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Old 04-08-2012, 04:23 PM   #1
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Getting into first gear.

I have been driving my first manual for the second day now. It's a 2008 jeep 6-speed and was wondering if y'all had any advice for getting into first the best. I have only stalled out like 3 times but still just don't feel the comfort level where I would like it to be with getting into first. Anything would help. Thanks

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Old 04-08-2012, 04:32 PM   #2
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Are you saying you are accidentally shifting into 3rd? Shift to 2nd and then up to 1st.

When downshifting on the move, once you are in 2nd and slowed down to less than 5 mph, move and hold the shift lever with easy pressure towards the 1st gear position. When your speed drops enough, the shifter will move right in.

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Old 04-08-2012, 04:34 PM   #3
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No I'm just talking about from a stop, shifting into first to get going. Downshifting is not an issue.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:35 PM   #4
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Find a parking lot (unless you have a long drive way or don't mind using your uard), then work on slipping the clutch in without using the gas. Yes, it can be done...it'll give you a good idea for the feel of your clutch and its friction zone. That's not really necessary, but I find it helps.

I like to follow that up giving it some throttle and keeping the rpm as constant as possible...I start with 1500 and feed the clutch in...lets me get a feel for how quickly I can let the clutch in at that rpm without stalling. I repeat at 2000 and 2500 if necessary. I've rented some manual's that had just a terrible match between the tranny and the gear box. I do this to get an idea for where the rpm need to be to drop the clutch in if I need to move in a hurry without breaking the back end loose. Once I find it, this is the rpm I use to let the clutch out in a hurry while applying the throttle as when driving in city type traffic.

For general use and keeping folks comfy, I'll start out a little lower than above and gently feed in some throttle while I let the clutch out...I try to balance the two for an even, non-jerky start. Getting to know the clutches' friction zone helps me out a lot here, thus step one. If you feel the engine start to bog, more gas, clutch in...
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:37 PM   #5
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No I'm just talking about from a stop, shifting into first to get going. Downshifting is not an issue.
Just push in the clutch and throw it in first.

What exactly is the problem you're having? Elaborate more if you can
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:37 PM   #6
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Higher RPMs and ease up on the clutch. If it starts to stall, push in on the clutch and give it more gas before starting again. It will come easier as you go, you just have to get the feel of the balance between engine speed and how fast you engage the clutch.
Don't be afraid of letting the clutch slip while you come up to speed.

Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:39 PM   #7
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Yea I have tried just using the clutch to start it going, but in traffic it just seems too slow. I like the idea about using different rpms to see the differences. Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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Rooster it's not a problem with getting the stick into first or the process of doing this. It's more of a problem with starting off in traffic. Sometimes I start off without a problem and then other times I will stall very quickly. I know a lot of that has to do with letting out the clutch too fast, but was just wondering if there were any good tips on starting from a stop.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:44 PM   #9
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So are you having trouble getting the shifter into 1st OR are you having trouble with letting the clutch out in 1st without stalling?
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:46 PM   #10
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I think the answer is just "practice." It takes a little while to get good at it. Experiment with different rates of in/out with the clutch/gas and you'll find the sweet spot.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:47 PM   #11
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well, best practice is to clutch out quickly to the ideal friction point and to apply some gas at just the right moment (too early and the jeep will jump forward, too late and you'll stall). Ideally, you want to spend little time on the clutch. And this is what you want to practice on clear empty roads at night.

BUT while you're learning, you can do some things to help get you moving to get from point A to point B without stalling. There's two main tricks that shouldn't be too harmful, especially if you only used them for a couple of weeks while you're getting used to driving stick.

1. On flat ground, you can get moving just off the idle by releasing the clutch very slowly and applying no gas. You will never stall if you release slowly enough. Normally you don't want to leave the clutch at the friction point too long like that, but by not gazing you are minimizing the damage till it's really not so bad.

2. (This one is particularly useful on a hill.) You can gas the engine right before you release the clutch to bring the revs up. Not too high, but 1000-1500 should be OK. Then let go completely off the gas, and clutch out as the revs slowly drop back down. Since you're not gazing, you still need to release slowly. Since you're not applying gas as you clutch out, you're still not doing too much harm to your clutch, your synchros are spining. On a tight hill, when you're not used to it, you'll probably have to do this (gas to bring up the revs before clutching out) AND gas as you hit the friction point, and since you are not used to it yet, you may gas a bit too much too early, which isn't good, but at least your won't stall. You can also use the handbrake to hold you in place while you release the brake.

Your clutch can take a bit of abuse, so long as you put in the time to learn to drive the right way, spending as little time on the clutch while shifting as you can. The few weeks that'll take won't kill your tranny.

Basically, you know you're getting good when 1) you spend little time on the clutch and 2) you don't feel jerking when you shift. The smoother the car feels during the shift, the less harmful forces you're putting on it.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:51 PM   #12
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Rooster it's not a problem with getting the stick into first or the process of doing this. It's more of a problem with starting off in traffic. Sometimes I start off without a problem and then other times I will stall very quickly. I know a lot of that has to do with letting out the clutch too fast, but was just wondering if there were any good tips on starting from a stop.
OOOOOOOH Gotcha. I learned to drive manual by listening to the engine. Try putting your windows down and radio off and listen to the engine while you're letting the clutch out and watching the rpm gauge. If your rpm's are too low you'll hear the engine start to sputter out like I'm sure you've heard.

Try starting at 1500 rpm for 15 good starts, then 2000 rpm for 15 good starts and them 2500 rpm for the same. I would go to somewhere like a high school parking lot or somewhere that would be empty on the weekend or at night so you don't have to worry about other cars and can just concentrate on you.

