New Member - First-time Manual Driver

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MH86
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by MH86 » Thu May 19, 2016 7:50 pm

Teamwork wrote:
Thanks for your encouragement. I work a normal 9-5, but I tend to get to work around 8 to beat traffic (I did that even when I drove an automatic). The past few days, I've been leaving work around 4:50, but that didn't lessen traffic by much. Speaking of hills, I'm renting a driveway spot a few blocks from my place that I park in when I can't find a spot on my block. To get out of that driveway, I have to go up a slight incline. So far, converting my no-gas launch to a gas-assisted launch has worked fine.
In my experience around where I live and travel which is pretty much in the middle of Nassau County there's like a true rhyme and reason to the sweet spot. If I leave my house and am out on the road by 7:00-7:40 am there really is minimal traffic. As soon as it's 7:45 am-8:30 am though... dying. It's literally almost like in that window everyone and their mother is using EVERY major highway on Long Island. If I have to drive anywhere period though between the times of 4:30 pm-6:30 pm to drive back home... my door to door time increases pretty much 50%+. This most of the time has nothing to do with an accident/road work if anyone outside this state is reading this. This is merely overpopulation/congestion and no other variable. It's disgusting.
You hit the nail on the head there. As I was saying, yesterday I made myself do some gas launches, and my left foot is starting to understand that even with some revs, I need to pause on the friction point momentarily.
Naturally when you add more 'working parts' and variables- there is more to go wrong. I pretty much just related what would happen to me... trying to balance both of feet and get them to work together was difficult at first. A long with no gas launches you should quicker kind of practice "setting the gas" to certain rpm levels so you can have an idea of how much pressure needs to be applied for a range of rpm. Just sit in your car with the parking brake up and without using clutch at all just practice setting the gas at certain rpms. For my car in particular when I set the gas simultaneously I'm really only bringing the revs slightly over idle- nothing too crazy like 1200-1400 rpms.
I've been practicing setting the gas at various rpms, and it seems like when I don't watch the tachometer, I can land the needle around 1400rpm. I'm still moving off pretty slowly though, so I probably have to lift the clutch up quicker? I also experimented with lifting the clutch to the friction point and then adding gas, but that didn't seem any quicker. I obviously need to fine-tune my footwork.
For now, I'm purposely avoiding a part of my commute that's rather hilly (near North Shore LIJ - those steep hills near the LIE), but I don't typically take that route anyway. At some point, I'll force myself to drive that way.
I am familiar and I would do the same if it's avoidable. Honestly the exit ramp that I have to take for my job is a "moderate hill" with a traffic light at the very top. Sometimes I literally have to wait 2 cycles of lights because it doesn't allow enough of the high way to come onto the main road. When I was new I seriously feared this but my hand was forced. I had no way around it so I got pretty acquainted fairly fast. I probably sprung some grey hairs though in the first few months.
Damn! Kudos to you for throwing yourself at hill starts right away. And I can totally agree about the "grey hairs" comment; I'm probably going to age a few years in the next few months :D
Weirdly enough, I've been OK with adding some gas at the friction point on inclines. Yesterday, though, I became slightly more comfortable with the idea that I might roll back a tiny amount while I'm revving/letting the clutch up. I mean, my previous car (a Nissan Rogue) rolled back on hills, and that was a CVT. My biggest problem with adding gas before lifting the clutch was that I wasn't waiting long enough for the cars in front of me to move, so of course I'd be afraid of accelerating into them.

