Need some tips

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comawhite
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Need some tips

Post by comawhite » Sun May 27, 2012 8:30 pm

I recently bought me a sexy 98 Honda Prelude Base BB6. I love the car and it's my first manual car. I must say that I really enjoy shifting rather than driving an automatic, though I'm still a newbie to standards. I have a few issues with my car and I think it might be causing me to do a sub par job at shifting, as my friend had told me the clutch is soft and the engagement point is really huge. I think my engagement point is near the top of where it's pretty much when I left off the clutch pedal. I will be buying another clutch soon, but only until I can actually get the hang of it and be able to go on the roads and motorways. I'm still not up to the point of going on the roads yet, except in my neighbourhood.

As I was mentioning about the clutch engagement point. Since I haven't been driving everyday (about to be replacing my power steering pump). I can drive and shift fine up and down on the road. I do struggle with turns, as I can't get my pedal all the way down to the floor and downshift. I am unable to anticipate the corner soon enough. When I do finish the downshift I'm halfway in the middle of the road of the corner and I feel I might turn wrong or something. I haven't manage to learn the rev-matching yet.

My friend who taught me for a little while told me to just slowly let the clutch out and when it starts rolling to give it gas and fully off the clutch. I've been doing that (while I wish I could do it faster). The car does like to shake a little bit. Why is it shaking? Could it be due to the bad clutch?

I'm still a little bit worried about my upshifting and the speed. I think I might be doing it a little bit slow and which causes my speed to look weird for the correct gear. I think I've been catching myself being in 3rd gear while only going 35mph. That imho seems a little bit slow for it. I could be wrong. I do shift around 2500-3000rpm. As I was told that's usually the best time to shift and being economical. Plus, I'm still a little scared of driving my car. :P Sounds silly I know.

I can't do uphills yet, as I've tried and ended up doing burnouts on my driveway. xD. I can't properly figure it out. I hate living my car on the side of the street to where any person could probably break in and still it. Since my car's engine is very popular for thieves.

While it maybe a little while before I go onto the streets in heavy traffic areas (which my friend didn't get to show me, because of my novice skills). He told me when I brake to a full stop to push the clutch in and brake while throwing the stick into neutral, then back into first when I come to a complete stop, as leaving it into neutral is a bad thing and should be avoided as much as possible. Is it safe to throw it into neutral, then throw is back into first before the complete stop, just in case I do have to creep up at a stop sign as drivers move up and take off? How do I deal with coming to a stop after throwing it into neutral and the red light turns green before the complete stop? IIRC, you need to throw it into gear depending on your speed at the time, but how do you know what gear is appropriate for that specific speed? What about throwing it into 1st after it was into neutral? I know you never downshift to first as second is almost always the right gear, as first is for taking off.

I still haven't figured out how to deal with bumper to bumper traffic and understand how to properly work the clutch and gears. I dread the motorways, especially if it has inclines. Luckily, I don't really live in an area that does have that, but it does have them in a few spots. So someone will probably have to help me understand that.

I like driving a standard car as opposed to our other car which is an automatic.

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theholycow
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Re: Need some tips

Post by theholycow » Sun May 27, 2012 11:05 pm

Wow! Ok, you're a little freaked out. Your first task: Relax. The worst-case scenario for the worst failure isn't the end of the world, and more realistic "bad" results are harmless.

There's a link in my sig to my meta-sig. There, you will find some exercises you can practice. I think they may help.

