First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

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MH86
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First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby MH86 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:10 pm

Firstly, I was not sure where I should put this, so moderators, feel free to move this post to a different section.

Today marks exactly 3 months since I got my first manual car. I had some very anxious moments, driving around the mean streets of Queens and Long Island (which are both reasonably hilly areas), but I have made major progress. I am no longer nervous about coming to a complete stop in traffic, and I take every possible opportunity to hang back and creep in 2nd or 1st instead of stopping.

Stalling is a rare occurrence, and my starts are pretty decent, about on pace with the rest of traffic. I've found that generally I rev to about 1.5K RPM to move off in traffic. I'm trying to ultimately use less RPMs, but I can't seem to move off quick enough in those cases. While my 1-2 upshift can still be felt slightly (and I'm working on improving that), it's no longer the violently shaky affair it once was. In both of these cases, I slip the clutch a little longer than when I first started driving, although it seems to be necessary for smoothness. If there's some secret to shift to 2nd gear smoothly AND quickly without slipping the clutch, please do tell :D

I find that my downshifts to 2nd still need improvement, although that seems to be a matter of not rev-matching perfectly. For some reason, I find that downshifts to 2nd absolutely need to be rev-matched, whereas the other gears seem to downshift quite smoothly (and no, I'm not dragging the clutch endlessly to smooth those other downshifts out).

Hill starts (which were undeniably my greatest source of anxiety) no longer terrify me and are almost second nature for me. I've had quite a few instances of uphill stop-and-go traffic, which probably helped me get better at driving uphill in small bursts. Since the drivers around don't leave any space behind me on hills, I've mostly been doing the handbrake method. When nobody's behind me, though, or the rare instance that someone acknowledged my drifting back as they approach and actually leave me a nice amount of potential roll-back space (of course, I never roll back in those instances - why would I when I have all that space?), I don't bother with the handbrake. Initially I took using the handbrake on hills as a sign of major weakness, even though I was specifically taught with that method (along with the "with your right foot on the brake, lift the clutch still it starts to shake and move your right foot to the gas" method).

I'm definitely too new to dish out amazing advice to anyone who just started (or is about to start) driving manual, but I will say that this: keep at it and don't let the frustration get to you. Also, if you are in a particularly hilly area, go out and practice some hill starts late at night or early in the morning. One one does enough hill starts, starting off on the flat will become immensely easier.

Thanks everyone on here for your support. I haven't asked many questions in awhile because I always seem to find threads where that very question has already been answered.
Last edited by MH86 on Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby tankinbeans » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:21 pm

Congratulations. It's nice to hear that you've become more comfortable with your vehicle and drivimg os becoming more, dare I say, automatic.

Faster 2nd gear shifts without slipping. Pop in the clutch, count 1 mississippi while moving your shifter, let off clutch and apply throttle. The revs have to fall a greater distance twixt first and second gear. That 1 mississippi is a good approximation of how long you should wait before doing anything more.

If you really want to smooth things out, let off the gas for 1 mississippi before engaging the clutch. This will put your car in a neutral state where it's neither accelerating nor slowing down. It only lasts a moment, but it's enough.
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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby MH86 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:34 pm

tankinbeans wrote:Congratulations. It's nice to hear that you've become more comfortable with your vehicle and drivimg os becoming more, dare I say, automatic.

Faster 2nd gear shifts without slipping. Pop in the clutch, count 1 mississippi while moving your shifter, let off clutch and apply throttle. The revs have to fall a greater distance twixt first and second gear. That 1 mississippi is a good approximation of how long you should wait before doing anything more.

If you really want to smooth things out, let off the gas for 1 mississippi before engaging the clutch. This will put your car in a neutral state where it's neither accelerating nor slowing down. It only lasts a moment, but it's enough.