Interestingly enough, I've been seeing a lot of manual cars in my neighborhood parked on the streets. Whenever I see those, it reminds me that I can do it too. I also keep reminding myself that in other parts of the world, people of all ages daily drive manual cars with not much of a thought to it.
Great points being made here and I really just agree. My girlfriend has a lot of relatives in Glen Cove which is another town that is extremely HILLY. Like, will roll back in an automatic at 5 mph + hilly if you don't do anything (I know because I tested it). Still even through the worst areas of Long Island in my mind for driving manual... you still see an abundance of Civic SI's, WRX's, EVOs, which only come in manual. Like I said one of my best friends lives in Forest Hills now and he actually camera shotted an old Hyundai Accent with this sticker on his (her?) car. http://www.amazon.com/Driving-Stick-Shi ... A0SXXP8BBD
Hahaha! That's hilarious! I'm almost tempted to get one of those stickers, but that might just bring asshole drivers even closer to my bumper on hills.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by Teamwork » Sat May 21, 2016 8:46 am

'm still moving off pretty slowly though, so I probably have to lift the clutch up quicker? I also experimented with lifting the clutch to the friction point and then adding gas, but that didn't seem any quicker. I obviously need to fine-tune my footwork.
It's going to take time for sure and you'll get more acquainted with it by trial and error. When I say time- it could really be months too. It took me a while to realize the clutch's engagement and friction point is not an on/off switch but it's linear. I have a feeling you're still moving off slowly because you're still getting used to riding it during the engagement of 1st gear which is fine. By trial and error you'll really understand how quick or slow you need to be about it- because if you're too quick the car will definitely let you know. 90% of the time if I have a less then stellar 1st gear launch it's because I lifted off the clutch too quickly. If I just take a conscious second to pause an extra longer in the friction point the next time around, it's usually smooth but it's real easy to get anxious.
Hahaha! That's hilarious! I'm almost tempted to get one of those stickers, but that might just bring asshole drivers even closer to my bumper on hills.
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. Plus I like my car looking fairly clean. When I was really new and I still find myself doing it today, I will definitely keep a weary (nervous) eye to my rear view mirror and try and make a bold assumption of what type of driver is behind me. The worst part is I feel like other enthusiasts if they see me, and know what I have, might attempt to race me off a stop light or from a dig on the highway. The worst offenders actually seem to be VW owners.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by theholycow » Sat May 21, 2016 9:57 am

+1 to the on/off switch thing. We can talk about it all we want and acknowledge it to ourselves, but even so it still gets treated like that due to paranoia about slipping the clutch for too long. It's the pause that makes the difference; it's often not enough to merely move your foot slowly through the friction zone, often a complete stop of that left foot where the clutch is starting to grab but still slipping is necessary.

That sticker is cute but I too wouldn't want to make that statement for those reasons. I would put a simple H shift pattern sticker in, though...a quick image search didn't turn one up, but this is pretty close to what I'm thinking:
Image
Clear background, simple, clean...just remove the numbers, maybe.

If you're watching the mirror (instead of watching for your opportunity to get a head start on that clutch work) and you see someone creeping up too close, do the douchebag rollback a little. Some may interpret that as a douchebag move, but others may notice and decide not to creep closer. If you see someone coming in hot and think they're going to zoom up real close real fast, do a bigger more obvious douchebag rollback (complete with foot off the brake so the brake light flashes off then on again); hopefully it will get their attention and they'll give you some room. Yes, you'll look like a ricer douchecanoe, but at least there's a practical reason you're doing it.
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by tankinbeans » Sat May 21, 2016 10:07 am

I've seen the handwritten signs explaining that the driver is trying to learn in a manual and asking people not to honk. I smile every time because I remember how terrifying it was at first.

My first real experience was driving the Mustang GT at 2 in the morning with nobody on the road.
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Teamwork
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by Teamwork » Sat May 21, 2016 10:26 am

theholycow wrote: If you're watching the mirror (instead of watching for your opportunity to get a head start on that clutch work) and you see someone creeping up too close, do the douchebag rollback a little. Some may interpret that as a douchebag move, but others may notice and decide not to creep closer. If you see someone coming in hot and think they're going to zoom up real close real fast, do a bigger more obvious douchebag rollback (complete with foot off the brake so the brake light flashes off then on again); hopefully it will get their attention and they'll give you some room. Yes, you'll look like a ricer douchecanoe, but at least there's a practical reason you're doing it.
I'm actually scared to do these techniques with hill-start assist because I am uncertain in how the system works. Like first if I roll back a little and reapply the brake with 0 throttle usage I'm not sure if it's going to hill start assist me for when I actually have to go because technically I would've cancelled it out by not doing anything. That's the thing also if someone is following me even a few car length distance- I wouldn't be able to roll back a little instantly because the car would hold me for 1.5 seconds at least so it might be too late by then and end up hurting me by putting me even closer to the vehicle.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by tankinbeans » Sat May 21, 2016 11:13 am