Taking some of your concerns one at a time...I'll try to give you worst-case scenarios for each question.
comawhite wrote:the clutch is soft and the engagement point is really huge. I think my engagement point is near the top of where it's pretty much when I left off the clutch pedal. I will be buying another clutch soon
If this is the case, you'll have to learn to work within the system. I wouldn't bank on the new clutch feeling different, it may end up feeling exactly the same. Do you know if the linkage is cable or hydraulic? Hydraulic linkages are self-adjusting, and as long as nothing is malfunctioning, wear may not be easy to detect in the pedal - meaning that a new clutch is likely to feel the same.
I do struggle with turns, as I can't get my pedal all the way down to the floor and downshift. I am unable to anticipate the corner soon enough. When I do finish the downshift I'm halfway in the middle of the road of the corner and I feel I might turn wrong or something. I haven't manage to learn the rev-matching yet.
Ok, forget rev-matching for now. Just work on getting into gear well before you enter the turn or planning to shift after the turn. When you're more confident you can work on shifting during or immediately before the turn. Steering is more important than shifting; stay in your lane, worry about shifting some other time. Worst case scenario, you're in the wrong gear and can't accelerate very hard.
My friend who taught me for a little while told me to just slowly let the clutch out and when it starts rolling to give it gas and fully off the clutch. I've been doing that (while I wish I could do it faster). The car does like to shake a little bit. Why is it shaking? Could it be due to the bad clutch?
Without a better description of the shaking and conditions, I'd guess either you're a little too aggressive on the clutch (no need for smooth movement of clutch pedal; stop moving it once it starts to grab, pause, then resume moving it) or you have clutch chatter (can be due to glazed clutch, flywheel in need of machining, rust on flywheel, etc).
I'm still a little bit worried about my upshifting and the speed. I think I might be doing it a little bit slow and which causes my speed to look weird for the correct gear.
Ok, shift faster. Don't dawdle. Slap the clutch pedal to the floor, flick the shifter into the next gear quickly, and then release the clutch pedal at whatever speed produces a smooth result. Worst-case scenario, you get a rough ride.
I think I've been catching myself being in 3rd gear while only going 35mph. That imho seems a little bit slow for it. I could be wrong. I do shift around 2500-3000rpm. As I was told that's usually the best time to shift and being economical. Plus, I'm still a little scared of driving my car. :P Sounds silly I know.
Generally I've found that gear choice in a manual is one higher than an automatic, mainly because the gears are similar at that level. 2nd gear in a manual is usually about the same ratio as 1st in the auto, etc. In my 2008 VW I was in 5th by 30mph and in my 1980 Buick I'm in 4th by 30mph. I can't imagine buzzing around at 35mph in 3rd, 35 is too fast for cruising in 3rd in every manual I've driven. For heavy acceleration I might still be in 2nd at 35mph, though. There's a lot of gears that overlap, even in my Buick with its wide ratios and low-power engine. Worst-case scenario, your engine growls and grumbles and you know you ought to downshift.
He told me when I brake to a full stop to push the clutch in and brake while throwing the stick into neutral, then back into first when I come to a complete stop, as leaving it into neutral is a bad thing and should be avoided as much as possible.
Neutral is harmless. The myth that it is dangerous comes from the fear that you will need to suddenly accelerate out of a dangerous situation. You are a bad driver if you need to do that, and such a driver (if he must be on the road) should always drive a 600hp automatic which will downshift as soon as you floor the accelerator (not that I'd want to be on the road with such a driver commanding that much power). Worst-case scenario you have to brake and steer out of a situation like everyone else.
Is it safe to throw it into neutral, then throw is back into first before the complete stop, just in case I do have to creep up at a stop sign as drivers move up and take off? How do I deal with coming to a stop after throwing it into neutral and the red light turns green before the complete stop?
Yes it is safe. If you're going more than a few mph you may find it difficult to get into 1st, but 2nd will work fine.
IIRC, you need to throw it into gear depending on your speed at the time, but how do you know what gear is appropriate for that specific speed?
You know from experience, or from calculating how many mph each gear can go at idle RPM, or by guessing, or by knowing what gear an automatic would be in and adding 1.

Worst-case scenario you choose the wrong gear and don't accelerate well or have difficulty getting into the wrong gear, so you choose another gear.
What about throwing it into 1st after it was into neutral? I know you never downshift to first as second is almost always the right gear, as first is for taking off.
You generally only choose 1st while at a stop or going less than a few mph (whatever idle speed is in 2nd). It can be difficult to get into 1st at higher speeds.
I still haven't figured out how to deal with bumper to bumper traffic
It helps to try to do less stop-go-stop-go. A little extra following distance and a bunch of patience often allows you to idle smoothly in 1st while everybody else wastes gas stopping and going a dozen times. Worst-case scenario your left leg gets tired from operating the clutch too much.
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bk7794
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Re: Need some tips

