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Old 01-24-2002, 02:52 AM   #1
zorcon
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1998 Legacy GT
Black Cherry

Talking 5spd 98 GT - driving?

I guess this isn't really legacy specific questioning, but since mine is my first manual transmission vehicle, I'll ask anyway:

1. When downshifting with the intention of coming to a stop, what is an acceptable rpm to shift down at, and does one ever shift from 2nd to 1st or just brake at 2nd?

2. Is there a "good" way to drive in bumper to bumper traffic?

3. I know that in theory you're supposed to evenly let up on the clutch while you push on the accelerator...but it seems more to me like getting the rpms to 1500/2000 and gently letting out the clutch is more efective, is this bad?

4. Anyone had to deal with the labor costs on replacing a clutch? I fear that my attempts at trying different driving styles and my general learning curve have worn my clutch significantly.

5. How do I tell if the later half of question 4 is in fact true?

Ok, that's all for now...any advice is greatly appreciated. Oh yeah, one more thing...my steering seems odd...kinda hard to describe...I notice it mostly when I'm on the freeway and I get stuck in ruts (from semi's)...they really toss the car around a good bit. Not sure why this is, never had this problem with another car.

THanks,
Chad
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Old 01-24-2002, 04:54 AM   #2
RoundtheBend
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Angry ruts

1. I pretty much always brake at second and put the car into first at about 15-20 MPH.

2. LOL... yeah, avoid it. Seriously, I attempt to maintain a constant speed (albeit sometimes really slow when behind a semi) to avoid unnecessary shifting, etc. Of course, there are those times when I just follow the rest of the freeway sheep in the Speed Up, Slam on Brakes relay.

3. I usually evenly let up the clutch as I push the accelerator. Of course, all bets are off when I'm in a hurry (or feeling speedy )

4. No idea but I'm going to have to find out soon.

Keep in mind that I probably shouldn't even attempt to teach you how to drive a manual as I have my own odd style to doing it. However I can tell you that the ruts are a fact of life for my car. The effects have actually gotten more pronounced since I upgraded my tires. I've driven Corvettes that have the same problem.
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Old 01-24-2002, 09:06 AM   #3
DLC
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I'm just getting back into the clutch game, so i might not be much help, but here's a few things to consider:

You're doing everything basically right, only time and practice will make your shifting better.

Clutches are made for abuse, unless you've got a plume of smoke coming out of the car, or can smell the clutch burning, you're probably doing insignificant wear, so don't sweat that too much.

On the "wandering" you get when going through ruts, this is probably because you're not used to the suspension setup and the wide tires. It's a factor related to both, and not at all unusual.

Dave
Legacy Central
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Old 01-24-2002, 11:06 AM   #4
Patrick Olsen
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Chad,

1. I brake to a stop in 2nd gear, putting the clutch in when RPMs in 2nd drop to about 1000rpm. I don't shift to 1st until the car is at a stop, as it's not very good for the 1st gear synchros. As far as downshifting while I'm braking, I do heel and toe rev matched downshifts, and the RPMs just kinda depend on how aggressive I'm feeling at the time.

My guess is that you (being a new stick shift driver) are doing what you shouldn't do when it comes to downshifting while braking. Namely, you're probably letting the clutch out without matching RPMs, so the clutch is being used to accelerate the engine to match the speed of the car. (I hope that makes sense). That's added wear on the clutch that it doesn't need. Did I drive that way for the first few years I was driving a stick? Yup. Did it kill my clutch? Nope. But it's not the best way to do it. Once you get more adept at learning to drive stick, do some searching on the iClub for "rev matching" or "heel and toe" and you'll find plenty of good info.

2. Bumper to bumper traffic is just a PITA with a stick, and there's really no way around that. If traffic is just creeping along, I challenge myself to see how low I can get the RPMs in 1st gear. You have to be really gentle on the gas or the car will start bucking - if you carefully modulate the gas you can cruise along in gear at about 600 or 700rpm.

3. Ideally you want to have the RPMs right where they're supposed to be in the next gear. To be honest, I don't pay too much attention to exactly how I make the gas and clutch work together - I just try to be smooth. The only thing I will say is that (as you've probably already discovered) if you over-rev as you're letting out the clutch the car jerks forward, which feels crappy.

