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Old 06-03-2011, 10:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 346

Canyon - '07 GMC Canyon 2wd regular cab
90 day: 24.95 mpg (US)
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How much gas to apply: That can be tough to learn. Especially if you're starting out uphill. It sounds like you've already experienced both extremes, so try to find a happy medium. Wish I had more info for you, but this you'll have to learn on your own.

When to shift: It's going to be a bit tougher without a tach - at least at first. As far as shift points, try to hear when the engine sounds like it's doing too much work for the speed it's going. If you shift too early the engine will lug - that is, it will have very poor acceleration and will sound like it's struggling. It might make a 'put-put' kind of noise. You'll know. Lugging is pretty bad, so try to keep your engine at a healthy rpm. Just remember that if you need to accelerate quickly for some reason, you may need a lower gear.

Gear selection: I'm not a huge fan of skipping gears. Sure, you can blast first gear and then jump to third, but it's better to stay in the power band and use each subsequent gear as it was intended. Just go in order when accelerating, and when you're up to cruising speed try to hold the highest appropriate gear for the speed you are traveling, again avoiding any lugging of the engine.

I hope this helps. I'll try to chime in if you need something clarified or have any further questions.

Ah, before I forget. Here's a stick driving tip that my dad taught me, which he got from a driving school owner. Not one of your questions, but it was extremely useful when I was learning. A good way to get used to your clutch's friction point (that is, where it engages) is to pick an empty parking lot, put it in 1st, and then slowly release the clutch until the vehicle starts to crawl forward. No lurching. Keep it nice and smooth. Finding this point is crucial.
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