Driving a manual for the first time...
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    Junior Member jetfuel's Avatar
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    Driving a manual for the first time...

    Hi all!

    I've been lurking around here for a while. I used to have an A8 2016 C7 Stingray which I absolutely loved. I drove it every day for about 2 years, but I had to gave it up for a 4-seater daily driver. About 2 weeks ago, I said 'screw it' and decided on buying another Corvette back as a 2nd car. I really drove the tar out of the A8 - it got to the point where I was almost used to the power and was WOT'ing any chance it was safe to do so. The automatic definitely made driving it a near no-brainer, as long as the nannies were on.

    When I was looking for a new Corvette, I started looking for another A8, but a really nicely spec'ed used M7 2017 Stingray with a good price showed up at the dealer nearby. Now, I'm 29 and have never drove a manual before buying this car, but from watching hours and hours of youtube videos and how everyone says 'get the manual' - I felt like I would regret when I get older to have never properly driven a manual before they become impossible to buy. So I bit the bullet, and while the car was being delivered I watched a ton of 'getting started' videos. Since the car arrived, I've been practicing in an office building's parking lot next door. After a few days (and a LOT of strange looks from passerbys,) I was comfortable enough to drive around in the streets and in traffic. I've had a few embarrassing stalls, but nothing too major. I /probably/ should have gotten a beat up manual Accord to learn on.... but I don't think I caused any significant damage learning

    Now, I'm comfortable enough to easily drive my hilly commute to work and back without thinking too hard about it or stressing out too much at traffic lights. I've also been practicing launching from a standstill smoothly in that parking lot almost every night. Shifts are nice and smooth for the most part. Some mistakes, but getting better

    I love this car, and I love the raw feeling you get from a manual. I can see why others love driving a manual sports car now, even if it is technically slower

    With all that said, I've not really have been able to push it hard like I did the A8. I just haven't had enough practice I think to 'read' what the drivetrain is doing and since I'm not driving an auto anymore, I have to think a lot more about gearing and traction. I've run into a few problems I hope some more experienced drivers could help me with while I practice driving -

    1. When shifting in a performance setting at a higher RPM (say >4750) in 1st -> 2nd or 2nd -> 3rd, or even 3rd->4th, I have a hard time letting go of the clutch quickly in a way where the shift is remotely considered 'smooth' like I would at a lower rpm. I almost always get a nice bump - which doesn't feel like it could be that great on the drivetrain. Any tips on learning how to improve this or is this just the nature of the beast when driving a manual?

    2. Sometimes I get in a situation, especially at 1st/2nd gear at very low speeds (in a parking garage) where I'll get kind of this oscillation/jerkiness back and forth. When I push the clutch in or give it a bit more gas, it stops - but I'm wondering what mechanically is going on and hopefully how to keep it from happening to begin with

    3. Has anyone accidentally burned the clutch a bit in the C7? There have been 1 or 2 times where I think I was letting the clutch slip just a little too much or applied to much throttle while it was half engaged (going in reverse up a hill.) I didn't immediately smell anything, but when I come to a stop I did smell an exhaust-like smell. Now that could very well be a mix of the actual exhaust and my paranoia - but is a hot/burning clutch in the C7 really really obvious like I've heard it is in other cars? My friend has described it to me like burning hair and metal. I definitely haven't smelled anything near that pungent.

    I know I probably will get some laughs from this post - my eyes are rolling back as I type this, but any tips/tricks/guidance greatly appreciated

    Best,
    Andrew

    By the way, I'm very cognizant of the local laws and only practice when it is safe to do so out on a frontage road with no traffic.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to our forum Andrew and congrats on your newest C7! I am sure you will get much more comfortable with the manual as you put more time and miles on it. It sounds like in your issue #1, you are not yet rev matching your intended shift. Many of us older school manual drivers still do the blip to rev match but your C7 also has Active Rev match build in. Check your Owners Manual (around p 195) and or talk with some of your local C7 owners (for example at a Cars and Coffee) to see if one of them will spend some time assisting in your learning the technique. Enjoy!
    aka Jeff
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    Senior Member Henry427's Avatar
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    Welcome Andrew and no laughs from me. I doubt you have damaged the clutch. Your friend's description of the odor is pretty accurate. It smells nothing like exhaust fumes. Sorry I can't help with your other concerns. I haven't owned a manual equipped car since 1991. Hopefully other SRF members will be able to provide some useful information.
    Last edited by Henry427; 04-18-2019 at 10:43 PM.
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    Senior Member rsvettez51's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome.

    1.) Practice. (turn on the rev match feature) I turn it on immediately after starting the car. (every time)

    2.) It's called lugging the engine. It's kind of like a stall warning in a plane. The car just doesn't like it. So.. Practice. Practice moving the car with just letting out the clutch. I don't mean all the way out. Just find the point where the clutch engages and moves the car. Learn how much you can let it out, how much throttle it takes.. (I've found that this is something that the stock throttle mapping isn't very good at... See various threads about the Vitesse throttle controller and what's going on with low speed throttle applications.) But practice...

