Bought a 2011 Golf TDI today, having troubles with manual transmission

Cgiroux

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Location
Cherry Hill, NJ
TDI
none
I bought a 2011 Golf TDI today. I am ecstatic. It is a black 4 door. I thought I'd be adventurous by getting a manual transmission. I never drove MT in a car before, but I have a motorcycle license, so I have some experience using a clutch.

So I'm in the car, I'm in the dealer's garage ready to take her home. Surely enough I stall 2-3 times, but I get going on the road and hear beeping and smell a bit of smoke. I pulled over as soon as I could and I realize the parking brake is still on. I feel like an absolute MORON. I take the parking brake off, get going a bit, and I stall again a few times. I probably stalled 10 times the entire trip home and I felt like I was making progress as I went along.

I was definitely abusing the clutch. I just told myself; "when in doubt, use the clutch" and I was riding it the entire time. My foot was never on the dead pedal.

I pull up into my driveway, which is a very slight hill and it was difficult to get power / find the friction zone and I was nervous because my mom was right in front of me watching me pull in. I shut the car off. Next thing I know, my mom is telling me the car is literally smoking.:( I never felt so embarrassed in my life. I just essentially just told my mom that it was a manual transmission and it was smoking because I was abusing the clutch and that it is 'normal'.

I am super embarrassed right now but how worried should I be about the car? Does it sound like I caused any damage?
 

6DOF

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Location
Senatobia, MS
TDI
2011 TDI Jetta 6MT Premium, 2012 TDI Jetta DSG Premium
After a week of practice you will get used to the clutch feel. You may want to search the forum for the VW "hill assist" feature. That takes some getting used to as well. As for damage, as long as the smoke stopped, you should be OK :cool:.
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
STOP!!! Before you destroy the clutch. Have someone that does drive stick give you some pointers ASAP.

From what you said about just the drive home, you really could destroy the clutch within a few days from severely overheating it and driving the car with your skill level. I dought you would make it a week trying to learn by trial and error...............
 

ctmoore79

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Morrisville, NC
TDI
2012 Golf
I would definitely find some one to drive you to a flat parking lot and have you practice. A school parking lot should work good this time off year. I just realized the other day that on this car you can slowly ease off the clutch without giving it any fuel at all and the car will not stall and start going. This will really help you find your clutch engagement point. Good luck and enjoy your new car.
 

sdk131

Veteran Member
Joined
May 19, 2004
Location
Calvert County, MD
TDI
2004 Jetta GL RC1+
Just incase you needed even another opinion...seek an experienced friend/relative immediately. I've driven manual transmission in vehicles ranging from an old Toyota Tercel to a BMW M Roadster to a Jeep Wrangler to a 26' Box truck and many other standard and sports cars in addition to my 2004 Jetta. The TDI is the easiest of them all.

As someone else suggested, get to a flat lot and practice just releasing the clutch with your left foot. Do not even use your right foot at all. Also, please please please get your foot off of the clutch when you are not actively changing gears. There is absolutely no reason to "ride" the clutch. Even in grid-locked bumper to bumper traffic you need to get your foot of of the clutch when you are not in the middle of a shift....even if it is only 1/8" off the pedal.

If you literally had smoke coming from the clutch you were allowing some serious slipping and you will kill it quickly. Since this car is new to you I would also recommend that you pop the hood and take a good look around. It's also a possibility that the dealership may have done an oil change or topped up other fluids and spilled some on the engine and they were just burning off on your way home.
 

Wolfie2008

New member
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Location
Florida
TDI
2008 2.0TFSI 6M
This is an explanation why 80%+ of cars sold in the US have automatic transmissions.
Yes, sadly using a manual transmission properly is becoming a lost art. I was determined to start my son out right and taught him to drive on a manual. Now, after driving both an auto and a manual he says all he wants is a manual, he says an automatic is boreing :).
 

Tom W.

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2005
Location
Raleigh, NC
TDI
mash-up GettaTDI150, 1986 Jetta Delux D, 2005 Passat TDI sedan
My son is autistic. He can drive a manual safely, but not an automatic, because it is much harder to get distracted driving a manual. Unfortuntely he wrecked a car before we figured this out. He has been accident free for 5 years now.
I started all my kids driving manuals. Much harder to text, play with the radio, etc. when driving a manual. Kids are much more cautious driving a manual- they get to a busy intersection, and they wait for the traffic to clear, because they don't want to stall- vs an automatic, where they might just gun it and drive recklessly. Plus, there is the "cool" factor of driving a stick.
Interestingly enough, my autistic son is the one who taught his siblings (and Mom, and all his friends) to drive a manual transmission.
 

JB05

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Location
Il.USA
TDI
Golf,2005,anthracite blue
This brings back memories when I first learned to drive a 5 speed rental truck for a part time job I had. One of my daily routes was to the local post office and the main road had a slight incline at one intersection. It took a while to know how to quickly release the clutch without stalling when the light turned green. The air brakes only work with the engine running; so there were a few close calls of backing into a tail gater. I kind of wish I had gone with a manual in my Golf although the tip tronic is fun.
 

xreyuk

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Location
Southport, UK
TDI
1.6CR TDI Seat Leon Ecomotive
Can you take the driving test in an America in an automatic, but still drive manual?

