Author Topic: Playing with the stick shift  (Read 5352 times)

Le Poisson

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Playing with the stick shift
« on: December 08, 2016, 10:21:40 AM »
Like a good mustachio, I've switched from driving auto-boxes to a stickshift in order to reduce repair costs and optimize fuel economy. But like a bad mustachio, I like to have fun while driving, and this is probably hard on the transmission and kills fuel economy.

Can someone who knows more than I do tell me how bad each of the following are on the car, and whether I should really be showing more restraint.

Bad Habit 1: Skip Shifting.
I don't know why my car has 2nd and fourth gear. I rarely use them. I mean if I'm starting off of ice or on a downhill I'll start out in 2nd, but apart from that, its there for decoration. I usually use 1st-3rd-5th. It seems to hold the car at lower revs, give a smoother shift, and creates no bad effects I can see. Is there a reason not to do this?

Bad Habit 2: Speed Shifting (AKA Rev Matching/clutchless shifting).
After the engine has had a chance to warm up, I stop using the clutch. I mean, I need it to start away from a stop, but after the car is rolling, I can match my revs and pop it in gear without skipping a beat. This actually avoids any feeling of a shift taking place. I have been told that this can mess with the synchro, but I don't understand that. I have also been told it saves the clutch - if the shift is clean and not forced, how would it bugger things up?

Anyhow, if there are any mechanics on here who have seen damage to 5spds from folks playing like this let me know if I am causing myself any undue grief by playing car games. If not... Let me know that too.

FWIW, its a 2012 Chev Sonic LT - cheap car, but good enough for me.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 10:29:41 AM by Prospector »

bobechs

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2016, 10:35:38 AM »
Play with the gearshift all you want; stroke it, work it, pump it. But be aware that:

1.  You aren't saving any fuel, unless maybe your old car had a two-speed Powerglide or some Borg-Warner monstrosity from the Sixties or such-like.

2. With normal routine maintenance both automatic and manual transmissions of the present day will last the normal life of a normal car.  When they do require repair the all-in costs are not dramatically different between the two types.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2016, 10:45:08 AM »
+1 to what bobechs said.

Power shifting without the clutch can cause additional wear, and seriously screw up your transmission.  BUT... you'll hear excess grinding noises if this is the case.  If you're doing it, and not hearing any grinding, you're probably ok.  Have fun!

ketchup

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2016, 10:45:42 AM »
I've done both out of necessity in the past.  The first when my second gear went out (had to always go from 1 to 3), and the second when my clutch disc lost two springs and became uncooperative.  I didn't have the car much more than a year afterwards, but it didn't seem to mind.

jo552006

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2016, 10:47:57 AM »
1. Skip shifting: That's fine.  Some cars actually have a lockout where you can't use 2nd gear unless you're over 50% throttle.  There should be no issue unless you're doing it wrong.  I'm assuming you understand lugging vs keeping revs low.  If you press on the gas and don't accelerate, you're in too high of a gear.

2. Power Shifting: I've heard this too.  My thought is this: A clutch is easy and CAN be replaces yourself (should you have the abilities), odds are you don't want to rebuild the transmission and those synchros are inside it.  In my experience, you have to hit it JUST right in order to not grind gears/cause wear.  Since I do all my own car maintenance it is by far not worth it.  Fun, yes.  On one of my cars it was pretty easy to do, but I'd still occasionally slip up, and thus cause wear on an item not designed for that type of load.  Your clutch was designed to be replaceable.  Try this: push clutch in, shift to neutral, match revs, shift, release clutch.  It will be smoother than regular shifting.

Roboturner

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2016, 10:51:56 AM »
I skip first pretty routinely unless starting uphill, my first gear revs out at about 5 mph so its virtually useless though :P

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2016, 01:15:19 PM »
Anyone come here just because the title sounded dirty?
Anyone?
No?
Okay, back to work then.

ysette9

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2016, 04:53:01 PM »
I might have gotten my hopes up ;)

StartingEarly

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2016, 06:14:48 PM »
Trucks with 1million miles float the gear. As long as you aren'T grinding hard to find it then I wouldn'T worry much, same for skipping gears.

Syonyk

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2016, 06:23:46 PM »
Bad Habit 1: Skip Shifting.
I don't know why my car has 2nd and fourth gear. I rarely use them. I mean if I'm starting off of ice or on a downhill I'll start out in 2nd, but apart from that, its there for decoration. I usually use 1st-3rd-5th. It seems to hold the car at lower revs, give a smoother shift, and creates no bad effects I can see. Is there a reason not to do this?

