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Clutch Use....What's best method? Please advice

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Tomf-1, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Tomf-1

    Tomf-1 F1 Rookie
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    Jan 17, 2004
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    When my F 512TR comes to a stop light or sign, I normally have the car in neutral with my foot on the break. When the light turns or it's my turn to go, I then go into 1st gear and go.....

    Other manual drivers I know down shift and have the car in first gear with foot on the clutch while they sit at stop lights or signs.

    What's best method and produces least wear&tear on your clutch? Perhaps, it doesn't matter. Please advise.
     
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  3. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,658
    Strictly speeking, the wear on the clutch (disk) is the same, it's not transmitting power, and therefore not wearing.

    however, the BIG HOWEVER, the throwout bearing is not designed to hold the clutch in for more than a few seconds at a time. In addition, the clutch slave cylinder is not designed to hold the clutch in for more than a few seconds at a time.
     
  4. johnw

    johnw Formula Junior

    Jun 19, 2002
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    a few SECONDS!!??

    that's it?
     
  5. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
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    I'm with you here.

    Huh? I've never seen any car owners' manual that discourages holding in the clutch for extended periods... let alone for more than a few seconds.

    Is this an old Ferrari thing? Or some unspoken issue that almost nobody knows about? (including the car manufacturers) Or have I simply not read my owners' manuals carefully enough?
     
  6. richard_wallace

    richard_wallace Formula 3
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    True - on part 1...

    Part 2 - I do not agree... but I know what you are saying... You do, every time you push in the clutch (held or just shifting) work the bearings and the Slave, Gasgets, cable, etc. But if you are suggesting that everytime you come to a stop - you should push in the clutch and put it in neutral - and then push in the clutch and put it in gear when it turns green - to minimize wear... I am thinking that would be a tremendous engineering design flaw - and about 99.9% of the people who have manuals - in any make of a car are in need of a clutch replacement frequently. Besides - I would contest that you would be putting more wear on the linkage and gears from the multitudes of city driving that people do... Which is more expesive to fix...

    Now with that said - I wouldn't just be parked holding down the clutch for the fun of it - but in everyday driving at stop lights/stop signs push it and hold it... In all the F-cars I have had the most I have got out of a clutch is about 30K miles (that was a 67GTC) - My 355 about 18K. 61GTE about 26K. I don't think you will cut down on the life of the clutch by doing what you normally do by holding it in...

    Just my 2 cents...

    Rich
     
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  8. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
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    Another clutch question, as I learned to drive on automatic and am now learning stick. How do you inch forward with the manual? With the automatic, you just take your foot off the break and you start to roll and low RPM. In a manual, can you use the clutch to regulate your speed and therefore just inch forward, say, in traffic? I heard this was very bad for the clutch - i.e. you are either supposed to be on the clutch or off the clutch. Also, if I'm then inching forward in gear, I'm afraid the RPMs are going to drop too low and I'll stall. Thoughts?
     
  9. richard_wallace

    richard_wallace Formula 3
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    Best thing to do is go to a open parking lot - and just practice... It is not good to "half clutch" it - (of course now I am contradicting myself - in a way - from my last post). With Heavy City driving - you will be constantly on the clutch and then off for a few seconds.. Once you get used to it - you will not stall. I tought a buddy of mine in a 79 911SC (a number of years back) - it took him about 30 minutes to get the hang of it - without stalling...

    Just keep working at it - it is only a clutch - and $2200 - Ouch :)
     
  10. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
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    Sep 25, 2002
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    Its really easy with most Ferraris...you just let off the break and start to let off on the clutch and you will start to move forward. Just dont do this for long periods of time. (ie 2 seconds max) Then just redepress the clutch again and the car will go bk to neutral as u slowly move forward.

    I never did figure out how to do it in my NSX without holding the rpms at around 1200rpm while releasing the clutch...

    How do I go from a stop? same way, by just gradually releasing the clutch and letting the car move with no added rpms from the gas pedal. Ferraris have tall first gears so this is never that hard.

    You can do it faster by using the throttle, but I have a distinct fear of pressing the throttle when releasing the clutch...
     
