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Old 10-24-2001, 08:02 PM   #1
davesill
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Question Resting hand on shifter bad?

The owner's manual says that holding the shifter when you're not shifting can damage the transmission.

Could someone explain how?

I did that for years with my Merkur and Geo Metro and never had any trouble.

-Dave
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:05 PM   #2
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It was my understanding that resting your hand on the shifter causes excess wear on the syncros and other portions of the transmission.

Also if you notice the rally drivers who use regular transmissions (vs a dog box or other $$$$ device) keep two hands on the wheel at all times, only removing a hand to shift or yank on the e-brake. Then the hand goes straight back to the wheel.
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:15 PM   #3
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I think keeping two hands on the wheel is for better control, not cuz they worry about the synchros. Somehow, I get the feeling if that was the kind of thing they worried aobut, they wouldn't be rallying...but anyway, I'm also a lil curious about whether just the weight of your hand is enough to put a significant amount of wear on the synchros?
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:17 PM   #4
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It causes wear on the shifter forks.
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:18 PM   #5
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I used to own a 93 Sentra SE-R, a car famous for its "fifth gear popout". This phenomenon was attributed to the driver holding his hand on the shifter, eventually bending the shift fork enough so it wouldn't stay in place.

Never heard of an other specific cars with this problem. Just don't rest your hand with too much pressure.

lb
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:18 PM   #6
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Yes, holding on to the shifter will screw up your gears, been there done that. Think about it - the shifter is connected to the transmission at all times... If you put pressure on it, you're putting excess pressure on the transmission.

I had an old '84 GL Wagon that had screwed up gears - the mechanic blamed it on that kind of thing.

And yes, when you drive you should have both hands on the wheels unless you're shifting. It's the only way to get the most information out of the vehicle.

I've trained myself to drive strictlly two-handed over the past few months. After your muscles get used to it, there's no other way to drive.
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:19 PM   #7
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Built rally gearboxes don't have synchros to worry about. Straight cut gears. Someone yell if I'm wrong.

Shift fork issue is what I heard. Plus it's a lazy habit. Both hands on the wheel for me.

gi.
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:28 PM   #8
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I am someone who tends to keep their hand on the shifter. Itís really a bad habit . I assume it is slowly wearing the connectors in the shifting linkage which in turn , over a period of time, makes it harder to shift properly. I donít really know. This was just an assumption.
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:33 PM   #9
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One word.

Yes
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:44 PM   #10
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It would probably never do anything to bad to the car. I've done it for years as well...BUT I'm actually trying not to do it in this one. So I just lightly rest my fibngers on it.

Never knew there was so much of movement for poeple to drive with 2 hands. Wait, are you guys Driver's ed teachers?
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:53 PM   #11
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but that is where they learned to drive.
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Old 10-24-2001, 09:23 PM   #12
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It definately does!

I had a 98 5-spd Chev blazer before my WRX and I constantly used the shifter for a handle while cornering. One day while in the middle of a shift the bushing in my shifter went on me. That was fun!

Now I'm both hands on the wheel. Plus I put in 5-points so I don't need to hold on to anything to keep me in place now.
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Old 10-24-2001, 09:40 PM   #13
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Default Watch almost any professional racer..

be-it drag racer, rallier, F1, CART, NASCAR, Touring Car, whatever. Two hands ALWAYS on the steering - hand on shifter only when needed to shift.

They do this for more of a "control" reason than "wear" reason - two hands on the wheel = better control over the vehicle.

Why do you think all of the new WRC cars, F1, CART, etc. have shifters that are either of paddle style or with the lever very close to the wheel? So that the driver can get their hand to and from the shifter with as little time as possible to maintain full control over their vehicle.

Oh yeah, here's one more reason -- it's just waaay more comfortable with two hands on the wheel @ 9 and 3 with elbows slightly bent. Gives me a sense of confidence and well connectedness to my car. Helped me avoid TWO near-accidents this week to!

LaterZ!
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Old 10-24-2001, 09:51 PM   #14
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yup...i do it.

bad habit that i'm working on breaking.

trying to keep the 2 hands on the wheel.

even when I had my AT Grand Prix I still kept my hand on the shifter thingy.

