First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

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First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by MidnightInGotham » Fri May 06, 2016 7:07 pm

Been learning a ton on here so far, and I'm really glad to have found this site!

I've had my 2016 GTI for a week now and I love it! It's my first manual car (driven them before, but not owned one or drove regularly). I've gotten quite comfortable with my starts and shifts for the most part, but one thing I notice is sometimes my upshift are a little jerky. Not jarring at all, my head barely moves but I'd like to smooth it out.

I think it's a combination of what rpm to let out the clutch and the speed I'm letting out the clutch. If I'm too fast (at least I think that's the issue, and no I'm not dumping it), the revs will drop when the clutch is fully engaged (and there is a single mechanical sounding thunk, my guess would be it's the sound of the clutch engaging a bit too hard/quickly with the flywheel)? Please advise on this sound and/or if that is causing damage.

I am wondering how quickly do I need to let out the clutch on an upshift and vice versa how slow is too slow to let out the clutch?

I know I can't be too slow or I'll be burning the clutch, but I don't like the jarring or that sound and thus I want to avoid.

I am still breaking in the car, so I am not driving aggressively or too quickly, just wondering what the best tactics or methodology can smooth my upshifts without doing undue damage to the clutch or drivetrain.

Thanks in advanced and keep up the great advice!
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by Teamwork » Fri May 06, 2016 7:34 pm

Time for me to step up to the plate. Greetings...

2015 VW GTI owner here so same generation... This is my first daily driven manual car and like you I had a lot of obstacles to overcome besides just smoothing out upshifts. This car doesn't have the worst rev-hang in the world but it's definitely present and noticeable. What you pretty much have to do is either wait on the revs (nobody has time for that) or you need to do some precise engagement work by adding a touch of throttle to your upshifts. Ultimately, it should be seam less and smooth in transition when you subtly add a touch of gas when you get to the friction point.

It might not make sense in your head logically and it didn't for me either but the results spoke for themselves. From time to time I will still be too late on the gas or forget about adding a touch of throttle and this car will remind me what I've done. It's not jarring but you can definitely feel it.. I know what you mean. It's really become 2nd nature for me now at this point but when I first started I was really jerking this car around whenever I had to shift and was fairly embarrassed. In my mind I never even touched the throttle when engaging up shifts and needed to learn it here that it's necessary for smoothing out the transition.


Hope this helps.

EDIT: Also, this clutch is super vague and super soft... not that I have a vast amount to compare it too but food for thought. I usually wear like vans or dress shoes to get the most feedback from it but even then it's not very talkative. A lot of guys modify various things about this manual transmission set up.

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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by MidnightInGotham » Fri May 06, 2016 8:39 pm

Ps the sound could be "normal" like I said, this is my first manual and it's my baby so I just want to make sure I'm taking care of it. Also I don't hear it when the radio is on, and since noticing it I have been driving without the radio on just to hear it.

Update:
Just drove with a friend who's owned some manuals and drives truck for a living and he said it's a semi normal linkage sound. He said I was maybe revving too high before shifting. When I did that the clutch and flywheel were trying to match up too abruptly and hence the sound. Seem about right to everyone? And am I doing major damage while I'm getting my sea legs? So to speak?
Last edited by MidnightInGotham on Fri May 06, 2016 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by tankinbeans » Fri May 06, 2016 9:17 pm

First, welcome to the boards!

What usually works for me is to clutch in and do nothing for a split second; it's really not as long as you thin bin your mind. Also you could do a double clutch (clutch in, shift to neutral, clutch out, pause for a moment, clutch in, shift to second, proceed as normal). The double clutch process is faster than it reads, but it really works.
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by theholycow » Sat May 07, 2016 9:28 am

Don't be too smooth. Even most automatics aren't that smooth. If you want to be as boring as an automatic then why not just drive an automatic? Enjoy feeling your shifts better than you would in a slushbox.

For a smooth shift, you need a smooth clutch disengagement and then a smooth clutch engagement. For that purpose, timing your left foot with your right foot is key, both for declutching and engaging. Exact timing differs from vehicle to vehicle and driver to driver; you will have to perfect it experimentally. It's approximately a see-saw motion, through the portion of clutch pedal travel that actually matters. If your see-saw timing is off while declutching you'll get engine braking (head pushed towards front of car). If your timing or right foot depth is off while engaging you could get engine braking or sudden acceleration.

Rev hang complicates matters because it can be unpredictable and because it prevents your engine speed from dropping. You have to let the clutch absorb rev hang with a difficult-to-perfect smooth foot motion and be ready with the accelerator pedal when rev hang cancels or else you'll get engine braking.

