Beginning, questions about starting

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FrozenSpyder
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Cars: 2002 Pontiac Transam WS6

Beginning, questions about starting

Post by FrozenSpyder » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:46 pm

So long story short I've purchased a 2002 Pontiac Trans am WS6, and haven't driven a manual at all before. I figured the best way to learn was to read a few guides and just get out there and do it. I've only been practicing for about two hours just around the block (as to avoid stalling at a light or anything) and a while I can get it going without it stalling, I do so very slowly. I'm quite timid about using a lot of gas or revving it too high because this is my first nicer car and I'm terrified of breaking something, or burning out the clutch. I'm having issues giving it a whole lot of gas(as in I don't think i've revved it past 1200 rpm while starting) while letting the clutch out as everytime I do so the car shakes very noticeably and I cant really figure out why, as I'm letting the clutch out at basically the same speed. I know this is kind of sparse for exact details but do I just need to give it more gas? I can't really imagine letting the clutch out any slower, but I might be able to smooth out the motion. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks
2002 Pontiac Transam WS6

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tankinbeans
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by tankinbeans » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:15 pm

First, welcome to the board. Nice rig.

Can you describe in more detail what is happening when the car shakes? What are you doing with the throttle and what are you doing with the clutch?

I ask because you're likely not giving it enough gas (as I've gathered you suspect based on my reading of context clues). Once you get to the friction zone feel free to increase throttle input until you're moving fast enough to let out completely. You may have to pause at that point for a moment to allow everything ro spin up to the same relative speed.

You might try practicing no gas launches to get a better feel for where the friction zone starts. If you can't successully get the vehicle to move via the no-gas launch you are moving through the friction zone too quickly and can slow it down a bit.

Don't be afraid to slip the clutch as that's what it was designed to do. You're not going to damage it by learning because most of your major, expected bungles (relating to overrevving on take off or any number of other common mistakes) will go away fairly quickly. If you're not smelling anything, you're likely not cooking the clutch. That said the car is 14 years old and who knows how the previous owner drove it, so pay attention to it and don't abuse it.

Learning to drive the car is not the same as abusing the car. A 4k rpm clutch dump is abuse, a 1200 rpm shuddering start is learning and becoming accustomed to a new experience.
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theholycow
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by theholycow » Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:39 am

Oh man, a WS6...freakin sweet!!!! {insert tired memes such as "i want dis/i need dis" cat and the various "jelly" memes; HO F-body FTW!}

Feel free to, y'know, like post photographs and stuff. ;) Oh, and if you happen to live in New England I would be ecstatic to give you a lesson in exchange for some seat time (don't worry, I'm no speed demon)!

Don't worry too much about breaking it, as long as you aren't purposely abusing it. It's made to be moderately abused anyway, and made for human error (even a practiced, gentle driver makes mistakes), and made for people to learn on.

It may also be cheaper to get fixed, or easier to DIY. If you have any interest in getting your hands dirty, a clutch job on your car is probably pretty easy, more like mine than a modern FWD compact car, just requiring the most basic of tools and skills (though a $75 transmission jack is a nice convenience)...sounds scary but it's totally an easy bolt-in job.

I converted my car, a 1980 Buick Lesabre, from automatic with a shoestring budget and insufficient skills/equipment. I then proceeded to abuse the hell out of it and still got plenty of life (4-5 years and something like 90,000 miles) out of it before it needed serious service (pilot bushing had worn to a sliver, clutch disc delaminated but didn't wear out, transmission input shaft bearing failed, bolts holding bellhousing on all loosened/disappeared, mount broke, I was still driving it). If that hackjob could survive purposeful abuse then a proper OEM system can take your learning.

1200RPM is a good engine speed for launching as a noob, especially with a torque monster. After a few years and 50,000 miles you'll be able to launch quickly at lower RPM, as well as produce aggressive launches at higher RPM smoothly (with the WS6 you'll need them less but want them more, I bet). Then after a few years of perfection you might stop caring and get sloppy and be back to 1200RPM.

In my experience GM clutches and throttles tend to be quite good, very forgiving and easy to modulate, but admittedly I haven't driven one like that (which would likely be more difficult for engineering reasons; a clutch that can handle more power is going to be more like an on-off switch at the low power level required for launching a light car, and a throttle that has to control more power has to squeeze it all into the same amount of pedal travel) and of course yours could be modified with aftermarket clutch stuff and/or modifications affecting throttle. On the other hand it could be all stock and worn out, which may make it easier...or broken, making it harder.

Your launching difficulty is likely similar to that which I had with my 2008 VW (which is how I ended up here). There is a link in my sig to my meta-sig; go there for a detailed description of exercises and tips. Summarized:

1. Move your seat forward. You need a slightly bent knee with the clutch pedal hard against the floor and your heel against the floor (no ballerina foot!).

2. Eventually you'll learn to fly through the dead travel areas of the clutch pedal and slow to a seemingly ultra-tedious speed through the friction zone, coming to a complete stop as you pause in the meatiest part of the friction zone and wait for things to sync up (after which you can dump the rest of it). It's not about being slow and smooth through the entire pedal travel, it's about being slow and smooth only where necessary and it's especially about that left foot coming to a dead stop for a second or (or a few seconds).