Thanks for the advice. Even though I didn't specifically count "1 Mississippi," that sounds about the amount of time I've paused the few times I haven't felt my shift into 2nd. In those cases, I always thought "damn, I didn't even feel that shift," along with "I think I've held the clutch for too long." As long as that's OK to do, I will continue doing that.
Last edited by MH86 on Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby theholycow » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:38 pm

Shifting into 2nd, whether an upshift or a downshift, can be difficult to do smoothly without having to slip the clutch because 2nd has a lot of Mechanical Advantage. Gears are round levers; the more MA that is involved, the more you will feel the forces from a shift. For downshifts you can continue to work on perfecting your rev-matching. For upshifts, generally the only things that work are ultra-low-RPM shifts where there's not enough force at the engine to multiply through that high-MA lever, smoothing it with the clutch, or finding the perfect timing (of everything - throttle, clutch, shifting).

Handbrake-assisted hill launches are fine, just remember that some cars turn off their DRLs when the parking brake is applied so other drivers may think you're flashing your lights at them. Honestly I don't know how, as a beginner, you can manage handbrake launches; when I was struggling I found the handbrake to be just an extra complication that further divided my attention into smaller slices, basically a distraction...but different strokes for different folks, we all operate differently!
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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby MH86 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:48 pm

theholycow wrote:
Shifting into 2nd, whether an upshift or a downshift, can be difficult to do smoothly without having to slip the clutch because 2nd has a lot of Mechanical Advantage. Gears are round levers; the more MA that is involved, the more you will feel the forces from a shift. For downshifts you can continue to work on perfecting your rev-matching. For upshifts, generally the only things that work are ultra-low-RPM shifts where there's not enough force at the engine to multiply through that high-MA lever, smoothing it with the clutch, or finding the perfect timing (of everything - throttle, clutch, shifting).

That was a very useful explanation. I thought it was just in my head that 2nd gear was the toughest gear to shift up - or down - to.

Handbrake-assisted hill launches are fine, just remember that some cars turn off their DRLs when the parking brake is applied so other drivers may think you're flashing your lights at them. Honestly I don't know how, as a beginner, you can manage handbrake launches; when I was struggling I found the handbrake to be just an extra complication that further divided my attention into smaller slices, basically a distraction...but different strokes for different folks, we all operate differently!

Thanks for reminding me that the DRLs might be shutting off each time the handbrake is applied - I might've been flashing my lights all this time at drivers as I moved off (I usually don't pull up the handbrake until right before I'm about to move away - I prefer my brake lights to be on for cars behind me to see).

It's interesting how differently we all operate. I find it much more distracting without the handbrake because depending on the method I'm using, I either worry that hill start assist won't kick in on that hill/won't stay on long enough for me to get the friction point, or if I'm using the "find the friction point with my right foot on the brake" method, I've occasionally mistaken the shaking of the clutch (just as I've found the friction point) to mean that the car is moving and stalled because I didn't add gas. Not to mention that I find that I get a much smoother, more controllable hill launch with the handbrake, which is immensely useful for moving forward in slow traffic or the times I parallel park on a hill (which I'm still not doing unless absolutely necessary). I've seen many flame wars across the web regarding which hill launch method is best, but just as you said - different strokes for different folks, so long as nobody's using the clutch to hold them on hills for entire red lights. While on that subject, I still do think that everyone should know multiple methods for hill launches - and I am thankful that I was actually taught more than one.

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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby tankinbeans » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:16 pm

To clarify, the 1 mississippi count with the clutch fully disengaged (pedal down to the floor) shouldn't cause any slippage. Everything is disconnected from everything else and the engine is thus allowed to freerev and the revs can fall where they may.

Of course Cow is being very helpful, as cows are wont to do.
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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby MH86 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:35 pm

tankinbeans wrote:To clarify, the 1 mississippi count with the clutch fully disengaged (pedal down to the floor) shouldn't cause any slippage. Everything is disconnected from everything else and the engine is thus allowed to freerev and the revs can fall where they may.[/ quote]

Yeah, I figured you meant that. I was under the impression that doing so was coasting with the clutch down until you explained it. I realize I said "slipping" before - I should correct that.

Of course Cow is being very helpful, as cows are wont to do.

Cows do tend to be quite helpful. This is yet another instance of their helpfulness.

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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby Rope-Pusher » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:23 am

MH86 wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:To clarify,
Image
"Your Slip is Showing"[/ quote]

Yeah, I figured you meant that. I was under the impression that doing so was coasting with the clutch down until you explained it. I realize I said "slipping" before - I should correct that.