Post by bk7794 » Sun May 27, 2012 11:06 pm

comawhite wrote:I recently bought me a sexy 98 Honda Prelude Base BB6. I love the car and it's my first manual car. I must say that I really enjoy shifting rather than driving an automatic, though I'm still a newbie to standards. I have a few issues with my car and I think it might be causing me to do a sub par job at shifting, as my friend had told me the clutch is soft and the engagement point is really huge. I think my engagement point is near the top of where it's pretty much when I left off the clutch pedal. I will be buying another clutch soon, but only until I can actually get the hang of it and be able to go on the roads and motorways. I'm still not up to the point of going on the roads yet, except in my neighbourhood.
Nice car! I am jealous, love that generation. I really wish they didn't stop making it. I wouldn't buy a new clutch unless its slipping. Maybe you may need to adjust the clutch master cylinder, if you can. I wouldn't change the clutch imo unless its slipping or chattering badly. I may have read it wrong but if you are saying what I think you are then I think you'd be wasting your money/time.
comawhite wrote: My friend who taught me for a little while told me to just slowly let the clutch out and when it starts rolling to give it gas and fully off the clutch. I've been doing that (while I wish I could do it faster). The car does like to shake a little bit. Why is it shaking? Could it be due to the bad clutch?
I actually do this, I roll off the clutch and hit the gas after the corner is done. The reason it chatters atleast for me is because if you give it too much gas while slipping the clutch in a high gear it causes it to chatter. I am sorry I can't give you a scientific reason. I don't personally think its because of the clutch. I think this is what you are getting at.
comawhite wrote:I'm still a little bit worried about my upshifting and the speed. I think I might be doing it a little bit slow and which causes my speed to look weird for the correct gear. I think I've been catching myself being in 3rd gear while only going 35mph. That imho seems a little bit slow for it. I could be wrong. I do shift around 2500-3000rpm. As I was told that's usually the best time to shift and being economical. Plus, I'm still a little scared of driving my car. :P Sounds silly I know.
I upshift into 4th while doing around 35mph and cruise in 5th gear at 35 40mph. So I would say don't worry too much about that kind of stuff. you will fine tune that as you drive.
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comawhite
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Re: Need some tips

Post by comawhite » Sun May 27, 2012 11:24 pm

theholycow wrote: Taking some of your concerns one at a time...I'll try to give you worst-case scenarios for each question.
comawhite wrote:the clutch is soft and the engagement point is really huge. I think my engagement point is near the top of where it's pretty much when I left off the clutch pedal. I will be buying another clutch soon
If this is the case, you'll have to learn to work within the system. I wouldn't bank on the new clutch feeling different, it may end up feeling exactly the same. Do you know if the linkage is cable or hydraulic? Hydraulic linkages are self-adjusting, and as long as nothing is malfunctioning, wear may not be easy to detect in the pedal - meaning that a new clutch is likely to feel the same.
I think it's hydraulic, but I am not for sure.

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bk7794
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Re: Need some tips

Post by bk7794 » Sun May 27, 2012 11:46 pm

comawhite wrote:
theholycow wrote: Taking some of your concerns one at a time...I'll try to give you worst-case scenarios for each question.
comawhite wrote:the clutch is soft and the engagement point is really huge. I think my engagement point is near the top of where it's pretty much when I left off the clutch pedal. I will be buying another clutch soon
If this is the case, you'll have to learn to work within the system. I wouldn't bank on the new clutch feeling different, it may end up feeling exactly the same. Do you know if the linkage is cable or hydraulic? Hydraulic linkages are self-adjusting, and as long as nothing is malfunctioning, wear may not be easy to detect in the pedal - meaning that a new clutch is likely to feel the same.
I think it's hydraulic, but I am not for sure.
The prelude is definitely hydro. The civic is from that generation, so the prelude most definitely is.
Image
You can see the reservoir, the small one in the back
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Volvo S60R 6 Speed - Sold

comawhite
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Re: Need some tips

Post by comawhite » Mon May 28, 2012 12:11 am

So apparently, I can adjust it, so the question is how much?

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bk7794
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Re: Need some tips

Post by bk7794 » Mon May 28, 2012 2:34 am

comawhite wrote:So apparently, I can adjust it, so the question is how much?
well first off you should see if its supposed to be like that. Maybe take it to a mechanic...well actually have you talked to the previous owner to see if he replaced the clutch hydraulics? Cause if he didn't then cow is right, there is no need for adjustment.
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theholycow
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Re: Need some tips

Post by theholycow » Mon May 28, 2012 9:35 am

comawhite wrote:So apparently, I can adjust it, so the question is how much?
I don't think you can adjust it. Hydraulic clutch release systems are self-adjusting. Mine doesn't have any way for me to adjust it.

However, if there is air in the system, that could cause unpleasantness. Search forums about your car for clutch bleeding procedures; there are probably a few different ways to do it and the easier ways may not be well known. Depending on your hydraulic line routing you may be able to do it as simply as pumping the clutch 50 to 200 times with the cover off the reservoir, watching for bubbles the whole time.

