New Member - First-time Manual Driver

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tankinbeans
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby tankinbeans » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:29 am

Even if you do roll it isn't likely going to be as far back as you think. I understand the paranoia though. One of these days I have to find a nice secluded hill and work on remembering how to do it without the car's help.
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby Teamwork » Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:37 pm

MH86 wrote:
Thanks for your encouraging words. Even though earlier this week I was looking at my experience as a failure, I'm going to treat this as a little break, similar to cramming the night before a big test vs. studying in little chunks over a few days. I've only had the car for 5 weeks as of today. The next time I'm on a hill in traffic, maybe I'll stop frantically checking my mirrors to see how close to my rear bumper the car behind me actually is. Of course this is easy for me to say while I'm not behind the wheel, but if I can tackle a hill start without rollback when no cars are behind me, cars waiting behind me shouldn't really change anything. Besides, most of these hills are steep enough that automatics won't creep forward unless the driver steps on the gas, meaning everyone is a little slow up these hills, regardless of transmission.

I see in your profile that you have a '16 VW Golf (that blue is a nice color). Is your clutch's biting point (I'm assuming you have the 5-speed) also high up in the pedal? I've heard that about many VW's (mine included) and wanted to hear first-hand from someone.

I wouldn't be so discouraged but it's nice hearing back from you. I sometimes wonder what happens to people after they come here and ask a bunch of questions and seem to disappear for a little (or for awhile). I think the route you're on in terms of learning is pretty aggressive from what you're expressing and saying- it's definitely more aggressive then mine which I eased myself in and had the luxury of sharing time within two vehicles. In my first month of driving I literally drove exclusively during times where it seemed like minimal cars were on the road so if I screwed up I wouldn't have anxiety. I didn't even attempt to drive to work until 3-4 weeks passed. I've had my car for 10-11 months now and I really just felt at around 9 months that I was really "solid"- solid in the sense where I didn't feel much anxiety in any given scenario and I was able to tackle things at a high efficiency level. In many other threads I started a new job that requires me to go through the prime hours of rush hour on Long Island and if I had any doubts or anxiety before the last 2 weeks- it's squashed now at this point. Honestly, the roll back probably isn't as bad as it seems but you do have to go through some moderate inclines. This will be easier said then done but just try and focus at the task at hand and not so much how close the ass is behind you. This is NY so anything more then 12 inches from someones rear bumper is viewed as offensive lol. I would divert from giving a dirty look in my rear view mirror to just knowing what I had to do and really honing in on it. I mean I still roll back sometimes a bit but it's not like I'm gasping when I do it. It's more or less a "oh I need to lift off a bit more and use a bit more throttle" alert to me.

And yes, clutch biting point is HIGH. A ton of people complain about it on the car club forums.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby potownrob » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:23 pm

Unfortunately (for you at least), I got the auto this time around. I've driven manual for 9-10 of the past 15-16 years of driving, having owned 5 manual cars but none of them VWs (both of my VWs have been autos). I have driven a few older (mostly late 90s to early 2000s) manual VWs and don't remember the clutches being weird (compared to Hondas at least), but it's been years since I've driven one (last one I think was DarkPilot's ~2000 Jetta 2.slow at the 2010 SS meat; I also drove Tony's ~2007 rabbit 2.5 back at the 2008 meat which was quicker than I expected).
BUT DEM FAHGLEITZ!! :shock:

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby tankinbeans » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:46 pm

My memories of the clutch in my friend's 2.5 Jetta was that it didn't provide any feedback and didn't inspire any confidence that the power was there. I greatly preferred my Focus, then just the NA 160 hp Focus; his had more power and torque on paper, but mine had a more confidence inspiring setup.

