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· aaaaaalright
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got my 05 MCS this weekend (ill post some pics soon)

I never drove stick before. While im not doing that bad for my first time - i only put about 15 miles on the car - i cant figure out first gear. Im fine in every other gear, even reverse for some reason...

Ive tried giving it a lot of gas and a little gas to start out, i always end up having the car jerk on me. I have no idea of how to coordiante both feet to have the clutch come up and the gas go down, every time i do that the car lunges forward. It takes me about 5-10 seconds to get the car moving from first(that doesnt include shifting)

it seems like theres no in between in having the clutch all the way out and having it all the way up.

i cant seem to find a consitent method, i feel like im just getting lucky when everything goes right. And whenever i screw up i get annoyed because i know im kicking the crap out of a brand new clutch and transmission. I either lunge forward or stall (or get lucky) nothing to extreme hopefully not damaging...

What is the secret to first gear in this car, im in a helpless state right now
 

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hey im a newb too in stick shift so dont worry

i think all u need is practice
try just playing around wiht ur clutch to find the "clutch" pt.
thats the pt where u can feel the car moving a bit then give it a little gas while releasing the clutch
remember this action is to be done simultaneously
another way is just giving a little bit gas then releasing the clutch slowly or riding it........till u accelerate tomaybe 10-15 km then release the clutch
riding the clutch is not good but try to get hang of it first , just my 0.02 while i was learning stick

maybe some pro. will come in and schoo us both hehe

oh when u get good at it try double clutching and heal + toe!
:p
 

· Range Rover SDV8!
Range Rover SDV8, Triumph Tiger & Triumph Trophy
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The answer!

From what you have described I think I know exactly what you are doing wrong :)

I have taught several people to drive manual (stick) cars and they nearly always make the same mistake early on.

You are right that you have to coordinate letting out the clutch with using a little "gas". The mistake that everone then makes is to let the clutch out far too quickly as soon as it starts to "bite". This always results in either the car stalling (too few revs) or the car jerking down the road (enough revs).

First, find a quiet bit of road that's flat. Then, the answer is to hold the revs at whatever they need to be so as not to stall the car (about 2000 rpm) and then as soon as you feel the clutch start to "bite" let the clutch out the rest of the way really, really, slowly. Repeat several times! You will move off smootly.

Try this a few times and you will soon get the hang of the "feel" of the clutch and be able to choose the correct way of doing it for yourself.

Good luck, it IS worth all the bother.

Tigger

Please let us know how you get on!
 

· All 4 wheels pointed down
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656 Posts
dave316 said:
I just got my 05 MCS this weekend (ill post some pics soon)

I never drove stick before. While im not doing that bad for my first time - i only put about 15 miles on the car - i cant figure out first gear. Im fine in every other gear, even reverse for some reason...

Ive tried giving it a lot of gas and a little gas to start out, i always end up having the car jerk on me. I have no idea of how to coordiante both feet to have the clutch come up and the gas go down, every time i do that the car lunges forward. It takes me about 5-10 seconds to get the car moving from first(that doesnt include shifting)

it seems like theres no in between in having the clutch all the way out and having it all the way up.

i cant seem to find a consitent method, i feel like im just getting lucky when everything goes right. And whenever i screw up i get annoyed because i know im kicking the crap out of a brand new clutch and transmission. I either lunge forward or stall (or get lucky) nothing to extreme hopefully not damaging...

What is the secret to first gear in this car, im in a helpless state right now
Hi Dave,

