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This is a discussion on New member and MT questions. within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I will be picking up an '03 WRX within a week or so. And I decided to join this site, ...

  1. #1
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    New member and MT questions.

    I will be picking up an '03 WRX within a week or so. And I decided to join this site, just to find out more about these cars, especially before I purchase one. I am 25, and I work as a first officer on a regional carrier.

    Now, i've never owned a manual transmission car before. The only manual transmission experience I have is messing around for a few miles in a buddy's off-road jeep. That was years ago, when I was 17 so I have I really have no idea how to drive manual at all. I know it will be easy for me to pickup, but if you could give me a quick guide on how to shift in an impreza, both daily driving and for a take-off/fast driving (on the track of course). Any advice is appreciated thanks.

    Also, is this a good car to learn how to work on cars? Only thing i've ever done to a car is replace brakes and rotors, as well as change the oil. I understand the basic workings of cars, but I don't know specifically how to work on them. So, if this is a hard car to work on, give me a heads up.

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    Registered User Midnightkiss's Avatar
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    I was kinda in the same boat as you getting my first manual this weekend. From what I can tell you so far is that you should be slow on the clutch. I drove my friends golf which has a really long clutch, so its a little bit more forgiving to release it faster, with this new rex, I would stall trying to go to quick. Really release it slow before you start moving and make sure to give it plenty of gas. You also don't have to worry about burning out so take it slow and enjoy. Learn proper technique so you do not form bad habits.

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    The best way to learn is lots and lots of practice.

    Find a secluded area, preferably an empty parking lot, and practice taking off from a stop. A good way to get used to the "clutch point" is to take off without using the gas. You have to take your foot off the clutch very slowly to keep from stalling. It may seem like a waste of time, but it'll help your muscle memory. Keep in mind that your left leg probably does have the muscles built up for using the clutch just yet, that's why your leg is sore after driving for a while. Don't worry though, you'll build the muscle from driving more and when you do you'll find yourself being more smooth with the clutch. If you need too, apply a little gas to get going. You'll most likely do this in everyday driving.

    For hills, I learned by going to a secluded hill and pretty much using the idea above. Stop about half way up the hill, preferibly on a shoulder, and use only the clutch to keep the car steady on the hill. Once you're ok with keeping the car steady, slowly release the clutch until you start moving forward. Once you get moving forward a good bit, slowly press the clutch so you slow to a stop. Hold for a few seconds then press a little more to start drifting backwards. Don't press the clutch too far cause you'll start drifting back too fast. After you drift back some, release the clutch slowly to slow the car back to a stop. Then just rinse and repeat. This exercise is something my dad taught me, and gets you used to getting to the clutch point quickly. This way your not over-reving the engine when you start off and burning the clutch much.

    For shifting other than taking off, take your time. The general idea is gas off, clutch in, shift, clutch out, gas. Something I heard in a movie (Shooter) could apply to shifting as well, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast". Start with doing things slowly to get the motions correct. With practice, you'll find yourself doing those motions faster and faster until it becomes second nature.

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    Registered User Midnightkiss's Avatar
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    When shifting up through gears, (other than going from a dead stop) should you use gas when releasing the clutch?

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    Moderator   Sasquatch's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome to the club!

    MT is an easily learned skill. Good advice has been posted.
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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidnightDragon
    The best way to learn is lots and lots of practice.
    Find a friend with a manual, and drive it to the dealership to pick up your car.

    Starting from a stop is the only part of driving a manual that really requires any skill - the rest is extremely easy. Get to a point where you're comfortable from a stop in a parking lot, and then take it out on the road. Drive around for 2 hours or so (you could probably kill < $20 worth of gas doing this). Make sure you've got the hang of starting from a stop, however - the last thing you want to do is stall out in a fast zone and get creamed.