Of course Cow is being very helpful,
Image
as cows are wont to do.

Cows do tend to be quite helpful. This is yet another instance of their helpfulness.

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MH86
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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby MH86 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:41 am

Rope-Pusher wrote:
MH86 wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:To clarify,
Image
"Your Slip is Showing"[/ quote]

Yeah, I figured you meant that. I was under the impression that doing so was coasting with the clutch down until you explained it. I realize I said "slipping" before - I should correct that.

Of course Cow is being very helpful,
Image
as cows are wont to do.

Cows do tend to be quite helpful. This is yet another instance of their helpfulness.

Fickset

That second picture makes me think of cowpower (kinda like horsepower, except a cow instead). Those engines would really moo from cowpower!

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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby Teamwork » Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:20 pm

MH86 wrote:Firstly, I was not sure where I should put this, so moderators, feel free to move this post to a different section.

Today marks exactly 3 months since I got my first manual car. I had some very anxious moments, driving around the mean streets of Queens and Long Island (which are both reasonably hilly areas), but I have made major progress. I am no longer nervous about coming to a complete stop in traffic, and I take every possible opportunity to hang back and creep in 2nd or 1st instead of stopping.

Stalling is a rare occurrence, and my starts are pretty decent, about on pace with the rest of traffic. I've found that generally I rev to about 1.5K RPM to move off in traffic. I'm trying to ultimately use less RPMs, but I can't seem to move off quick enough in those cases. While my 1-2 upshift can still be felt slightly (and I'm working on improving that), it's no longer the violently shaky affair it once was. In both of these cases, I slip the clutch a little longer than when I first started driving, although it seems to be necessary for smoothness. If there's some secret to shift to 2nd gear smoothly AND quickly without slipping the clutch, please do tell :D

I find that my downshifts to 2nd still need improvement, although that seems to be a matter of not rev-matching perfectly. For some reason, I find that downshifts to 2nd absolutely need to be rev-matched, whereas the other gears seem to downshift quite smoothly (and no, I'm not dragging the clutch endlessly to smooth those other downshifts out).

Hill starts (which were undeniably my greatest source of anxiety) no longer terrify me and are almost second nature for me. I've had quite a few instances of uphill stop-and-go traffic, which probably helped me get better at driving uphill in small bursts. Since the drivers around don't leave any space behind me on hills, I've mostly been doing the handbrake method. When nobody's behind me, though, or the rare instance that someone acknowledged my drifting back as they approach and actually leave me a nice amount of potential roll-back space (of course, I never roll back in those instances - why would I when I have all that space?), I don't bother with the handbrake. Initially I took using the handbrake on hills as a sign of major weakness, even though I was specifically taught with that method (along with the "with your right foot on the brake, lift the clutch still it starts to shake and move your right foot to the gas" method).

I'm definitely too new to dish out amazing advice to anyone who just started (or is about to start) driving manual, but I will say that this: keep at it and don't let the frustration get to you. Also, if you are in a particularly hilly area, go out and practice some hill starts late at night or early in the morning. One one does enough hill starts, starting off on the flat will become immensely easier.

Thanks everyone on here for your support. I haven't asked many questions in awhile because I always seem to find threads where that very question has already been answered.

I apologize in advance if I'm stepping on anyone's toes on the reply (I admittedly didn't read them well)...

I find that getting into 2nd gear on an upshift/downshift is probably the most difficult of any gear transition- it probably has to do with the discrepancy of torque between the gears. 1 to 2 upshifts definitely take some precision and finesse if you're shooting for overall smoothness- and it is possible. That gear change though will always remind me if I'm being lazy that I'm driving a manual transmission though. Down shifting into 2nd from 3rd though I usually either try to refrain from doing unless the situation absolutely merits it or I will rev match without so much "blipping" but actually holding/modulating the throttle. It's definitely tricky and requires some practice and trial runs where you can be careful about holding anyone up because the first few times you will most likely over rev. A prime example in my mind where I'm going down to 3rd... and need to be in 2nd is a spiraling exit ramp that I frequent off the Southern State. I first have to get down from a highway speed to the initial turn which is rated at 20 mph but after that the spiraling goes up a fairly moderate incline and if I stay in 3rd gear I can "fight through it" but I am borderline lugging so I'll just take the stress off and go into 2nd.

