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Discussion Starter #1
I hope some of you can help me. I'm teaching my daughter to drive stick (on her "new" Jetta, NOT the Bullitt!!) and apparently I am not such a good teacher. It's been a month and she still pops the clutch in 1st almost every time. What I am looking for is a way to describe to her the feel of the clutch engaging. I have been telling her she just needs to get a feel for it but that is not helping. Any words of wisdom, Bullittheads? I want to teach daughter #2 who just got her license next.
 

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From someone who is also learning the slow, hard way, just give encouragement and guidance, young skywalker. You'll do fine.
 

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Try having her put the seat real far forward so it's easy to push the pedals. You can feel the resistance of all the pedals a bit better, especially the clutch & brake. I scoot forward about an inch & a half when I'm at the dragstrip. I feel it helps me with the pedals & the shifter.
 

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No one told me this way back when I was learning, but I wish they had. I recently heard someone say they were taught as follows:

Any time you get into a manual transmission car for the first time, start it up, put it in first with the clutch to the floor, and SLOWLY let it out until you get the car to roll, clutch fully engaged, without giving it any gas. If you stall it out, try it again and again until you do.

If she's REALLY green, the trick might be convincing her that it really is possible, since "slow" is a relative term, and she may really think she IS letting it out slowly. (Memories of my father yelling hysterically at me while I was trying to learn stick on a very worn "3 on the tree" setup on a Chevy pickup with an incredibly stiff clutch.) Hell, depending on the car, she may have to feather it back and forth quite a bit to get it rolling, clutch fully engaged, without giving it any gas. I can only think this would give her an even better "feel".

Once she has done this, tell her that a normal start should be somewhere between the "popping" she's doing now, and the extremely slow engagement that will be necessary for her to accomplish the above paragraph. I've never tried giving this advice to someone just learning, but it seems like it would help alot.

Hope this helps...

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Joe, I think it's worth a try. I'll let you know how it goes...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, the letting the clutch out with no gas method is working!! She went and practiced yesterday and is already noticing improvement. Thanks again for the tip, Joe.
 

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The suggestion about *not* using the gas to learn clutch feathering is right on. I will add a couple of points...



Start learning on gravel rather than pavement. This provides a bit more "give" at engagement. Easier to succeed.



Pick a car with the best attributes. You want good low end torque. So forget about the Jetta and teach her in the Bullitt! You also want a car with it's own idle adjustment. These will provide some amount of gas modulation. Again a feature of the Bullitt! And finally the lower the gear ratio for first gear the easier. Not particularly a strength of the Bullitt... but most any pickup truck will work.



I used to have a Jeep Commanche with a 5-speed that I taught folks to shift in. Worked really well.
 

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Glad to be of help Bullittgirl!

Joe
 
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