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TDI 101 Got a simple/basic TDI question? Are you a newbie (new to the forums). Feel free to post your question here.

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Old April 20th, 2011, 09:34   #1
lvfnchs
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Question Travelling in first?

Hi all, me again with another likely dummy question. I've been searching around the forums but can't seem to find the answer. I've always driven manual (and still do) but I've always used 1st gear as a "starting-only" gear and then gone right into second.

It almost seems like in the Golf TDI I should be using first gear for travelling as well. I just wanted to check in with you experts and make sure I'm not going to break the car if I travel for a while (~1 mile) in first gear. I stay in 1st and never get to 3000 rpm to shift in the conditions I'm talking about here, and if I do shift I'll be travelling at around 1100-1200 rpm.

If I go to 2nd the rpm will be too low, but I need to be going 10-20 mph. This is either on a dirt road, in traffic, or going up ramps in parking garages. Thanks!
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Old April 20th, 2011, 12:36   #2
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forgettaboutit, motor on
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Old April 20th, 2011, 12:44   #3
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Wow. Drive more and worry less. I think 1st can handle it. And on a warm engine even a faster RPM although I would just shift to 2nd then.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 12:52   #4
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Okay, cool thanks guys! I guess I've been reading these forums too much. I taught myself how to drive stick and never really cared about it much since I was driving Hondas. So, since I now have this awesome rocket I want to make sure I'm treating it right. I will travel in first and not worry about it! Just always thought it was a gear just for starting the car and not going far. Thanks again!
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Old April 20th, 2011, 14:23   #5
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With such light-load conditions on the engine, makes no difference. Use whatever gear is most appropriate. In that speed range, I'd be using 2nd.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 18:08   #6
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Another visit to the ever debatable "when should I shift?" topic....
my 0.02...
These cars have enough torque that you can often start out in 2nd at any rate. It's a "feel" that you have to develop, and depends on whether you're going up hill or down hill etc. I think you probably don't need to be "singing" the engine near 3000 in first, though doing so won't hurt it. In 2nd gear, pulling around 1200, there's still plenty of torque multiplication and the engine should be fine with pulling around 1200 in 2nd. Now, if you're going up-hill and the engine is laboring, then I'd recommend use first and let it sing a little. And I won't be surprised at all to find someone else replies with pretty much the opposite of what I just wrote here....

I'll share a quick story about my own experience, slightly different situation than what you wrote about... When I go through a 30MPH speed zone with my car, I can run in 3rd at around 2400 RPM or 4th at around 1700. I often choose to let it sing a bit in 3rd, especially if I'm going up a light grade. Keeping it in 3rd tends to remind me that I'm above 30MPH as the engine sings. If I do it in 4th, the car has plenty of torque but I find that I tend to end up at 40 or 45MPH, which is ticket territory.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 21:59   #7
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I have found the same as you in parking garage round-a-bout ramps. 1st seems to low a gear and 2nd seems too high. I tend to either slow down in 1st if wife with me or if alone speed up and dig the corners a little in 2nd.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 06:21   #8
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Thanks very much, guys! That is really helpful advice above. It's my first time having a tach, so a whole new world has been opened up to me LOL . I watch the tach more than the speedometer! I used to always start the Honda in 2nd but I thought that was a big no-no with this car because it likes to be so high in the rpm. I'm almost at 1200 miles now and got it to 4000 for the first time this morning! What a rush . I don't know if I can get it any higher, the sound is too intense! But I will try . Thanks again.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 07:08   #9
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In my opinion running (driving) around in 1st gear at 3grand RPMs is a waste of fuel....shift it and go on!

Also, worry less and shift...........I've been shifting over forty years and my brain is so programmed I shift without giving it ANY thought!....just do it!
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Old April 21st, 2011, 07:22   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyBees View Post
In my opinion running (driving) around in 1st gear at 3grand RPMs is a waste of fuel....shift it and go on!

