first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

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cDUBB
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first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by cDUBB » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:23 am

I have a question about driving real slow in first and second gear. I sit in traffic almost every day going to and from work. I've read posts about traffic tips (slipping the clutch to just barely inch forward, leaving space between the car in front of you, creeping in first and second, etc.). These all work and are good solutions, but I've noticed that when I'm going real slow in 1st (<5 mph) or real slow in second (<10 mph) the car chugs like it wants gas and jolts a little. It's not a violent jolt just subtle jolts like it's saying 'give me gas!'. I try to ease on and off the gas ever so slightly, but I can't seem to get rid of the chugging. Is this normal or is there any other workaround? I have a 2011 WRX hatch if that helps.

Also, especially in traffic or driving in the suburbs or through town (stop signs, traffic lights, corsswalks), I am always going into and out of neutral when I'm coming to stop signs and whatnot. Sometimes I'll be in 3rd approaching the stop sign and I know it's really not good to downshift into first so when I get close to the stop sign or my rpms are close to 1k I put it in neutral, come to a stop, put it in first and off I go again. This will happen a bunch of times driving through town. Is this bad for the clutch or anything else going into and out of gears and neutral so much in a short period of time like that? Also, any tips for those situations? Thanks a bunch.

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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by theholycow » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:38 am

A little bit of chugging is normal. A lot is unpleasant. For the 2nd gear chugging, slip the clutch or stay in 1st. For the 1st gear chugging slip the clutch or adjust your driving so you can go slightly faster.

Neutral is harmless. A lot of shifting in town is normal and produces normal wear. You can, if you want, try to come up with strategies to minimize it...but I wouldn't.
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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by FDSpirit » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:39 am

I usually roll through stop signs in 2nd around here. That is for familiar areas though where cops don't chill at. I'll approach in whatever gear, brake, rm downshift into 2nd and just creep through. If I do have to to a complete stop, I usually just do what you do. I don't think it's gonna do anything major. As long as you aren't running the revs ridiculously high for the launches, you should be good.
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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by Tinton » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:02 pm

A little bit of chugging is normal. Its because of the direct connection between the engine and the road, at low RPM's the engine doesn't run as smoothly, and the flywheel can have trouble balancing it out. You have to have real precise throttle control to be able to keep it smooth. Like if it wants more gas you give it just a tiny bit more throttle and it should smooth out.
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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by scionkid » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:30 pm

Shifting to neutral is fine, for regular driving. Just keep in mind that the drive test examiners might want you to floor your clutch and stay in gear until you've come to a complete stop. I don't think they'd like to see you coasting around in neutral.

Also, not that you have to in the situation you've described, but shifting to first on the fly is ok, and sometimes necessary.

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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by AHTOXA » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:36 pm

Tinton wrote:A little bit of chugging is normal. Its because of the direct connection between the engine and the road, at low RPM's the engine doesn't run as smoothly, and the flywheel can have trouble balancing it out. You have to have real precise throttle control to be able to keep it smooth. Like if it wants more gas you give it just a tiny bit more throttle and it should smooth out.
If your engine is directly connected to the road, then you might have a problem.

On a serious note, the chugging is normal.
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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by cDUBB » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:56 pm

AHTOXA wrote:If your engine is directly connected to the road, then you might have a problem.
That would be a problem. Ya, looks like I just need to work on my throttle control at slow speeds. Even though it's normal, is it at all bad for the engine or transmission?

Also, I don't always coast around in neutral. I was just talking about every time I come to a stop sign or light or crosswalk or anytime where I need to stop. I usually shift down a gear (4>3 or 3>2) then stay in gear until I'm almost stopped or until my rpms get around 1K, then I put it into neutral and come to a complete stop.

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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by AHTOXA » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:46 pm

It will not harm the engine or trans.
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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by six » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:11 pm

cDUBB wrote:...then stay in gear until I'm almost stopped or until my rpms get around 1K, then I put it into neutral and come to a complete stop.
That's perfectly fine. It's how you're supposed to do it.

As for things being bad for your transmission or engine... you have a well built, very modern car. Trust me, unless you are deliberately trying to destroy the transmission or engine, there is nothing you can do during the normal course of driving that can destroy them. Your transmission and drivetrain are a lot stronger than you think. :wink:
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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by cDUBB » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Thanks a bunch for clarifying that guys. Makes me feel better that I'm doing things the right way.

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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by lyonsroar » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:54 pm

six wrote:
cDUBB wrote:...then stay in gear until I'm almost stopped or until my rpms get around 1K, then I put it into neutral and come to a complete stop.
That's perfectly fine. It's how you're supposed to do it.

As for things being bad for your transmission or engine... you have a well built, very modern car. Trust me, unless you are deliberately trying to destroy the transmission or engine, there is nothing you can do during the normal course of driving that can destroy them. Your transmission and drivetrain are a lot stronger than you think. :wink:
PERFECT post.

I think (at least for me) coming from an automatic, EVERYTHING is smooth in an auto, you get used to it being smooth. In my old auto, you couldn't do anything to make the drive not smooth. When you move to a manual you can do things that make it not so smooth, so you worry about what it's harming. At least I think that's my problem.

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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by Rope-Pusher » Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:57 pm



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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by ClutchFork » Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:06 am

Rope-Pusher wrote:
Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:57 pm


I want to be an engineer!
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theholycow wrote:Why in the world would you even want to be as smooth as an automatic? Might as well just drive an automatic...

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Re: first and second gear chugging at low RPMs

Post by Rope-Pusher » Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:57 am

ClutchFork wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:06 am
Rope-Pusher wrote:
Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:57 pm
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtEU_iDu7RQ[/youtube]

I want to be an engineer!
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That's a nice list. To it one, or two, might add:

Crankcase Ventilation = Putting a rod through the block.

Italian Tune-Up = Revving the snot out of it.

4x40 Air Conditioning = Driving 40 MPH (at least!) with 4 windows open.
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