Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

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enniroc
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Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby enniroc » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:11 pm

Hello again, folks.

Well, Nov. 5 marked 3 months & 4500 km with my Juke. My transmission still seems too fussy & sensitive for its own good (compared to what I'm used to: tractors, Jeeps, old Hondas), but I'm getting along OK. Very fun vehicle to drive once I get the hell out of 2nd gear.

I have oodles of questions that I've been saving up. It's a good day to share: my car was moody today (AKA, I wasn't shifting smoothly and got frustrated), it's dark & rainy outside, and I have nowhere to be.

1. Shoes! A season has passed since I got my new car. I've gone from deck shoes, sneakers & bare feet (shhh!) to combat boots and hiking boots. Winter rubbers soon to come. Every time I wear a pair of shoes with a different sole thickness, I suddenly have to fight against what little muscle memory I have with regard to my clutch's friction point. Feels like I'm learning the basics all over again. Different shoes: back to square one. Anyone else notice this? The other piece is that the vibrations I feel through thin, summery shoes seem to help me shift more smoothly. It gives me another cue to what's going on under the hood, especially if traffic's loud or I have music on.

2. Passengers! I rarely feel impeded by my little 1.6L turbo when I'm zipping around getting groceries, going to work, driving out to the sticks on my own or with my other half. But I had a full car load for the first time a couple of weeks ago and HOLY CRAP. I was completely unprepared for how much more gas I'd need to launch, how that would affect my normal clutch/gas routine, and stalled an embarrassing number of times. Any suggestions on compensating/preparing for this in the future?

3. I usually fill up when I'm on about 1/4 tank, & I find that if I let it go lower, shifting gets jerkier and fussier. This couldn't be weight-related, could it? Seems unlikely. A bit of gas weights a lot less than a person. Would it be my fuel pump? (I doubt it b/c I once had a defective fuel pump & remember what that felt like.) Open to ideas & suggestions here. Kinda stumped. Maybe my car is just *that* fussy.

4. I was doing a bit of reading about 2nd gear starts in winter weather (be prepared!), and have some questions. a) Should I try employing them on gravel hill launches, too? This comes up a lot, as most of my family lives in the sticks. Lots of steep driveways & back roads, and lots of spinning in 1st by yours truly. b) When i bought my car, my saleswoman mentioned that she has a bad habit of not using 1st at all. Is this really a bad habit? Is there a disadvantage to getting used to doing this most of the time (vs. only in low-traction conditions)? Is it OK to save 1st for when you really need quick acceleration? (Asshole on your tail, etc.)

5. As you probably guessed from the foregoing text, I'm still having a rough time getting into 1st gear. Smooth as butter sometimes, rough & jerky as a washboard others, and I still can't pick out a pattern to learn from... with one exception. 99% of the time, if I'm launching while turning (say, at an intersection), the clutch & throttle behave like greased lightning, synchronized swimmers, a match made in heaven. But if I'm going straight, I can eke out a semi-smooth launch about 30-40% of the time, maybe. I'm obviously doing something right while coming off a clutch during a sharp turn, but I can't figure out what that is compared to the same manoeuvre going straight. Any thoughts?

Cheers,

Corinne

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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby IMBoring25 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:37 pm

1) It is definitely different until you've gotten enough recent varying experience to shrug off the difference. It will come with practice. If you want to force the issue, going to an empty parking lot and practicing no-gas launches should move things along, at least in the appropriate footwear at the beginning of each season. If you want to swap footwear during a session, it would help you develop the skill of shrugging off minor differences.

2) Three adults might be as much as +20% for that vehicle, so it would be significant. It's again a matter of practicing enough to be able to adapt to differences. Turning on and off the air conditioner might produce fairly similar control input changes to loading and unloading the car.

3) I would suspect this is a by-product of your mental state. Do you have ANY feelings of discomfort with letting your tank get that low? There's also a chance that once you thought you noticed it the first time, THAT is giving you discomfort that in turn is causing it. Unless there's contamination in the tank that is more strongly concentrated when there's less fuel in it, I can't imagine what would mechanically cause such a phenomenon.

