I still suck at driving a manual transmission

scooperhsd

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Location
Kansas City KS
TDI
NB, 2000, RED(5 Speed conversion) 2015 Golf SE
I've been driving manual transmission vehicles since I started to drive in 1974. This TDI is by far the easiest to drive / learn on. Honda cars (especially Civic -sized and smaller with the sub 2.0 L 4s) are just like driving a motorcycle - they LOVE revs (my 1988 Acura Integra will rev like new to 7000 RPM even today).

The whole "secret" to driving a manual transmission vehicle is learning where the friction point is and adjusting your seat/controls so you can comfortably reach it (and go on to the floor), just barely keeping the knee bent when the clutch pedal is on the floor (or the end of it's travel).

And again - PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and more PRACTICE. With enough practice, you can get to where you can do this without thinking about it. Start with a big empty lot, then move to the street (level ground), then as you're starting to get a feel for the clutch point - start working on going uphill for starts.
 

Savageman69

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 3, 2007
Location
ontario
TDI
2012 Highline Touareg TDI
i believe that manual is learned by most...but is not a skill most master well....but there is a few that just cant do it.
 

Cogen Man

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2011
Location
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
TDI
2011 Golf TDI DSG.
i believe that manual is learned by most...but is not a skill most master well....but there is a few that just cant do it.

My wife is one that tried and never got the hang of it. I made the mistake of trying to teach her back in 1984. On a Mustang GT 5 speed. Holy :eek: :eek: In a parking lot on a Sunday with no other cars in the lot. The only thing in the lot was a Mustang GT and a bunch of light poles. End of story, it wasn't pretty. :(
 

Cgiroux

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Location
Cherry Hill, NJ
TDI
none
I offer to help you. A response would been nice. I guess you are a Troll .
sorry...? Needless to say I appreciate this forum as a whole and for everyone's input so far. nobody is forcing you to post.

Anyway. I got called into work today, so I gave her another shot. I do think I am getting better at it. I can shift from 1st to 2nd now without any jerking, seems like a clear sign I am doing things more simultaneously.

Downshifting is one thing I am worried about though.. Like say I need to make a sharp right turn. I guess I could just come to a complete stop and return to 1st? I just don't want to over-rev the engine. I'm not worried about the engine per se, but I don't want to engage the clutch when the flywheel is going too fast.
 
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Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
You need to plan your down shift. if you are slowing down coming to a corner, downshift before the corner.

When you take your foot of of the accelerator, glance at your RPM's. About 1500 RPMs is a good place to shift to the next lower gear no matter what gear you are in.

Don.t worry about the Troll comment. I think sometimes the posters wife wakes up grumpy and other times she just lets him sleep................
 

A5INKY

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Location
Louisville, KY
TDI
2006 Jetta TDI, 2002 Eurovan Westphalia VR6
.. Like say I need to make a sharp right turn. I guess I could just come to a complete stop and return to 1st?...


Sell it and get an 'push-n-go' automatic already. Or at least a really heavy duty rear bumper...
 

FlyTDI Guy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 3, 2001
Location
PNW
TDI
'01 Jetta GLS
It's all about muscle memory. You want to engage the clutch a quickly as possible while still accomplishing a smooth start. Lingering, half-engaged will heat things up quickly and lead to early clutch demise. When I say quickly, I don't mean a 'racing start', I just mean feather the clutch the least amount possible while still getting the car moving without drama. It doesn't take a lot of RPM's w/our diesels. You can literally idle from a stop unless on a really steep hill... even then.

I once watched a guy completely spit some ramps out while attempting to work his way up them. Now stuck under the car, it ended up buggering his pinch welds and lower kick panels pretty good. After lifting the car, we had to pound them off as the pinch welds had cut/fused their way into the ramps. :eek: All that carnage and he literally could have idled up them.

Keep practicing and muscle memory will come. If it's not working, back off and try again. Don't overheat your clutch, heat kills...
 

MonsterTDI09

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Location
NoVa/NJ
TDI
2010 Jetta DSG/ up keep on 2009 Jetta DSG 2006 Jetta Pag 2 in North SEA Green
sorry...? Needless to say I appreciate this forum as a whole and for everyone's input so far. nobody is forcing you to post.

Anyway. I got called into work today, so I gave her another shot. I do think I am getting better at it. I can shift from 1st to 2nd now without any jerking, seems like a clear sign I am doing things more simultaneously.

Downshifting is one thing I am worried about though.. Like say I need to make a sharp right turn. I guess I could just come to a complete stop and return to 1st? I just don't want to over-rev the engine. I'm not worried about the engine per se, but I don't want to engage the clutch when the flywheel is going too fast.

You came here for some help. I'm local guy who offer to help you. It was rude of you not to respond, a no thank you would been fine. This is one of those things that are easier to explain with human contact.
 

MontrealTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
May 10, 2013
Location
Montreal
TDI
2013 Golf Wagon TDI w/DSG
sorry...? Needless to say I appreciate this forum as a whole and for everyone's input so far. nobody is forcing you to post.

Anyway. I got called into work today, so I gave her another shot. I do think I am getting better at it. I can shift from 1st to 2nd now without any jerking, seems like a clear sign I am doing things more simultaneously.

Downshifting is one thing I am worried about though.. Like say I need to make a sharp right turn. I guess I could just come to a complete stop and return to 1st? I just don't want to over-rev the engine. I'm not worried about the engine per se, but I don't want to engage the clutch when the flywheel is going too fast.
Let's see, you are in third coming into the turn, start braking while pressing the clutch to be in neutral, when you get to the speed you want to turn at, put it in 2nd and let go of the clutch.
 

Lensdude_com

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2004
Location
Edmonton, AB
TDI
99.5 MK4 Jetta (ALH) "Betty" (sold), 2005 MK4 Jetta (BEW) "Stinky-Pete"
Learning to feel the moment of engagement as you lift your left foot will take all the voodoo out of properly launching your car from a standstill.
 

rms85702

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2013
Location
In the desert
TDI
2013 Jetta TDI
You know, it may sound a little stupid, but try driving with your shoes off. It was how I thought my wife to drive a stick. Be it a Jeep Wrangler with a five speed and a gas engine, not a smooth shifting German made transmission. It probably doesn't really matter as much with the hydraulic clutch set up as it would with the old linkage, but you can fell the car more maybe?

My wife would still would rather drive an automatic than a stick (this is why she has her Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD w/ an auto) but she can drive a stick. Practice makes perfect. I've been riding and driving things with manual transmissions all my life, and I still stall them from time to time, it just happens. My grandparent's Toyota 4Runner got the better of me last week in fact. :cool:
 

scooperhsd

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Location
Kansas City KS
TDI
NB, 2000, RED(5 Speed conversion) 2015 Golf SE
Amen - no matter how well practiced - even the best of us sometimes flub it up and kill the engine. Admittedly - it's much more difficult with our diesels....
 

Jayg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Location
Anchorage, AK
TDI
'12 Jetta 6MT-VW bought back as a lemon
DSG sounds like a better fit for you. Honestly, if you havent gotten at least comfortable with it in a month, then it's time to move on. And that's OK! Just don't ruin the next clutch trying.
 

Mitch

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 1999
Location
Groveland,FL,USA
TDI
98 New Beetle / 03 Beetle DSG
Dear lord... once again... get more help.

With a TDI you can just about let the clutch out without even touching the accelerator pedal. When/why are you slipping the clutch so much?
When I was teaching my daughter how to drive my TDI, I started her out with not using the accelerator until after the clutch was completely released.

Avoid San Francisco for a few years :)

Good Luck :)
 

Joe Fisher

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Location
Kalispell, MT
TDI
NA
My 2013 has a DSG, but I had a 2003 Jetta TDI wagon for 10 years that was a manual.

I killed it twice on the d*&m test drive.LOL, but after a few hours I loved that car!
 

autdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2004
Location
Alabama
TDI
2000 NB, 2003 NB, 2006 Touareg, 2015 Jetta, 2015 Jetta
Another alternative is a $500 beater from craigslist. So you completely trash the clutch learning how to drive one, the whole car was a wreck to start with. Get an anemic 4 cylinder, or a 3cyl Geo. You'll learn quick enough in a parking lot, or figure out you are never going to catch on. Then the worst you are out is the $500, but you'll probably get that selling to a scrap yard. There is the issue of having to trade again for the 2011 you have now for an auto, but at least it has a new clutch in it.
 

Transp0rt3r

New member
Joined
Oct 3, 2011
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
TDI
2011 Golf wagon TDI
Any suggestions on shifting technique to improve mileage? aka shifting RPMs, etc. I've yet to break 40mpg on my 2011 Golf wagon TDi and I am trying to find out why.

Car has 75000km currently. Most of the miles are city driven with occasional highway trips. My work commute is 20 km one way with so shopping trips so I'd say 60km easy / day.

I suspect mostly because of the city driving? Currently I have 5.8L/100 km in the city, highway would give me anywhere from 4.6-5L/100km

I usually shift around 2800rpm on fully warmed engine and around 2400 rpm when it's cold.
 

Lensdude_com

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2004
Location
Edmonton, AB
TDI
99.5 MK4 Jetta (ALH) "Betty" (sold), 2005 MK4 Jetta (BEW) "Stinky-Pete"
Any suggestions on shifting technique to improve mileage? I usually shift around 2800rpm on fully warmed engine and around 2400 rpm when it's cold.
Nothing wrong with your shift points. Before the coolant is warm I shift between 2000-2500 rpm and after it's warm between 2500-3000 rpm.
There are a few economy tricks to use when city driving.

