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integraguy
integraguy Dork
5/3/11 9:39 p.m.

I would NOT try to teach someone how to drive a manual on a Japanese car with a "smallish" 4 cylinder engine. Why? I've owned and driven several small Japanese cars with a manual and I still occasionally stall them. Tho some of that is because I'm old and don't always shove the gas hard enough as I'm not into "jack rabbit" style starts.

And, while so many cars and trucks have a tach nowadays, be sure the one you use to teach on has a tach. (I learned to drive stick on a '49 Plymouth, and my folks had a '64 Country Squire with a manual trans. as their other car at the time.

I also agree about the parking lot, just be sure it is relatively free of light poles and shrubbery filled medians.

gunner
gunner New Reader
5/3/11 9:50 p.m.

I learned in an 88 VW GTI. it was used and the cable had rusted a bit. I ended up busting the pedal bracket to pieces but I did learn. So well that my 01 corolla has 180k miles on the original clutch. harder is better IMO.

KATYB
KATYB Reader
5/3/11 10:08 p.m.

parking lot starts without the gas also get them to accellarate through all the gears without using the gas. i used to teach people using that technique and always has worked perfect. one exception being an ex. she learned but could only drive that one car.... i dunno.... everyone else within a few hours they have it good enough to drive. the long circle road around malls is really good to teach how to judge when to upshift/downshift. and whoever your teaching make sure heals are not part of the equation. (i have an accident to my credit from 2 weeks ago caused by my heal getting stuck in the allweather floor mat and being on a hill and me freeing it while having given to much gas and tapping the guy in front of me.) oops......

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
5/3/11 10:32 p.m.

I taught my girlfriend and two other friends in my old Civic. The two guys had way more problems. Make sure you have them disengage the parking brake first though and try to teach them on a car without a tach.

lesabre400
lesabre400 New Reader
5/3/11 10:35 p.m.

While there's been great advice given regarding teaching methods, sounds like the biggest problem is procuring a stick-shift vehicle to learn on in the first place.

If you and your buddy are actually willing to purchase a beater, I've seen a number of sub-$500 manual cavaliers, golfs, etc. but you really need to consider what you'll end up doing with this car. Resell as soon as your buddy has learned stick? Challenge car? Or will he keep it as a daily driver?

For the record, I taught my wife on a 6-cyl Cherokee with no tach. She learned by feel (using the method described in one of the posts here) and will never go back to automatic.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
5/3/11 10:37 p.m.
CarKid1989 wrote:
HunterJP wrote: When starting out, don't let them touch the gas. At all. Flat surface, only clutch. Get them to feel the pickup, and get the car going from idle. Then, let them add gas. Doing this saves the clutch, and people usually pick up on driving one quicker.
Truer words have not been spoken. I have taught 4 people now. All of them "got it" and were driving on streets fairly well in about an hour each. Used the technique above and explaining what was actually happening in simple terms. I enjoy teaching people haha

For these simple term I use the following...
"The engine is running, right?"
"The wheels are not moving, right?"
The clutch is the gentle introduction of these two; the moving to the non-moving.
When done wrong, the non-moving wheels win and make the engine stop moving as well (stall.)
When the wheels are moving (even slightly) this introduction is much easier but even then the intro needs to be done smoothly to keep the car from bucking and snorting.

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado SuperDork
5/3/11 11:44 p.m.
93EXCivic wrote: I taught my girlfriend and two other friends in my old Civic. The two guys had way more problems. Make sure you have them disengage the parking brake first though and try to teach them on a car without a tach.

EXCiv,without a tach? Showing my girl the two different displays about speed vs. RPM is how I got her to understand there was a difference between them in the first place (she considered sound a distraction, not a help). Not disrespecting your idea, I'm just curious about it.

