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Practice

in a brave friends car or a rental car. It really is a matter of practice. Just get a manual car and go to an empty lot at first. I would get a car with a four cylinder or small engine. It can be easier to drive a torquey V-8 with a stick, but that is not what a loyus is. Once you do OK in the flat lot, go to an empty parking garage. Holding a hill or starting on a hill can be difficult to learn.

After all of that then go to light traffic, then heavier. It is like learning to drive again. There more things to do in a stick at the same time. I would keep other distractions to a minimum (no radio, cell, or hot passenger.

Good Luck!
 

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Remember that on a hill, the parking brake can be your friend should get a little freaked out about rolling back.

DO not be afraid to give the car a bit of gas as you let out the clutch. It's supposed to slip a little bit. If you let out the clutch with the engine rpms too low, it may lurch.

Too much rpms and too much slip you will know by that burning smell. :)
 

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I was lucky enough to learn a stick from jump street when I was 16. My sister taught me on a beater car that she was about to sell -- and that's how I would teach any friend or aquaintance.
 

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I knew the procedures of driving stick, but what I needed was the feel of how to synchronize appropriate hand and leg action at the right times. I did this on the street on my way home after picking up the Integra. I managed to get off the road and home due to my calmness. My advice in addition to what others have said is to be confident and don't panic as you try to learn. You'll screw up sometiems but you'll eventually learn.
 

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Where I come from automatics are rare, so everybody learns on a stickshift.

One of the techniques I get people to practice when I'm teaching friends is how to control the clutch. Go to a nice big empty parking lot, depress the clutch, select 1st gear and, without touching the accelerator, see if you can let the clutch totally up gently enough for the car to pull away without stalling.
 

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Tintin's post is a good start. The next step is to find someplace with a small hill - even a steep driveway entrance will work. Balance the clutch & throttle to hold the car still half-way up the little slope.
Once again, a technique best learned on someone else's car to start :)
 

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Like the others said: practice. Only 2 things to add: get the smallest car with the biggest NA V8 you can find (and no you cant use mine :p ), it will make it nearly impossible to stall. Secondly, getting started in 1st gear is the hardest. The higher the gear the more the xmission will smooth things out for you, so just remember that when you are getting frustrated: it only gets easier.
 

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Tintin said:
...
One of the techniques I get people to practice when I'm teaching friends is how to control the clutch. Go to a nice big empty parking lot, depress the clutch, select 1st gear and, without touching the accelerator, see if you can let the clutch totally up gently enough for the car to pull away without stalling.
That's exactly what I would've said. :)
 

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This post got an interesting reaction from my wife, in over 30 years of buying cars (the first car I bought with all of my own money meaning no help from Dad was Lotus Europa) I have never bought an automatic for myself. Every single car has been a manual.
 

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Did lend my brother the keys to my VW Fox once, thinking that he knew how to drive 'stick'. He was able to 'buck' his way
into traffic and was stopped by a cop who asked him if he knew what he was doing? He replied 'yes' but when the bucking commenced once more, the cop asked the question again. This time he said 'no' and the cop asked why he had lied. His reply was, "I always lie.....I'm a lawyer." The cop nodded his head and left. Had problems with the clutch when I returned home from work that evening but ,true to form, my brother denied ever
using the car, calling my star witness (our mother) a 'damn liar!' I think our friend who wants to learn to drive 'stick' should
just forget about it and buy something with one of those 'girly style' tip-tronics.
It will save him a lot of personal grief!-ridgeman-
 

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Hollywood, as long as there are no hills around you, it wont be that bad. I had taken my drivers test using an automatic, which was a no-brainer. The first car I bought was an MG and it came with a stick so I had to learn. I freaked when I was going up a mountain and the traffic light at the top was red. The car kept rolling back and the person behind was freaking out thinking I was going to crash into them. Luckily, my friend who was in the passenger seat had a TR6 and knew how to drive, so we just switched seats. Its a good idea to bring someone who knows how to drive a stick when you go out the first few times.

You learn to shift slowly at times and sometimes might not give it enough gas, but with practice you will easily learn it. I even noticed that I have to shift different manual cars at differant rpms depending upon the gearing and power curve, so each car is a little different.

Wonder if learning to shift a motorcycle is harder than learning to shift a car? Maybe you could start with a bike to get an idea of how it works. Are you allowed to drive on the beaches up there? If you fall off into the sand it wont hurt as much! Thats how I learned to drive and shift three-wheeled Honda ATCs when I was a teenager.
 

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I double-clutch many downshifts in my Celica because it:
  • reduces synchro wear
  • eliminates any risk of misshifting (due to the pause in neutral)
  • and most importantly, it makes the shifter slide silky smooth into gear :)
...And I need to practice for the day I get a full dog-engagement gearbox ;)
 

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Thread Hijack...

When I did racing school in a car with straight-cut gears we didn't double clutch.

What we did was:

1. Brake.
2. Leave gear (w/out the clutch).
3. Uprev.
4. Depress clutch.
5. Select gear.
6. Release clutch.

In our Spec Miata I would:

1. Brake.
2. Depress clutch.
3. Leave gear.
4. Uprev.
5. Select gear.
6. Release clutch.

Comments?

~Paul
 

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I would say your racing school technique is just double-clutching, without the first clutch motion :)

While driving, I've never tried popping my car or any other car into neutral without using the clutch. But aren't the dogs engaging each gear designed to "lock in" under load, meaning it might be difficult to pop into neutral while accelerating or braking.

The racing gearbox may have had a milder locking mechanism than road cars, or it may have had different amounts of "lock-in" for braking and accelerating. I don't know.

As for your Miata technique, when I downshift without double-clutching I add the throttle blip when the clutch pedal is depressed and the shifter is already in the lower gear.

To borrow your terminology, I usually would:

  1. Brake
  2. Depress clutch
  3. Leave gear
  4. Select gear
  5. Uprev
  6. Release clutch
    [/list=1]

    If done correctly ;), either order would smooth the clutch engagement, by putting the engine at the appropriate rpm for the lower gear.

    You would expect a reduction in shifter effort and synchro wear, if the "Uprev" was done in neutral with the clutch pedal released, i.e. double-clutching.

    Additionally, for your "racing gearbox" technique: it should be possible to downshift without ever touching the clutch. You just pop the tranny into neutral, uprev, and then pop the shifter into the lower gear. But I think you'd have to be near perfect on your revmatching. And you'd have to have some guts. :)
 
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