  11. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Well, as an old biker, I can tell you that sitting at a light with the clutch in is not a good idea. Don't ask me how I know this, but if the cable (I know, I know, I'm old) should break. Life gets very interesting in a hurry.

    Similarly on a car, holding the clutch in for an extended period cannot be a good thing to do. I'm a driver and not a gearhead, but common sense says that holding something under tension for long periods of time is probably not a good idea.

    As far as moving from a dead stop goes... well, simple truth is that you have to slip the clutch, which is not a good idea, either. But that's life. The key is anticipation. You can always tell an old fart driver because he starts slowing down way ahead of a light. A slow shift to 3rd... another slow shift to 2nd... and finally a slow shift to 1st and, if the damn light still hasn't changed, pull that sucker back into neutral. All the while watching the rear view mirror to make sure that Jim-Bob, who is hopping and bobbing along to the radio while chatting on the cell, doesn't run up your tailpipe.

    Then when the crowd starts moving, old fart sits still until he gets a little bit of daylight between him and the next car. Then, and only then, old fart slips the clutch while easing on the gas. And then, and only then, after the car is rolling, does old fart even think about laying some money down.

    Truth is that modern cars are too damn good today. Us old farts grew up driving POS cars that taught you the wisdom of being wary. You just never knew when that sucker was fixin to reach up and grab you.

    Dr "Oldy but a goldy" Tax


     
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  13. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

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    Thanks everyone. Great posts. Other problem, Dr. T., in addition to Jim-Bob running into you, is people pulling up way too close behind me on hills. I suppose people are so used to automatics that they don't assume a car is a manual...and might roll back a bit. Then I get freaked out about my hill start and that's never good.

    zj "live and learn" pj
     
  14. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Ha! In a past life, I used to have a Yamaha RZ500 motorcycle. This was a 4 cylinder, 2 stoke, 500cc mother. It has maybe a 3,000 rpm powerband. Starting from a dead stop, meant slipping the clutch like a mad man, while duck walking the bike to gain some speed. Meanwhile, you are laying down enough smoke to kill evey bug within 300 yards.

    That thing went. Braattttt, pffffffff, bawwwwww, the YING, YING, YING, RINGINGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The bike could rev faster than a human could shift. That was one exciting bike.

    Dr "Slip Sliding Away" Tax

     
  15. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

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    Wait, so you release the clutch in neutral and start to go? If you just released it when in first without giving it gas you would stall, right?
     
  16. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Sep 18, 2002
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    Have a look in an early Lotus esprit manuel. They tell you right in there about haveing the clutch depressed for extened periods of time. Many of the reasons given here are the same as in the manuel. They also state that werar on the pilot bearing can also be an issue,
     
  17. Peter

    Peter F1 Veteran
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    If you let the clutch out too quickly/abruptly it will stall. You must feather it. I try not to use the gas so much when pulling away from a stop, only a little bit (hard to explain, but when I let the clutch out, I'll get to the point where the car would've shuddered if I kept letting off, but I don't. At this point, I'll start adding gas to smooth it out. Just after that point, the car will feel to be rolling smoothly and I'll get off the clutch altogether and then slowly add more gas). I'm always under the impression that if one uses too much gas when pulling away in first, it'll slip the clutch alot and wear it out (correct me if I'm wrong).
     
  18. bubba

    bubba Formula 3

    May 8, 2002
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    If you let out the clutch gradually, it won't stall. This is the case with the 512TR. When I go over speed bumps, I either depress the clutch to slow the momentum, or just pump the brakes enough so that the car slows to a speed to clear with bump without the underside bouncing off it. As long as the car maintains a 5mph (or so) speed, it would not stall even if no gas is applied.

    Something I experience every time I take the 512 out of the parking lot.
     
  19. sherpa23

    sherpa23 F1 Veteran
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    While I am warming the car up, I roll down my alley and most of my neighbourhood without using the gas pedal. As long as you release the clutch slowly, you won't stall.
     