  1. Use engine braking as often as possible by keeping some distance between the car ahead of you (don't grab a lower gear to slow the car unless you heel'n-toe because brakes are cheaper than clutches).
  2. Resist the temptation to be the first car across the intersection when the light turns green.
  3. Only use your momentum during turns by coasting in gear and applying the power when you've straightened the steering wheel. (if you feel that you have to lean your upper body toward the direction you're turning then you're carrying too much momentum through the apex of the corner).
  4. The truly frugal (environmentalist) will turn the engine off at red lights to save a few more drips of diesel. (it is annoying driving behind the truly frugal).
 

Cgiroux

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Location
Cherry Hill, NJ
TDI
none
You came here for some help. I'm local guy who offer to help you. It was rude of you not to respond, a no thank you would been fine. This is one of those things that are easier to explain with human contact.

true.

thanks for the offer, but no thanks

You want to engage the clutch a quickly as possible while still accomplishing a smooth start. Lingering, half-engaged will heat things up quickly and lead to early clutch demise. When I say quickly, I don't mean a 'racing start', I just mean feather the clutch the least amount possible while still getting the car moving without drama. It doesn't take a lot of RPM's w/our diesels. You can literally idle from a stop unless on a really steep hill... even then.
This is my problem. I 'linger' and I'm not as simultaneous as I should be. Even if I creep the car forward with the clutch alone and virtually 0% gas, I'm not causing any harm, right?

I park on a somewhat crowned road and I don't believe I can move forward with only the clutch. Instead I roll backwards. So I need to give it a little gas first (maybe 1K RPM?) but again, I linger.

I still think that playing around with my seat distance might help at all.

I need to also practice downshifting because I notice my right turns are excessively wide. =/ I'm on my way to work, going straight, I've just shifted into 3rd gear and then a couple seconds later comes a sharp right turn on a very slight hill into a parking lot. To be fair it is a small entrance, but I am partially in the way of the left side where a car would exit from.
 
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Lensdude_com

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2004
Location
Edmonton, AB
TDI
99.5 MK4 Jetta (ALH) "Betty" (sold), 2005 MK4 Jetta (BEW) "Stinky-Pete"
At this point I have to ask if this is a joke.
Some of us like to row our own gears because we loathe the slush-box while others remain beguiled. Automagic trannies weren't invented exclusively for the ladies. :rolleyes:
 

DEZLBOY

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 19, 1999
Location
Arlington VA
TDI
2000 Golf GLS, Candy White
Hi....

First....good move coming here for help, the above ideas are excellent. If I may, these are the ideas that stuck with me.

1. start on level ground, just letting clutch out to move
2. on level ground, practice with clutch and gas
3. and while doing 1 and 2, don't over think it. Once in a while just do it without thinking. It will become a habit. I bet you don't think about all the steps you take when shifting your cycle.
4. don't get frustrated!
 

Transp0rt3r

New member
Joined
Oct 3, 2011
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
TDI
2011 Golf wagon TDI
Nothing wrong with your shift points. Before the coolant is warm I shift between 2000-2500 rpm and after it's warm between 2500-3000 rpm.
There are a few economy tricks to use when city driving.

  1. Use engine braking as often as possible by keeping some distance between the car ahead of you (don't grab a lower gear to slow the car unless you heel'n-toe because brakes are cheaper than clutches).
  2. Resist the temptation to be the first car across the intersection when the light turns green.
  3. Only use your momentum during turns by coasting in gear and applying the power when you've straightened the steering wheel. (if you feel that you have to lean your upper body toward the direction you're turning then you're carrying too much momentum through the apex of the corner).
  4. The truly frugal (environmentalist) will turn the engine off at red lights to save a few more drips of diesel. (it is annoying driving behind the truly frugal).
Thank you!

1)I will try to master heel'n-toe on this car but it's a bit different than on my old Subaru. It didn't have drive-by-wire acc pedal :D So now I have to have my heel a bit higher than before in order to apply acceleration.
2) Working on that! :p
3) Found this on the other forum and it is really helpful actually, in saving fuel.
4) Hahaha no way I am doing this :eek:
 

whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
true.

thanks for the offer, but no thanks
Really, the best way for you to learn is with someone that knows what they are doing with a TDI. If you resist offers of hands-on help, then I for one, won't be giving any advice.

You need to sit and watch as someone goes through it and ask questions, then switch positions and show them what you are doing and ask more questions.

The problem with trying to teach this over the internet is that people have learned this so that it really is as natural as breathing. And when people can do things without giving it the slightest thought, it's difficult for them to teach because it's so natural to them.

Have a seasoned mechanic try to teach how to line up parts and start a bolt. It's natural for the person doing it a hundred times a day, but they don't even think about what they are doing so they have long ago forgotten what they have to do to feel everything into place.

