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How u drive ur Manual?

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Old 06 Jun 2004, 01:31 am
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: May 2004
Location: .
Posts: 257
Default How u drive ur Manual?

Hi guys / Gals

I'm just wondering how u guys drive ur manual pt. I'm a newbie to manual tranny and is having problem utilizing the engine power[8)] (like it has 510HP)(but still 150 is enough for rookie like me)

I drive in 50% stop and go and 50%'s that way in NYCity

1st gear seems to be real short and weak(atleast up to 2000rpm). the(instant)1st second I release the clutch and hit the gas I have to shift to 2nd gear or the car would just get louder and if I don't keep the gas press it would jerk. If I put full pedal in 1st the engine would scream like crazy up to around 5500rpm. (Q: is there a way to accel faster for stop and go?) Any 100HP can make me look like I have only 50HP and I always try my best to take off.(I stalled twice in the middle of time square because taxis thank I'm too slow horn at me, I got nervous and my hand feet coordination get screwed! how embarassing)

I got so sick of 1st gear I take off with 2nd but that just make me take off even slower and stall more often. also 2nd gear seems short too(maybe I'm used to an auto) When doing 15mph in traffic going up and down hill I have to constantly go up to 3rd or 4th.

I have no beef with 3rd and 4th gear. once I get the car moving i can put it in 3rd if I'm in city slow traffic or put it in 4th on highway. NOW the problem is what is 5th gear for?(I have a 2001) I keep it in 4th on highway all the time without problem and 5th gear only help drop 500rpm.(save gas maybe)

Passing on highway? how do you do that while you're doing 65mph in 5th. If I can change lane and give it gas in 5th I'm a deadmeat. BUT if I downshift to 4th and change lane and hit the gas I'll be deadmeat still cause the car still won't accel fast enough? should I drop it in 3rd from 5th?

Yes I'm a Manual newbie and need more practice and hope u guys and gals can help.....btw my left leg got bigger and my back is hurting

  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06 Jun 2004, 06:44 am
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: .
Posts: 402

I drive an 04 GT manual, so what I tell you might be slightly off.

1st gear should go up to close to 3000 RPMS before you shift to 2nd. When shifting to 2nd, don't release the clutch out too fast or you will get a jerking motion. In some ways, you almost have to treat going to 2nd gear a little special than any other higher gears and let the clutch out a tad slower. (I believe its due to the huge change in the gear ratios from 1st to 2nd)

2nd to 3rd and 3rd to 4th and 4th to 5th are quite easy and you can release the clutch out faster. (The gear ratios are a closer and tend the loss of RPMS is minimal in the change)

The real trick is mastering 1st gear to start. Shifting to 2nd gear requires you to let out the clutch faster than 1st, but not as fast as 2nd to 3rd or 3rd to 4th etc. Of course, don't hold clutch shifting into 2nd too long or you will wear out the clutch faster.

So my recap on shifting and having a smoother ride: (this is for a GT, Base models you will have to kind of find the powerband and confort zone).

1st gear - Find the friction, apply some gas. Let the car move about close to 10mph and let out the clutch completely.

2nd gear - When 3000 RPMS (or close to it), pop in the clutch and shift, release the clutch a little slower than changing to higher gears from 2nd, but not as slow as 1st gear. This part will take some practice to get use to.

3rd, 4th gear, 5th, gears you can shift them about 2500 RPMS and let the clutch out pretty fast, but don't do an instant dump or you will get a jerk.

At first, your left foot will get bigger and your back will hurt more in traffic. Right now, as a newbie manual driver, your concerned about stalling, correct shifting patterns, and quite tense of the whole situation. It will take about 2 weeks before most of the motions you do become automatic. About your 3rd week you should become confortable to the point that you can drive in traffic.

Most of the time you will be spending 1st gear and 2nd gear in traffic. 1st gear is more for those ~10 mph stop and gos. 2nd gear is more for those 10 to 20 mph stop and go. What I try to do is keep the RPMs around 1400 RPMS to stop the 2nd gear from getting the stutters (not good for the car to stutter around). IF your going too slow for 2nd gear and too fast for 1st, just pop in the clutch and shift to neutral and let the car coast a little to a stop OR if the cars ahead start moving and your still rolling, start from 2nd gear, but don't let the clutch out too fast or it will jerk.

