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Old 01-25-2010, 11:28 AM   #1
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Question for all you Manual TJ Owners

This is going to sound dumb...but I'll admit, I haven't been driving a stick for long. My Jeep was my first stick shift and and I've only owned it for bout 3 months now.

HOWEVER, I drive manual tractors all the time at work...and I've driven my buddy's manual Samurai with no issues.

How do you shift smooth in a Jeep?! 2nd to 3rd and onward are fine...but my take-offs blow absolute ass (I either nearly stall it every time by not giving it enough gas or I burn the hell out of the clutch giving it too much...there's no middle ground) and my 1st to 2nd shifts nearly tear my head off if I don't let out the clutch ever so slowly...which is embarrassing.

I know there's got to be a trick to this I haven't picked up on yet...off-roading would have to suck if you had to move in slow motion to shift from 1st to 2nd...especially doing a steep incline since you'd lose all your momentum while making the shift without ripping your head off.

This is by far the jerkiest vehicle I've ever driven...even the Samurai on a cable clutch had nice and smooth shifts unless I slipped and dumped the clutch on a take-off.

Also curious...what RPM do most of you 5 speed drivers shift at? I usually try to shift at around 2k RPMs with closer to 3k shifts on backroads/highways after I hit 2nd or 3rd gear...gotta feeling a 1-2 shift at 3k RPMs would literally rip my head off...

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Old 01-25-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
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i rarely use my first gear personally. i use if offroad mostly. i will generally drive around town starting in second gear...its a smooth shift and gives you a little time to get up to speed before needing to shift to third.

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Old 01-25-2010, 11:39 AM   #3
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i rarely use my first gear personally. i use if offroad mostly. i will generally drive around town starting in second gear...its a smooth shift and gives you a little time to get up to speed before needing to shift to third.
That's how my one bud has to drive their Cherokee. First is just about a granny gear and is hardly ever used in normal street driving.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:41 AM   #4
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That's a good question. I also find the 1st to 2nd shift very unconfortable, and i can't manage to start in second without felling that i'm hurting the engine/transmission or burning the clutch
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:41 AM   #5
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I too don't use 1st.

2nd is smoother, and then I don't get that 1-2 grind.

rev matching will help the transitions
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:44 AM   #6
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Mine is a 6speed, and I very rarely take off in 1st gear. 1st is a short gear, and I tend to treat it a bit like a granny gear. 2->3 I tend to shift around 2200-2500rpms, and every other shift up tends to be about 2800rpms or so. Basically for the Jeep for me it's simply a matter of shift low and slow. It's not a car transmission, so don't expect it to be completely smooth.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:51 AM   #7
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When my jeep was stock, and when I regeared wtih 4.56 with 33's I never started in 1st unless I was on a hill. I always start in 2nd gear.

As for shifting, I hear its better to shift high in terms of gas mileage, I usually shift around 2200 to 2500. Rarely go up to 3k but I hear it saves gas
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:52 AM   #8
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Mine is a 5s and I don't have any trouble in starting in 1st gear.
I start in 2nd only on the snow. It's true that here, most of the cars are manual so, for us, it's natural.
Don't worry, after practicing jeep, you'll get used to it.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:55 AM   #9
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Dang this got lots of replies fast...lol

I've tried to start off in 2nd...I can do it, but it lugs the engine horribly, even if I rev it high and burn the clutch. You know...the massive shuddering feeling. Maybe I just need to regear so I can turn 2nd into a borderline granny gear. haha

I've got 31's on it with 3.73 gears...according to the gear charts I've looked at, I've got optimum gearing for gas mileage, but not as much low end grunt for towing. That's prolly why I can't do the 2nd gear starts though.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:00 PM   #10
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I had 3.07 on 33's, I had some lugging but not too bad if I timed it right. I also have a 6 speed I dont know what you have
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:02 PM   #11
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Practice, practice, practice!!!! That is the best advice. I seldom use the clutch after starting in first. I do use the clutch into 5th. Down shifting I use the clutch, usually
5th down to 4th, sometimes into third. Same for my Toyota pu.

Shifting without the clutch is a matter of timing, and engine speed (rpm's) control. Plus I grew-up on farm/ranch using 4 & 5spds with a two-speed diff. Lots of shifting/double clutch'n, etc.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:03 PM   #12
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Dang this got lots of replies fast...lol

I've tried to start off in 2nd...I can do it, but it lugs the engine horribly, even if I rev it high and burn the clutch. You know...the massive shuddering feeling. Maybe I just need to regear so I can turn 2nd into a borderline granny gear. haha

I've got 31's on it with 3.73 gears...according to the gear charts I've looked at, I've got optimum gearing for gas mileage, but not as much low end grunt for towing. That's prolly why I can't do the 2nd gear starts though.
i have 32's on 3.73 gearing i believe, but ive got a 6 cylinder. is ur jeep a 4 or 6?
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:07 PM   #13
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I've got a 5spd with a 4.0
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:11 PM   #14
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i never use 1st, its to short of a gear, as soon as you take of your shifting to 2nd! I only use 1st on a steep hill at a stop. I shift at 2200 RPMs. I have 33's with 3.73 gears and it does just fine on or offroad and even the highway and hills.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:26 PM   #15
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6 speed with 4.0 here
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:52 PM   #16
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Sounds like your in 4 Low. Or maybe the clutch needs replacing. I got a 5 speed, use first gear and have no problems. I've also been driving sticks for for 40 years. Clutch or no clutch I can shift smooooooth. I agree keep practicing. But wouldnt hurt to check the low range and clutch.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:54 PM   #17
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I have the 4.0 5spd w/ 3.73gears and 31tires and never have a problem shifts smooth no jerking or rough shift. I tend to not bother shifting to 1st a lot gearing is low enough to stay in 2nd through 5th
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:05 PM   #18
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So how would I know if the clutch is needing replaced? I've got 75k on my Jeep...OEM clutch as far as I know.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:28 PM   #19
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It may start to slip, chatter or make noise. If your not sure take it to a reputable garage and ask them.