4) Starting in second is a technique that is used in trucks bigger than the 150/1500 class equipped with a "granny low" that is only designed to be used when the truck is towing or hauling. For passenger vehicles and lighter trucks, getting in that habit will result in considerably more clutch wear than necessary. Selectively doing it in low-traction situations is a trick that can be used in automatics and manuals to reduce the engine's leverage and make it easier to avoid losing traction. It should not be necessary in a manual since you have an infinitely-variable control at the disposal of your left foot that can transmit anything from 0% to 100% (less losses) of the torque the engine is producing to the wheels. It is a crutch, but if you have success with it, limited use isn't going to hurt much. It will be easier to stall.

5) I can think of two possibilities. One is that you have enough to think about with the corner that you're staying on the clutch slightly longer. Coming off the clutch early is a problem a lot of people have and no-gas launching practice will help with it. The other possibility is you're using slightly less gas around corners. That affects the appropriate timing in any vehicle but especially so in a turbo, as the engine will have some amount of lag in producing more power while the turbo spools, so it's easier to get out of sync.

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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby AHTOXA » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:46 pm

Came to post, but I see that IMBoring has it all covered. I'll pitch in my own two cents.

Before I delve into it, I'm going to state two things, which from my experience relate to the most common questions from new manual drivers. One - don't think, just drive. The more you actively think about it, the more jerky you will be. I've been driving manuals as daily vehicles for 8 years, and sometimes this still gets me, such as when I recently got a new car with a very sensitive throttle and had to retrain my right foot. I made a mistake of overthinking it for a bit. Two - don't fret about being imperfect. It has been my experience that it takes about 20k miles in a manual car to become very, very consistent, regardless of shoes, weight of cargo, hills and even switching to different cars. Being able to drive a manual car with skill takes some time, much like if you were learning a sport or a musical instrument. No one picks up a guitar and then gets to be Kirk Hammett in 1 year.

1. Different footwear will definitely affect you, but with time your brain will adjust subconsciously. As you gain experience, you will be able to process the feedback that the car is giving you and adjust to it in a split second, w/o thinking about it. It's actually very interesting how fast a brain can process sensory info and made finite adjustments.

2. This is similar to number 1.

3. This is probably where the overthinking part happens. You're likely relating to an earlier experience that makes you relate jerky shifting with low fuel, but unless your car is running out of gas and sputtering, your driving will not be affected.

4. I have never, ever used a second gear to get rolling from a stop - it's simply not necessary. Even when I lived in Chicago and encountered snow and ice. Fine throttle control and clutch feathering is more effective at controlling torque. But like IMBoring said, 2nd gear starts can be used in heavy duty vehicles where 1st is a very low "granny gear". This won't apply to most passenger vehicles.

5. This is related to overthinking and something similar happened to me when I was learning. Here's my theory - when you're turning, your mind is focused on additional things like checking for pedestrians, cross-traffic, making sure you're on the right line, etc. Therefore, it's preoccupied more and you're thinking less of being smooth, resulting in actually being smooth. It's confusing, but bear with me here. When I was learning years ago, I noticed that when I take off in a straight line and something was forcing me to not think of how smooth I am, I was smoother. So, I remember actively looking for a distraction when launching - I would focus on, for example, scanning the intersection to make sure no one was running a red light as I was taking off, and it worked. I was smoother during those times.
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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby AHTOXA » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:52 pm

I lied. I have used 2nd gear and even 4th to launch, but that's when I used to offroad my Jeep Rubicon, which had a 4:1 reduction transfer case and 4.10 gearing. That means that you'd be redlining 1st before you were hardly above walking speed. But, this is not a street scenario, so my above comment on this still applies.
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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby Rope-Pusher » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:04 pm

Yanno what they call people who overthink their speaking? Stutterers. Give them something else to think about, like carrying a tune, and the stuttering stops. You need to join "Overthinkers Anonymous".

But seriously, with winter boots on and the HVAC set on "Defrost", with the blower cranked up, I loose so many cues that it's about all that I can do to rev it up and side-step the clutch to get going.
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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby enniroc » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:27 pm

IMBoring25 wrote:1) It is definitely different until you've gotten enough recent varying experience to shrug off the difference. It will come with practice. If you want to force the issue, going to an empty parking lot and practicing no-gas launches should move things along, at least in the appropriate footwear at the beginning of each season. If you want to swap footwear during a session, it would help you develop the skill of shrugging off minor differences.


I keep my car in a parking garage, so there's no reason I couldn't do a no-gas launch test w/ different shoes whenever. I haven't really bothered to do that since I first got the car, though. Good idea - thanks.

