New, old, and excited

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krimsonidol
Junior Standardshifter
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Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:54 am

New, old, and excited

Post by krimsonidol » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:35 am

Hi everyone!

First, thanks to anyone who is reading this. These forums have been invaluable the past couple weeks and I suspect they will continue to be for quite a while into the future. I always get warm fuzzies when I find a friendly and welcoming forum hiding in the wild internets.

Brief bit about me: I'm 31 and just learned to drive standard (that's the 'new' part).
I learned from my father-in-law, because he was giving me the (free) car. Talk about nerve wracking.
But I survived! And earned the car!
And then immediately regressed and forgot how to drive like the very next day. Like stalled at every.single.stop.
Went out with my dad for an hour and got settled back in, been driving the car every day since (about 2 weeks).

Problem area:
Main problem is downshifting (preparing for a turn mostly - downshifting at other times like slow traffic ahead seems to go fine for me). Not sure it's really a "problem" just something that makes me nervous. I've been practicing a bit though and I think that's getting significantly better as I do it and gain confidence. They're pretty smooth so I don't know why it makes me nervous.
I had a habit at first of holding the clutch in for the whole turn while braking, and then shifting to 2nd and accelerating out while engaging the clutch again.
This didn't feel as good as when I'd be in a lower gear just before the turn, so I could brake and accelerate as needed in the turn itself.
So I've been trying to work on downshifting after braking just before the turn, but on some turns there is still braking I want to do, so I don't want to hit the accelerator as I come off the clutch, but I'm scared that if I just ease off the clutch while braking (with no acceleration added) that it'll be lurchy.

But what about the car? (This is the 'old' part).
It's a 1997 VW Cabrio with a new transmission (father in law somehow threw it into reverse when pissed at some guy on the interstate, so it got a new trans right away) and like 130k miles.
Leaky softtop, stained up interior (thx to leaking), half-working AC and Heat, all kinds of exterior dings and discolorations.
And I love it to pieces. Favorite car I've ever owned.
I think because I had to "earn" it by learning to drive standard. And then I found out none of my tough-acting guy friends can even drive stick! Hah! Now I'm the cool one.
And I'm never going back! 8)
(that's the excited part)

Although hopefully I get better at it, and more confident, so I can be safer on the road. I have to make a trip up 95 from Richmond to DC-area this weekend and I have little interstate experience in the car thus far. I am hoping I can putter along amiably and not have to try and do any rev-match downshifts or whatever in order to pass someone :?

Cheers!

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theholycow
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by theholycow » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:51 am

Welcome!
krimsonidol wrote:on some turns there is still braking I want to do, so I don't want to hit the accelerator as I come off the clutch, but I'm scared that if I just ease off the clutch while braking (with no acceleration added) that it'll be lurchy.
The key word there is "ease". You can do it, but until you have a lot of practice you'll have to spend a lot of time easing that clutch to accomplish a smooth non-rev-matched downshift.

However, you can also rev-match. You can undershoot your target RPM, enough to smooth your clutch engagement but not enough to accelerate the car. This too takes practice.
father in law somehow threw it into reverse when pissed at some guy on the interstate, so it got a new trans right away
Wow! Mythbusters tried it and declared it impossible but of course they never account for all the variables. That father-in-law might want to get some help for that rage, it can't be healthy for him (not to mention the sometimes-innocent people who might get in his way), but of course you aren't the person to tell him.
Leaky softtop, stained up interior (thx to leaking), half-working AC and Heat, all kinds of exterior dings and discolorations.
And I love it to pieces. Favorite car I've ever owned.
My car's a piece of crap by most people's standards and I love it to pieces too. Image
Although hopefully I get better at it, and more confident, so I can be safer on the road. I have to make a trip up 95 from Richmond to DC-area this weekend and I have little interstate experience in the car thus far. I am hoping I can putter along amiably and not have to try and do any rev-match downshifts or whatever in order to pass someone :?
Decent interstate is the easiest manual driving you'll ever do. You probably will never have to downshift if traffic stays above 50mph...or if you're patient, 35mph. Don't be afraid to use your accelerator pedal's entire travel, you're not driving an automatic anymore so it won't suddenly downshift on you...your throttle is no longer also your transmission controller.

If there's heavy traffic at varying speeds (but not stopped) then you either have to get comfortable with downshifting or get comfortable with not weaving, ducking, and dodging, just ride along like a good little sheep in formation with the cars in front and behind.

