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Thread: Legal to coast?

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    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Legal to coast?

    So I am hoping to take my DMV test on Monday. I've got a question about shifting in the eyes of the officer though.

    Suppose I am at a 50mph road, and there is an upcoming stop sign. In order to slow down, I'll obviously use the brake and do it smoothly over time. But, how should I shift?
    Should I go from 5th, and work my way down through the gears until 1st and then stop? Or is it okay (assuming ideal road conditions here) to shift into neutral and just use the brake gradually.
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    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Yeah, should be fine to engage neutral and coast/brake to stop.
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    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    It's totally OK to use the brake while coasting.

    Engine braking is useful on long, steep downhills to control your speed, but there's really no point in doing all the downshifting every time. Maybe 5th to 4th, then coast to a stop or something like that, but I don't think I've ever stopped going 5-4-3-2-1.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

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    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Okay, well I would just be going from 5th to neutral, then brake. Not stay in gear at all. Just want to make sure I get these last min questions out of the way.
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  5. #5
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    I don't think I've ever stopped going 5-4-3-2-1.
    I do it all the time if rolling up to a red light. How else am I going to accelerate HARD if the light turns green?
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  6. #6
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    PC2, as far as I'm concerned, if you wish to go into neutral, best practice calls for leaving it in gear until you drop to near idle engine speed. Then go ahead and shift into neutral (or clutch in) to avoid stalling the engine as you further slow down. Unless it's a panic stop... then if in doubt, both feet in (brake and clutch) is a safe bet.
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    Banned. Turboem1's Avatar
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    In NY state (and probably all 50 states) it is ILLEGAL to put the car in neutral and brake to a stop (doesn't mean people don't do it, including me.)

    Reason being in an emergency situation you are not able to come back under power fast and safe enough.

    Leave it in whatever gear you are in and brake until your desired speed then shift. It will be to much of a hasle and to jerky to go through every gear.

  8. #8
    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    jeez.....

    Skip Gears?
    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2
    My last question about shifting, promise!
    That was about 5 threads ago! Give it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Hmmm...wrote a reply and then deleted it as it was obsolete by time I posted it, Fast moving thread.

    JSChen: when you're downshifting approaching a light do you keep your right foot on the brake or do you use the gas pedal to match the revs to each lower gear?
    Last edited by cooker; 06-01-07 at 07:44 PM.

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    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    I do exactly what jason does, keep downshifting, that way if the light goes green before you come to a stop, you are in the correct gear instead of thinking about what gear you should be in when the time comes to go.

    IMO it is very poor driving technique to coast to a stop without being in gear.

  11. #11
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    JSChen: when you're downshifting approaching a light do you keep your rIght foot on the brake or do you use the gas pedal to match the revs to each lower gear?
    Both. Ball of right foot on brakes, outer sole of foot for rev matching. Left foot for clutch.

    Except occasionally, back when driving my Ford Focus, just for kicks, left foot on brakes, right foot for rev matching. Hard to do consistently, but I did smoothly shift 5-4-3-2-1-neutral that way under braking a few times. More often than not, I would miss one shift along the way and end up in neutral.
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    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by free_pizza
    I do exactly what jason does, keep downshifting, that way if the light goes green before you come to a stop, you are in the correct gear instead of thinking about what gear you should be in when the time comes to go.

    IMO it is very poor driving technique to coast to a stop without being in gear.
    Why is it poor technique? It's quite easy to judge what gear I need to be in to start accelerating again. There's really no thought required--it's more of an instinctive thing. For instance, If I'm going 25-30 and need to start accelerating again, I'll go into 3rd and accelerate, or if I need to *** it I'll go straight to 2nd. There's nothing difficult or unsafe about that.

    Now granted, I don't go to neutral when I slow down--I disengage the clutch and usually leave the shifter in a gear, or if I'm anticipating needing another gear I'll switch it, but usually I end up coming to a stop and then moving the shifter into 1st.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  13. #13
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschen
    Both. Ball of right foot on brakes, outer sole of foot for rev matching. Left foot for clutch.

    Except occasionally, back when driving my Ford Focus, just for kicks, left foot on brakes, right foot for rev matching. Hard to do consistently, but I did smoothly shift 5-4-3-2-1-neutral that way under braking a few times. More often than not, I would miss one shift along the way and end up in neutral.
    Clutchless shifting? Maybe phantomcow2 can learn that by Monday! Just kidding.
    I never dared to try that...thought I would destroy my transmission.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    Clutchless shifting? Maybe phantomcow2 can learn that by Monday! Just kidding.
    I never dared to try that...thought I would destroy my transmission.
    Only if you don't match RPMs just right. When the engine-speed matches the road-speed through the gearbox, the lever moves right into gear quite easily.


    Quote Originally Posted by free_pizza
    I do exactly what jason does, keep downshifting, that way if the light goes green before you come to a stop, you are in the correct gear instead of thinking about what gear you should be in when the time comes to go.

    IMO it is very poor driving technique to coast to a stop without being in gear.
    I go through the downshifting, but leave the clutch in and just move the shifter from gear to gear. That way, I just have to release the clutch once to get going again. Saves wear & tear on the clutch.

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    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    I go through the downshifting, but leave the clutch in and just move the shifter from gear to gear. That way, I just have to release the clutch once to get going again. Saves wear & tear on the clutch.
    How does that protect compared to putting the clutch in and shifting directly from 4 to 1, or 5 to 2 or whatever?

    Never mind, I get it - you are ready to pop the clutch at any time.