Of the brands whose clutches I've dealt with I prefer, in this order: Ford, Acura, VW, Kia, Chevy. The Kia and Chevy are both circling the bottom of the list, but the Chevy I dealt with was a touch worse.
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:34 pm

Teamwork wrote:
MH86 wrote:
Thanks for your encouraging words. Even though earlier this week I was looking at my experience as a failure, I'm going to treat this as a little break, similar to cramming the night before a big test vs. studying in little chunks over a few days. I've only had the car for 5 weeks as of today. The next time I'm on a hill in traffic, maybe I'll stop frantically checking my mirrors to see how close to my rear bumper the car behind me actually is. Of course this is easy for me to say while I'm not behind the wheel, but if I can tackle a hill start without rollback when no cars are behind me, cars waiting behind me shouldn't really change anything. Besides, most of these hills are steep enough that automatics won't creep forward unless the driver steps on the gas, meaning everyone is a little slow up these hills, regardless of transmission.

I see in your profile that you have a '16 VW Golf (that blue is a nice color). Is your clutch's biting point (I'm assuming you have the 5-speed) also high up in the pedal? I've heard that about many VW's (mine included) and wanted to hear first-hand from someone.

I wouldn't be so discouraged but it's nice hearing back from you. I sometimes wonder what happens to people after they come here and ask a bunch of questions and seem to disappear for a little (or for awhile). I think the route you're on in terms of learning is pretty aggressive from what you're expressing and saying- it's definitely more aggressive then mine which I eased myself in and had the luxury of sharing time within two vehicles. In my first month of driving I literally drove exclusively during times where it seemed like minimal cars were on the road so if I screwed up I wouldn't have anxiety. I didn't even attempt to drive to work until 3-4 weeks passed. I've had my car for 10-11 months now and I really just felt at around 9 months that I was really "solid"- solid in the sense where I didn't feel much anxiety in any given scenario and I was able to tackle things at a high efficiency level. In many other threads I started a new job that requires me to go through the prime hours of rush hour on Long Island and if I had any doubts or anxiety before the last 2 weeks- it's squashed now at this point. Honestly, the roll back probably isn't as bad as it seems but you do have to go through some moderate inclines. This will be easier said then done but just try and focus at the task at hand and not so much how close the ass is behind you. This is NY so anything more then 12 inches from someones rear bumper is viewed as offensive lol. I would divert from giving a dirty look in my rear view mirror to just knowing what I had to do and really honing in on it. I mean I still roll back sometimes a bit but it's not like I'm gasping when I do it. It's more or less a "oh I need to lift off a bit more and use a bit more throttle" alert to me.

And yes, clutch biting point is HIGH. A ton of people complain about it on the car club forums.


Thanks. Also, congrats on your new job. I went through some of your threads about your new commute and its many challenges - including the spiral incline you now need to take. It sounds like you're handling those challenges quite well.

When it comes to rush hour, weirdly enough, I'm fine once I'm on the highway. I'm starting to get a feel for the speed of traffic and cruising along in 1st or 2nd gear without stopping for a few miles at a time. I'm actually quite pleased with myself in that respect and amazed that almost nobody cuts into my buffer zone.

Yes, I do need to stop checking how close the asshole behind me has stopped. I have to believe that I'm in control of the situation at hand and pretend that I'm the only car on the road.

I thought so. I mean, I've heard (and am experiencing) that VW clutches have a high biting point, but I wanted to confirm with another VW owner. It took some time to get used to the fact that I practically have to come off the pedal to get to the biting point. My muscle memory is starting to consistently find that point on the flat, and I'm sure it'll find that point on hills soon too (I've found that the biting point on uphill is slightly higher than on the flat).

Thanks again to you (and everyone else on this forum) for all your support. I'll ask questions as I have them, but I find that most of them have already been answered in previous threads started by others.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:41 pm

tankinbeans wrote:My memories of the clutch in my friend's 2.5 Jetta was that it didn't provide any feedback and didn't inspire any confidence that the power was there. I greatly preferred my Focus, then just the NA 160 hp Focus; his had more power and torque on paper, but mine had a more confidence inspiring setup.

Of the brands whose clutches I've dealt with I prefer, in this order: Ford, Acura, VW, Kia, Chevy. The Kia and Chevy are both circling the bottom of the list, but the Chevy I dealt with was a touch worse.


