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The Future Of The Manual Transmission

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,916
    It always has been!

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  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
    Sorry, must have been geezing... :)

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
  • rumc3rumc3 Posts: 31
    I see lots of "kids" driving Jettas, etc, because, apparently, they're "cool." But after hearing from a younger co-worker about how the almost-new Jetta she bought had ball joints fail at 25,000 miles and how the dealer told her she'd have to pay for it because it was "normal wear and tear," I say "NO THANKS!"

    An experienced VW mechanic told me long ago that "German cars require lots of maintenance." Now, they're apparently using junk parts on them, too.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
    I agree. A year or so I visited a Honda/VW dealer and was talking to the guys who do the service write-ups. Both of them said that VWs have far more problems than the Hondas.

    Bob
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I still haven't driven a DSG equipped car yet, curious about modulating the shifts.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    don't give in - three pedals only! :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    well in my mind, I don't know how you can really drive the car without that third pedal to modulate the engagement, but I'd still like to try a DSG to see what it is like.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    just don't forget where your roots are! :D

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Hey when you try it, I'm curious to know how it feels like when you slow to a stop. Does it know to go to neutral? Or do they have some other anti-stall measure. Following the same idea, how does it engage first when you're just starting to move?

    I guess when I think about it I can see the appeal too, but I hope I never tire of the all-your-hands-and-feet dance.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,662
    I did test drive an A3 with DSG. It did shift quick and tight, much better than most autos I've driven.

    IIRC, as you slow down, it downshifts along the way, so you drop gears as you slow. It doesn't hold a high gear or drop into neutral and coast. It is a little disorienting at first, hearing and seeing downshifts when you haven't pushed a clutch or moved a lever!

    Functionally, I actually liked DSG. Not enough to give up the third pedal (probably), but if my requirements changed, forcing me into 2 pedal mode, this is a decent compromise.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    into "two pedal mode" would be to loose the use of my left foot! Even in that dire circumstance, I would attempt to devise a hand operated clutch before I would acquiesce to the shiftless life.
  • potemkinpotemkin Posts: 196
    The next innovation I'd like to see is a clutch that won't engage if you down shift to where it would over-rev the engine. I'm not sure how it work or if there's a safety issue that needs to be worked out, but I'd sure like the same peace-of-mind that the rev limiter gives me applied to the shift lever.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,662
    How about an electirc clutch? That's what the DSG and SMG have. If they can hook it up to buttons, why not an actual clutch pedal?

    Heck, they have virtual brakes now (MB) and gas pedals, why not a virtual clutch? It would be like a driving simulator.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Great idea potemkin. I used to think high-end cars did that (I read something in a Porsche magazine when the Boxster was coming out, but I didn't know anything about how cars actually worked back then). But I guess it's mechanically difficult given how clutches work.

    I'm trying to think of a non-electronic way to do it but no luck. So electronically...

    Cars already have fuel-cutoff at redline. So the computer knows when you're revving too high. All you need now is for the fuel-cut off trigger to also trigger a mechanical disengagement of the clutch. I'd rather not use an electric clutch; I don't see how they're going to give that any feel. (It's kinda stupid when they go through the trouble of making electric steering, throttle, and/or brakes feel like simulations of the real thing, when the real thing is what we want in the first place!) Without one, you just need an actuator to push the clutch open. It wouldn't be the fastest thing in the world, but cars tend to have some margin of error in their redlines.
  • potemkinpotemkin Posts: 196
    I was thinking that all it would take is a secondary lever to act upon the throw-out bearing should the on board computer determine that the vehicle is traveling too fast for the gear that the driver has selected. In this case the clutch lever tied to the left foot would release but the secondary lever would keep the pressure plate disengaged.

    Of course, everything I know about transmissions I got here: How Clutches Work, so I'm sure someone here smarter than I can explain why this isn't feasible.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,786
    This has probably already been said here, but I see the cell phone as one of the contributors to the decline in the manual transmission. I'm one of the last people on earth who doesn't have a cell, but I can imagine it would be a little hard to shift my 02 Accord and talk on the phone at the same time. A cousin of mine, who shifted all here life and had a 1990 Integra coupe with a manual, recently bought a brand new top of the line Passat, with an auto. She's a doctor, and sometimes must talk on the phone in her car, and so another manual person was lost to the auto.