    3.) I'm sure you can, but if you aren't feathering the clutch while you are doing smoky burnouts, you're probably ok.

    Have fun. You'll master it in no time. But use the rev match ...

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    Senior Member rdslon01's Avatar
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    I have driven a ton of manual transmission vehicles in my life, but never a manual C7.

    Anyway, from your question #1, I think Jeff misread what you wrote. You are talking about an upshift, not a downshift. Since you are totally new, I am going to ask you an extremely basic question: you are releasing your foot off the gas pedal during your upshifts, correct? When you upshift, the RPMs for the higher gear will be lower than the RPMs for the lower gear you just vacated. So, the RPMs need to fall on an upshift (and depending on the gap in the gear ratios, may need to fall substantially). To stop the "bump" and get a "smooth" upshift, you really need to get familiar with your car so you know exactly how to release the gas pedal (and if done perfectly, will not be a 100% total release, but down to the correct RPMs for the next gear, which will be gear dependent). Also, as you release the clutch pedal after the shift, a perfect release will not be a linear relationship between clutch pedal position and time. Also, your pressure on the gas pedal during the release of the clutch pedal needs to be a time-dependent function of the clutch pedal position as well as a function of the terrain you are on at that time.

    It takes time, and nothing is a substitute for experience.

    The best thing you can do is practice a bunch more at slower speeds, and lower RPMs. Don't try to sprint when you have only recently learned how to crawl.

    By the way, don't miss a downshift and blow your engine...

    Take it easy for quite a while, and build up slooooooowly. Best wishes,

    Rodney
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    Senior Member Fireeagle's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum jetfuel and congrats on rejoining the Corvette family. My first car, but not only, was a manual. I give you guys with the manuals all the deserved credit. It is definitely a different driving experience. The way I beat the snot out of the clutch without burning it out in my first car was a miracle. Rodney and rsvette have some great advice and insight. It will definitely become a smoother operation for you and becomes second nature while driving. You just made me happy to have my A8 with paddle shifters.
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    Member Jimmbbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetfuel View Post
    Hi all!

    1. When shifting in a performance setting at a higher RPM (say >4750) in 1st -> 2nd or 2nd -> 3rd, or even 3rd->4th, I have a hard time letting go of the clutch quickly in a way where the shift is remotely considered 'smooth' like I would at a lower rpm. I almost always get a nice bump - which doesn't feel like it could be that great on the drivetrain. Any tips on learning how to improve this or is this just the nature of the beast when driving a manual?

    2. Sometimes I get in a situation, especially at 1st/2nd gear at very low speeds (in a parking garage) where I'll get kind of this oscillation/jerkiness back and forth. When I push the clutch in or give it a bit more gas, it stops - but I'm wondering what mechanically is going on and hopefully how to keep it from happening to begin with

    3. Has anyone accidentally burned the clutch a bit in the C7? There have been 1 or 2 times where I think I was letting the clutch slip just a little too much or applied to much throttle while it was half engaged (going in reverse up a hill.) I didn't immediately smell anything, but when I come to a stop I did smell an exhaust-like smell. Now that could very well be a mix of the actual exhaust and my paranoia - but is a hot/burning clutch in the C7 really really obvious like I've heard it is in other cars? My friend has described it to me like burning hair and metal. I definitely haven't smelled anything near that pungent. .
    Welcome and congrats on getting a PROPER C7!!
    1) Back in the day, every hot rodder worth the name learned "power shifting", where the accelerator was kept on the floor as the driver mashed the clutch pedal and shoved the gearshift into the next gear at lightning speed (with the occasional missed shift and possibility of exploding engine adding a bit of spice to the game). I read a gearhead article that asserted there was no measurable time benefit to power shifting, and it put tremendous stress on the trans' synchros, causing excessive wear.
    Smooth fast shifts require practice and smooth shifts at any RPM/speed require the engine and trans RPMS to be the same, which is what the ARM system does so well. As with most skills, start with the basics. Turn off the ARM, and build quickness with practice.
    When upshifting, accelerate to the desired RPM/speed and hold the RPM steady for a moment before engaging the clutch and shifting. This gives the trans time to be at the proper RPM before engaging the next gear and when the clutch is engaged, the drive train will be at the appropriate speeds. As you develop familiarity with how your car "feels" in the shifts in the various gears, you can shorten the shift time AND enjoy smooth shifting.

    2) As others posted, it sounds like the car is going too slow for the gear selected...
    3) Never seen/had that problem with my C7. Normally a burning clutch has a very distinct odor of the overheated asbestos clutch facing material, but am unsure of what material is used on newer clutches because of the hazards of breathing asbestos dust.
    Cheers!
    2017 Stingray Watkins Glen Gray, 2LT 7MT Bone Stock
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    Junior Member jetfuel's Avatar
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    ya'll thank you so much for such a warm welcome and your awesome tips I will definitely keep practicing!
    jsvette likes this.