This is perfectly fine, just let the input shaft revs come down on their own before you grab the next gear (which you should be doing anyway, most of the time) - there's more of an input shaft RPM difference between 1 and 3 than between 1 and 2, so it'll take longer to drop.

Quote
Bad Habit 2: Speed Shifting (AKA Rev Matching/clutchless shifting).
After the engine has had a chance to warm up, I stop using the clutch. I mean, I need it to start away from a stop, but after the car is rolling, I can match my revs and pop it in gear without skipping a beat. This actually avoids any feeling of a shift taking place. I have been told that this can mess with the synchro, but I don't understand that. I have also been told it saves the clutch - if the shift is clean and not forced, how would it bugger things up?

That probably is hard on the synchros.  If you're not perfect, it'll work, but it's using the synchros to change the whole engine speed instead of just the transmission input shaft and clutch disc.  I wouldn't do that - just rev match your shifts, but use the clutch.  I've driven plenty of cars with weak synchros when they're old, and stuff like that is often responsible.

Trucks with 1million miles float the gear. As long as you aren'T grinding hard to find it then I wouldn'T worry much, same for skipping gears.

A non-synchronized truck transmission is substantially different from a car's transmission - the lack of synchronizers and large dogs for engagement are part of that (they're a lot stronger than the synchros).

StartingEarly

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2016, 12:44:46 AM »
Well, my dad floated gears on a Saturn Ion for 200k miles and it was fine, so there's that.

Le Poisson

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2016, 05:26:50 AM »
My thought is this: A clutch is easy and CAN be replaces yourself (should you have the abilities), odds are you don't want to rebuild the transmission and those synchros are inside it.

On a front wheel drive car, the clutch is such a pain in the ass.  It really is barely any more work to drop the whole tranny at that point.

I've taken apart my FWD tranny before, what a mess!  I don't recommend it.

The last time I did a clutch was about 20 years ago on a Honda Civic AND a VW Jetta in the same day. There were three guys hanging out in teh garage fixin' cars. it was a fun day, but not one I would go out of my way to recreate.

Thanks everyone for the sound answers/opinions/ideas. I can't decide whether this was productive or not, but I do think skip shifting is iverall pretty harmless while speed shifting has more potential to bugger things up.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2016, 06:45:07 AM »
I'll regularly go 1st-2nd-4th or 5th. I don't really do much of the clutchless shifting though.

I skip first pretty routinely unless starting uphill, my first gear revs out at about 5 mph so its virtually useless though :P

It's not a Mazda is it? I had a (rebadged as a Ford) Mazda 626 a while ago, and 1st gear was crazily short.

Uturn

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2016, 07:27:23 AM »
I am a huge fan of driving manual transmission and wish there were more choices out there.  It seems that if you want to have a stick shift, you have to choose between economy cars or high end sports cars.  But that might be a rant for another thread.

Floating the gears is not doing any harm unless you are grinding and/or forcing it into gear. 

Now to burst your bubble a bit.  You are probably not saving any fuel.  Modern automatic transmissions get better fuel economy than manuals.  Keeping the engine RPM steady is where you get your best fuel efficiency, that's why CVT's get such good mileage.  Skipping gears means you are revving a bit higher than normal before you shift.  When floating the gears on a downshift, you over rev a bit and grab the lower gear when the RPM's match as it is falling. 

Le Poisson

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2016, 07:31:51 AM »
So why in the manufacturers' literature are the 5-spds all listed as getting 1-2 mpg better than the autobox?  I wonder if in factory controlled conditions with a computer timing the shifts they are able to outperform, or some other equally bogus measure.

neo von retorch

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2016, 07:35:44 AM »
why in the manufacturers' literature are the 5-spds all listed as getting 1-2 mpg better than the autobox?

You've read all of them? ;) It really was traditionally better to have the manual. 5-speeds have existed for decades, and for most of that time, automatics were often 3 or 4 speeds. That alone could be enough to give the manual an edge in efficiency. But modern 6-speeds are very fast, efficient, and computer-optimized in harmony with engine speed, fuel and oxygen intake and exhaust pressure. While the manuals get some of these modern tricks as well, it's tough for a human to compete.

Anyway, it seems some of you don't enjoy shifting? I love it. I miss it (truck is 6-speed auto). I enjoyed pushing in the clutch, rowing to the next year, releasing the clutch and burying my foot (ok not always burying it.) Why would you want to miss out on any of that pleasure?!