Learning to two with both feet is an interesting task. A new clutch driver has the tendency to let the clutch out "too fast." A new driver "usually" does one of two things when starting out in 1st gear. Two things happen when you fall into this pitfall, 1) the car jerks/lungs or 2) the car stalls. Every once one in a while you get it right and go forward fine. But I found this to be the biggest issue when overcoming the fear/frustration of 1st gear.. When you try next time, you need to shut off all sounds within the car so that you can listen to what it is trying to tell you. This is where the quality time with your car begins. Just you and it.
Driving with two feet is a give and take relationship. When starting out in first, you have to give the car enough gas/air to want to move forward (gas pedal). Letting up on the clutch pedal, you slowly start to engage the transmission and the car moves forward. Give too much gas and you chirp the tires, give too little and you jerk/stall.
You have to learn the "feel" of the clutch pedal (the resistance level). Once that is accomplished, work on letting the clutch pedal up very slowly. I stress slowly! Now try it with the car running... Rev the car to about 1500rpms, and now that you mastered the clutch pedal, let it out slowly. You will start to learn the "point" at which the clutch engages the transmission and the car will move forward.
This is where it sometimes gets tricky for new drivers in that you have to monitor two things at once now, while watching for traffic/pedestrians. 1) Where are you in the clutch pedal motion, and if you are releasing it slowly 2) and what is the current engine rpm. As you slowly let the clutch pedal out, the car's rpms will start to drop a little as the car starts to move forward. Feel free to give it some more gas IF/WHEN the car drops below 1000rpms so that it does not stall. Remember to continue to let clutch pedal out slowly at this point. New drivers have the tendency to shift focus onto the gas pedal now and forget the clutch by releasing it all the way now, hence, the car will chirp/lung/jerk. Or, they get nervous and over rev while still letting out the clutch. Practice, practice, practice. As you get the hang of it, you will start to learn how to get the vehicle moving at 1000rpms, or 2000 rpms, or just letting go at 3000+ and roasting the tires. Or the ever popular, getting going while on a upward hill at a stop light and the person behind you is up your $^&! Always exciting!

Stalling the car is a byproduct of letting the clutch out and not giving it enough gas. The lung/jerk is a byproduct of letting the clutch out too fast and pushing on the gas pedal out of rhythm. It has to be a smooth motion, as one pedal comes up, the other will be going down. No jerky movements. You need to learn this rhythm in order to smoothy launch the vehicle.

There is a second method, but your transmission/clutch will not like it. That is starting out in second gear from a stop. A little more difficult, but allows you to get the idea of what as to happen from a stand still without the car being as touchy as it is in first gear. It forces you to give the car gas while letting the clutch out.

You will probably be slow at this for a little while, everyone is! It is kind of like learning to walk again, one foot in front of the other. While difficult to grasp in the beginning, look at what you can do now, you can run!

So, in conclusion, what I am trying to say is.... Get the car to 1500rpms, slowly let the clutch out, as the vehicle starts to move forward, the rpms will drop, push the gas pedal in about 1/4-1/2 inch, continue to let the clutch and begin motoring.

Let us know what happens! And if this rambling made any sense or helped out! It is 1125pm now, and time for nighty night!

Best of luck!

Some good articles as well:
http://www.10w40.com/individual/100186.asp
http://www.standardshift.com/faq.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_3234_drive-car-with.html
 

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Every manual gearbox & clutch action take a bit of getting used to. Some of your problem may be related to your seat position, that is, how your feet fit to the pedals.

When the clutch is depressed to the floor, ensure that your knee is slightly bent and your leg comfortably extended. You don't want to stretch to reach the pedals and your body should be well-balanced. Adjust your seat forward or aft to fit this position. Sit upright in the seat with your lower (lumbar) back comfortably pressed against the seat. Take time to ensure that the seat is not too high or low. When driving, don't bend over either way, don't look at the gearshift lever when changing gears, look ahead at traffic.

Adapting to the clutch will come with practice, just make sure you're positioned properly before attempting to drive.

It's always the little details that will get you. . .

Good luck!
 

· aaaaaalright
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All this info is really helpful, when im off work today, im going to put in at least an hour of all the advice here.

One thing i was wondering also, is how badly am i screwing up the new clutch and transmission by having the problems i stated before?

Shuold i let someone who is an expert at stick shift drive the car through its break in period before i start again, or does it matter at this point?

thanks again for all the help, ill definitly let you all know my progress
 

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You're probably not harming anything. Just take it easy until you get the procedure sorted out.

Practice keeping the RPMs as low as possible when you start out in first, less wear and tear on the clutch.

Good luck!
 

· 0.1mpg (Miles per Grin)
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Also worth noting...

...that a lot of S's stumble at low revs - see all the posts regarding "Yo Yo"-ing. So it might not necessarily be your technique. This is a "feature" that I thought had been fixed in newer cars though.
 

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I also heard that because of the lack of torque and power @ low RPM, the MINI is hard to learn stick in. I might be wrong with this information but nonetheless it took me a while to get use to the clutch too. So don't worry, give it some time and you'll get used to it! Practice makes perfect!
 