4. Not yet.

Last but not least, as for the rut following, that could be a couple of things. I don't remember my car being that bad in stock format, but then again I also drive a Mustang with fat ultra high performance tires that want to follow every rut in the road. What kind of tires do you have on the car? It could just be the tires. It could also be the alignment - if the car hasn't been aligned in a while that might be worth having checked. If the front toe is not adjusted properly then that could make the car more prone to darting around.

Pat Olsen
'97 Legacy 2.5GT sedan
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Old 01-24-2002, 11:17 AM   #5
cfwdfw
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Deep Saphire Blue Sedan

Default my suggestions ..

my suggestions:

"1. When downshifting with the intention of coming to a stop, what is an acceptable rpm to shift down at, and does one ever shift from 2nd to 1st or just brake at 2nd?"

One can downshift into first ... but usually I dont ... because of gearing, first is most difficult to execute smoothly ... it can be done .. the lower your speed the easier to do ... but you can often gently use 2nd to begin from a very slow rolling start as long as you are gentle on the gas ...

"2. Is there a "good" way to drive in bumper to bumper traffic?"

ya... very carefully .... ... leave room between you and next car.. eyes up and anticipate ... be as smooth as taffic will allow ... easier to slow down than speed up

"3. I know that in theory you're supposed to evenly let up on the clutch while you push on the accelerator...but it seems more to me like getting the rpms to 1500/2000 and gently letting out the clutch is more efective, is this bad? "

no ... as long as you let the clutch out smoothly and dont apply gas until it engages ... if you really want to learn how to let the clutch out smoothly ... practice letting the clutch out with out touching the gas pedal ... idle only .. when in a flat area ... driveway ... parking lot .. as your skills improve ... you'll be able to shift smoothly and get on the gas hard without slipping the clutch

"4. Anyone had to deal with the labor costs on replacing a clutch? I fear that my attempts at trying different driving styles and my general learning curve have worn my clutch significantly. "

...not I ... 100 K plus on my last suby clutch ...

"5. How do I tell if the later half of question 4 is in fact true? "

you'd really have to be rough on it ... however ... if after letting the clutch out and gettin on the gas ... your rpms increase quickly with no immediate response in speed ... (2nd and 3rd gears easiest to test this with) the clutch is slipping .. a quick and simple test ... at a stop ... put car in 2nd gear at idle, pull up the ebrake, let the clutch out ... if this doesnt kill the engine quickly ... clutch is slipping ... I've seen cars where you could do this and depending upon the idle level ... the engine would continue to run and really heat up a badly slippling clutch...not good

"Ok, that's all for now...any advice is greatly appreciated. Oh yeah, one more thing...my steering seems odd...kinda hard to describe...I notice it mostly when I'm on the freeway and I get stuck in ruts (from semi's)...they really toss the car around a good bit. Not sure why this is, never had this problem with another car. "

ruts in our freeways around here do that regardless of car I'm driving ... most noticible when both wheels are in the ruts ... but its not the car ... stay left or right to get out ... and be aware crossing the ruts will affect your steering and car response ..

my two cents .. hope this helps

Charlie
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Old 01-24-2002, 11:34 AM   #6
2.5GT
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I think everyone has pretty much touched on everything you've needed (so this is a useless post - well, not really).

As for changing the clutch, I never would pay somebody more than $300 to get it done. Dealerships will prolly try and sucker you for more than twice that (in my experience). It's a good thing to get to know a mechanic that you can trust. It'll save you beaucoup bucks in the long run.

My stock clutch started slipping at 65,000 miles. I kept driving it gingerly for another 15,000 miles. I WOULDN'T recommend doing this. When the clutch was finally replaced, the disk was so smoothed down that I could start to see the underlying base plate on the disc. Whew, that was close

I second Pat's statement that you're prolly downshifting while using the clutch to match engine speed. Try to match your revs with the accelerator before you engage the gear (in neutral), then engage the gear and then let out the clutch. Not only will this preserve your clutch (and syncros), but you'll end up driving smoother too.