Interesting. The only other manual car I've recently driven was the '04 Corolla S I learned on, but it's not a fair comparison since it was a driving school car which was likely abused by many learners. Compared to that Corolla though, the VW's clutch is a delight, and its lightness is very much appreciated in stop-and-go traffic.

tankinbeans wrote:Even if you do roll it isn't likely going to be as far back as you think. I understand the paranoia though. One of these days I have to find a nice secluded hill and work on remembering how to do it without the car's help.

I'm sure you're right that the rollback is barely a few inches - if I was rolling back too much, the lovely NY drivers would be sure to honk or gesture at me. Since you've been driving manual longer than me, I'm sure you know how to hill start without the car's help even better than you may think you do.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby Teamwork » Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:01 am

MH86 wrote:Thanks. Also, congrats on your new job. I went through some of your threads about your new commute and its many challenges - including the spiral incline you now need to take. It sounds like you're handling those challenges quite well.

When it comes to rush hour, weirdly enough, I'm fine once I'm on the highway. I'm starting to get a feel for the speed of traffic and cruising along in 1st or 2nd gear without stopping for a few miles at a time. I'm actually quite pleased with myself in that respect and amazed that almost nobody cuts into my buffer zone.

Yes, I do need to stop checking how close the asshole behind me has stopped. I have to believe that I'm in control of the situation at hand and pretend that I'm the only car on the road.

I thought so. I mean, I've heard (and am experiencing) that VW clutches have a high biting point, but I wanted to confirm with another VW owner. It took some time to get used to the fact that I practically have to come off the pedal to get to the biting point. My muscle memory is starting to consistently find that point on the flat, and I'm sure it'll find that point on hills soon too (I've found that the biting point on uphill is slightly higher than on the flat).

Thanks again to you (and everyone else on this forum) for all your support. I'll ask questions as I have them, but I find that most of them have already been answered in previous threads started by others.

It's kind of funny but when tankin was describing his clutch experience on the 2.5L Jetta the adjectives and descriptions being presented seemed spot on with how I feel about my clutch. Minimal feedback, vague overall, and questionable at times on the engagement. The long throw to the actual friction point is literally a thread once a week on vortex for my generation of car. I think it's semi-forgiving though but it'll def let you know if your timing is off.

I guess I used to hold weirder hours so in the past I was used to going highway speeds on... highways... but the slowest points of my commute are literally highways ironically. I even cut through some back roads to "save time" and really it's only to maintain a 20-30 mph consistency as opposed to 0-10 mph for miles on the 135. I've experimented my routes too and honestly the 135, SS, and 495 are all basically parking lots between 7:30 AM - 8:30 PM. It's a pick your poison.

When I used to go to Whitestone on a regular basis in an automatic car I'd basically fear for my life on the belt. I haven't done it in my GTI yet but it'd definitely be an interesting experience. That's got to me one of the worst honestly and it's mostly because of the level of speed when traffic is semi-minimal (like that ever happens) and the road condition itself. This was only 2-3 years back and I have vivid memories of that parkway being riddled with pot holes... like blow your tire out caliber ones. One of my best friend moved to Forest Hills and I don't see him as much but the drive to him could probably get interesting. He says on a regular basis parking his car on the street his car gets dinged and hit essentially once a month AT LEAST. He literally walked from his complex to his car one day and the front license plate was smashed and bent on the ground in the front of his truck.

I know I gave you the advice of not being so focused on the driver behind you but I understand it can be annoying. Like I said though, you worrying about it is not going to change anything for the person behind you- it's not like you're going to give them a dirty look and they are going to back up. If anything they might even get closer to you... Focus on things that you can control like being prepared to go and knowing what you have to do so you can have minimal roll back. Something to keep in mind and I might even bold this... if you don't come to a complete full stop and you're trying to re-engage 1st gear at like 3-5 mph and you're on an incline- there's going to be no assist. That scenario you referenced that I listed as being a 'challenge' is a perfect example of where this can get dicey... I'll have to inch up a spiraling incline, met at the top with a stop sign, and I won't have the aid of the hill start because I don't fully actually stop even though I get close.