If there's backed up stopped traffic...well that's annoying no matter what you drive, but the extra pedal does exacerbate it a bit. The best strategy is to idle along in 1st gear with a lot of space in front of you. Other cars will cut in, and they'll cut right back out when the other lane moves. I don't always have the self-discipline for that so I work my clutch leg a lot when I get stuck in a traffic jam.
Last edited by theholycow on Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Shadow
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by Shadow » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:51 am

Welcome to the forum. Just for the record, I almost always prefer to downshift before entering a turn.
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Squint
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by Squint » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:40 am

Welcome! Most of what you said was covered by the Bovine One but I'd definitely agree that interstate/highway travel is very easy in a manual. If you think about it, the biggest fears of (new) manual drivers are hills and stop and go traffic. If the roads are working properly and the government hasn't found a way to close them all with construction, you face neither of those in your travels! So that interstate trip should be fun, easy, and relaxing (pending you don't get rained on too hard with your car, I guess).

As you've noticed, ask any questions you might have: from what dog you should adopt to what in the world did Rope-Pusher just post. Enjoy the ride 8)
'15 Mazda 3 iSport Hatch 6MT
'11 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE 5MT
'14 Giant Escape City 24MT
'97 Honda Civic EX 4AT - Retired @ 184,001 mi

For Pony!

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AHTOXA
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by AHTOXA » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:03 pm

Welcome!
'16 Ecoboost F150
'12 Suzuki V-Strom 650
'17 Trek Fuel EX8 27.5+
'08 Giant Trance 1 (old school 26'er)

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FDSpirit
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by FDSpirit » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:09 pm

Sup. Seems like we're getting a few new people here, which is always good. :D
2000 Honda Civic Si- Slightly faster than your grandmomma's grocery getter......slightly.

krimsonidol
Junior Standardshifter
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Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:54 am

Re: New, old, and excited

Post by krimsonidol » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:25 am

FDSpirit wrote:Sup. Seems like we're getting a few new people here, which is always good. :D
Apparently the manual transmission isn't as dead in the US as some make it seem.

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Squint
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by Squint » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:38 am

Oh, it is as dead... EVERY single person that drives one is now on this forum. Feel special, yet?








*Disclaimer, if this ever happens, let's just all switch back to riding horses... because that would be a terrible day...
'15 Mazda 3 iSport Hatch 6MT
'11 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE 5MT
'14 Giant Escape City 24MT
'97 Honda Civic EX 4AT - Retired @ 184,001 mi

For Pony!

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theholycow
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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:36 pm
Cars: '80 Buick LeSabre 4.1 5MT
Location: Glocester, RI
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by theholycow » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:57 am

Squint wrote:*Disclaimer, if this ever happens, let's just all switch back to riding horses... because that would be a terrible day...
That is one shifter knob I do NOT want to grab.
1980 Buick LeSabre 4.1L 5MT

Put your car in your sig!

Learn to launch/FAQs/lugging/misused terms: meta-sig
watkins wrote:Humans have rear-biased AWD. Cows have 4WD

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Shadow
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by Shadow » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:09 pm

Squint wrote:Oh, it is as dead... EVERY single person that drives one is now on this forum. Feel special, yet?

.
LOL...sadly, you're probably not that far off from the truth. Some day this forum just might be the majority of stick shift drivers!
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tankinbeans
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by tankinbeans » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:38 am

theholycow wrote:
Squint wrote:*Disclaimer, if this ever happens, let's just all switch back to riding horses... because that would be a terrible day...
That is one shifter knob I do NOT want to grab.
Old Raisin Bran Crunch commercial:

"So, when are we going to tell him that's a boy cow?"

I know, not the same animal, but they go hand in hand. :)
Last edited by tankinbeans on Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tankinbeans
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by tankinbeans » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:45 am

Welcome.

Smooth out your down-shifts with the clutch. I used to do it all the time (only been driving a manual daily since March), and just learned how to rev-match (heel-toeing will be an adventure for another time) and still goof it up. One day you'll get the urge to dance and will start trying to figure it out and then you'll be able to practice a new skill.

One major piece of advice I got when first starting out was to stop thinking. If you have to pull "a Homer" and say, "shut up brain, or I will stab you with a Q-Tip." It'll get the hint and leave you alone.

On hills, if it's possible practice in a driveway. The other day I was in my friend's, fairly steep, driveway and was practicing my starts. I'd let it roll to the bottom, with the clutch disengaged, and then bring it back to the top (and I didn't kill it once). Now, if I could only do that consistently on real hills. There is also a hill by my gym that is fairly steep, definite rollage if not done right, that never has any real traffic on it (it's a tertiary road) and I practice on that all the time since hills and I have a love/hate relationship.
17 Mazda6 Touring
17 Focus SE
InlinePaul wrote:The driving force of new fangled features to sell more cars [is to] cater to the masses' abject laziness!
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4g63dreams
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Re: New, old, and excited

Post by 4g63dreams » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:20 am

Welcome! Even if you are older than I am to this haven, the reach of courtesy extends further than that of a boxer!

:)

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