Jason
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Old 01-24-2002, 04:10 PM   #7
zorcon
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Wow, thanks to everyone for their responses...some great detail there.

After reading through the reply's, I've come to the conclusion that I'm mostly just paranoid because it's something new to me that I've never done before.

I'll have to try the handbrake, 2nd gear trick to see how my cluch is doing...since I'm the second owner, I'm kinda suspiscious of how the previous owner drove...there goes that paranoia again..geez :|

I think my alignment is OK, but I'm not sure...I'd imagine that front and rear alignment have more effect on an AWD car...so maybe I do have a problem.

Thanks again to everyone for the friendly advice.

Chad
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Old 01-24-2002, 05:02 PM   #8
Deadzep
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Default Re: ruts

Quote:
Originally posted by RoundtheBend
1. I pretty much always brake at second and put the car into first at about 15-20 MPH.
Maybe there's something wrong with my car, but I can't shift into 1st unless i'm going 5mph or less. And still usually with a bit of resistance. With my mustang i could drop it into 1st if i'm going 10mph without much problem

my dad's old Subaru wagon was the same as my 99 Legacy. couldn't drop his into first unless completely stopped

-Rick
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Old 01-24-2002, 06:01 PM   #9
HIHO
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I can get mine into first at about 15mph if the car is good and warmed up. I don't and wouldn't advise it though. I tried it a couple of times just out of curiosity. The reason it is harder to get Subaru's into first at a roll is because of AWD. It is really a good thing, you don't want to strip that first gear buy dropping to early. There is alot of torque in a AWD drive shaft. Plus engine braking is not the best way to slow your car down.
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Old 01-24-2002, 07:48 PM   #10
nuburu2
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Well said HIHO! The brakes are there to slow the car and a hell of a lot cheaper to renew. Downshifting to be up on the rev band exiting a corner is where it's at, but it makes no sense to abuse the first gear synchros just because you can.

Glenn O
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Old 01-25-2002, 07:03 PM   #11
zorcon
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nuburu2...so you're saying it's only really advisable to downshift or heel/toe out of a corner, but not for every day braking?

This was a big confusion for me too...I get conflicting stories from people...same say downshift to brake instead of using your brakes...others say use your brakes to brake, they're cheaper...

Any clarification on this? Or again, a matter of opinion and style?
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Old 01-25-2002, 07:38 PM   #12
HIHO
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Brakes are the best way to slow your car. Reving the engine high to slow the car is not the best way to treat your engine. Just use the brakes, that is what they are made for, to stop your car. As for opinions on this and any other subject you will find at least two. But if you really think about it the smart way is the right way.
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Old 01-25-2002, 08:08 PM   #13
nuburu2
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That's my opinion as well. Normal wear and tear is bad enough, but working the car down through the gears is harder on a number of components; ie: Engine, gearbox synchros/gear-sets and clutch. $$$ and sense. Guess it comes down to this:
"boy-racers" find it cool and wanna be seen and heard doing it.
"car lovers" would rather take care of the car, and save it for when you feel the NEED!

Flame suit on and ready!

Glenn O
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Old 01-25-2002, 08:50 PM   #14
cfwdfw
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Default yep ... brakes are for braking!

I agree wholeheartedly with Glenn and HIHO ... downshifting does not replace using the brakes!

Effective downshifting lets you match engine and transmission speeds to optimize power at a given speed within the engine's power band ... like 3 to 4.5 K on our legacies .... performance and safety in driving ....

... if one is slowing down gradually ... one can downshift ... I typically dont downshift until rpm's drop to 2500 or below ... dropping a gear in my legacy is about 500 rpms ..

course as Glen noted ... that could depend on how ish one feels and where one is driving ...

my two cents to add ...

Charlie
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Old 01-26-2002, 01:56 AM   #15
Seeing StaRS
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Thumbs up

A good discussion such as this, renews my faith in the I-club.


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Old 01-26-2002, 08:32 AM   #16
White Knight
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4. 500$ I got my car used and the clutch didn't last that long, I now have an ACT stage 1 street raceing clutch

Mark
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