Yeah, I feel like the biting point is high and it really threw me off. It's a fairly small friction point but with a ton of dead pedal travel so you really need to rely on muscle memory since the clutch feel so fairly vague. Again, for standard starts on normal moderate inclines- my hand was forced to do it daily for 10 months, 5 days a week, so I had to figure it out quick or you would've heard about me on the news ;)

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby Rope-Pusher » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:19 am

MH86 wrote:Image
I'm sure you're right that the rollback is barely a few inches

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:40 am

Teamwork wrote:
MH86 wrote:Thanks. Also, congrats on your new job. I went through some of your threads about your new commute and its many challenges - including the spiral incline you now need to take. It sounds like you're handling those challenges quite well.

When it comes to rush hour, weirdly enough, I'm fine once I'm on the highway. I'm starting to get a feel for the speed of traffic and cruising along in 1st or 2nd gear without stopping for a few miles at a time. I'm actually quite pleased with myself in that respect and amazed that almost nobody cuts into my buffer zone.

Yes, I do need to stop checking how close the asshole behind me has stopped. I have to believe that I'm in control of the situation at hand and pretend that I'm the only car on the road.

I thought so. I mean, I've heard (and am experiencing) that VW clutches have a high biting point, but I wanted to confirm with another VW owner. It took some time to get used to the fact that I practically have to come off the pedal to get to the biting point. My muscle memory is starting to consistently find that point on the flat, and I'm sure it'll find that point on hills soon too (I've found that the biting point on uphill is slightly higher than on the flat).

Thanks again to you (and everyone else on this forum) for all your support. I'll ask questions as I have them, but I find that most of them have already been answered in previous threads started by others.

It's kind of funny but when tankin was describing his clutch experience on the 2.5L Jetta the adjectives and descriptions being presented seemed spot on with how I feel about my clutch. Minimal feedback, vague overall, and questionable at times on the engagement. The long throw to the actual friction point is literally a thread once a week on vortex for my generation of car. I think it's semi-forgiving though but it'll def let you know if your timing is off.

I totally get what you're saying. In the past few weeks, I've been making an effort to add some revs to my launches, and I can definitely feel from the tugs whether I slipped the clutch for too long or not long enough before releasing it fully. I can't quite describe it in words, but I do feel it.

I guess I used to hold weirder hours so in the past I was used to going highway speeds on... highways... but the slowest points of my commute are literally highways ironically. I even cut through some back roads to "save time" and really it's only to maintain a 20-30 mph consistency as opposed to 0-10 mph for miles on the 135. I've experimented my routes too and honestly the 135, SS, and 495 are all basically parking lots between 7:30 AM - 8:30 PM. It's a pick your poison.

Damn. All those roads can be quite crazy. I used to work just over the Suffolk County border line and would occasionally take the 135; from what I remember, the average speed on that road was either 80 or 30, with no middle ground.


When I used to go to Whitestone on a regular basis in an automatic car I'd basically fear for my life on the belt. I haven't done it in my GTI yet but it'd definitely be an interesting experience. That's got to me one of the worst honestly and it's mostly because of the level of speed when traffic is semi-minimal (like that ever happens) and the road condition itself. This was only 2-3 years back and I have vivid memories of that parkway being riddled with pot holes... like blow your tire out caliber ones. One of my best friend moved to Forest Hills and I don't see him as much but the drive to him could probably get interesting. He says on a regular basis parking his car on the street his car gets dinged and hit essentially once a month AT LEAST. He literally walked from his complex to his car one day and the front license plate was smashed and bent on the ground in the front of his truck.

Yeah. Maybe because I've driven on the Belt Parkway since I was 17 (I'm originally from Brooklyn), I haven't necessarily found it more intimidating now that I'm driving a manual - but it is a crazy, unpredictable roadway. I've known people who would deliberately take as many side streets as possible to avoid the Belt. In FH, street parking sucks. Thankfully I'm renting a spot in someone's driveway, so I don't park on the street that much.