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado SuperDork
5/3/11 11:50 p.m.
KATYB wrote: parking lot starts without the gas also get them to accellarate through all the gears without using the gas. i used to teach people using that technique and always has worked perfect. one exception being an ex. she learned but could only drive that one car.... i dunno.... everyone else within a few hours they have it good enough to drive. the long circle road around malls is really good to teach how to judge when to upshift/downshift. and whoever your teaching make sure heals are not part of the equation. (i have an accident to my credit from 2 weeks ago caused by my heal getting stuck in the allweather floor mat and being on a hill and me freeing it while having given to much gas and tapping the guy in front of me.) oops......

I've found that downshifting is more difficult to teach than upshifting. And as far as the heels go..I tell the ladies in my life to keep a pair of flats in the car, just to drive with. I really don't know how much of a hassle it is for y'all to change shoes when y'all get out of the car, but I still claim it's a small price to pay compared to having an accident.

Grizz
Grizz New Reader
5/3/11 11:55 p.m.

I learned in a junkyard spec 3/4 ton Dodge pickup. Never stalled it because the 360 ignored pretty much all input beyond "The driver is mashing the go pedal to try to get you moving, maybe you should go before he hits you with a hammer again."

I hated the berkeleying thing, I'm so glad the seats fell through the floor and I had to get another vehicle.

sanman
sanman Reader
5/4/11 12:56 a.m.
lesabre400 wrote: While there's been great advice given regarding teaching methods, sounds like the biggest problem is procuring a stick-shift vehicle to learn on in the first place. If you and your buddy are actually willing to purchase a beater, I've seen a number of sub-$500 manual cavaliers, golfs, etc. but you really need to consider what you'll end up doing with this car. Resell as soon as your buddy has learned stick? Challenge car? Or will he keep it as a daily driver? For the record, I taught my wife on a 6-cyl Cherokee with no tach. She learned by feel (using the method described in one of the posts here) and will never go back to automatic.

Thanks for the teaching tips! I definitely do appreciate the teaching methods as I have never had to actually teach anyone to do it other than myself.

However, procuring the vehicle is still an issue. I did take a look at Cracklist and found a turbo mx6 with a leaking gasket and cracked windshield for $800 and a Thunderbird turbo coupe as well. My buddy just came up with the idea of picking up a 70's skylark he found and fixing it up for his dad as a birthday present in a year or two (since his dad is helping him with the down payment on a place for him and his fiancee). So, I might have something to tinker with and not have to foot the bill. Though, I have never really messed with old American metal, so this would be a new experience for me as well.We'll be looking at them this weekend. I'm still checking out rent-a-wreck and a driving school that rents out its manual car for road tests in addition to lessons.

NOHOME
NOHOME Reader
5/4/11 6:34 a.m.

I flip the nearest bicycle upside down and give the pedal a few spins to get the back wheel spinning. Then I ask the student to use two fingers to stop the tire smoothly.

If they take too long at it, they get a friction burn, if they just grab it, it yanks their hand.

Once they get that image in their thick skulls, it seems to go pretty easy.

KATYB
KATYB Reader
5/4/11 6:35 a.m.
friedgreencorrado wrote:
KATYB wrote: parking lot starts without the gas also get them to accellarate through all the gears without using the gas. i used to teach people using that technique and always has worked perfect. one exception being an ex. she learned but could only drive that one car.... i dunno.... everyone else within a few hours they have it good enough to drive. the long circle road around malls is really good to teach how to judge when to upshift/downshift. and whoever your teaching make sure heals are not part of the equation. (i have an accident to my credit from 2 weeks ago caused by my heal getting stuck in the allweather floor mat and being on a hill and me freeing it while having given to much gas and tapping the guy in front of me.) oops......
I've found that downshifting is more difficult to teach than upshifting. And as far as the heels go..I tell the ladies in my life to keep a pair of flats in the car, just to drive with. I really don't know how much of a hassle it is for y'all to change shoes when y'all get out of the car, but I still claim it's a small price to pay compared to having an accident.

depends on the shoes. but as a rule the more chance they have of hampering ability to drive the harder they are to change(this coming from a girl who owns 2 pairs of flats and one pair of sneakers) shoes that caused my accident were stillettos ya my fault.

poopshovel
poopshovel SuperDork
5/4/11 9:05 a.m.
The other thing I've found is that the emotional baggage between a parent or significant other and the student will shut down the listening process in a big hurry.