While you're bleeding it anyway, that's a great time to go ahead and replace all the fluid. Many (most? all?) systems use standard DOT3 brake fluid.
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Re: Need some tips

Post by Squint » Mon May 28, 2012 10:46 am

Glad Cow is here to answer all the questions. All I've got:

Welcome! And relax, you'll be fine. We all started with roughly the same problems you're having. :D 8)
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bk7794
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Re: Need some tips

Post by bk7794 » Mon May 28, 2012 12:05 pm

theholycow wrote:
comawhite wrote:So apparently, I can adjust it, so the question is how much?
I don't think you can adjust it. Hydraulic clutch release systems are self-adjusting. Mine doesn't have any way for me to adjust it.

However, if there is air in the system, that could cause unpleasantness. Search forums about your car for clutch bleeding procedures; there are probably a few different ways to do it and the easier ways may not be well known. Depending on your hydraulic line routing you may be able to do it as simply as pumping the clutch 50 to 200 times with the cover off the reservoir, watching for bubbles the whole time.

While you're bleeding it anyway, that's a great time to go ahead and replace all the fluid. Many (most? all?) systems use standard DOT3 brake fluid.
You can actually adjust the clutch pedal freeplay. My fault. I don't think that would help him.
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Re: Need some tips

Post by tankinbeans » Mon May 28, 2012 10:01 pm

All I'm going to say is welcome and what cow said. You're overthinking this a bit; I've been there and understand the feeling. Don't worry about killing anything; these guys have helped me realize that a car is a LOT less fragile than we assume, and somebody, maybe cow, said that they are meant to be driven by imperfect humans.

As for turning and downshifting, the SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWW release method worked for me until I got comfortable. My dad has used this method for years to no ill-effect. Rev-matching is fun to learn, when you're ready, but hardly absolutely necessary during the "n00b-terrified-I'm-going-to-kill-something-and-destroy-the-clutch phase". You'll get better and won't feel so n00bish in no time.

Practice your "I don't give a fudge about the other drivers" face and just get out and do it.

I hear Quaaludes have pretty sweet transmissions.

EDIT: I had to fix my grammar fail; stupid smart phones.
Last edited by tankinbeans on Mon May 28, 2012 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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comawhite
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Re: Need some tips

Post by comawhite » Mon May 28, 2012 10:25 pm

hehehe. Thanks guys. My Prelude is very nice to drive and bliss. Almost an orgasm. :lol: I don't regret getting one. I had done a misshift going from 3rd to 2nd on accident, but I pushed the clutch in and brake immediately, so it didn't stay in long. But, the tranny shifts fine and smooth. Going from neutral to 5th (just getting used to the gears in park). It feels a little harder to do, than from neutral to first, but other than that it's very nice.

I just wish I could get my car into the driveway which is like on a 15-20% incline then smoothens out a bit.

I was driving on the motorway in my automatic Mustang. There is a tight turn at 45mph. I'm normally doing about 70-75mph then I know I have to break to 45-50mph to complete the turn. I know you're normally in the last gear (5th would be for my car). That would require downshifting twice before the turn. Could I be able to just go from say 5th -> 3rd? If I do that, how would I prevent over-revving? Would it do that going from 5th->3rd?

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Re: Need some tips

Post by tankinbeans » Mon May 28, 2012 10:44 pm

You can absolutely do a 5-3. You won't over-rev if you already slowed down. Think of each gear as a 500 RPM jump, and if you're running 3000 in 5th at 60 you'll be close to 4000 in 3rd. Generally you won't need to be in 3rd at 60, but it's been my experience. This is the joy of a non-sequential transmission. I quite like going 6-3 myself.

EDIT: I found another one; I'm really thinking about stabbing this phone in the face with a jelly donut!
Last edited by tankinbeans on Mon May 28, 2012 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need some tips

Post by bbeatonVT » Mon May 28, 2012 10:49 pm

comawhite wrote:hehehe. Thanks guys. My Prelude is very nice to drive and bliss. Almost an orgasm. :lol: I don't regret getting one.
Understatement of the day! That is an awesome car for sure! :D Echoing what others have said, just keep telling yourself that it's all about practice, and having fun. You'll pick it up in no time. You will stall, and people will look, but 99% of them understand and smile. The other 1% don't know what it's like to drive a standard, so you should feel sorry for them. Check out cow's meta-sig for some great advice. I highly recommend going to a parking lot and practicing getting the car going from a dead stop, as well as how much pressure you have to give your accelerator to increase by 500rpm/1000rpm/etc. It's all about getting comfortable with what you have! If you can find an area that has a small incline too, practice getting to the friction point with your clutch faster, and finding the right balance of gas to clutch.

Congratulations again!

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Re: Need some tips

Post by AHTOXA » Mon May 28, 2012 11:29 pm

Actually it is closer to 99% not understanding vs 1% knowing what it's like.
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