Also, worry less and shift...........I've been shifting over forty years and my brain is so programmed I shift without giving it ANY thought!....just do it!
I used to shift without thinking, too. I'm trying to re-program myself to shift at higher rpm though, with this car, per the break in rules and rules for the life of the car. I want it to last as long as possible so if having a heavier foot and shifting at higher rpm will do it, I'm there! Also just wanted to clarify...I'm not driving around at 3K rpm, but for the last few days I've been staying in 1st at 2000-2500 rpm before shifting. I'll ease off a little now. Seems like it maybe wants to be at higher rpm at the higher gears but doesn't care as much in the lower gears. Which makes things difficult without a race track nearby!
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:03   #11
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I've heard of a trick you can do with a TDI, that I've never had a chance to try. Sounds like you have access to long roads with no other traffic. With your foot off the throttle, put the car in first. You should be able launch the car from idle, and shift all the way through the gears without touching the 'gas' pedal. Maybe it's an urban myth-- try it and let us know! (Unrelated to your question, but it sounds like you'd be an ideal 'guinea pig'.)
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:24   #12
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#11- I've done it at least into 4th with mine, never tried 5th (without pedal).

I'm not advocating either to drive around at 3000RPM in 1st. It's not simply a matter of watching the tach. Must also combine what is the loading on the engine at the time. For instance, might be able to pull from 1300RPM in 4th gear, if going down a slight hill. But if going UP a slight hill at 1300RPM in 4th, a downshift would be in order.

Quote:
because it likes to be so high in the rpm
Quote:
I want it to last as long as possible so if having a heavier foot and shifting at higher rpm will do it, I'm there!
I'm concerned that maybe a message is getting garbled somewhere. These engines are NOT high RPM engines. Quite the opposite, actually.

IMHO:
Don't lug the engine.
Typically upshift at 3000 - 3300 when accelerating.
Won't hurt anything to run along at 3000 RPM, but personally I don't do that in parking lots or garages (or anywhere, come to think of it). If you're in a low gear going steady speed at 3000 RPM, probably an upshift is in order. #7 gave good words of wisdom- maybe the trans gear split isn't perfectly aligned with the speeds you happen to want to travel at in the particular situation. (Also like #7's solution !!)

I also didn't mean to suggest that revving the engine to high RPMs will extend its life. Mine routinely sees 3100 RPM on upshifts. Mine rarely sees above ~3500 RPM.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:29   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conan View Post
I've heard of a trick you can do with a TDI.......Maybe it's an urban myth
not a myth. that was one of they ways i learned the feel of the clutch while learning to drive stick
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:48   #14
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Quote:
...
I'm concerned that maybe a message is getting garbled somewhere. These engines are NOT high RPM engines. Quite the opposite, actually.
...
I also didn't mean to suggest that revving the engine to high RPMs will extend its life. Mine routinely sees 3100 RPM on upshifts. Mine rarely sees above ~3500 RPM.
Hmm, maybe a message is getting garbled. I've been religiously reading these forums since I got the car a few weeks ago, and maybe the miscommunication is mine. When I say "high rpm" I mean over 2000 LOL. My Honda didn't have a tach, but I'm pretty sure I rarely went over 2000 in it. I think I mostly stayed around 1500. I drove a friend's the other day and it was going 60 in 5th gear at around 2000.

Driving without a tach all these years, I just did it by sound. When it got loud I would upshift . The Golf gets fairly loud above 2000 but I let it do that, because of all the places in the forum that say how it wants to cruise around 2000 and shift around 3000.

So, I apologize for my ignorance. I'm learning about all of this as I go and am very grateful to the advice here. I hope I'm understanding it correctly. Maybe when I go for my 6000 mile checkup (I'm only at 1200 now) they will tell me if I'm doing it right. I don't want to lug, and I don't want glazing to happen. I don't really understand load even though I've been asking everyone I know about it and searching the internet. It seems like if I'm in 5th gear doing 60mph uphill, with my foot hard on the accelorator, then load is happening . So I try to do that.

I'm not TOO worried and I am really loving the car, and I know I'm not doing any true harm to it, but this topic is very interesting to me so I've been reading about it and trying to follow the advice given. I wish I could get a real-life demonstration of these things so I can get an actual feel for it better.

One more thing, about the car seeing 3500 rpm...DBW's advice is to explore the entire range of rpm, so that's why I've been trying to get it higher now that I'm over 1K miles on the car.

Thanks again. I hope this is helpful for other newbies like me!
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:48   #15
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Sorry, just wanted to add that in another thread I was just reading TornadoRed's comment:

Quote:
Your Golf is still practically new; you have barely begun the break-in process. You should not even be driving for economy right now, instead you should be working the engine hard, revving higher, using WOT (wide-open-throttle), accelerating and decelerating repeatedly.
(He/She was not speaking to me at the time). So, that's what I think I've been doing and that was the main reason I asked the initial question of how long I should really stay in first. Just thought it might add some clarity.
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