See also: Husband and wife. "Jesus berkeleying christ, honey! You've got this, we've been doing it for 8 hours, just pull out on the berkeleying highway for berkeley's sake!"

dollraves
dollraves Reader
5/4/11 11:57 a.m.

I kind of learned in 2 stages. I learned on an old Toyota Corolla.

1) Flat movie theater parking lot early on a Sunday morning. No gas (car off), do nothing but shift, shift, shift, until I knew where all the gears were. I probably did this for 20 minutes straight. Once comfortable, add gas...got up to 3rd gear to get across parking lot. Kept driving around parking lot until I was comfortable enough to drive us home. Total time spent in parking lot was probably 45 minutes.

2) Steep hill w/ high visibility on a college campus on a summer Saturday, up and down, to figure out how to feather and brake.

Been driving stick ever since. :D

ST_ZX2
ST_ZX2 Reader
5/4/11 11:58 a.m.

www.learnstickshift.com

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
5/4/11 12:06 p.m.
sanman wrote:
lesabre400 wrote: While there's been great advice given regarding teaching methods, sounds like the biggest problem is procuring a stick-shift vehicle to learn on in the first place. If you and your buddy are actually willing to purchase a beater, I've seen a number of sub-$500 manual cavaliers, golfs, etc. but you really need to consider what you'll end up doing with this car. Resell as soon as your buddy has learned stick? Challenge car? Or will he keep it as a daily driver? For the record, I taught my wife on a 6-cyl Cherokee with no tach. She learned by feel (using the method described in one of the posts here) and will never go back to automatic.
Thanks for the teaching tips! I definitely do appreciate the teaching methods as I have never had to actually teach anyone to do it other than myself. However, procuring the vehicle is still an issue. I did take a look at Cracklist and found a turbo mx6 with a leaking gasket and cracked windshield for $800 and a Thunderbird turbo coupe as well. My buddy just came up with the idea of picking up a 70's skylark he found and fixing it up for his dad as a birthday present in a year or two (since his dad is helping him with the down payment on a place for him and his fiancee). So, I might have something to tinker with and not have to foot the bill. Though, I have never really messed with old American metal, so this would be a new experience for me as well.We'll be looking at them this weekend. I'm still checking out rent-a-wreck and a driving school that rents out its manual car for road tests in addition to lessons.

The MX6 is a good car.... but probably not the best for learning to drive stick on. Very stiff clutch, and has a penchant for turning tires into smoke in 1st and sometimes 2nd gear even in stock form.

914Driver
914Driver SuperDork
5/4/11 12:35 p.m.

Full size truck with no hydraulic clutch. It's easier to get across the whole friction point idea. Very mechanical, very physical, very lasting lesson.

Oh. And thigh burns.

Dan

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit Dork
5/4/11 12:49 p.m.

Go to a used car lot, find the cheapest car with a stick and take it for a "test drive". come back when you are done, simple really.

turboHLS30
turboHLS30 Reader
5/4/11 1:43 p.m.

I learned when I was 14 (2 years ago) in a '93 Civic coupe with an Integra GSR motor in it. My dad had just finished the swap for a friend and he said, "Get in, we have to get home in 10 mins. for dinner." I figured it out by myself and got us home

SupraWes
SupraWes Dork
5/4/11 4:22 p.m.