Again, every car is different and different on power delivery but I don't really go down into 2nd for many occasions that aren't variable traffic related. My meat and potato gears are pretty much 3rd and 4th.

Have you tested the waters during non-peak hours with the hill start assist and how it functions? I feel like you may/may not be uneasy on how it performs and how much of a safety net it'll provide?

It's nice hearing from you man and the progress... I kind of wonder what happens to some people after they go silent over some time.

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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby theholycow » Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:35 pm

MH86 wrote:That second picture makes me think of cowpower (kinda like horsepower, except a cow instead). Those engines would really moo from cowpower!

That's what my car has, 125 cowpower. It's kinda like horsepower, but it's usually pretty lazy unless you really manage to incite a stampede, then nothing in its way will stop it.
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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby MH86 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:05 pm

Teamwork wrote:
MH86 wrote:Firstly, I was not sure where I should put this, so moderators, feel free to move this post to a different section.

Today marks exactly 3 months since I got my first manual car. I had some very anxious moments, driving around the mean streets of Queens and Long Island (which are both reasonably hilly areas), but I have made major progress. I am no longer nervous about coming to a complete stop in traffic, and I take every possible opportunity to hang back and creep in 2nd or 1st instead of stopping.

Stalling is a rare occurrence, and my starts are pretty decent, about on pace with the rest of traffic. I've found that generally I rev to about 1.5K RPM to move off in traffic. I'm trying to ultimately use less RPMs, but I can't seem to move off quick enough in those cases. While my 1-2 upshift can still be felt slightly (and I'm working on improving that), it's no longer the violently shaky affair it once was. In both of these cases, I slip the clutch a little longer than when I first started driving, although it seems to be necessary for smoothness. If there's some secret to shift to 2nd gear smoothly AND quickly without slipping the clutch, please do tell :D

I find that my downshifts to 2nd still need improvement, although that seems to be a matter of not rev-matching perfectly. For some reason, I find that downshifts to 2nd absolutely need to be rev-matched, whereas the other gears seem to downshift quite smoothly (and no, I'm not dragging the clutch endlessly to smooth those other downshifts out).

Hill starts (which were undeniably my greatest source of anxiety) no longer terrify me and are almost second nature for me. I've had quite a few instances of uphill stop-and-go traffic, which probably helped me get better at driving uphill in small bursts. Since the drivers around don't leave any space behind me on hills, I've mostly been doing the handbrake method. When nobody's behind me, though, or the rare instance that someone acknowledged my drifting back as they approach and actually leave me a nice amount of potential roll-back space (of course, I never roll back in those instances - why would I when I have all that space?), I don't bother with the handbrake. Initially I took using the handbrake on hills as a sign of major weakness, even though I was specifically taught with that method (along with the "with your right foot on the brake, lift the clutch still it starts to shake and move your right foot to the gas" method).

I'm definitely too new to dish out amazing advice to anyone who just started (or is about to start) driving manual, but I will say that this: keep at it and don't let the frustration get to you. Also, if you are in a particularly hilly area, go out and practice some hill starts late at night or early in the morning. One one does enough hill starts, starting off on the flat will become immensely easier.

Thanks everyone on here for your support. I haven't asked many questions in awhile because I always seem to find threads where that very question has already been answered.

I apologize in advance if I'm stepping on anyone's toes on the reply (I admittedly didn't read them well)...

I find that getting into 2nd gear on an upshift/downshift is probably the most difficult of any gear transition- it probably has to do with the discrepancy of torque between the gears. 1 to 2 upshifts definitely take some precision and finesse if you're shooting for overall smoothness- and it is possible. That gear change though will always remind me if I'm being lazy that I'm driving a manual transmission though. Down shifting into 2nd from 3rd though I usually either try to refrain from doing unless the situation absolutely merits it or I will rev match without so much "blipping" but actually holding/modulating the throttle. It's definitely tricky and requires some practice and trial runs where you can be careful about holding anyone up because the first few times you will most likely over rev. A prime example in my mind where I'm going down to 3rd... and need to be in 2nd is a spiraling exit ramp that I frequent off the Southern State. I first have to get down from a highway speed to the initial turn which is rated at 20 mph but after that the spiraling goes up a fairly moderate incline and if I stay in 3rd gear I can "fight through it" but I am borderline lugging so I'll just take the stress off and go into 2nd.