Drop it in neutral, release the clutch and let go of the brake. You'll roll.
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by IMBoring25 » Sat May 21, 2016 11:37 am

That should cancel the hill-start assist, but he's also indicating some discomfort with whether he would then have the hill-start assist when the time comes to actually launch. I would think so, but my experience with such systems is limited.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by tankinbeans » Sat May 21, 2016 12:12 pm

IMBoring25 wrote:That should cancel the hill-start assist, but he's also indicating some discomfort with whether he would then have the hill-start assist when the time comes to actually launch. I would think so, but my experience with such systems is limited.
In my car it is activated by a full stop and then both clutch and brake being pressed at the same time. The Jetta, from what I remember, is similar.
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by Teamwork » Sat May 21, 2016 4:15 pm

tankinbeans wrote:
IMBoring25 wrote:That should cancel the hill-start assist, but he's also indicating some discomfort with whether he would then have the hill-start assist when the time comes to actually launch. I would think so, but my experience with such systems is limited.
In my car it is activated by a full stop and then both clutch and brake being pressed at the same time. The Jetta, from what I remember, is similar.
I think that makes sense.. actually now that I think of it there was a guy on the club forums who said he didn't like the feeling of the hill start assist so he'd blip the gas before actually moving so it would release the brake. I can go back and experiment and see the results- I'm kind of interested now. I like knowing things for certain I guess.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by MH86 » Sat May 21, 2016 4:38 pm

Thanks again for all the answers and support. Yesterday I did a lot of practice and was even on some pretty steep hills (I did not even know there were such steep hills in Queens). I also did some practice around my neighborhood.

Today I drove into Brooklyn and was nervous on the way there. On the way home, I started to get more comfortable. I took a route that had me driving several miles with traffic lights (and some hills) and I'm feeling much better about driving stick. I'm starting to get the hang of setting the gas to ~1200 rpm (although I admit I'm not staring at the tachometer ALL the time, it's more the sound it makes) and letting the clutch up. I'm slowly getting over my paranoia of slipping the clutch, which in turn gave me some pretty decent starts.

While I definitely don't launch Fast and Furious fast, I think it's slower in my head than in reality. I should also point out that when I drove automatics, I used to do jackrabbit starts (I know, a terrible, terrible habit) the second the light turned green (which explains why it suddenly feels like I'm going slow). For what it's worth, nobody went around me or honked at me. In NYC traffic, if you're going too slow, you will be passed faster than a New York minute (sorry about that, couldn't help myself there :D ).

I'm definitely not an expert yet, but I think I'm moving in the right direction. My feet are starting to work the clutch and gas with less thought. I look forward to the day where I can perfectly execute rev-matched downshifts instantaneously, but one step at a time.

MH86
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by MH86 » Sat May 21, 2016 4:43 pm