I like the CarTalk method flat place no traffic (IE parking lot) learn to get the car moving without touching the gas, get good at that and that's about all there is to it.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
5/4/11 10:11 p.m.
friedgreencorrado wrote:
93EXCivic wrote: I taught my girlfriend and two other friends in my old Civic. The two guys had way more problems. Make sure you have them disengage the parking brake first though and try to teach them on a car without a tach.
EXCiv,*without* a tach? Showing my girl the two different displays about speed vs. RPM is how I got her to understand there was a difference between them in the first place (she considered sound a distraction, not a help). Not disrespecting your idea, I'm just curious about it.

I think that with a tach people look at the tach too much when first learning stick rather then feeling it thru the pedals.

bluesideup
bluesideup Reader
5/5/11 12:08 a.m.

I learned the concept as a youngster riding in my dad's pickup truck. He would have my brother or I shift the 4 on the floor when he said. He was pretty patient because I remember him telling me not to downshift when coasting to a stop unnecessarily because you could hear the whining of the syncros.

By 12 I was driving around the airport in that truck. Around 14 I drove one of his Peterbilt water trucks, that was pretty wild for a young kid.

White_and_Nerdy
White_and_Nerdy Reader
5/5/11 7:08 a.m.
Grizz wrote: I'm so glad the seats fell through the floor and I had to get another vehicle.

This totally needs to go in the magazine.

A buddy from high school took me out in his beat up Chevy S-10. I should say, his dad's landscaping company's beat up Chevy S-10. It had a radio and that's about it - no tach. I kept not giving it enough gas, then letting the clutch out too quickly. Some of the demonstrations, analogies, and explanations given here would've helped a lot. My friend was cool and all, and he certainly didn't mind me abusing his clutch and transmission a bit.

After that day, I didn't drive a stick again for years, until I bought my 83 BMW 320i. I had to relearn everything and apply it to this car, with its many quirks. For instance, the shift lever had the same amount of play in gear as in neutral. And the ignition switch on the column didn't work due to a previous theft attempt - there was a secondary switch dangling on the floor that I had to turn with a screwdriver. Worst of all, unbeknownst to me until later, it had an E30 M3 shift knob. With the E30 M3's shift pattern printed on it. Which was NOT the 320i's shift pattern. In other words, when I thought I was starting in 1st (all the way left and back), I was really in 2nd.

So picture this scene. I'm stopped at a red light, waiting to turn out of WalMart. The light turns green. I give it gas. I stall out, because I'm inexperienced, it's a dog of an engine, and I'm in 2nd gear. Reach down with my left hand to pick up the dangling ignition switch. Reach to the passenger seat with my right hand to pick up the screwdriver I'd left there for a situation like this. Insert screwdriver, restart the car, put it in gear, and... the light's red again. Meanwhile, several cars are honking behind me. True story.

Then, one day, I accidentally discovered the real 1st gear. From that day on, I could drive any stick, anytime, anywhere.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper SuperDork
5/5/11 8:29 a.m.

Dang, none of you learned on a tractor? Now that is the easiest.

Trucks come next imo, because the clutches can stand the abuse. Be it a big 350, or an old Toyota with a 4-banger. The clutches are vastly oversized and can stand the slippage and abuse a new driver gives them.

Once the driver masters the basics, let them practice for a while, and then start introducing them to hills.

Do teach them how to use the e-brake on a hill for launching. It's a darn usefull skill to know, expecially on a steep hill with a dork pulled right up to your rear bumper.

motomoron
motomoron HalfDork
5/5/11 11:31 a.m.
Grtechguy wrote: My wife learned in our 87 Supra ;) worst thing she did was Upshift (Her words, thought she was in a lower gear) into 3rd.....from 5th....at 60mph... without touching the gas pedal. Car turned sideways, slid. at which point she stopped. got out and switched vehicles with me.

Really? 3-5 at 60 would get it sideways? I've seen the 4-1 and 5-2 "money shifts" done on track any number of times and all that happens is an over-rev. Well, an over-rev and a bunch of bent/dropped valves and a wasted engine.

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