  16. #16
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    How does that protect compared to putting the clutch in and shifting directly from 4 to 1, or 5 to 2 or whatever?
    You have fewer engage/disengage cycles of the clutch. Going from 5-4-3-2-1 with letting out the clutch each time has 4 cycles. Going into 1st while moving is especially hard on the clutch as there's no synchros for 1st gear.

    Instead, by holding in the clutch and going through 5-4-3-2 and letting out the clutch in 2nd has only one clutch cycle. Or 5-4-3 and going through at 20mph. Or if it's a red-light, I leave the clutch in and move the lever to 1st when I've come to a complete stop. Now I'm ready for a start.

  17. #17
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Yeah, but Danno's method would require me to program my mind for two (or more) modes of clutch usage in downshifts. One when trying to engage a gear. One when coming to a stop. Too much for my pea brain to process. Easier for me to just double clutch and rev match on every downshift and never have to wonder how one intends to perform a downshift since it no longer depends on the situation. Sure, a bit more clutch wear, but clutches last a long time that way anyway.
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    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschen
    Yeah, but Danno's method would require me to program my mind for two (or more) modes of clutch usage in downshifts. One when trying to engage a gear. One when coming to a stop. Too much for my pea brain to process. Easier for me to just double clutch and rev match on every downshift and never have to wonder how one intends to perform a downshift since it no longer depends on the situation. Sure, a bit more clutch wear, but clutches last a long time that way anyway.
    Hope I'm not hijacking the thread (don't worry, phantomcow2, you'll be fine!!) but I've never understood the need for double clutching, which I understand means shifting to neutral, revving, then shifting to gear. Why not just rev while the clutch is in?

  19. #19
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Because if you're making a big jump (6th to 3rd at 85 MPH, 6th to 2nd at 40 MPH, 3rd to 1st at 20 MPH, etc) you can preemptively spin up the new gear so that gear engagement goes a bit more smoothly.
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    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschen
    Because if you're making a big jump (6th to 3rd at 85 MPH, 6th to 2nd at 40 MPH, 3rd to 1st at 20 MPH, etc) you can preemptively spin up the new gear so that gear engagement goes a bit more smoothly.
    I still don't get it. Can't you rev up to speed while depressing the clutch once? Why twice?

  21. #21
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Not legal to coast. 'Mexican Overdrive' LOL! The clutch should be engaged as much as possible when moving. OK to brake and coast to a stop at < 25-30 mph, probably. Downshifting a gear or so before disengaging would be my MO.

  22. #22
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    engine/flywheel/clutch
    (disconnected from gearbox when clutch is depressed)

    connects to GEARBOX
    gear (freely spinning when clutch disconnected)/gear (indirectly connected to wheels)
    (gears disconnected when in neutral)

    connects to
    driveshaft/wheels


    So you can rev up the engine just fine however. But within the gearbox, you can make it easier to engage gears in big jumps by spinning up the new gear. Try shifting from 5th/6th to 2nd sometime at a speed that corresponds to, say, 1500 RPM below redline in 2nd. Keep the clutch down, no need to actually engage the gear. Thanks to the work of the synchros to help match the speed of the two gears, you can do it smoothly, but it probably will take a while. (On my Ford Focus at 50 MPH, corresponding to 5000 RPM in 2nd, it took a few seconds to engage 2nd from 5th that way when I tried it once for kicks.) Alternatively, a quick jab at the throttle while in neutral, and you can rev match and spin up that gear at the same time.

    Better yet, try shifting into 1st at modestly high speeds. Even if you have synchros in 1st, chances are, they're pretty weak. Try to shift into 1st at 15-20 MPH on my Ford Focus (corresponding to 3000-4000 RPM) and you're liable to get grinding gears (or gears that refuse to engage if you don't force it) even with the clutch fully depressed. Double clutch and get that gear spun up, and you can shift into 1st at those speeds (or even higher, though there's little point in doing so) with the shift being smooth as butter.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    I still don't get it. Can't you rev up to speed while depressing the clutch once? Why twice?
    Double-clutching is only needed on older gearboxes (pre-1940's) which do not have synchromesh gears. The idea is you put the tranny into neutral and release the clutch. Then rev the engine to the desired RPM in the next gear. This critical step speeds up the input-shaft to that RPM. Then step in clutch and shift. Since the input-shaft's speed matches the output-shaft for that gear, you've got a clean shift. Then let out clutch. Without this middle speed-matching step, you can't even get the gearbox to shift without grinding.

    With modern gearboxes there's a secondary clutch (synchros) between all the gears (except between 1st & 2nd). As you release the clutch with mis-matched speeds between the input- and output-shaft, these synchro cones are squeezed between the gears and brings the two gears to matching speeds before full engagement.

    http://auto.howstuffworks.com/transmission.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manual_transmission

  24. #24
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    I usually downshift to third (with a heel-toe rev match ) if I'm in a higher gear, then brake until I'm at 1,000 RPM, then downshift again to first and finish braking, and push my clutch in when I'm almost stopped.

    No need to 5-4-3-2-1 it. My rule about Neutral is this:

    Your hand should never leave the shift selector while it's in neutral unless you engage the parking brake.
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  25. #25
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    I had a Tico once tell me that they are better drivers than Gringos because they always anticipate problems. (that is because there are so many of them)

    Just my opinion, but I think a driver instructor would be checking to see if you are ready for anything. Taking it out of gear and leaving it there probably isn't a good thing. It might be considered a loss of control. You also shouldn't get into the habit because it IS a loss of control.

    If you are going to drive a standard, don't get lazy like those automatic dweebs...

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