But there is a huge difference in teaching someone face to face and teaching them via the internet.

Really, you need someone to work with you one on one. If you paid for someone to teach you to drive a Manual transmission and you still don't have it down, then you overpaid for the class.
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
TDI
1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
Dear lord... once again... get more help.

With a TDI you can just about let the clutch out without even touching the accelerator pedal. When/why are you slipping the clutch so much?
This is the answer you are looking for, on pretty much any TDI you can let the clutch out to get going without touching the throttle.

It is really easy to do this on all pre CR engine equipped cars, PD engines are not quite as easy to do this in as rotary type injection pump engined cars. But with a little practice this can also be done easily even in CR cars.

Let the clutch out slowly in a controlled manner until the car start to move then once your foot is all the way off the clutch then give it throttle. Follow these instructions and the clutch will last the life of the car!


i believe that manual is learned by most...but is not a skill most master well....but there is a few that just cant do it.
Over the years I have taught over 60 drivers how to row their own gears. Most were screaming babies( wives & ex-girlfriends ), screaming I can't do this!!!

After a few stalls and after using a few confidence building exercises I have learned are good teaching tools I have not ever had someone that couldn't learn. Diesels have unbelievable amounts of torque from idle on so are the easiest vehicles on sale today here to learn in. Small displacement gassers in asian models have almost no torque from idle so are a lot harder to learn in...

The best place for someone to start at in a diesel is to learn to consistently be able to get started without any throttle inputs.

GEt where you can do that on a VW diesel and you have the skill that will serve you on anything else you ever drive manual trans.

A good exercise is to sit in the car rowing the gears up & down without the engine running. Practice working the the throttle and clutch without the engine running.

GET where you can do this consistently without having to think about what you are doing in practice mode not actually driving anywhere.

Then not on the street but on a flat surface, parking lots are good, work on getting car going by controlling the clutch without any throttle input. Once you get this down where you can start moving consistently without throttle input and without killing the engine you are then ready to get on the street.......
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
TDI
1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
I have to ask, you have someone local willing to show you what you are doing wrong why are you refusing to even consider meeting them to see if they can help you???????????

In the end that is only way you ever get what many here are trying to get across to you........
 

oldpoopie

Vendor
Joined
May 14, 2001
Location
Portland Oregon
TDI
2001 golf gl, 2006 jetta, 1981 ALH swapped rabbit pickup, 1998 beetle
Really, the best way for you to learn is with someone that knows what they are doing with a TDI. If you resist offers of hands-on help, then I for one, won't be giving any advice.
You need to sit and watch as someone goes through it and ask questions, then switch positions and show them what you are doing and ask more questions.
The problem with trying to teach this over the internet is that people have learned this so that it really is as natural as breathing. And when people can do things without giving it the slightest thought, it's difficult for them to teach because it's so natural to them.
Have a seasoned mechanic try to teach how to line up parts and start a bolt. It's natural for the person doing it a hundred times a day, but they don't even think about what they are doing so they have long ago forgotten what they have to do to feel everything into place.
But there is a huge difference in teaching someone face to face and teaching them via the internet.
Really, you need someone to work with you one on one. If you paid for someone to teach you to drive a Manual transmission and you still don't have it down, then you overpaid for the class.
Dog, ill side with the OP on is one. The last person id want teaching me something in-person is someone who gets all hurt and worked up over internet ettiquite. Perhaps the OP missed the post. Perhaps they just aren't comfortable with strangers.

That said. The OP should bet instruction in their own vehicle from someone who knows how to drive a tdi.
 

MKT

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2012
Location
Temecula, CA
TDI
Ford F250 6.0, wifey has 2012 Jetta TDI
You say you park on a crowned road and roll backwards when starting out. Sounds to me like you haven't yet figured out the engage/release point on your clutch and are spending way too much time between the floorboard and catch point (you are dragging the clutch out). Same thing will happen if you rest your foot on the clutch pedal.

Like many others have already said, practice in a flat parking lot. Taught my daughter to get smooth starts in just a few minutes and she has almost zero coordination (typical teenager). Try it, no throttle needed - complete stop with foot off the throttle, clutch all the way to the floor for the first start. Ease the clutch slowly, a millimeter at at time until you feel the clutch engage the pressure plate (should feel the vibration in your left foot), as soon as you feel that put the clutch back on the floor. Repeat a couple times. After a couple three attempts you should not have moved. Now try it again and let the clutch come up a little more until you start rolling forward, soon as you start moving put the clutch on the floor and let the car roll to a stop. Repeat a couple three times and you should now know the engagement point pretty well.

The only time my foot stays on the clutch pedal is from start out to the shift to second (usually because that is a quick shift) every other time my foot comes completely off the pedal.

Keep practicing, you'll get it.
 
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