IMBoring25 wrote:2) Three adults might be as much as +20% for that vehicle, so it would be significant. It's again a matter of practicing enough to be able to adapt to differences. Turning on and off the air conditioner might produce fairly similar control input changes to loading and unloading the car.


Another practice opportunity - thanks. I deliberately left the air conditioning off this summer unless absolutely necessary b/c of how much it affected my ability to accelerate; didn't occur to me at the time to take advantage of that for practice.

IMBoring25 wrote:3) I would suspect this is a by-product of your mental state. Do you have ANY feelings of discomfort with letting your tank get that low? There's also a chance that once you thought you noticed it the first time, THAT is giving you discomfort that in turn is causing it. Unless there's contamination in the tank that is more strongly concentrated when there's less fuel in it, I can't imagine what would mechanically cause such a phenomenon.


Yeah, probably all in my head, but glad I checked, just in case. Faulty fuel pump from my old car was pretty awful (its death was the only time I was legitimately stranded on the side of the road), so it may be nagging at me without me consciously realizing.

IMBoring25 wrote:4) Starting in second is a technique that is used in trucks bigger than the 150/1500 class equipped with a "granny low" that is only designed to be used when the truck is towing or hauling. For passenger vehicles and lighter trucks, getting in that habit will result in considerably more clutch wear than necessary. Selectively doing it in low-traction situations is a trick that can be used in automatics and manuals to reduce the engine's leverage and make it easier to avoid losing traction. It should not be necessary in a manual since you have an infinitely-variable control at the disposal of your left foot that can transmit anything from 0% to 100% (less losses) of the torque the engine is producing to the wheels. It is a crutch, but if you have success with it, limited use isn't going to hurt much. It will be easier to stall.


First of all, Granny Low would be a great band name.

"Getting in that habit will result in considerably more clutch wear than necessary" is all I needed to hear. Consider it off the table unless I'm dealing with icy conditions.

IMBoring25 wrote:5) I can think of two possibilities. One is that you have enough to think about with the corner that you're staying on the clutch slightly longer. Coming off the clutch early is a problem a lot of people have and no-gas launching practice will help with it. The other possibility is you're using slightly less gas around corners. That affects the appropriate timing in any vehicle but especially so in a turbo, as the engine will have some amount of lag in producing more power while the turbo spools, so it's easier to get out of sync.


I just went to pick up my husband after I read your reply, and I think you're exactly right re: staying on the clutch a bit longer, so thanks again. Just ran a few tests, trying to keep track of how long I kept on the clutch around corners, & trying to replicate that exactly on a straight launch resulted in a smoother result right away.

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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby enniroc » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:31 pm

Rope-Pusher wrote:Yanno what they call people who overthink their speaking? Stutterers. Give them something else to think about, like carrying a tune, and the stuttering stops. You need to join "Overthinkers Anonymous".


Ha! I wish that was my problem. I get people in the car distracting me or a good song comes on and I just forget I'm driving stick. Too many years in too many automatics. :D

Rope-Pusher wrote:But seriously, with winter boots on and the HVAC set on "Defrost", with the blower cranked up, I loose so many cues that it's about all that I can do to rev it up and side-step the clutch to get going.


So much to look forward to!

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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby tankinbeans » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:43 pm

There are always opportunities to change things and make them more to your liking with a (chop)stick. That's why I love them so much. I have nothing useful to add, but I wanted to do a driveby howdy.
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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby enniroc » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:47 pm

tankinbeans wrote:There are always opportunities to change things and make them more to your liking with a (chop)stick. That's why I love them so much. I have nothing useful to add, but I wanted to do a driveby howdy.


Howdy! Just gotta be careful not to wave while shifting....

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Re: Shoes; passengers; gas tank; 2nd gear starts; 1st gear & turns

Postby AHTOXA » Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:14 pm

enniroc wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:There are always opportunities to change things and make them more to your liking with a (chop)stick. That's why I love them so much. I have nothing useful to add, but I wanted to do a driveby howdy.


Howdy! Just gotta be careful not to wave while shifting....


You'll be alright. One day you'll find yourself launching, finishing that last word of the text you need to send, probing for your coffee cup and trying to talk to your passenger all while trying to avoid the idiot on the next lane trying to cut in.
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