer already.

I drove stick quite a bit when I was in my early 20s (family vehicles: an '90s-era Honda Accord, and a '00s-era Jeep TJ), but I've been a carless city-dweller (except for the occasional rental) for the better part of a decade.

My new Nissan behaves so, so differently from any other manual I've driven. I have fond memories of the Jeep patiently chugging along between gears, using my bodyweight to get that mile-long gearshift where it needed to go... and the gears of the Accord clicking into place effortlessly, with very little roll-back on hills.

My Nissan, though, is brand spanking new (and I might as well be, too, given how long it's been), so It's touchy touchy touchy. It bucks easily, rolls a lot, and I can't seem to take off on a hill without burning rubber. (My poor tires!) (Doesn't help that drivers in my city are notorious tailgaters. I'm using my years of cycling knowledge to avoid as many hills as possible for the time being. But when I can't, I freak a little. Haven't yet gotten the hang of using my e-brake on hills in this vehicle, either.)

Because it's new, and because it's a lease, I am PETRIFIED about destroying the transmission in my vehicle. This is making my driving worse, which makes me that much more concerned for my transmission, clutch, etc. So, thank you to those of you who've provided encouraging words about how much benevolent learner neglect a vehicle can tolerate. I feel better about tomorrow already.

I'm helped along by a spouse who has never driven stick (and may never - this is MY car!). Things are coming back to me as I'm explaining to him what I *can* explain (which, let's face it, isn't too much - just the basics).

Any tips on dealing with other drivers who can't seem to understand why 6 inches might not be enough space between vehicles? They're the hardest part of this, I swear. Good grief.

Cheers!

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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby watkins » Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:11 pm

Welcome and such!
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theholycow
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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby theholycow » Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:08 am

enniroc wrote:I've been a carless city-dweller (except for the occasional rental) for the better part of a decade.

Sounds more like the worse part of a decade! :lol:

So, I showed up here in 2008 with a similar problem. After having had some successful experience many years before, I leased a new manual and I couldn't help but stall a lot, and I was paranoid about damage. Late model cars do not have the consistency, predictability, and feedback that made older cars (especially 1990s) easy for manual transmission drivers. Clutches are too light and numb and switchy, gear ratios and too short and too narrowly spread, and especially these newfangled electronic computer-controlled throttles are horribly behaved.

Personally, I find the parking brake to just be a distraction, one more place to divide my attention during an already difficult hill launch. It doesn't do anything that the regular service brakes don't do with your foot; either way you must hold the vehicle on the hill with the clutch for a second or two while you ease into that accelerator and let go of whichever brake is holding the car. However, if it has worked for you in the past then you should probably keep doing it!

You should probably adjust your seat and your foot position. For best fine control of the clutch, slide the seat further forward than you might think you need; you don't want your ankle stretched and foot aimed like a ballerina and you do want your knee slightly bent at the bottom of the clutch pedal stroke. You also should plant your entire right foot on the accelerator rather than just your toe. That will help with fine control.

Keep in mind also that there may be some throttle lag. You step on the accelerator pedal, which is just an electronic switch, and it sends a command. It may take the computer a second or more to obey that command. So, in the meantime, not getting enough response, you step on it more...and next thing you know the throttle is wide open and you're burning rubber.

You should practice exercises that will train your feet in no-pressure situations. Sit there parked in neutral and choose RPM targets, seeing how quickly and accurately you can rev to 2000, 1500, 1200, 1100 RPM, practicing until you get good at it. Then, in an empty parking lot, practice no-gas launches using only your left foot. When you are good at no-gas launches, you are good at preventing rollback. When you are good at quickly having fine control of the throttle, you are good at gentle launches.

Then it's mostly just seat time after that...drive until you're feeling better about it.

Usually, people stopping too closely aren't quite as close as you think. If you have one of those newfangled backup cameras or distance finders, maybe you can use that (and seeing your backup lights will make them think twice about getting so close at the next light!). Also, as you see people approaching, let it roll back a little to make them think about giving you more room; when a teenager does the repeated rollback maneuver to show off that his fartcan-equipped yellow-sticker-plastered 1994 Civic is manual it's tacky, but just a little bit in high-traffic situations to reduce close-stoppers is ok.
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enniroc
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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby enniroc » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:29 pm

watkins wrote:Welcome and such!


