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Old 01-04-2010, 08:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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learning (teaching) to drive a manual transmission...

Sorry if this is not the right area for this but I had a question about teaching someone to drive a stick. If its not the right area maybe a moderator can move it?

I learned on an old grain truck on the farm when I was about 10, dad threw me the keys and told me to ride my bike back to the barn and get the grain truck...well...never driven it before, after a few times of killing it and revving the crap out of it, sitting on the edge of the seat to operate the pedals and looking through the steering wheel, I got it there and the next time got easier and easier...but that was on like a 55 model chevy who knows what with a granny gear that I found out later that you could if you where gentle with her take off without giving her any gas...but it taught me...

Anyhow my 15 yr old wants to learn to drive a stick now for a couple of reasons,
1) Because he is the only one in his group of friends that would know how.
2) He really wants an S-10 or S15 pickup when its time to get him a car.
3) His older brother doesn't know how and he wants to show off.
4) Dad (me) thinks he should know how.

The only stick I have is my contour and I did take him out once and he had a few good take offs but I then started smelling the clutch so I stopped him and took over. Just didn't want to burn the clutch up on my daily driver.

Anyone have an easy way or any ideas on HOW to teach a kid to drive a stick without burning the clutch up too much? I have never burnt a clutch up but like I said I basically had an easy truck to learn on with the granny gear.

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Old 01-04-2010, 08:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Taking off is probably the worst part of teaching someone to drive stick, but (wasteful as it sounds) the best way I've ever been able to get anyone to learn is to teach them to hold the engine at ~2k and then "feel" where the clutch starts to grab. Once the car starts moving, it's best to just let the clutch the rest of the way out to prevent burning.

So called "dumping" the clutch won't damage anything but your ears when the tires squeal a little bit, and will usually surprise the hell out of the new driver.

Later, as the driver gets used to the operation and "feel" of the pedals, you drop the RPM down to about 1500 holding and taking off (on flats). Don't go all out and put them on a hill for the first time. Stalling can be very discouraging, and an already inexperienced driver may be completely turned off to the whole idea after a day of getting "nowhere".
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The one thing that my car does not have is a RPM gauge. That would be easier if it had one. Its actually my first manual that I have owned that didn't have one.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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toss him the keys... lol.

my first car was manual... maybe find the hugest parking lot ever. at first don't let him stop and go over and over, but let him drive slow and up shift and down shift between 1st and 2nd gear... maybe 3rd?

once that's perfected, maybe he'd be smoother at taking off from a dead stop?
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Without a tach, it's a little harder, but you have the ear for the car as it is, so you tell him where to set the pedal, then teach him to identify the appropriate speed to shift by the sound of the car, NOT the speedometer.

Shifting by the speedometer leaves you SOL if just about anything happens where you can't use/see the speedo, and doesn't teach the driver anything about the car at all. Driving manuals is preferred by my immediate family because you have to be in sync with the car to be doing it correctly, and if you can't identify shift points by vehicle sound, you're definitely not "in sync" with your car.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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you could familiarize the new driver with shifting by letting them shift left handed from the passenger seat. you clutch in, they shift, you clutch out. pretty easy to get in synch with each other that way, maybe help with a couple of the first shifts, they can go through all the gears without a word after a bit of practice under normal acceleration.

I do it all the time, poor mans automatic Would be one less thing to have to learn all at once.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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dcb -

I did that with a friend of mine once... it just further confused him.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't recall being confused by it myself, YMMV of course. Was it the shifting with someone else clutching or the switching hands that was troublesome?
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Switching hands. He associated left and right instead of associating the shift pattern with the car, so he first tried starting in 5th, then tried shifting from 2nd into reverse (VW transmission, reverse is up and left)
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I taught my daughter to drive a stick shift in the snow, in the winter, in Alaska, when she was 12. Taught my son, stepdaughter, and granddaughter, too. I just told the latter three not to give it any gas at all. They learned to use the clutch to get rolling without killing the engine, and didn't have to worry about barking the tires.

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