    Another reason for the death of the auto is that there used to be a huge gap in mileage between autos and manuals. Back when autos only had three speeds, and manuals had five, you might get 25% better mpg with a manual. These days the mpg difference with 5 speed autos is very small.

    Still, I think if you really love driving a manual can't be beat. And I still think that over the life of the car you're going to save money. Nearly a grand less at the time of purchase, and then a couple more mpg, and my guess is that manuals last longer and that repairs cost less too (is that true?)

    Ben
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I've had a mobile phone since 1985, and I've never had anything but a manual transmission in any of my new cars. Having said that, I've also made sure that a "Hands Free" option was available for me as well. Currently there are a number of states that have laws on the books that prohibit using a mobile phone unless you are using a hands free option of some sort, so I don't really think that mobile phone usage will really have much of an impact on manual transmission usage in the future.

    To take it a step further, on cars like the new E90 BMW, you can order the Bluetooth option that effectively integrates a Bluetooth capable phone into the car's audio system, controllable from the steering wheel. BMW has then integrated a microphone in the headliner and projects the voice of the person on the other end of the phone connection through the audio system speakers. As a result, your hands are kept on the controls of the vehicle through all phases of a call operation, allowing you to shift while you talk.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,748
    I'll back Shipo up on this point. I got my first cell in 1986 when I drove a new Prelude
    5 speed and had a succession of stick shift cars afterwards with no problem.

    I currently drive a Steptronic BMW but that's for medical reasons and has nothing to do with a desire to drive and talk at the same time, which I try to avoid. I believe it can be distracting and one should give ALL their attention to driving.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Personally I don't see the difference between talking to someone on the phone (assuming a hands free option) or talking to someone in the car itself. True, both can be distracting, I just make sure that my first priority is "Driving the car", even if that causes some pregnant pauses or other such gaps on the conversation. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,128

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    manual shifter and cell phone user here...and not even hands-free. I'm one of those people on the poster for unsafe cell phone uses, LOL. I know, boo hiss, boo hiss. It's legal here for now, and I'm wondering just how closely I will adhere to the law when they outlaw it.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    and shifting my Sportage 4x4 into 3rd gear at the same time. To enjoy a manual tranny you must enjoy driving and shifting, not eating, shifting and talking on the cell at the same time. I don't think it should be legal to drive and talk on the phone at the same time. People drive crappy enough and don't know the driving laws as it is. Put a stupid phone in their hands and things get a whole lot uglier very quickly.

    If we could do without cell phones for so long why is it suddnely so obligatory to gab about nothing constantly while driving now? Cell phones should only be used while parked in the car.

    Here's another thought to ponder as the SAS pushed and fouled their way past the Sonics into the Western Conference Finals and continue on in the playoffs: is the turn signal quickly becoming extinct in America? Especially on the freeway. :confuse:

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    I could care less for them.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    turn signals are mandated for use when changing lanes on the freeway in my state. Would that the cops would give more tickets for this sort of thing. Instead, it is speeders, speeders, speeders, and I know there are already more than enough of them to keep the cops' hands full.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    I think you joggled the answer out of my mind when you said that the cops are so busy catching speeders they don't have time to give tickets to people not using their turn signals. To me, if the law is to put your turn signal on then you should put your turn signal on. It's not negotiable, ya know what I mean? Have the American people gotten so prideful, nasty, dumb and lazy that they can't even show proper respect for each other on the streets and freeways and turn on their turn signals? I don't know how many times I've waited while drivers come up to an intersection wondering what they'll do. Then all of a sudden they turn in one fell swoop, without signaling, of course. Meanwhile, maybe I could've gone the way I intended to go without waiting. By turning on your signal you are communicating your intention to other drivers on the road. Hello, Americans, that is a good thing. Not bad or evil or stupid. Good. Use your turn signals and drive responsibly.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    This has probably already been said here, but I see the cell phone as one of the contributors to the decline in the manual transmission