Thank you! Had a very good day of driving today, a couple of good hill starts on country roads.... :)

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enniroc
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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby enniroc » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:42 pm

theholycow wrote:Late model cars do not have the consistency, predictability, and feedback that made older cars (especially 1990s) easy for manual transmission drivers. Clutches are too light and numb and switchy, gear ratios and too short and too narrowly spread, and especially these newfangled electronic computer-controlled throttles are horribly behaved.


So it's not just me. This is a relief. I was so discouraged yesterday - was beginning to worry that I'd made a terrible, terribly expensive mistake. What do you mean by clutches being "switchy," though? I'm not sure how to describe mine yet. It's a bit further from the dead pedal than I'd like, but that's a minor inconvenience.

theholycow wrote:Personally, I find the parking brake to just be a distraction, one more place to divide my attention during an already difficult hill launch. It doesn't do anything that the regular service brakes don't do with your foot; either way you must hold the vehicle on the hill with the clutch for a second or two while you ease into that accelerator and let go of whichever brake is holding the car. However, if it has worked for you in the past then you should probably keep doing it!


I had a revelation last night, while reading this forum. Somehow I went all these years not realizing that it's OK to keep your foot on the brake until the clutch starts to catch. I'd always released the brake right away in the Jeep and the Accord, only very occasionally adding a bit of hand brake. (And likely got away with it b/c they were fairly forgiving.) But YUP, lo and behold, in my Juke, a hill start is oodles easier if I keep my foot on the brake until the friction point. I'm kind of baffled that I didn't realize this before. Still needs practice, but today was about a 500% improvement on that front.

theholycow wrote:Keep in mind also that there may be some throttle lag. You step on the accelerator pedal, which is just an electronic switch, and it sends a command. It may take the computer a second or more to obey that command. So, in the meantime, not getting enough response, you step on it more...and next thing you know the throttle is wide open and you're burning rubber.


That's exactly what was happening yesterday. Patience, patience!

theholycow wrote:Then, in an empty parking lot, practice no-gas launches using only your left foot. When you are good at no-gas launches, you are good at preventing rollback.


This was another revelation. I didn't realize it was possible to get into 1st without throttle and without stalling. But I tried this today on a straightaway in my parking garage, and there she be: the beginnings of clutch muscle memory.

theholycow wrote:Usually, people stopping too closely aren't quite as close as you think. If you have one of those newfangled backup cameras or distance finders, maybe you can use that (and seeing your backup lights will make them think twice about getting so close at the next light!).


I *do* have a backup camera - a godsend in my cramped parking garage, I have to say. It never occurred to me to use it as a threat or a space monitor at a red light, though. Good ideas - thanks!

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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby theholycow » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:12 pm

enniroc wrote:What do you mean by clutches being "switchy," though?

I probably should have just spent a whole sentence on that since I know of no word commonly used to describe it. The clutch pedal acts like an on-off switch, going from fully disengaged to fully engaged, in a very short portion of its travel, with the rest of the travel seeming to be a dead waste. Compare to a nice progressive clutch where a large portion of the clutch pedal's travel is used for partially engaging it.

I'm not sure how to describe mine yet. It's a bit further from the dead pedal than I'd like, but that's a minor inconvenience.

That's usually called "high" I think, you have a high clutch pedal or high-engaging clutch pedal, or it engages near the top. I dislike that.

My preference would be a pedal that begins to engage just barely off of the floor and spends the rest of its travel getting closer to fully engaged until, at the top, it finally is fully engaged; and I'd like a somewhat short travel and a lot of force required from my foot. I got lucky with my current car and got something similar to that, though less extreme than described (except the force required, it's quite heavy).
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enniroc
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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby enniroc » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:57 am

theholycow wrote:The clutch pedal acts like an on-off switch, going from fully disengaged to fully engaged, in a very short portion of its travel, with the rest of the travel seeming to be a dead waste.


Yes, that sounds familiar. It also seems to make it harder to feel it engage. I find myself relying more on the sound of the engine, but there's not a lot of engine noise inside the cab, so that's tricky, too. One more damn thing to worry about on a hill!

theholycow wrote:That's usually called "high" I think, you have a high clutch pedal or high-engaging clutch pedal, or it engages near the top. I dislike that.


Sorry, I didn't describe the position of my pedal accurately. I should have said that it's further away *to the right* that I would like. My legs are closer together when shifting than they've had to be in previous vehicles. This clutch seems to start engaging about 1/2 way up, or a little sooner, but I'm still getting a feel for it, so I'm sure that's a poor estimate.