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Dave,
You received a lot of good advice here. Everyone of us reading your post knows we went through near identical learning curves. Hang in, practice (and practice) and in a few months you'll be giving out advice. It really does become intuitive quickly.
 

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Great advice ... and I have been driving manuals since 1985 (in England before I emigrated) and I *still* stalled the MCS a couple of times on the first test drive :(

As well as Tigger/Eeyore/Roos advice, try: apply the parking brake tight, then hold revs about 2000-2500 and gently let up the clutch. As it starts to bite you will feel the car pull downward as it tries to move. Push the clutch back in and the car will sit up again ... repeat many times till you are comfy with where the clutch starts to bite.

As for damaging anything - what you are doing won't hurt anything. The worst is to keep the clutch pressed partly down so you are "slipping the clutch" for a long time - high engine revs but not much wheel speed. Then the clutch is being burned up.
 

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I have heard some say that you can learn by trying to move the car forward by just letting it idle and S-L-O-W-L-Y letting the clutch up so as to not kill the engine (giving it NO throttle).

Obviously you need to do this on an empty road or parking lot. I'm not sure if this is a good method on a small displacement engine like in the MINI (have not tried it myself since I have been driving stick over 25 years), but the focus of this method is freeing the new driver to concentrate on ONE item and ONE item only: getting the feel of the clutch "bite" point and how to use it. Once this is practiced until it becomes somewhat "natural", you can then add the accelerator pedal into the equation, and start practicing the coordination between the two as described in above posts.

Personally, my MCS has about the smoothest clutch takeup I have ever seen - just terrific, great feel of the bite point and easy to modulate. I can easily launch the car at around 1100-1200 rpms for a normal traffic launch. I think I could teach an 8-yr. old to drive stick in this car.

This may come easier for some than others. I learned to drive "three on a tree" in a 1969 International (Scout) pickup truck on a State of Illinois highway construction project (stalling and bucking down the highway project right of way).

Best of luck ! You will love to drive stick once past the learning curve !
 

· aaaaaalright
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks to all the great advice here, last night was a blast for me. I practiced untill i finally got the hang of getting into first, and now i can without any problem.

Drving stick is awesome, i dont know why i never tried before, i dont think im ever going back.

Thank you all for all your help
 

· Motoring since 8/4/04 :)
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dave316 said:
thanks to all the great advice here, last night was a blast for me. I practiced untill i finally got the hang of getting into first, and now i can without any problem.

Drving stick is awesome, i dont know why i never tried before, i dont think im ever going back.

Thank you all for all your help
Congratulations! :cool:
 

· MINI Geek
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dave316 said:
thanks to all the great advice here, last night was a blast for me. I practiced untill i finally got the hang of getting into first, and now i can without any problem.

Drving stick is awesome, i dont know why i never tried before, i dont think im ever going back.

Thank you all for all your help
Awesome. It's always good to see auto-people converted to manuals :)
 

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The smaller the engine, the more difficult it is to start from a standstill. Torque runs the car, not horsepower, and smaller engines have a lot less torque at low RPM's. I've had cars with a stick from 1100cc to 4 liter, and the smaller the engine, the more difficult it is to start off. But that just means that it is a "skill" that you have to learn, like starting on a hill or steep incline - just takes experience. An engine like the MC/S acts like a low horsepower engine at low RPM and a high horsepower engine at high RPM, so you need to know how to deal with both types.

Just follow the directions to Carnegie Hall and you should be fine.
 

· going or coming?
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Oh, great advice for all noobs.
Find a big empty parking lot, and just practice. I've always had manual cars (15+ years) and learned on a '74 pickup, and did find the MINI tricky at first - my wife killed it several times. Tall 1st gear wants a bit of gas. It would be a bit tricky for a first-time stick driver for a week or so. Find a friend with a Honda or Toyota - very easy transmissions to learn on.
 

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OMG, I didn't realise learning to drive a stick was so hard!!

I've been driving for 14 years now and I suppose I took it for granted when I learnt to drive a stick... the vast majority of learners in the UK learn in a stick and it's just second nature to us really.

Reading the help from many of the members here makes me feel sorry for you, it sounds so hard. But it does make it sound harder than it is. You'll pick it up in no time, I promise.

Richard.
 
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