The clutch disc engaging with the flywheel cannot cause a thunk sound. In your car there is nothing in the clutch linkage that can make a thunk sound from harsh clutch engagement either. It could be an engine mount compressing and bottoming out, exhaust whacking something, etc; but I'd guess it's most likely something in the trunk (perhaps the spare tire/jack package) or glovebox (owner's manual, maybe). The only linkage I can think of that could make such a sound might be the shifter linkage getting jerked around from drivetrain motion, but it's unlikely.

Anyway if someone (a calm, non-automotive adult, for example) has been in the car with you and not said "HOLY CARP MANG YOU DRIVE LIKE A RECTUM" then you're probably not abusing your car. Everybody who learns worries that they're abusing it but most people are not.

You could always post a video for reassurance. There are many good places to hang a camera or phone, but an easy one is to wedge it in between the passenger headrest and seat, angled to see your shifter, pedals, gauges, and maybe a little bit of road.
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by MidnightInGotham » Sat May 07, 2016 7:05 pm

theholycow wrote:Don't be too smooth. Even most automatics aren't that smooth. If you want to be as boring as an automatic then why not just drive an automatic? Enjoy feeling your shifts better than you would in a slushbox.

For a smooth shift, you need a smooth clutch disengagement and then a smooth clutch engagement. For that purpose, timing your left foot with your right foot is key, both for declutching and engaging. Exact timing differs from vehicle to vehicle and driver to driver; you will have to perfect it experimentally. It's approximately a see-saw motion, through the portion of clutch pedal travel that actually matters. If your see-saw timing is off while declutching you'll get engine braking (head pushed towards front of car). If your timing or right foot depth is off while engaging you could get engine braking or sudden acceleration.

Rev hang complicates matters because it can be unpredictable and because it prevents your engine speed from dropping. You have to let the clutch absorb rev hang with a difficult-to-perfect smooth foot motion and be ready with the accelerator pedal when rev hang cancels or else you'll get engine braking.

The clutch disc engaging with the flywheel cannot cause a thunk sound. In your car there is nothing in the clutch linkage that can make a thunk sound from harsh clutch engagement either. It could be an engine mount compressing and bottoming out, exhaust whacking something, etc; but I'd guess it's most likely something in the trunk (perhaps the spare tire/jack package) or glovebox (owner's manual, maybe). The only linkage I can think of that could make such a sound might be the shifter linkage getting jerked around from drivetrain motion, but it's unlikely.

Anyway if someone (a calm, non-automotive adult, for example) has been in the car with you and not said "HOLY CARP MANG YOU DRIVE LIKE A RECTUM" then you're probably not abusing your car. Everybody who learns worries that they're abusing it but most people are not.

You could always post a video for reassurance. There are many good places to hang a camera or phone, but an easy one is to wedge it in between the passenger headrest and seat, angled to see your shifter, pedals, gauges, and maybe a little bit of road.

Great info here! Thank you very much. The sound could be the motor mount but that would be kind of odd because the overall motion isn't that drastic. That said it does seem like it's coming from the front somewhere. Also good to know that it's not the flywheel and clutch impacting.

Thus far no one has thought my driving to be bad at all and most friends and family (the non car folk) say I'm doing well and will keep getting better with time. I do feel I've improved already and I keep reminding myself that I've only had the car for a week :)

As far as the see-sawing I've read/heard conflicting things on that. Some say you shouldn't use any accelerator when releasing the clutch, but that is what most people I know do (and when I first learned to drive that's what I was taught). I could see it causing a bit of undue clutch wear, but is it much?

I may do a video, though I won't be able to today. Is there a good YouTube video showing see-sawing and/or just good footwork when driving normally (I.e. Not heavy acceleration or trying to rip through the gears quickly).
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by tankinbeans » Sat May 07, 2016 8:00 pm

Every time you use the clutch there is a tiny bit of wear. Must of the people I know add gas and this is well within the working parameters of the clutch and its friction disc.I wouldn't worry about it.

Undue wear would be doing burnouts or using the clutch to enduce engine braking.

If one were to attempt moving up a hill without applying throttle simultaneously with engaging (bringing thenpedal up) the clutch he or she would never get anywhere.
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by theholycow » Sat May 07, 2016 9:05 pm

MidnightInGotham wrote:As far as the see-sawing I've read/heard conflicting things on that. Some say you shouldn't use any accelerator when releasing the clutch, but that is what most people I know do (and when I first learned to drive that's what I was taught). I could see it causing a bit of undue clutch wear, but is it much?
That depends on your timing. If you time it right then it minimizes wear, reducing wear to less than if you don't use the accelerator (assuming you don't have rev hang). Since you do have rev hang, nothing can avoid that wear other than waiting around for the damned thing to chill out, but you might as well send your throttle commands by USPS. Regardless, we're not talking about an amount of wear worth discussing.

