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Manual Transmission Shifting Advice Needed

The 370Z I purchased two weeks ago is my first manual car, and I'm enjoying it a whole lot, but I need some advice. When I see a red light

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Old 08-20-2013, 08:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Manual Transmission Shifting Advice Needed

The 370Z I purchased two weeks ago is my first manual car, and I'm enjoying it a whole lot, but I need some advice.

When I see a red light up ahead I've been shifting into neutral (from whatever gear I am in) taking my foot off the clutch and coasting to a stop. Then shift into first when the light turns green. My friend told me this weekend that I should be down shifting through the gears down to first before I put it in neutral, claims if I don't I could mess up my syncros. Any truth to this?

If there is, does that mean I should also not be skipping a gear when accelerating? I usually accelerate hard through third, then just been kicking it to sixth when I get up to speed.

I also grinded a gear for the first time going from first to second today. Thought I had the clutch pressed in as much as I usually do, but I guess not. Grinded for about a half second before I backed it off of second gear. How badly does this damage the transmission?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Your friend's an idiot!

Brake pads are a lot cheaper than a clutch.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlr3715 View Post
The 370Z I purchased two weeks ago is my first manual car, and I'm enjoying it a whole lot, but I need some advice.

When I see a red light up ahead I've been shifting into neutral (from whatever gear I am in) taking my foot off the clutch and coasting to a stop. Then shift into first when the light turns green. My friend told me this weekend that I should be down shifting through the gears down to first before I put it in neutral, claims if I don't I could mess up my syncros. Any truth to this?
What you're doing is fine. You're on the street, not the track. Less wear on the clutch and TO bearings. You definitely don't have to run through each gear up or down.

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Originally Posted by tlr3715 View Post
If there is, does that mean I should also not be skipping a gear when accelerating? I usually accelerate hard through third, then just been kicking it to sixth when I get up to speed.

I also grinded a gear for the first time going from first to second today. Thought I had the clutch pressed in as much as I usually do, but I guess not. Grinded for about a half second before I backed it off of second gear. How badly does this damage the transmission?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
A little mis-input "grind" won't do any serious damage but of course it should be avoided. You'll get smoother with practice.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Although 1000 people will post their disagreement, the proper technique is to coast to the stop in whatever gear you are in, and stomp the clutch about 3 feet before you stop. That way, if you end up not having to stop, just shift to the appropriate gear and go.

When at a stoplight, the car should always be in neutral, foot off the clutch.

If it's not, and your foot slips off the clutch, you'll be wishing you had it in neutral just after you hit the car/person in front.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice. Good to know I'm driving it properly.

Also, if you are rolling along in traffic, is it bad for the clutch if you keep the shifter in gear, but keep the clutched depressed to the floor for long periods. Or is it better to keep it in gear and chug along in low gear and 2-3K RPM?
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlr3715 View Post
The 370Z I purchased two weeks ago is my first manual car, and I'm enjoying it a whole lot, but I need some advice.

When I see a red light up ahead I've been shifting into neutral (from whatever gear I am in) taking my foot off the clutch and coasting to a stop. Then shift into first when the light turns green. My friend told me this weekend that I should be down shifting through the gears down to first before I put it in neutral, claims if I don't I could mess up my syncros. Any truth to this?

If there is, does that mean I should also not be skipping a gear when accelerating? I usually accelerate hard through third, then just been kicking it to sixth when I get up to speed.

I also grinded a gear for the first time going from first to second today. Thought I had the clutch pressed in as much as I usually do, but I guess not. Grinded for about a half second before I backed it off of second gear. How badly does this damage the transmission?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
As for downshifting:

I think you are generally better off just letting off the gas (leaving it in gear) until it gets down to < 2000 rpm in whatever gear you are in before you put it in neutral and just coast.

That being said I personally like to engine brake so I often downshift to slow down and don't use my breaks at all. This does put some more ware on both your engine and your clutch but if you do know how to properly match revs on your downshift (or you have sports package and SRM enabled) the clutch wear should be reduced significantly. I have found most people who drive manual's do not blip the throttle well and doing this creates a lot of wear on the clutch.

I personally like engine braking for a few reasons:

1) I don't have to use my brakes as often and its hard to say the plus/negative gas wise (when your just de-accelerating with foot off the gas the car uses 0 gas vs a small amount for idle, but then the blipping of the throttle could negate this).