3. Practice no-gas launches (in a parking lot) to train your clutch foot.

4. Plant your entire foot on the accelerator pedal, rather than your toe on the tip. Believe it or not, this is how you'll be able to get finer control of it.

5. Practice quickly free-revving (in neutral while parked) to increasingly fine RPM targets to train your throttle foot.

Do the exercises, but don't expect to be great at it on the road even if you perfect the exercises. They'll fast-track you to proficiency but there will still be plenty of seat time/miles needed before you are happy with your driving.

Don't be afraid to eyeball the tachometer. Don't be afraid to ignore it if looking at it doesn't work for you. Don't count on any particular type of sensory input that you might have assumed you'll have...for example, some cars have pedals that indicate location by feeling different through their travel while others feel the same all the way through. You probably have some decent audible input from a louder-than-average exhaust though, and maybe more seat feel through a generally stiffer car.
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tankinbeans
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by tankinbeans » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:15 am

I would also be willing to provide in car training, but nobody lives in Minnesota. Haha :mrgreen: :lol: 8) :twisted: :wink:
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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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FrozenSpyder
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by FrozenSpyder » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:12 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome guys, I haven't had much time to practice driving it today but I'll try to apply your tips and get some feedback asap. Here's a quick picture just to give you a good idea, I know the decals are a bit cliche but I've only had it for a week, not sure if I like them yet haha. And on the lessons, I'd love to get a lesson but I'm down here in SoCal sadly, I'm already learning a lot from the forum but I'm sure I could let a lot more with an instructor. Also one quick question, my car has something called skip shift, where it wants me to go into 4th from 1st sometimes? It's for fuel economy but i would think that in 4th at 15mph(when it wants me to shift) i would lug the engine possibly?
Edit: It says the board attachment quota has been reached for the picture?
2002 Pontiac Transam WS6

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tankinbeans
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by tankinbeans » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:22 pm

Try Photobucket orba similar site.
17 Mazda6
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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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FrozenSpyder
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Cars: 2002 Pontiac Transam WS6

Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by FrozenSpyder » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:32 pm

Image

Here is just an overall shot, more to be posted tomorrow. Thanks for the feedback guys
2002 Pontiac Transam WS6

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tankinbeans
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by tankinbeans » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:57 pm

I want a screaming chicken a lá Smokey and the Bandit.
17 Mazda6
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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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theholycow
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by theholycow » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:52 am

Looks great!

Skip shift (which GM calls CAGS, Computer Aided Gear Selection) isn't so much to improve real world fuel economy as it is to improve fuel economy test results for CAFE and EPA ratings. If I had it I'd disable it; google will provide easy DIY instructions that cost a scant few bucks with common parts, and easier still inexpensive prefab kits. It's a manual transmission and I won't tolerate the computer telling me what to do and then forcing me to do it.

If you define lugging as "Gee, this is kinda lame and growly-sounding and I'm not getting anywhere fast" then you can observe whether or not it is satisfactory.

If you define lugging as "OMG this is gonna damage/destroy my engine" then no, obeying CAGS won't lug or otherwise damage anything. You will find your modern computer-controlled engine nearly impossible to do that to, and if you ever manage to make it happen then you will know it because the sound will probably be the classic GM spark knock sound, which can sound kinda like an engine that unexpectedly keeps running when you shut off the ignition, or like slowly rolling a box of roofing nails over or a rhythmic heavy rainstorm pouring on the roof with changing wind.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiBzxxvy3FQ
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

FrozenSpyder
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:30 pm
Cars: 2002 Pontiac Transam WS6

Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by FrozenSpyder » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:34 am

Image
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Sorry for the late uploads, I've just been busy as of recent. Here's a couple from a few more angles, and I'm happy to say I've gotten some more driving time in. It's been mostly positive progress but I still feel as tho I'm a robot when I drive it if that makes any sense. I still have some issues with getting going but it's been getting better. Although my shifting is so slow in my lower gears that I feel like I'm not letting the car live up to it's looks haha
2002 Pontiac Transam WS6

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potownrob
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by potownrob » Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:09 am

i've gotta admit i'm not much into these cars, but i have respect for one that looks that good and well cared for. as for the robot thing, one day you'll be driving (after getting some more practice in) and realize you're not a robot anymore, if you catch my drift. 8) :wink: :twisted:
ClutchFork wrote:...So I started carrying a stick of firewood with me and that became my parking brake.

MidnightInGotham
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by MidnightInGotham » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:11 pm

tankinbeans wrote:I would also be willing to provide in car training, but nobody lives in Minnesota. Haha :mrgreen: :lol: 8) :twisted: :wink:
Actually I do!! You in the TC area?
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tankinbeans
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Re: Beginning, questions about starting

Post by tankinbeans » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:28 pm

MidnightInGotham wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:I would also be willing to provide in car training, but nobody lives in Minnesota. Haha :mrgreen: :lol: 8) :twisted: :wink:
Actually I do!! You in the TC area?
Yes. Just south of Eagan.
17 Mazda6
03 Century
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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