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Old 07-28-2014, 09:54 AM   #1
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Manual gear shift in Automatic 86

Last weekend I tried the manual transmission for the first time - used the paddle shifter only, not the gear stick.

It was only at suburban roads. My impressions/comments:

- Due to the low speed limit, I mainly drive at 1st or second gear, and sometimes 3rd.

- The above is based on holding rpm high and only changing gear when it is around 6K. I ended up driving in 1st gear for quite a bit, and I wonder if this will harm the engine. I am sure it will if I do this all the time.

- I find that between 1st to 3rd (haven't tried any other gears in manual), the high revving engine sound is a bit annoying (I'd probably get shot saying this in this forum lol).
Not because of the loudness but because of the high-tone wail of the engine as if it was forcing a small engine to do what it is not designed to do.

I think I just find the engine sound is not to my liking - personally I prefer a low tone growl. Or maybe because of the noise induction thing, I dont know.

- Also question about dropping gear, is there a best time to drop the gear? or I can just drop the gear whenever I feel like whether I'm still in the middle of accelerating or when my foot is off the gas pedal?

- Paddle shifts feel plasticky - I wish they made them from aluminium/stainless steel.
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:11 AM   #2
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I think it would be invaluable to learn to drive a stick shift and drive one for a day or two if you can. It will make it much clearer on "what gear you need to be in"

To me it sounds like you are doing it wrong. why are you cruising at 6k RPM in a 25 mph street in first gear? If you are cruising there is no need to rev high. For daily driving pretty much just be in the highest gear possible that doesn't lug the engine. If you need acceleration for merging or something then drop gear(s). If you are "spirited" driving then use whatever gear you feel is adequate for what you are doing.

If you can't borrow a manual car to feel out how gears work, at least take your AT to a track event so you can see what I mean.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:02 AM   #3
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When i drive cars with paddle shifters (my brz is manual) i look at when the car tends to shift itself under different loads and i go from there. During normal driving, you shouldn't be revving it out past 3 to 4 K. when i need to merge or accelerate quickly, i rev till 5. Only when im full throttle and my intention is to redline is when i actually take it past 5K.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:32 AM   #4
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You want to be 'cruising' at around 2-3k rpm. Your cruising gears in city should actually be 4-5. Too low of gears and you'll be revving unnecessarily, and too high of a gear and the engine will feel like it "lugging".

You should not downshift when you want (If the goal is to stop), it's hard to say when, something that almost comes naturally with driving a manual.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmm View Post
...- Due to the low speed limit, I mainly drive at 1st or second gear, and sometimes 3rd.....

- The above is based on holding rpm high and only changing gear when it is around 6K. I ended up driving in 1st gear for quite a bit, and I wonder if this will harm the engine. I am sure it will if I do this all the time.
...
.
As mentioned by @Rice Plz, you are probably staying too high in the revs.

I drive in Manual mode a lot, so I'll pass my experience along.

Unless I'm playing Race Car, I usually shift between 4K and 5K revs.

I am rarely in 1st gear except at launch. 2nd gear is more than low enough. Worse case, as you slow down, the AT will shift down on you anyway since it won't let the engine stall.

The car will easily chug along in 4th or even 5th gear at speeds under 45MPH once you get through accelerating.

The arrows on the shift indicator will tell you when its OK to shift up or down, pay attention to those a bit and you'll see you don't have to stay in the high revs when just cruising around.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:17 PM   #6
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put your AT in 'sport' mode (center button) and observe at what RPMs it changes gears, and listen to the engine. use that as a guide on when you should change gears until you develop a better feel for it yourself.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:21 PM   #7
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I usually drive using manual mode exclusively.

Like others have said, drive in full auto and mentally note what gear the car chooses under various circumstances and then use that as a basis on what gears you should be using.

Obviously cruising is going to keep you in the 2-3k range and winding it up higher under full throttle acceleration. 1st gear is more just to get you going from a start (looking for a parking spot I usually use 2nd (not 1st)). The little arrows in the digital gear display will also indicate when you can shift up or down. If you watch these you'll see that there is no need to rev out to 6k (unless you are absolutely giving your car a good caning).

I hope this helps.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:25 PM   #8
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put your AT in 'sport' mode (center button) and observe at what RPMs it changes gears, and listen to the engine. use that as a guide on when you should change gears until you develop a better feel for it yourself.
i think he should just put it in D and leave everything on.... i think hes just trolling us.

No one in there right mind would drive and staying in the lowest possible gear just cruising.

but seriously OP. If you are doing this... please stop or give your car a new home by selling it...
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:21 PM   #9
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i think he should just put it in D and leave everything on.... i think hes just trolling us.

No one in there right mind would drive and staying in the lowest possible gear just cruising.

but seriously OP. If you are doing this... please stop or give your car a new home by selling it...
I'm giving the OP the benefit of the doubt, everybody has to learn at some point. If @djmm has always driven an AT, there is experience that needs to be learned. It's all good.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:29 PM   #10
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1st gear is really to get the car moving. Unless you are driving like super slow, say a parking lot, I don't see why OP would need to be in 1st to cruise.
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:18 PM   #11
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The gears don't work like in Gran Turismo. You need to shift at about 2-3k. Anymore than that you're just wasting gas. Just leave it in sport mode and call it a day. I have manual and usually shift around 2k just driving normally.
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:50 PM   #12
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Thanks guys. Not trolling but I genuinely wanted to know as I've been learning from and driving in automatic cars only.
Maybe one of these days when I have free time I should try borrowing friend's car and learn the manual.

Didn't know about the arrow though, haven't paid attention to it. Will try again on my next drive.
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:57 PM   #13
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If you want to save gas, shift whenever the little up arrow shows up next to your gear on the center display. I usually do this for city driving since most of the roads I drive on have a 35mph speed limit. You can go into 6th at about 37-38, if you're not in a hurry there's no reason not to do this. When I want to go a bit faster I just shift whenever it feels right, no specific range really, but probably around 2,500-3,000, higher if I really want to go. I try to get out of 1st immediately, or no later than 11mph (I'm using speeds because if the OP is anything like me it's easier to know speed than RPM sometimes.)

Also, 6th gear really is that bad of a gear in this car, again if you're not in a hurry. I usually don't go into 6th until I'm happy with my speed, but if I'm already in 6th and want to speed up most of the time I don't bother shifting down. Smooth pedal pressure can take you easily from 40 to 80 in 6th, albeit over a longer period of time. But even with aggressive take offs I get around 31.5mpg regularly. I actually get better gas mileage in manual mode than in auto because of how I drive.
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
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i think he should just put it in D and leave everything on.... i think hes just trolling us.

No one in there right mind would drive and staying in the lowest possible gear just cruising.

but seriously OP. If you are doing this... please stop or give your car a new home by selling it...
lol cut him a little slack. The first time I was driving stick I had it in 6th on the highway and put my foot flat and wondered why it didn't accelerate.
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