As you said you drove other vehies a nd shifted fne. So why not the Jeep? Get the clutch checked and hopefully rule out this problem. If it's not the clutch....prctice more.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:35 PM   #20
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The OE clutch is capable of lasting over 200K miles with reasonable care so I kinda doubt yours is in need of replacement at only 75K miles. I replaced my clutch at 166,000 miles for precautionary reasons but it was still in very good condition and I believe it would have made it to pretty close to 200K even with the abuse I heaped on it.

Jerkiness while starting out or shifting between gears can be caused by several factors or a combination of them. It could just be nothing more than finding the best rpms to shift at, not too low and not too high. Or it could be that your axle gearing is inappropriate for the size tires that are on your Jeep. What size tires are you running?
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:09 PM   #21
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I must be wierd. I start off in first every time and have never had a problem with smooth starts, or smooth shifts.

5 spd 4.0 3.73's and stock 30" tires.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:16 PM   #22
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I must be wierd. I start off in first every time and have never had a problem with smooth starts, or smooth shifts.

5 spd 4.0 3.73's and stock 30" tires.
Starting off in 2nd is more commonly done by some drivers with the 6-speed that has a pretty low, almost a granny-gear, 1st gear ratio. I wouldn't expect many to do that with the 5-speed whose 1st gear ratio is higher.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:17 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
The OE clutch is capable of lasting over 200K miles with reasonable care so I kinda doubt yours is in need of replacement at only 75K miles. I replaced my clutch at 166,000 miles for precautionary reasons but it was still in very good condition and I believe it would have made it to pretty close to 200K even with the abuse I heaped on it.

Jerkiness while starting out or shifting between gears can be caused by several factors or a combination of them. It could just be nothing more than finding the best rpms to shift at, not too low and not too high. Or it could be that your axle gearing is inappropriate for the size tires that are on your Jeep. What size tires are you running?
You must be getting old Jerry...might wanna get your eyes checked soon

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I've got 31's on it with 3.73 gears...according to the gear charts I've looked at, I've got optimum gearing for gas mileage, but not as much low end grunt for towing. That's prolly why I can't do the 2nd gear starts though.
Thanks for all the responses folks...the discussion of this is much appreciated.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:25 PM   #24
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I've got a 2005 Unlimited, so its the 4.0 liter, and the 6 spd. manual transmission. Not sure about gears, but I have the stock 30"s right now.

I'm only 26 years old, but have only ever driven stick, ~10 years. When I first got it, I had a lot of trouble starting smooth in 1st, but eventually got the hang of it. Think of your right foot as on a swivel, instead of moving it flat on the pedal, straight up and down, rotate about your ankle, easing down on the gas with the right-side of your foot. Hope that helps!

P.S. I shift around 2300 RPM for all gears.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:50 PM   #25
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1st Gear is for Grannies....haha

I too start in 2nd, unless on an incline of course.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:04 PM   #26
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not sure if this is relevant but i have 35's and 3.73's and it shift totally fine, I also shift way higher than 2K rpm, usually like 3500, but maybe its a necessity of the gearing/tires.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:50 PM   #27
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sentenced, i might not be able to help out that much with my 2.5L manual, but i pretty much start off in 1st and make my way up... i do know what you're talking about, i use to notice some not so smooth shifts, i first thought that i could just shift around 2400rpms, but i figured out that with the tires, gears, carrying load, then road incline, and so on. i kinda have to be at a different rpm rate for each condition when im shifting into first, and then from first to second. i only really use 1st if i have completely no momentum after a stop.... if that doesn't do ya any good, then i guess the only thing i can say is give it time and you'll get use to how your jeep runs. i know its cliché butttt every jeep is different.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:59 PM   #28
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Thanks guys...I paid attention to my shifts a lot more today. I do think it has nothing to do with my clutch and all in how I'm doing it. I noticed that my 1-2 shifts are jerky if I clutch, throw it into 2nd and let the clutch out (even if I ease it out) all in one quick motion. Whereas, if I clutch, let the RPMs drop a little, throw it in 2nd and ease the clutch out, it tends to engage much more smoothly.

Most of the times I drove the Samurai was off-road...so maybe I just didn't notice the jerking because the tires had a way to slip as compared to dry asphault.

And I definitely think I've been spoiled in the tractors...the shifting is aided by the computer I believe plus they've got big diesel engines helping to prevent them from stalling out on a bad shift. So they hook up a lot easier...less jerking and near-stalls.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:54 PM   #29
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That would stand to reason, I tend to shift on the slow side myself. Hell, it's a Jeep, not a sports car
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:39 PM   #30
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