I know I gave you the advice of not being so focused on the driver behind you but I understand it can be annoying. Like I said though, you worrying about it is not going to change anything for the person behind you- it's not like you're going to give them a dirty look and they are going to back up. If anything they might even get closer to you... Focus on things that you can control like being prepared to go and knowing what you have to do so you can have minimal roll back. Something to keep in mind and I might even bold this... if you don't come to a complete full stop and you're trying to re-engage 1st gear at like 3-5 mph and you're on an incline- there's going to be no assist. That scenario you referenced that I listed as being a 'challenge' is a perfect example of where this can get dicey... I'll have to inch up a spiraling incline, met at the top with a stop sign, and I won't have the aid of the hill start because I don't fully actually stop even though I get close.

Thanks for the reminder. You're right - instead of checking how close the guy behind me is, it'd be more useful for me to watch cross-traffic (if possible) and get ready so that when the light turns green I'm into 1st and at the biting point, where (at least on my car and I thought on most others) there will be no rollback, even after hill-start assist shuts itself off.

Weirdly enough , I've been surprisingly decent at getting back to the biting point in a situation similar to what you just described (minus the spiral or the stop sign though) to keep the car moving forward. There have been a few times on a hilly one-way street in my neighborhood where I was driving along in 2nd gear and a car suddenly double-parked and I've had to go around them uphill at very slow speeds. It goes without saying that in those instances, I didn't really think much about and just let my feet and hands do their thing, which is probably how I tackled the obstacle without stalling, rolling back, or burning the clutch.

Speaking of not having hill-start assist, I had to parallel park this morning near the gym facing downhill and it was not enough of an incline for hill-start assist to kick in, but it was steep enough - and the spot was tight enough - that I needed to be spot on with the biting point to avoid rolling into the car in front of me. I'm pleased to say that no bumpers were kissed in the process :)

As I drive on hills more (especially when I parallel park on them and need to maneuver really slowly without rolling the wrong way), I think I'll feel more confident.

Yeah, I feel like the biting point is high and it really threw me off. It's a fairly small friction point but with a ton of dead pedal travel so you really need to rely on muscle memory since the clutch feel so fairly vague. Again, for standard starts on normal moderate inclines- my hand was forced to do it daily for 10 months, 5 days a week, so I had to figure it out quick or you would've heard about me on the news ;)

That's right - I remember you mentioning that moderate incline you were forced into on a daily basis. How long did it take you to feel confident starting on that?

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby Teamwork » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:54 pm

I totally get what you're saying. In the past few weeks, I've been making an effort to add some revs to my launches, and I can definitely feel from the tugs whether I slipped the clutch for too long or not long enough before releasing it fully. I can't quite describe it in words, but I do feel it.

Most of the feedback that I can actually decipher usually comes when I don't slip the clutch long enough and release it too fast. It'll bounce me around a little (or a lot) and I'll know for the next time to be more cautious. When I was new though I really had no idea what I was looking for or trying to sniff out so it was pretty tough.

Damn. All those roads can be quite crazy. I used to work just over the Suffolk County border line and would occasionally take the 135; from what I remember, the average speed on that road was either 80 or 30, with no middle ground.

Correct on the 135. When I was working off hours I would literally need to go 70 mph to keep up with traffic movements and I would still get passed "enthusiastically". I feel like people on the SS and 135 don't follow left lane for faster traffic/to pass rules but on the 495 it's followed better. I say this and it's probably true but the only major highway that seems to have enough capacity to support the amount of congestion is the 495 but they made a ton of alternations on it through the years and it has an extra lane. The 135 and SS you can tell is just overcrowded at times and was never meant to support that many cars since they were probably designed in the 40's.

Yeah. Maybe because I've driven on the Belt Parkway since I was 17 (I'm originally from Brooklyn), I haven't necessarily found it more intimidating now that I'm driving a manual - but it is a crazy, unpredictable roadway. I've known people who would deliberately take as many side streets as possible to avoid the Belt. In FH, street parking sucks. Thankfully I'm renting a spot in someone's driveway, so I don't park on the street that much.

My vivid memories of it was how basically other drives treated it like a race track with the merges and such but the road condition itself is far from a track condition. Sometimes I almost wish there was crawling traffic on it so I can take it easy and focus on not crashing through a pot hole thats 12 inches deep.