Two hands it'll be from now on! I do like the control of using 2 hands when driving.

~V
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Old 10-24-2001, 10:05 PM   #15
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I heard it makes hair grow on your knuckles!
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Old 10-24-2001, 10:31 PM   #16
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I've been doing that on my old car and once I heard about that I've trained myself not to....now I hold the e-brake......I always need something to rest my hands on.
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Old 10-24-2001, 10:35 PM   #17
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I have done this with every car I have every owned or driven for that matter, and have not had one problem yet. Guess I'm just lucky.
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Old 10-24-2001, 10:54 PM   #18
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Default Re: Resting hand on shifter bad?

Quote:
Originally posted by davesill
The owner's manual says that holding the shifter when you're not shifting can damage the transmission.

Could someone explain how?

I did that for years with my Merkur and Geo Metro and never had any trouble.

-Dave
Because the shifter is a direct link to your transmission, putting any force (side-to-side, front-to-back, etc) will be bad for it, causing abnormal wear. You may not ever notice it, but why keep your hand there? It should be on the wheel and if not on the wheel, then comfortably at your side, ready to shift or assist with steering.
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Old 10-24-2001, 11:08 PM   #19
Seeing StaRS
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Quote:
Originally posted by Idjiit
I've trained myself to drive strictlly two-handed over the past few months. After your muscles get used to it, there's no other way to drive.
I too trained myself to drive two handed over this past summer and I must agree there's no other way to drive. It almost seems scary to me thinking about driving with one hand on the wheel.

Two hands on wheel=better control. Just another step in fixing the nut behind the wheel.
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Old 10-24-2001, 11:12 PM   #20
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Default Answer me this...

I thought the same thing, especially since I could move the shifter slightly forward or backward when in gear. (My friend even said to me 'isn't it funny that you can move the shifter a little and then feel the vibrating?) So I thought that play was the synchros.

Since then, I've changed the rubber sloppy shifter bushings with Kartboy bushings and now the shifter is pretty solidly in place with no free play. So the pressure asserted on the stock shifter is apparently going to the rubber bushing.

Now I don't think I "feel" the synchros when I place light pressure on the shifter, there's just no play.
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Old 10-24-2001, 11:57 PM   #21
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Funny, I used to use my Escort's(floppy) shifter for a handle too. Then during an autocross, I went to shift to 2nd, and pulled the whole shifter/boot/lever off.... DOH! Eh, so much for American cars
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Old 10-25-2001, 12:12 AM   #22
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SWITCH, amazing how a fairly new vehicle would have a bad problem like that. Oh wait, that was a GM. Not amazing really.


Its not your fault, GM has serious problems, thats all.
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Old 10-25-2001, 06:33 PM   #23
davesill
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Hmm. I'm not convinced.

Several people have claimed that it causes wear on synchros or forks. Someone claimed it actually bends forks. Another said it ruined his bushings. There's not exactly widespread agreement here on the mechanism of the damage. Surely if transmissions can handle regular, vigorous shifting, they should have no trouble with a hand on the knob that's not applying force--and I'm not talking about holding the shifter for support during turns.

I'm also not terribly interested in the arguments for keeping both hands on the wheel. I'm a big boy, and I'm capable of deciding whether I want my hand on the wheel or the shifter. If it's so important to keep two hands on the wheel, I guess you should have an automatic.

So, lacking more convincing or authoritative information, I'm going to have to consider this one an old wive's tale--especially given my personal anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

-Dave
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Old 10-25-2001, 06:53 PM   #24
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Dude, driving with one hand will catch up to you one day. You'll go around a corner, hit a pothole, and the wheel WILL rip itself out of your hand. By the time your regain control you will be in the next lane or off the road.

And yes, resting your hand on the shifter will screw it up eventually. Take a look at www.howstuffworks.com and look at manual transmissions. If you don't bend the gates, the synchros will have problems. The reason you see people saying so many different things about what happens from resting your hand on the shifter is because a lot of bad things can occur from resting your hand on the shifter
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Old 10-25-2001, 06:55 PM   #25
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while you drive / idle, you'll notice that the shift knob moves and vibrates...i suppose that holding it would restrain the vibrations and movements, causing wear on the parts that would normally be free to move by holding them in place.
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