2) I like to be in gear so if I have to suddenly accelerate for some reason I am able to easily do so without shifting.

3) Blipping the throttle (manually) is half the fun of driving for me. It gives me something to do!


Many people who I see that downshift do not give gas at all and slowly release the clutch while downshifting which is really bad IMHO as that puts a lot of wear on your clutch.

If you do this right you won't have clutch problems, I can almost gaurantee it. My dad has a 350z with 170 k miles on it and he is still on his original clutch and he drives exactly like I do in regards to downshifting/sync matching. He is jealous of my 370z with its SRM though as he wished his 350 had it =)

I would say that coasting is definitely a valid option to I just personally don't like to do it that way.

I almost never downshift first.

As for grinding in second:

I find this happens sometimes to me when I am accelerating aggressively and shifting a bit too fast. It only ever happens from 1st to 2nd for me and its always when I have the RPM's really high in first gear (7000+) doing a *quick* shift to second. I have done it 5-6 times in my Z's lifetime and if you don't do it often I would not worry about it.

I believe its caused because the higher RPM difference when at high RPM in 1st gear and the difference is too great (I am not waiting long enough for the RPMs to come down) for the synchro's to cope with the RPM difference. I could be wrong though.

Last edited by houkouonchi; 08-20-2013 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Im going to be the first to suggest this one. Use srm when downshifting.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Im going to be the first to suggest this one. Use srm when downshifting.
I mentioned using SRM in my post but yeah if you have sports package and SRM and don't mind using it all the time (I only use it on the track so I don't have to heal and toe) then I would probably go that route second to just coasting in neutral.

The SRM kinda takes the fun out of everyday driving for me though and I find that sometimes the RPM's are just slightly high for the speed (like 50-100 RPM) and i get a very small boost when I use it so I can actually do things better than SRM at times myself (SRM is way more consistent though =) )
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Lol I breezed the thread without reading it....bad habnit of mine. None the less doing it for a while will teach the purpose of downshifting and help learn to blip the throttle manually.

Shouldnt have a sportscar as your first manual trams experience but I dont write the rules lol
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Shouldnt have a sportscar as your first manual trams experience but I dont write the rules lol
Kind of agree here. Although I have respect for someone who would otherwise be driving an auto and gets a manual when they get a sports car. So I give props there.

Now if everyone was like me... LOL I refuse to drive any auto in any car. Every car I have ever owned has been manual transmission. Pretty rare for people these days that are similar aged to me (I recently turned 28).
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Had one auto and burned it up. I learned stick well before buying my first car. Ever since manuals only. Also goin to be 29, agree with previous post!
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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This is my first manual car, but not my first sports car. I've owned the below cars that were all auto. If anyone wants to know how any of them compare to the 370z let me know, and I would be happy to talk about it.

I grew up in an all auto household and never learned to drive a manual. I'm turning 30 next month, and figured it's time to learn. So far I've been having a blast with no regrets and can't imagine going back to auto.

I've driven my friends manual Saleen Mustang, and had a Logitech racing wheel and shift gate/clutch at home for GT5 on the PS3, that got me somewhat prepared for the 370Z, but there is much I have learned over the past two weeks of every day driving, and still much more to learn. I've also been learning by jumping in the fire since I live near NY City in an area with both heavy traffic and hills, but luckily I enjoy challenges. Can't wait for the winter when I get to switch out the tires for a pair of Pirelli Winter Sotozeros and see if I can master a manual in the snow. I lived in Maine when I started to learn how to drive, so I learned young how to drive sports cars in winter weather.


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Old 08-20-2013, 10:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I was in no way knocking you. This trans is not the easiest to shift. Ive owned two mustang gt's both manual and I could quick shift like nobodys business. This car not so much....and it has been discussed in great detail in numorous threads. Operating any manual trans changes the characteristics of the vehicle you are operating.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Be sure your friend is NOT HIGH when he's giving you advise.

Down shifting to get to neutral has to be one of the dumbest thing I've heard. You can coast to stop at whatever gear you were in.

And you can also skip gears. I don't see how anything can be damaged by these practice.

The more you press on your clutch, the more you're wearing it.

It really takes time and skills to master shifting for 370Z. I've driven stick shift cars since I was 16 and the 370Z, by far, was the hardest to shift. It takes practice.
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