What you shouldn't do is shove a lot of RPM and power through a partially engaged clutch unnecessarily. That is where the idea about not using the accelerator comes from, severely exaggerated (like so many other things) by those who don't understand. Do use the accelerator to match the flywheel's speed to the clutch whenever possible.
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by MidnightInGotham » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:43 pm

Update on this topic and something I am still struggling with. On up shifts the noise I was and still am hearing at times is the engine mount compressing (I'm almost positive). From what I've read these cars have marshmallows for mounts. So when I let out the clutch and it drops 500 rpm because the rev hang is unpredictable and excessive on this car (again 2016 GTI) the motor mount compresses. Does that sound logical? And what kind of damage is this doing?

I am having a hard time with the rev hang and then lack because sometimes it has excessive hang (like it will stay at the rpm when I disengaged the clutch for a second or better) and then drop and other times it will plummet like a rock.

When it drops below the correct rpm sometimes I don't notice because I'm trying to go by feel of the car and then of course I get an awful wake up. What damage am I doing here (engaging clutch when the revs have dropped too low) so clutch damage synchro damage, gearbox damage? It's getting frustrating that after 4 months driving I'm still having this issue.

Lastly on gear changes, I basically do a controlled dump of the clutch. I come straight up and instantly off the pedal. Is that correct form or should I be taking the fraction of a second longer to let off? Sometime I do that and it's way smoother but again I don't want to cause excess wear or damage.
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by MidnightInGotham » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:48 pm

MidnightInGotham wrote:Update on this topic and something I am still struggling with. On up shifts the noise I was and still am hearing at times is the engine mount compressing (I'm almost positive). From what I've read these cars have marshmallows for mounts. So when I let out the clutch and it drops 500 rpm because the rev hang is unpredictable and excessive on this car (again 2016 GTI) the motor mount compresses. Does that sound logical? And what kind of damage is this doing?

I am having a hard time with the rev hang and then lack because sometimes it has excessive hang (like it will stay at the rpm when I disengaged the clutch for a second or better) and then drop and other times it will plummet like a rock.

When it drops below the correct rpm sometimes I don't notice because I'm trying to go by feel of the car and then of course I get an awful wake up. What damage am I doing here (engaging clutch when the revs have dropped too low) so clutch damage synchro damage, gearbox damage? It's getting frustrating that after 4 months driving I'm still having this issue.

Lastly on gear changes, I basically do a controlled dump of the clutch. I come straight up and instantly off the pedal. Is that correct form or should I be taking the fraction of a second longer to let off? Sometime I do that and it's way smoother but again I don't want to cause excess wear or damage.
Also when letting out the clutch pedal on a downshift, should one dump the clutch or take a beat and let it out gently but quickly?
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by tankinbeans » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:54 pm

Rev-matched downshift, or non-rev-match? If there's a reasonable attempt at a rev-match then dump the clutch in as controlled a manner as possible, but if there's no rev-match attempt then it is wise to control it more so as not to put too much strain on your driveline.
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by MidnightInGotham » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:58 pm

tankinbeans wrote:Rev-matched downshift, or non-rev-match? If there's a reasonable attempt at a rev-match then dump the clutch in as controlled a manner as possible, but if there's no rev-match attempt then it is wise to control it more so as not to put too much strain on your driveline.
Definitely at least attempt a rev match. Sometimes I don't give enough though and that feeling just brings me to tears (coming up short on revs and I basically dump the clutch, i beat the pedal back up).
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by MidnightInGotham » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:59 pm

tankinbeans wrote:Rev-matched downshift, or non-rev-match? If there's a reasonable attempt at a rev-match then dump the clutch in as controlled a manner as possible, but if there's no rev-match attempt then it is wise to control it more so as not to put too much strain on your driveline.
And any advice on my above issues?
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by MidnightInGotham » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:14 pm

Bump
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Re: First Manual Car Owned-Smoothing Out Upshifts

Post by theholycow » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:36 pm

Dumping the clutch will give you more sure feedback on your rev-match attempt's success and help you learn to rev-match more accurately sooner. If you find that you just never get any good at it (unlikely) then after a while you may want to cultivate a habit of easing it instead of dumping it.

I know it's almost impossible to resist, but don't be paranoid about damaging the car or putting extra wear on stuff. You're learning and that's fine, the car will be fine unless you are doing something that is so severe that you don't even have to ask if it's ok because you just know it's wrong (assuming you're a reasonable person; of course there will be individuals whose senses are nonsense who think something completely horrific is not even bad enough to bother asking about).
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