Teamwork wrote:
theholycow wrote: If you're watching the mirror (instead of watching for your opportunity to get a head start on that clutch work) and you see someone creeping up too close, do the douchebag rollback a little. Some may interpret that as a douchebag move, but others may notice and decide not to creep closer. If you see someone coming in hot and think they're going to zoom up real close real fast, do a bigger more obvious douchebag rollback (complete with foot off the brake so the brake light flashes off then on again); hopefully it will get their attention and they'll give you some room. Yes, you'll look like a ricer douchecanoe, but at least there's a practical reason you're doing it.
I'm actually scared to do these techniques with hill-start assist because I am uncertain in how the system works. Like first if I roll back a little and reapply the brake with 0 throttle usage I'm not sure if it's going to hill start assist me for when I actually have to go because technically I would've cancelled it out by not doing anything. That's the thing also if someone is following me even a few car length distance- I wouldn't be able to roll back a little instantly because the car would hold me for 1.5 seconds at least so it might be too late by then and end up hurting me by putting me even closer to the vehicle.
I actually played around with the hill-start assist on an empty hill yesterday. I can't imagine your GTI's hill-start assist would be that different, but anyway, in my Jetta, even if you're in neutral, once you take your foot off the brake, you have about 2 seconds before it rolls back. As soon as you hit the brake, you can release it and you'll have about 2 seconds once again.

It does seem to cancel the second gas is applied, although I wasn't timing my transition from brake to gas.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by Teamwork » Mon May 23, 2016 1:21 pm

MH86 wrote:Thanks again for all the answers and support. Yesterday I did a lot of practice and was even on some pretty steep hills (I did not even know there were such steep hills in Queens). I also did some practice around my neighborhood.

Today I drove into Brooklyn and was nervous on the way there. On the way home, I started to get more comfortable. I took a route that had me driving several miles with traffic lights (and some hills) and I'm feeling much better about driving stick. I'm starting to get the hang of setting the gas to ~1200 rpm (although I admit I'm not staring at the tachometer ALL the time, it's more the sound it makes) and letting the clutch up. I'm slowly getting over my paranoia of slipping the clutch, which in turn gave me some pretty decent starts.

While I definitely don't launch Fast and Furious fast, I think it's slower in my head than in reality. I should also point out that when I drove automatics, I used to do jackrabbit starts (I know, a terrible, terrible habit) the second the light turned green (which explains why it suddenly feels like I'm going slow). For what it's worth, nobody went around me or honked at me. In NYC traffic, if you're going too slow, you will be passed faster than a New York minute (sorry about that, couldn't help myself there :D ).

I'm definitely not an expert yet, but I think I'm moving in the right direction. My feet are starting to work the clutch and gas with less thought. I look forward to the day where I can perfectly execute rev-matched downshifts instantaneously, but one step at a time.
They'll definitely be days when you feel like you make great strides and other days where you will feel like you have regressed and lost ability. Just keep your head up really- I definitely think if you can make it out there you could make it anywhere. Really not trying to stroke you on it but where you're learning compared to where I had the opportunity to learn you'd have a cake walk out here. Just take each day one by one and focus on refining and getting the basics down.

I have a feeling once you start getting used too balancing a bit of throttle and 1st gear engagement that you'll wonder how you ever done it any differently. I'm not saying no gas launches aren't useful but in the type of pace of traffic we drive in you'll kind of want to move off the line a little faster... especially if you're first in que for a light. If you're trailing behind the flow, honestly I kind of no gas launch myself and just add throttle when easing into the friction point but everyone around here expects if you're first in line that if you don't start moving brisk after exactly 1.5 seconds (lol) from the light turning green that you're an "asshole" or granny or both. I've legitimately have gotten honked at if I pull off the line too slowly... aka giving throttle to 1.3-1.4k while engaging 1st to slowly. If you stall out... by some grace of a higher power you won't get honked at around here or rear ended BUT don't let it bother you. Keep calm and reset... It's kind of bad that even after months of not stalling that I was able to reset so quickly because I have much practice when I first started.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by theholycow » Mon May 23, 2016 3:20 pm

Teamwork wrote:everyone around here expects if you're first in line that if you don't start moving brisk after exactly 1.5 seconds (lol) from the light turning green that you're an "asshole" or granny or both. I've legitimately have gotten honked at if I pull off the line too slowly... aka giving throttle to 1.3-1.4k while engaging 1st to slowly.
When practical, I like to do a no-gas launch prematurely and creep for just barely a moment before my chance to go. That way I can slap that accelerator pedal like an automatic driver and shoot off like a rocket, faster than any automatic could (because 1st in a manual is much lower, and because there is no energy wasted in a torque converter).
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MH86
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by MH86 » Mon May 23, 2016 6:50 pm

Teamwork wrote:
MH86 wrote:Thanks again for all the answers and support. Yesterday I did a lot of practice and was even on some pretty steep hills (I did not even know there were such steep hills in Queens). I also did some practice around my neighborhood.