Again, thank you for the welcome and the info!

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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby theholycow » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:47 am

Oh! I totally misread that part.

So, with the clutch pedal so far right does that mean the accelerator and brake pedals are crowded together? That could make for easy "heel-toe" techniques where you really just straddle both pedals with the ball of your foot. When I reconfigured the pedals in my car I moved my brake pedal very close to my accelerator pedal for that purpose. Until you're fully comfortable with hill launches, it can be used to give you a few extra RPM before letting off of the brake pedal.
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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby enniroc » Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:44 pm

theholycow wrote:Oh! I totally misread that part.

So, with the clutch pedal so far right does that mean the accelerator and brake pedals are crowded together? That could make for easy "heel-toe" techniques where you really just straddle both pedals with the ball of your foot. When I reconfigured the pedals in my car I moved my brake pedal very close to my accelerator pedal for that purpose. Until you're fully comfortable with hill launches, it can be used to give you a few extra RPM before letting off of the brake pedal.


Yes, all the pedals are quite close together. I didn't even think of that - not sure I'm ready for heel/toe, but maybe soon....

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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby Squint » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:18 am

Welcome! Seems like Cow already addressed most of your issues. What are you thoughts overall on the Nissan (outside of manual transmission struggles :wink: :lol: )?
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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby potownrob » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:26 am

Wilkommen!! :o

I take it the Juke doesn't have a hill holder feature?? :cry: :? :lol: 8)
My Accord has one (not mentioned anywhere though, that I know of, odd...), but it seems to have a mind of its own (read: don't depend on it) :lol: :oops: :shock:
BUT DEM FAHGLEITZ!! :shock:

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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby wannabe » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:38 pm

potownrob wrote:Wilkommen!! :o

I take it the Juke doesn't have a hill holder feature?? :cry: :? :lol: 8)
My Accord has one (not mentioned anywhere though, that I know of, odd...), but it seems to have a mind of its own (read: don't depend on it) :lol: :oops: :shock:

my escorts hill holder was broken unless the car was off and in gear. :shrug: old cars.
Currently not driving anything - the escort died april 2014 and there's no funds to replace it

Crafting and stuff

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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby enniroc » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:11 pm

Squint wrote:Welcome! Seems like Cow already addressed most of your issues. What are you thoughts overall on the Nissan (outside of manual transmission struggles :wink: :lol: )?


I love it. Sportiest little crossover I've ever seen, and very comfortable. I didn't think much of the fact that the engine is 1.6 L Turbo until I test-drove another 1.6 L without. That "blower," as my dad calls it, does seem to make a difference for hills and accelleration.

It has been 15 years since I've owned a new car. I'm astonished by what comes in a "base model" in 2015. My only pet peeve, at this point, is the centre armrest, which is an optional accessory added by the dealership. When folded down, it crowds the e-brake - not the greatest feature for a stick shift. But really nice on a long drive, of course.

Just filled it with premium for $40. :)

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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby enniroc » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:17 pm

potownrob wrote:Wilkommen!! :o

I take it the Juke doesn't have a hill holder feature?? :cry: :? :lol: 8)
My Accord has one (not mentioned anywhere though, that I know of, odd...), but it seems to have a mind of its own (read: don't depend on it) :lol: :oops: :shock:


Thanks! :) No hill-hold that I know of. Just my feet and hands! I'll double-check the [owner's] manual, though....

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Re: Hello from Halifax, NS, Canada. Back behind wheel & stick after a decade.

Postby enniroc » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:22 pm

theholycow wrote:Oh! I totally misread that part.

So, with the clutch pedal so far right does that mean the accelerator and brake pedals are crowded together? That could make for easy "heel-toe" techniques where you really just straddle both pedals with the ball of your foot. When I reconfigured the pedals in my car I moved my brake pedal very close to my accelerator pedal for that purpose. Until you're fully comfortable with hill launches, it can be used to give you a few extra RPM before letting off of the brake pedal.


I wanted to thank you again for all your advice. I haven't even had the car for a week yet, and I can already tell my left foot is starting to remember where the friction point is, more or less. I've had a few good hill starts the last few days, a few inches of rollback if any, and no chirping tires. Even 1-2 shifts are starting to feel buttery.


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