Lucky you get learn on pavement. I learned in the mud in an old 1981 chevy s10 farm truck at the age of 12

Practice makes perfect so don't be afraid to try as many strategies as people give you. You'll find one that works for you
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:53 PM   #13
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTH View Post
I think the answer is just "practice." It takes a little while to get good at it. Experiment with different rates of in/out with the clutch/gas and you'll find the sweet spot.
Yup, but I still miss the feel of the older non hydraulic clutches.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:59 PM   #15
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Silverrubi the problem is letting the clutch out when starting from a stop, not shifting into first.
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:07 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by SilverRubi

Yup, but I still miss the feel of the older non hydraulic clutches.
Right. There's not much to feel through the pedals here, and I think he just needs practice.
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:16 PM   #17
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Yea I mean I know practice is the key, but I have to start driving it everywhere tomorrow. Ha so I was just wanting some useful tips from some people who drive sticks a little more.
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:18 PM   #18
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No worries, before you know it you will be driving stick like a pro!
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:47 PM   #19
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Yea I mean I know practice is the key, but I have to start driving it everywhere tomorrow. Ha so I was just wanting some useful tips from some people who drive sticks a little more.
There is no magic tip for you. You just have to get the feel. Do what people have been telling you, practice practice practice.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:33 AM   #20
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Years ago a guy I used to know told me how he taught his wife to drive a stick. He drove the car to a steep boat ramp, backed the car on to the ramp at the top, and got out. She got in, started the engine, put it in first, rolled back a little, let the clutch out, stalled. Did it again. Stalled. Did it again. Stalled. Each time she stalled the car rolled backwards a little, getting closer to the water each time.

Finally, with the back wheels in the water, she got the hang of it.

Haven't seen this guy in years, but last time I did they were still married.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:28 AM   #21
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Like the others have said its practice, practice, practice however I'll add in my .02 that I don't think have been addressed.

How many miles are on your jeep? Do you know if it is the original clutch or if it's been replaced? Is the issue while the tranny is "cold" or are you having it even after its warmed up? While the issues you are having could be chalked up to "driver error" you could have an issue with the clutch system that could make it more difficult to shift out of first. If you know a more experienced gear jammer or even better yet a fellow jeeper gear jammer maybe they could have a spin to make sure it is just your skill and not the jeep.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:19 AM   #22
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Focus on the clutch first and get the feel when it starts to grab. I have taught a few people(8+) to drive a manual. The first thing I teach is how to use the clutch as others have stated. The other step is that people who have only driven a auto don't have a "fine" control of the gas peddle. They're either afraid to touch the gas peddle or they over rev the engine up to 3k+ rpms or higher. So when you can hold the engine rpms steady between 1k and 1500 rmp without thinking about you should find moving from a dead stop easy.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:48 AM   #23
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MOAR GAS!!!!!!!

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Old 04-09-2012, 12:06 PM   #24
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Thanks everybody and my jeep only has 15,000 miles so everything is new or slightly used. I know the errors are me and not the vehicle. So far today I have been doing a lot better and feel more comfortable than I did yesterday.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #25
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Thanks everybody and my jeep only has 15,000 miles so everything is new or slightly used. I know the errors are me and not the vehicle. So far today I have been doing a lot better and feel more comfortable than I did yesterday.
You think thats bad, wait till the first time you try riding a motorcycle... Clutch, throtle, brake, and steer with your hands, then shifting and the other brake with your feet. lol. As said earlier, it gets easier with practice...
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:20 PM   #26
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Does the '08 have Hill Start Assist? I know that really messed with me when I first got my 2010. That "feature" maintains the braking for a bit after you let the brake pedal up (to prevent rollback on grades), and it caused me to stall fairly frequently. And I grew up knowing how to drive a stick.

Then I learned how to disable it and I'm much happier. I couldn't care less about rolling back less than six inches on a hill. And if the person behind me is close enough to get hit, they were too close anyway.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:29 PM   #27
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I'm on my third day of learning. I just made a 30 mile commute to work today. My best advice is do not get frustrated. It may take you longer to learn but you will get it, don't worry.

As for getting into first, here is how I did it. Let the clutch out (no gas) until you feel the clutch start to engage. Then the car will start to move. Now give it a little gas and when you are moving, finish letting the clutch out smoothly. The trick is knowing where that "friction zone" is and being able to hold it there for a moment
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:47 PM   #28
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Yea I mean I know practice is the key, but I have to start driving it everywhere tomorrow. Ha so I was just wanting some useful tips from some people who drive sticks a little more.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #29
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My first CJ was also my first stick... it helped me a lot to skip 1st gear and start out in second until I got the hang of it

Might not be as easy in a JK (not sure, mine's an auto), but you could try it and see if it helps...
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:54 PM   #30
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[FULL DISCLOSURE] I just started driving stick about 2 1/2 weeks ago. I feel really comfortable now with it. Maybe I can impart some observations that the more experienced guys look over?[/FULL DISCLOSURE]

I found a site that I check out if I have any questions on driving a stickHow to Drive a Car with a Manual Transmission

Defiantly just mess around in a parking lot to find the engagement zone. You might want to try barefoot to get a better feel for it.

The clutch engages the friction point about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up. You need to hold it in this range for about a half a second or more. The more gas you give it while in this zone the faster you can release the clutch. I would suggest trying to slip the clutch more in this range while giving moderate gas is much better then quickly going through this range with a lot of gas.

Quote:
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1. On flat ground, you can get moving just off the idle by releasing the clutch very slowly and applying no gas. You will never stall if you release slowly enough. Normally you don't want to leave the clutch at the friction point too long like that, but by not gazing you are minimizing the damage till it's really not so bad.
This is a great tip for McDonalds where you have to creap up to the next window. If you apply gas while trying to creep up it is much easier to stall.

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