Over here in the UK you have to learn in a manual to be able to legally drive a manual car, although we do have automatic only tests.
 

Cgiroux

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Location
Cherry Hill, NJ
TDI
none
Something is terribly wrong now or I am just an idiot yet again. It seems I am (or the car is) literally stuck in neutral.

I start the car just fine. Clutch in, then I can move the stick shift just fine. I simultaneously give it gas and let out the clutch just like I would normally and it just revs. The electronic display also says it is in neutral, even though I moved the shifter into gear (tried reverse too)

I guess I will try one more time later...Maybe I'm just not putting the clutch all the way in? I already called the dealer and they are going to pick it up tomorrow morning.
 
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Cgiroux

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Location
Cherry Hill, NJ
TDI
none
I dought you would make it a week trying to learn by trial and error...............

Really? I thought I was making good progress when I was on my way home from the dealership. I stalled the car a handful of times just like any beginner would.
Getting the car to my house from the dealer was plenty of trial and error and I got better and better a I went along. It was just me in the car, following my dad in front of me for maybe 15-20 miles.

I don't think I was even riding the clutch THAT badly. When I got home, I was parked on a side street. My dad insisted that I park in the driveway, which is slightly uphill. And that is when it started smoking. Could the slight hill have anything to do with this? Because it seems like I was doing just fine before I was on the hill.
 
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AVEngineer

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Location
Virginia Beach, VA
TDI
2012 Jetta Sportwagon
Learning to drive a manual is not easy. Like others have said seek help from someone who already knows. You will find that everyone has there own opinion of how to work the gears. To this day the way my wife drive her Mini Cooper which is a manual annoys me sometimes. More times than not when I am with her she manages to get the car going in 2nd or 3rd gear. Also she doesn't believe in downshifting either.


Don't be afraid to ask your sales person for some help as well. They sold it to you without a test drive I'm guessing, the least they could do is offer to help. Maybe a mechanic would be willing to teach you for some beer.

I think you would be surprised at the amount of abuse a clutch can take.

Good luck to you.
 

AVEngineer

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Location
Virginia Beach, VA
TDI
2012 Jetta Sportwagon
Can you take the driving test in an America in an automatic, but still drive manual?

Over here in the UK you have to learn in a manual to be able to legally drive a manual car, although we do have automatic only tests.
I don't know about the whole of the States but in Virginia you can take your driving test in whatever car you want, either manual or automatic. I seem to remember the driving tester being very picky on the position of my hands on the steering wheel during my test. This was also the case when I took my Commercial Driving test to drive large trucks.
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
Really? I thought I was making good progress when I was on my way home from the dealership. I stalled the car a handful of times just like any beginner would.
Getting the car to my house from the dealer was plenty of trial and error and I got better and better a I went along. It was just me in the car, following my dad in front of me for maybe 15-20 miles.

I don't think I was even riding the clutch THAT badly. When I got home, I was parked on a side street. My dad insisted that I park in the driveway, which is slightly uphill. And that is when it started smoking. Could the slight hill have anything to do with this? Because it seems like I was doing just fine before I was on the hill.
Ah, really. Read post 13 for the supporting documentation.............

QUOTE:
"I don't think I was even riding the clutch THAT badly".

A clutch has 2 places it likes to be, completly engaged or completly disengaged. If you linger between those 2 extremes for more a second or two at a time, you can destroy a clutch in as little as 2 miles.

Getting the clutch hot enough to smoke and saying you had your foot on the clutch petal the entire drive home led me to express the opinion I expressed.
 
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Cgiroux

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Location
Cherry Hill, NJ
TDI
none
A clutch has 2 places it likes to be, completly engaged and completly disengaged. If you linger between those 2 extremes for more a second or two at a time, you can destroy a clutch in as little as 2 miles.
.
I think that explains everything :(

Called the dealer up, explained the gist of it. They're going to pick the car up tomorrow morning. And I expect they're going to get back to me saying that the clutch is nuked.

I feel horrible. I love the car. I am willing to pay for a new clutch, but even then I would have to break it in myself.

Now that I did a number to the car, I wonder if I can still cancel the deal and change my mind? In my state it is a law that you have 3 days to do that. I would much rather pay for a new clutch and learn properly..I love this damn car.
 
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Cgiroux

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Location
Cherry Hill, NJ
TDI
none
To add to that, I was dropping the clutch every time I started the engine. And since I stalled a lot, I started the engine a lot...

I'm an idiot:)
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
Well You could but what they will do is offer you trade in value minus the cost of repairs on your car and charge you full retail value on a different car. A very exspensive way to go. Pretty much, they will make the profit on selling 2 cars.

A stick is pretty easy to drive once you learn how. When you get the car back, just have someone teach you how to drive a stick.

Welcome to Fred's and let us know what you find out...........
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Have them change out the clutch, consider it a lesson learned and find a good teacher. You obviously know the principles, but need to practice getting a feel for it.

I am not sure about the new TDIs, but the old ones put out so much torque at idle that you could learn the clutch engagement point without even using the accelerator. Just let up on the clutch and they would go. A couple hours in a school parking lot and you will be fine.
 
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