    Quote Originally Posted by MidnightDragon
    For hills, I learned by going to a secluded hill and pretty much using the idea above. Stop about half way up the hill, preferibly on a shoulder, and use only the clutch to keep the car steady on the hill. Once you're ok with keeping the car steady, slowly release the clutch until you start moving forward. Once you get moving forward a good bit, slowly press the clutch so you slow to a stop. Hold for a few seconds then press a little more to start drifting backwards. Don't press the clutch too far cause you'll start drifting back too fast. After you drift back some, release the clutch slowly to slow the car back to a stop. Then just rinse and repeat. This exercise is something my dad taught me, and gets you used to getting to the clutch point quickly. This way your not over-reving the engine when you start off and burning the clutch much.
    This still causes excess wear in the clutch (ebrake might be better - just pull the ebrake to prevent rolling back, and when you feel the car engage, release it and go), but it's the way I was taught, and I'll do this when someone climbs right on my ass at a light or stop sign on a steep incline (if I can't see your headlights, you're too damn close).

    Quote Originally Posted by MidnightDragon
    For shifting other than taking off, take your time. The general idea is gas off, clutch in, shift, clutch out, gas. Something I heard in a movie (Shooter) could apply to shifting as well, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast". Start with doing things slowly to get the motions correct. With practice, you'll find yourself doing those motions faster and faster until it becomes second nature.
    +1

    Get used to driving a manual before playing with your car (e.g., don't punch it until you've gone a week without stalling). You'll stall for the first week or two (every manual is different, so they take some getting used to - a buddy of mine who's put 140k in the 5 years he's owned his standard Neon stalled my car 3X the first time he drove it). The next 2-3 months will be the occasional occurrence of a stall, but nothing regular. Beyond that, you'll be fine. Don't get flustered. Everyone stalls their car every once in a while.

    It's a lot more fun (I will never go back to an automatic unless a true standard is no longer offered anymore). It's also a good skill to have (say your buddy has a few too many and you have to drive him home).
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    Quote Originally Posted by idipskoalmint View Post
    Find a friend with a manual, and drive it.
    That is the best. I was lucky when I was 16 I had the chance to learn on an old ford ranger that barely had a clutch left. That was the best lesson ever because it was very hard to not stall the thing, but get moving.

    good luck with learning/buying the car!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by idipskoalmint View Post
    This still causes excess wear in the clutch (ebrake might be better - just pull the ebrake to prevent rolling back, and when you feel the car engage, release it and go), but it's the way I was taught, and I'll do this when someone climbs right on my ass at a light or stop sign on a steep incline (if I can't see your headlights, you're too damn close).
    Sorry, probably should have mentioned that I only used this as an exercise to get used to the clutch and not for daily driving. Doing this regularly will wear on the clutch. I've never needed to use the e-brake on hills, but that may work fine like idipskoalmint says.

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    Registered User pfsquirrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnightkiss View Post
    When shifting up through gears, (other than going from a dead stop) should you use gas when releasing the clutch?

    I personally wouldn't, but that's me. Not saying I've never done it, however, just don't get in the habit of over revving it whilst shifting.

    One thing I can recommend though, is during downshifting, I like to give the gas a little 'blip' to get the RPMs up to where they should be for the lower gear. Like from 4th to 3rd, a quick tap on the pedal should give enough juice to drop right into gear with little to no RPM loss. I was playing with a friend on a back road with his '01 Z28, MT as well. It's a road he consistently creams me on, so I decided to try that. He couldn't figure out why I was coming out of corners quicker than he was. I loved it.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnightkiss View Post
    When shifting up through gears, (other than going from a dead stop) should you use gas when releasing the clutch?
    You won't need the gas in that situation. The general rule is to release the clutch fully before applying gas (other than from a stop).

    Edit: Looks like pfsquirrel beat me too it. Guess that's what I get for answering txt msgs while replying :P. What pfsquirrel is referring to when downshifting is rev matching and is a good thing to learn. It will help by putting less stress on the transmission. And, as pfsquirrel described, it will really help in corner exits.
    Last edited by MidnightDragon; 05-29-2008 at 06:08 AM.

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