I mean as far as I go into queens now is probably the Aquaduct race track casino which is Ozone park but the road conditions over there are really crappy also. I feel bad complaining about Nassau County in comparison to closer to the city because you guys need like a total re-do.

Speaking of not having hill-start assist, I had to parallel park this morning near the gym facing downhill and it was not enough of an incline for hill-start assist to kick in, but it was steep enough - and the spot was tight enough - that I needed to be spot on with the biting point to avoid rolling into the car in front of me. I'm pleased to say that no bumpers were kissed in the process :)

I'm a little confused with the system myself when it comes to facing down hills and declines. I don't think it holds the brake at all IMO but I'm unsure. I back into my driveway 80% of the time which is on an incline (not really that steep but if I stayed in neutral I would roll back with speed). If I pull in forwards and not select reverse it will hold me treating it like a hill but if I am backed in and on the decline it doesn't hold me at all. I've noticed this in parking spaces also if they aren't level ground also. I kind of rather this system be non-obtrusive and less binding though then being overly, and annoying so I don't know how I feel about this.

That's right - I remember you mentioning that moderate incline you were forced into on a daily basis. How long did it take you to feel confident starting on that?

I used the parking brake start method for about 4 days and was sweating really hard about it. It worked flawlessly but I only really did it because of the combo that I was: A) overly fearful, B) didn't understand how hill start assist works. I would say the learning process for me was really quick and seamless though because all of a sudden one day I just tried it without the parking brake and never looked back. I had a few goes in a local parking garage before all of this but nothing too elaborate. I couldn't avoid this exit ramp so it really forced my hand to gain the experience and practice to do it. The only good thing about my new route to work is I don't have an extreme point like this... literally if I left myself in neutral and did nothing near the top of this thing I'd probably roll back at 10 mph naturally.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby theholycow » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:25 am

My 2008 VW 2.5's clutch pedal felt like a video game clutch, incredibly light (like a stiff wind could floor that clutch) and no feedback, no variation in feeling from bottom to top, totally numb. Very short friction zone, almost at the top.

tankinbeans, I'm curious which Chevy clutch was lame. I'm sure they've made plenty of lame ones but I found the 1994 S10's clutch excellent and the 2003 Sunfire (==Cavalier) very good.
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby tankinbeans » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:53 am

The 1.8 litre Snuze was incredibly bad. Springy, but not helpful.
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby potownrob » Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:39 am

tankinbeans wrote:The 1.8 litre Snuze was incredibly bad. Springy, but not helpful.
you better not be talking about my engine :o :x
BUT DEM FAHGLEITZ!! :shock:

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby tankinbeans » Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:53 am

potownrob wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:The 1.8 litre Snuze was incredibly bad. Springy, but not helpful.
you better not be talking about my engine :o :x

No. I have no experience with that engine, but the lumpen mess in that heavy piece of trash by Chevrolet is paired up with a springy piece of trash in the coggy box.
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby potownrob » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:19 am

tankinbeans wrote:
potownrob wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:The 1.8 litre Snuze was incredibly bad. Springy, but not helpful.
you better not be talking about my engine :o :x

No. I have no experience with that engine, but the lumpen mess in that heavy piece of trash by Chevrolet is paired up with a springy piece of trash in the coggy box.
was a joke (i had an idea of what you were referring to), but i wouldn't want another N/A sub-2 litre engine, after having bigger engines and now a turbo 1.8. people dog on the VW 2.5, but i don't think it is fair to such a reliable, decently powerful, and cool sounding engine. granted it isn't good on gas for a modern engine and could make more power, but it propelled my jetta quickly (even with the auto transmission). the 1.8 TSI is hard to compare to the 2.5 since it delivers power differently, sounds different (kind of like a muffled possessed diesel) and the transmission is different from the one they used on the 2.5. with the 2.5 you had to go gentle on the throttle or fly away; the 1.8 tsi is a little slow unless you give it the beans right away. once it passes ~2k rpms though, it accelerates quickly in almost any gear.
BUT DEM FAHGLEITZ!! :shock:

For Pizza!!!!


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