    I do agree with this. People posting here downplayed it and said "well, you can get hands free"... Face it, people here are enthusiasts - they would try to figure out a way to drive a stick even if their left leg was amputated!...I do agree, for the less hardcore, the use of cell phones has contributed to even fewer people wanting a stick shift.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Face it, people here are enthusiasts - they would figure out a way to drive a stick even if their left leg was amputated...I do agree that the use of cell phones has contributed to even fewer people wanting a stick shift."

    Hmmm, tried it, couldn't make it work. :mad: Maybe that was because instead of having my left leg amputated, I just broke my right leg and partially tore that foot off. I just couldn't figure out how to sling my right leg, cast and all, over the console, and then operate the clutch, brake and gas pedals with just my left foot. As such, I learned how to drive Mrs. Shipo's mini-van left footed with my right leg slid over into the passenger's foot well. Mrs. Shipo the proceeded to get very used to driving my 530i to work every day, and after months in a cast she was heard to say, "Yeah, and as soon as his cast comes off, I'm going to break the other one."

    Needless to say, the very day my cast came off, I went out and practiced with the 530i to see of the foot was strong enough to use the brake pedal. Happily it turned out to be "good enough", barely. So far at least, I still have both of my legs, and they are both still reasonably functional. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • smgusersmguser Posts: 1
    "Most of the time I shifty fairly quick, but of course that is a little "rougher" for passenger comfort. When I have someone else in the car, I tend to shift slower and smoother. When I've got to scoot in a hurry, I slam through the gears. Some times you need a combination of those types on the fly."

    The real race driver does not shift quickly for sake of speed. The real race driver shifts smoothly to keep car balanced in traction. Have you ever seen what happens when you drive on limits of the car? I bet you thought that it is when you start skidding. It is not. It is when you have maximum speed at any time and you slip (not skid) the car.

    When you race on track you are supposed shift as if you had a passenger.
    For record I recommend advanced racing books from Ross Bentley and Skip Barber. They will cure "fast shifters".

    Also sequential gearbox is to eliminate mistakes by a driver as human being is the weakest link in modern racing set. At high speeds and tough competition on turny courses it is not unusual to make mistake. If you downshift too low then you can say good buy to main bearings. Sequential shifter with electronics may prevent that.

    Ina ny case you will never be faster with manual gearbox than with sequential on downshifts... unless you want to replace your clutch and dogs frequently. You are supposed to double clutch with throttle blip. With sequential you just blip on transition. That's what I do with my beemer keeping clutch alive while I can still downshift by 3-4 gears fairly quickly (braking is a limit) comparing to what I could do with manual being quite proficient on that type of gearbox but not expert (I am extremely smooth on manual gearbox though in any car after a few miles of try).

    Just try to imagine a mistake in F1 car equipped with 900 horsepower engine. If it was not sequential then it would be a grinding effect to mechanics.

    For those who wonder about flexibility of driving on different gears, M. Schumacher has taken second in one of GP (I believe in Spain) years ago... while almost whole race he ran on stuck 5 gear and it was not Ferrari. You gotta know dynamics and matching between engine and gears to achieve that, but it is doable.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I think you missed the point as you didn't address how to modulate the speed of engagement (my whole question/point of my previous post). I'm not talking at the track. Schumacher's not hauling 4 people around to dinner, jumping out in front of a semi or trailering a load in his Ferarri. These are the things that I'm not quite sure how you address on the fly with a SMG style tranny. I'm the first to admit when a technology can do something better, faster, stronger, etc than I and certainly understand it can shift faster than I can, but how can I vary it on the fly?

    At the track I can certainly see the advantage of a SMG style tranny though. Also, there is the simple part of the fact I enjoy the clutch pedal and rev matching. Just part of the experience that I enjoy. Not knocking those with SMG/DSG gearboxes.
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