Le Poisson

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2016, 07:42:28 AM »
why in the manufacturers' literature are the 5-spds all listed as getting 1-2 mpg better than the autobox?

You've read all of them? ;) It really was traditionally better to have the manual. 5-speeds have existed for decades, and for most of that time, automatics were often 3 or 4 speeds. That alone could be enough to give the manual an edge in efficiency. But modern 6-speeds are very fast, efficient, and computer-optimized in harmony with engine speed, fuel and oxygen intake and exhaust pressure. While the manuals get some of these modern tricks as well, it's tough for a human to compete.

Anyway, it seems some of you don't enjoy shifting? I love it. I miss it (truck is 6-speed auto). I enjoyed pushing in the clutch, rowing to the next year, releasing the clutch and burying my foot (ok not always burying it.) Why would you want to miss out on any of that pleasure?!

Yes I real ALL the Sonic specs. there are only about 8 possibilities for build/engine/transmission. Its all in one table :)

Roboturner

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2016, 08:43:35 AM »
I'll regularly go 1st-2nd-4th or 5th. I don't really do much of the clutchless shifting though.

I skip first pretty routinely unless starting uphill, my first gear revs out at about 5 mph so its virtually useless though :P

It's not a Mazda is it? I had a (rebadged as a Ford) Mazda 626 a while ago, and 1st gear was crazily short.

it IS a Mazda ha

GoingConcern

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2016, 08:52:28 AM »
The most mustachian thing about the stick shift is price of the vehicle.  There is less demand for manual cars and you can find good deals.

Around 5 years ago I bought a Honda Civic that was under manufacturer warranty, had an extended warranty from the dealership, upgraded rims to the Civic Si, had around 20k miles on it and I bought it for around $10k because it was a manual car.

Slee_stack

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2016, 09:45:16 AM »
The most mustachian thing about the stick shift is price of the vehicle.  There is less demand for manual cars and you can find good deals.

Around 5 years ago I bought a Honda Civic that was under manufacturer warranty, had an extended warranty from the dealership, upgraded rims to the Civic Si, had around 20k miles on it and I bought it for around $10k because it was a manual car.
The cost savings of a manual is rapidly disappearing.  While there is lesser demand today, there is also far less supply to go along with it.

If it hasn't already, at some point, the ever dwindling number of remaining functional manual cars will eventually spike prices (for the knuckle draggers) and it will suddenly be very anti-mustachian to buy one.

Personally, I don't understand the transmission fetish.  We happen to own one of each type.  When purchasing, transmission was NOT a factor.  The upfront and long-term value of the overall car was.  Admittedly, I prefer comfort nowadays (less noise, vibration, rattles, whatever) all else equal.

I get no enjoyment of clutching the several dozen or so times I crawl through my last 2 mi of rush hour each day.  At the same time, its not that hard either.  Its really just a transmission.




GoingConcern

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2016, 09:58:26 AM »
The most mustachian thing about the stick shift is price of the vehicle.  There is less demand for manual cars and you can find good deals.

Around 5 years ago I bought a Honda Civic that was under manufacturer warranty, had an extended warranty from the dealership, upgraded rims to the Civic Si, had around 20k miles on it and I bought it for around $10k because it was a manual car.
The cost savings of a manual is rapidly disappearing.  While there is lesser demand today, there is also far less supply to go along with it.

If it hasn't already, at some point, the ever dwindling number of remaining functional manual cars will eventually spike prices (for the knuckle draggers) and it will suddenly be very anti-mustachian to buy one.

Personally, I don't understand the transmission fetish.  We happen to own one of each type.  When purchasing, transmission was NOT a factor.  The upfront and long-term value of the overall car was.  Admittedly, I prefer comfort nowadays (less noise, vibration, rattles, whatever) all else equal.

I get no enjoyment of clutching the several dozen or so times I crawl through my last 2 mi of rush hour each day.  At the same time, its not that hard either.  Its really just a transmission.

Maybe you are right since the supply aspect also plays a factor but I still think some deals can be had if you are buying used. 

I also drove a manual car for years and IMO there is a slightly higher satisfaction with driving a manual compared to an auto transmission but the difference is not that great.  I do feel like I am more in "control" with a manual since you are required to be more alert when you drive.  But in times of rush hour traffic constantly switching gears is a pain.

Syonyk

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Re: Playing with the stick shift
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2016, 11:48:50 AM »
If you live in daily rush hour nonsense, electric bikes or a Leaf are the best options. :(