So my recap in driving in traffic with 1st and 2nd gears:

1. 1st gear should be used for moving less than ~ 10mph.

2. 2nd gear around 10 to 20 mph.

3. If traffic is going too slow for 2nd gear (less than 1400 RPMS) and is about to stop. Pop in the clutch, shift to neutral and let it coast and brake to a stop.

4. If traffic looks like it was going to stop and you already poped in the clutch (car is still rolling), but traffic starts moving on you, shift to 2nd (or if your in 2nd, that's okay too.) and release the clutch out slowly. In some ways, its almost like starting from 1st gear and you have to find the friction point, move the car a little, and release the clutch.

In addition, you might want to spend a few hours on the weekends practicing on hills with no traffic around, so your not sweating bullets when the car rolls back when you release the brake.

I would suspect that the base models have to downshift to 3rd like GT models to get any real passing speed at 65mphs. GT's can pass cars on 4th gear, but its just rather slow. Most manaul cars use 3rd to pass cars on highways.

  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06 Jun 2004, 10:19 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chicago, IL.
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In short, LIKE I STOLE IT!
2003 Turbo GT 5-speed/
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 07 Jun 2004, 10:12 am
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: May 2004
Location: East Islip, NY, USA.
Posts: 494
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yeah what gary said!
rev it ouuuuuuut

my shifting:
1-2 never less than 3000rpm but not higher than 5000
2-3 2500-4000
3-4 usually for merging and such 3000-4000 if im feeling saucy ill take it up to 5500
4-5 once i get to my cruising speed ill plop it into 5th to quiet things down a little.

but in all seriousness. It is YOUR car. (i tell people thiss all the time) Drive it however makes you happy, revving it high will do less damage than lugging it low.

your mileage may vary []
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 07 Jun 2004, 12:38 pm
Fanatic Cruiser
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: new york, ny.
Posts: 581

Considering the NA engine is a slug below 3000 RPM, I am not surprised you are not getting much performance.

Once warmed up, here are the shiftpoints I use when I am in a hurry (or just enjoying it).

1-2 6000RPM
2-3 6000RPM
3-4 6000RPM (Probably at an illegal speed at this point)
4-5 When I run out of nerve!

In short: Wind it out; Drive it like a high-reving DOHC I-4, not a low-end-grunting pushrod V-8.

I just tell anyone who asks that "PT" stands for "Plymouth's Tombstone"
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07 Jun 2004, 07:38 pm
Fanatic Cruiser
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: McDonough (Atlanta), Georgia, USA.
Posts: 600

To save your transmission, engine, and clutch, and keeping them going as long as possible, I would upshift at 3000 rpm, and then when you start slowing down in a gear, downshift at 2000 rpm. I learned how to drive a manual in a PT. First is very tricky, and I stalled out a lot of times trying to get moving. The trick is getting the rpms up, and keeping them at a steady level (about 2200 rpm), so that you can bring the clutch out and get moving. It will take you a lot of practice, and practice will only make you better at starting off and shifting at the right time. I tend to shift a bit on the high side, 1-2 3500, 2-3 4500, 3-4 4500, 4-5 4000. It's ok to downshift from 5-4, just make sure you keep your foot on the acclerator for an extra second when you put the clutch in, this will raise the rpm and make a smoother shift, and it will also save your clutch and transmission. Downshifting from 4-3 is ok if you need more power, but I wouldn't go from 5-3, the entire car is going to start kicking like a bucking horse. One other tip to save your clutch; don't ride the clutch pedal, either keep your foot off of it, or put it all the way in, only keep it half way out if your on a hill or need to give it a little more gas, but even then, don't keep it half way in for long. Good luck, and keep practicing.
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07 Jun 2004, 08:09 pm
Young Cruiser
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA.
Posts: 80

Try this link:

Everything you ever wanted to know about driving a standard shift car, including the infamous "heel-toe" technique. Videos, too!
Tom \"Terrific\" Myers
2004 DC3 - \"Dreamweaver\"
Phoenix, AZ
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