Today I drove into Brooklyn and was nervous on the way there. On the way home, I started to get more comfortable. I took a route that had me driving several miles with traffic lights (and some hills) and I'm feeling much better about driving stick. I'm starting to get the hang of setting the gas to ~1200 rpm (although I admit I'm not staring at the tachometer ALL the time, it's more the sound it makes) and letting the clutch up. I'm slowly getting over my paranoia of slipping the clutch, which in turn gave me some pretty decent starts.

While I definitely don't launch Fast and Furious fast, I think it's slower in my head than in reality. I should also point out that when I drove automatics, I used to do jackrabbit starts (I know, a terrible, terrible habit) the second the light turned green (which explains why it suddenly feels like I'm going slow). For what it's worth, nobody went around me or honked at me. In NYC traffic, if you're going too slow, you will be passed faster than a New York minute (sorry about that, couldn't help myself there :D ).

I'm definitely not an expert yet, but I think I'm moving in the right direction. My feet are starting to work the clutch and gas with less thought. I look forward to the day where I can perfectly execute rev-matched downshifts instantaneously, but one step at a time.
They'll definitely be days when you feel like you make great strides and other days where you will feel like you have regressed and lost ability. Just keep your head up really- I definitely think if you can make it out there you could make it anywhere. Really not trying to stroke you on it but where you're learning compared to where I had the opportunity to learn you'd have a cake walk out here. Just take each day one by one and focus on refining and getting the basics down.
Today was one of those days where I felt like I regressed. After 2 whole days of not stalling or overreving, I stalled this morning on a very slight incline and then peeled out because I was afraid of holding up traffic. I was the lead car at the light and started to prepare myself to move as cross-traffic's light turned red. Thankfully, by the time I peeled out, I didn't hold anyone up.
I have a feeling once you start getting used too balancing a bit of throttle and 1st gear engagement that you'll wonder how you ever done it any differently. I'm not saying no gas launches aren't useful but in the type of pace of traffic we drive in you'll kind of want to move off the line a little faster... especially if you're first in que for a light. If you're trailing behind the flow, honestly I kind of no gas launch myself and just add throttle when easing into the friction point but everyone around here expects if you're first in line that if you don't start moving brisk after exactly 1.5 seconds (lol) from the light turning green that you're an "asshole" or granny or both. I've legitimately have gotten honked at if I pull off the line too slowly... aka giving throttle to 1.3-1.4k while engaging 1st to slowly. If you stall out... by some grace of a higher power you won't get honked at around here or rear ended BUT don't let it bother you. Keep calm and reset... It's kind of bad that even after months of not stalling that I was able to reset so quickly because I have much practice when I first started.
[/quote]
I've began to balance the throttle and clutch. Most of the time, I do it pretty well (no more than ~1500 rpm),but then there are times where I unintentionally do a 2000 rpm launch on level ground. In the past week, I've definitely been a more nervous driver than I have been in awhile. I'm sure that once this subsides, I'll feel great about myself.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Post by tankinbeans » Mon May 23, 2016 9:57 pm

Fast & Furious launch...leave it to those with more money than sense. Replacing clutches must be a hobby for some. I've only ever done one racing launch and the car wasn't mine. I was at an EcoBoost challenge event and there was a course to time your reaction off the line, mine was laughably slow, wherein you rev to 3 grand or so (peak torque) and wait for the light to chance then let off the clutch. The organizers wouldn't allow any higher revving than that, but still mentioned that the clutches in all of their cars had been replaced multiple times during their run on the demo circuit. Was fun, but not my cup of tea.
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