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Old 07-06-2006, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NorCal
Posts: 996
Anyone in NJ want to teach me to drive a stick shift?

Apparently the only driving school around here that had manual transmission lessons stopped giving them two weeks ago. I have a pretty good idea of how the mechanism works, but absolutely no access to a car with a manual. So if anyone in north or central Jersey's feeling charitable... I'll buy you some gas
Old 07-06-2006, 10:23 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NorCal
Posts: 996
I do have my license! The mention of a driving school might have been confusing.
Old 07-06-2006, 10:32 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,167
Nice. Offering to break someones car for them. The response should be overwhelming.

I have a spare pickup you could use. It was mine from high school I got in 1989 but that is in Massachusetts. I would suggest you use a really crappy car for your sake and also for the person that teaches you.

Here is the key to the whole thing. The clutch has a small transition zone when you start to let it out called the friction point. This is when the power is transitioning to the engine. Every person who learns to drive a standard has to fight the tendency to just let the clutch straight out. That causes the engine to die. What you want to do is let the clutch out slllowwllyy until you feel the car moving just a hair. The you apply some gas and then let it out ssllloowlly some more and don't let the clutch out quickly at that point. When you first learn, really feel the clutch and do things more slowly than you planned. At some point that you learn, you can let the clutch all the way out and away you go.

All of this is much more automatic and seamless after you learn but it takes time and it is something you actually have to do many times over. It isn't the easiest thing to learn. Expect a day just to be functional and weeks or more not to be a road hazard.
Old 07-07-2006, 01:56 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 16,451
Take a vacation to California and I will be happy to teach you.
Bay area or LA your choice I have stick cars in both locations.
Old 07-07-2006, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: detroit, east-side
Posts: 4,405
Don't travel to Michigan and have my uncle 'teach' you. I didn't get it immediately (I'm talking within 10 minutes, here) and so he kept laughing at me and making comments. To add insult to injury, my mom doesn't see why I got upset.

So I have barely rudimentary skills in stick shift driving, want to have (and thus, learn beforehand) a stick shift, and am terrified of trying again and being made fun of the whole time. Sigh.
Old 07-07-2006, 01:02 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Posts: 270
I learned to drive on a manual transmission. Fun! I wish I could help you out - I love driving a stick - but I no longer own one.
Old 07-07-2006, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 9,193
If you understasnd the principles, then I have one piece of advice: get hold of a vehicle from a good friend (or bitter enemy) and PRACTICE ALONE. You can learn the principles in this short thread, but you need to get a feel for the clutch. The clutch is not a mystery. Any old idiot can use one. You just need to get the feel for it, and to do so without the owner present and panicking.]

Learning alone in a parking lot or field rocks. So what if you kangaroo hop or stall? Just try again. It will suddenly 'click'.
Old 07-07-2006, 05:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: The great PNW.
Posts: 3,636
As has been said, it's a matter of coordinating your feet and getting the feel of when the cluth engages. I'd suggest doing this on a level surface in an empty parking lot, or similar location. Start the engine, depress the cluth and put the transmission into first gear. Without touching the accelerator, slooowly let the clutch out until the vehicle begins to move. If it jerks, or stalls, you've let it out too fast, try again. Once you can get the vehicle into motion w/o jerking, or stalling, then begin to try again, but now apply a little accelerator just as the clutch begins to take hold. You should be doing this smoothly within minutes, then a bit of practice, maybe on a slight grade so you have to move your right foot from the brake to the accelerator and your on your way.
Old 07-07-2006, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Portman Road
Posts: 17,369
I disagree with A. R. Cane, because that's not how I was taught to do it (by an actual driving instructor, fwiw).

Only to be done off the road (or on a deserted road, in my case)....with all brakes off, the clutch down, and first gear engaged, bring the revs up a little, hold them at a steady rate. Then bring the clutch up to the bite point, and back down. Repeat. Finding the bite point is the first step. Then increase the revs slightly as you find the bite point, and bring the left foot up slightly as the right goes down. This contrary motion is key. The car should start to roll.

If you get any kangarooing, floor the left foot to kill it. Then restart. Gradually, you'll get the car moving smoothly as you reach the bite point, and be able to cruise in 1st gear. And get arrested for cruising, perhaps...

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