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    Senior Member JCar's Avatar
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    Rodney, actually I believe Jeff was correct about the rematch feature helping the situation. I believe the rev match works to bring the engine revs to the correct level for both downshift and upshifts. I don’t use rev match for street driving as I have been driving a manual my whole driving life (now 48 years) but I believe this is true of this most excellent feature of our C7 manual cars. Although I am reasonably experienced with heel/toe and rev matching, I was happy to have this feature when I went to Spring Mountain. There were more important things to worry about than performing perfect rev matched shifts!
    Jeff

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    Member Jimmbbo's Avatar
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    Regarding the ARM system, IMO it's a great feature, is indispensable for competitive driving and is fantastic for many of us who have used manual trannys for decades, but a new M7 driver relying on it would be similar to learning to fly an airplane by turning on the autopilot. It works well, but the operator is missing a big part of the process.
    Basic hand/eye/foot clutch coordination skills and "feel" for a manual trans car are as relevant to driving an M7 C7 as is learning to hand fly an airplane...
    Ateupjoe likes this.
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    Junior Member wilperez56's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your manual Corvette! As others have stated practice time is important.
    1 - On your upshifts, try releasing the throttle a bit so you will be close to matching engine RPM in the higher gear. Engage the clutch a bit slower. You should get less jerk that way.
    2 - Likely you are at too low engine RPM for the amount of engine torque you are applying. When I was engineering vehicles we referred to this as chuggle. On my 2015, I notice this below 1500 RPM at high loads. Going to the next lower gear should eliminate this.
    3 - Haven't found this to be an issue.
    The Rev matching feature does a great job, but I don't use it since I enjoy heel and toe downshifting. I drove manuals for almost a year before I learned to do this, toe on the brake pedal, heel blips the throttle to come close to matching engine RPM in the lower gear. Takes a lot of practice to do smoothly, so don't worry about that at first. Good luck!

  13. #12
    Junior Member oleabba's Avatar
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    Welcome to the M7 club! My grandpa tought me how to drive a stick back in the 60's and I'm very thankful to him to this day. (May he RIP) Since then I've had many manual cars including a VW Fox, an Eclipse turbo, a BMW 328, a Miata, and now a C7 StingRay. I never could quite master heel and toe, but the Rev Match has helped me immensely at the track. Except for the start out and the long straight-way, I only go back back and forth between 3rd and 4th gear for all the other turns. The people down at Spring Mountain were a big help. I use my "local track" in Tooele Utah for 2-3 track days each summer.

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    Junior Member JerseyHiker's Avatar
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    Minor suggestion...

    How to shift smoothly, like making love, is not something best figured out from a book. Take the advice given in this forum, then get someone who is experienced in driving C7s with a manual transmission to drive your own C7 to show you. Make sure rev matching is on, and after watching her or him go through a few shifting cycles, you'll see how it should be done. If you join any Corvette Club, you'll get people who will be glad to help you.

    After that it's just like how one gets to Carnegie Hall. Just practice, practice, practice!

    Enjoy that Stingray! Congratulations!

    [BTW, my opinion is that if you don't clutch and shift manually, you're not drivin', you're just cruisin'. But that's OK also.]
    2014 C7 Laguna Blue Convertible with 2LT package and 7 Speed Manual Transmission. Jet Black interior, Black Convertible Top, Z51 Style Black Spoiler, Multi-mode Performance Exhaust, MyLink Navigation. Yeah, it's GORGEOUS!

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    Senior Member RoninX's Avatar
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    I also learned to drive a manual when I was around 30, and I ran into problem #2 with my first manual car, a Honda Prelude.

    I discovered that the issue was that as the car accelerated, it would pull my right foot slightly back off the accelerator, and that would cause the car to decelerate rapidly, which would push my foot forward on the accelerator, which would cause the car to accelerate... and so forth.

    It's basically because a manual powertrain is much more responsive than an automatic transmission that uses a torque converter. Since the torque converter doesn't respond as quickly, it tends to damp out any slight oscillations in foot position. If you've grown up driving automatic transmissions, you probably get used to the fact that small changes in the pressure you apply to the gas pedal don't have much immediate effect.

    Once I figured it out, it was easy to keep the gas pedal at the right angle and compensate for the acceleration/deceleration.
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    Member Dan Argento's Avatar
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    I have always wondered if ARM works on the up shift. JCar indicated he believes it works both up and down. Does anyone know for sure? I have a M7 and you can hear the engine RPM match on the down shift but I don't hear any RPM change on the up shift. I personally don't use ARM preferring heel and toe.
    2016 Z06, 3LZ, Couple, Manual, Long Beach Red, Spice Red Package, 10 Spoke Blade Pearl Nickel wheels.

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