I know what you mean about those "practice runs." Even when traffic is moving, I often find myself in situations where traffic slows to 15-20 MPH, which can be handled in 3rd gear if I don't need to speed up at all (which isn't usually the case). I've found that downshifts to 2nd gear need to be rev-matched perfectly to be smooth. I'm guessing that eventually, muscle memory will kick in and rev-matching will go smoothly. While on the topic of rev-matching, I haven't really found a need to rev-match my downshifts into 4th or 3rd. I typically don't skip gears when I downshift, so I'm guessing that's why I haven't found it necessary?

Again, every car is different and different on power delivery but I don't really go down into 2nd for many occasions that aren't variable traffic related. My meat and potato gears are pretty much 3rd and 4th.

Interesting. I realize that my car has a decent amount of torque (I think 184 lb-ft at 1400RPM), but I still don't like 3rd gear at 15-20 MPH - it feels like it's borderline lugging at those speeds. Anything above 20 MPH though, and 3rd and 4th gears are just fine.

Have you tested the waters during non-peak hours with the hill start assist and how it functions? I feel like you may/may not be uneasy on how it performs and how much of a safety net it'll provide?

I've tested hill start assist when nobody's around me, but it still makes me feel uneasy. I'm pretty sure that I can feel when hill start assist has kicked in, even when my foot's on the brake. It kind of feels like extra pressure on the brake pedal. I think I feel uneasy about hill start assist because I like to rev the engine a bit before I start letting off the clutch, and acceleration cancels hill start assist. There was one instance where I thought that hill start assist held the car steady while I revved the engine, but I'm going to guess that the more likely explanation is that I got the very beginning of the biting point in that situation (which held the car steady). Also, with hill start assist, it's not as clear to me when I've got the biting point as it is with the other 2 methods I typically use for a hill start.

For what it's worth, I'm still not driving on really steep, hilly routes if not necessary; for example, the entrance to the Long Island Expressway near LIJ Hospital, which is one of my route options for the drive home. I have yet to drive there with the Jetta, although since even the automatic cars roll back on those hills, I'd probably do OK. That might be one of the rare roads in NY where drivers consistently leave ample space between them and the car in front of them, but even with an automatic car, I'd typically avoid that route unless absolutely necessary (which is almost never the case in that part of Long Island).

It's nice hearing from you man and the progress... I kind of wonder what happens to some people after they go silent over some time.

Thanks. I especially felt obligated to give an update since I struggled quite a bit in the beginning.

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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby MH86 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:13 pm

theholycow wrote:
MH86 wrote:That second picture makes me think of cowpower (kinda like horsepower, except a cow instead). Those engines would really moo from cowpower!

That's what my car has, 125 cowpower. It's kinda like horsepower, but it's usually pretty lazy unless you really manage to incite a stampede, then nothing in its way will stop it.

So if your car has cowpower, does it moo when you honk the horn?

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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby theholycow » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:41 pm

:lol: A moo horn would be awesome.
MH86 wrote:my car has a decent amount of torque (I think 184 lb-ft at 1400RPM)

You might want to double-check that...I'd believe it at 4100RPM maybe. At 1400RPM that would be a large diesel engine.
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Re: First Time Manual Driver - 3 Month Update

Postby tankinbeans » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:49 pm

theholycow wrote::lol: A moo horn would be awesome.
MH86 wrote:my car has a decent amount of torque (I think 184 lb-ft at 1400RPM)

You might want to double-check that...I'd believe it at 4100RPM maybe. At 1400RPM that would be a large diesel engine.

If I recall he has a turbo of some sort. This isn't out of the realm. Ms. Frizzle has 270 torques at 2500 with 3 seconds of overboost.

Edit: I checked the old thread and he has the 1.4t Jetta SE with 150horsepressures (5000 Copernicans per sol) and 184 torques (1500 Copernicans per sol).
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