  20. Wasco

    Wasco Formula Junior

    Dec 9, 2003
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    OK a little farm boy advice here. If we sat with our foots on the clutch in our tractors and semis the throwout bearings would go out in about three years instead of twenty. I drove a Mack truck last year and got hell from the owner for using the clutch for any gear other than 1st cuz I was burning out the clutch brake. Kinda teaches you another way to drive a clutch, you would NOT want to have one foot on the accelerator and one on the clutch at the same time either as the massive tourque would fry the clutch. Just let the clutch out at an idle.

    I have replaced several clutches by myself and have never had a problem with a throwout bearing but I would never sit with my foot pressing the clutch for more than it took to either get it out of gear or into another one, that is what it is for it is not another nuetral!!!

    There is no considerable wear to putting your clutch in at a stop to take it in and out of gear that is the way it is designed not holding your foot down.

    On certain autos it is better to dump the clutch and fry a tire than the clutch.
     
  21. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
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    Sep 25, 2002
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    When the car is in first gear, and the clutch is completely depressed, first take your foot of the brake, and then gradutally release the clutch. It will bite first gear and the car will start moving.

    Some finer points: Try this pref on a cold windy day to minimze wear. Take the car to a lot, When standing still holding brake and clutch, put it in first gear and release the brake.

    You will be holding the car in gear with clutch depressed.

    Now start to gradually lift the clutch until u start to feel a bite in the pedal under your foot. That is the engage spot. (ES) That is the point at which the clutch first starts to bit and first starts to wear. You want to minimize the amount of time spent from when you first get to ES to the time you completly release the clutch. There are 2 schools on this, I like the one I use since the other scares the **** out of me.

    -----------------

    My way: (the slip at minimal load way)
    Just realease the clutch slowly and you will not stall and the car will start moving on its own accord. When this happens you will see the rpms and hear then drop. At this point you can give gas and completey release the clutch. It is easy in Ferraris...nearly impossible on some modern cars (last 2,3 yr vettes, hondas, NSXs..)

    For my NSX, I used to hold the rpms at 1300 or 1200 rpms or so (hard to tell when u have a 8000 rpm tach) and just do the same gradual release until i felt the car start to move fine/right (trust me...its a you can feel it thing) and then drop the clutch when everything was properly synced before giving her gas. Drop to soon and you stall...drop too slow and burn burn burn. Hold the rpms too high and drop...burn out...too high and do this graduatl release...BURN LIKE CRAZY. I dont think that this was bad, I did 10000 miles on that car much of it city.

    The general thought of this system is that you slip, but try to do it with the least load on the engine...ie, no or minimal throttle, low rpms.


    -----------------


    The other way:
    (the no slip just be quick and smooth way)
    This is really hard, and I tried doing it in my 633CSi with only limited success. I am too chicken to try it on my Ferrari, and when I and my NSX, it just never worked out right for me.

    What you do is first release the clutch pedal to just before the ES point. IT MUST BE JUST BEFORE OR YOU WILL INSINERATE YOUR CLUTCH. then, blip the throttle just a bit by using your heel as a pivot, and when the rpms start to fall again (they should be rather low...1300-1400 max) drop the clutch. Now the hard part is that you have to give it some more gas right after you drop the clutch, but not so much you cause it to..well burn up...but enough that it starts to go at a reasonable pace.

    This method relies on the priniple that sliping is BAD, which it is. It is much worse at high load, high rpm, then low load, but still not good. The above way nearly eliminates the time spent slipping, so is the best, provided you can do it without hurting/jarring your drivetrain, AND not messup and IGNITE your clutch.


    -----------------

    Hope this helps, some other members can point flaws in my post, as there might be some minor quibbles, but I think I got it all there.
     
  22. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
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    One solution that worked for me while I was learning the finer points of using a clutch.

    While on an incline, just before moving, use the parking brake to hold the car in position instead of the foot pedal brake. Do not lock the brake and let go, just continue to hold it up, fully engaged. Release the hand brake slowly as you engage the clutch. No roll back, no worry.
     
  23. Wasco

    Wasco Formula Junior

    Dec 9, 2003
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    Believe it or not you can take your 3x8 F-car and hold the RPM's to about 3k and side step the clutch at a standing stop ( literaly moving your foot to the side instead of up or down ).

    I have done this into first at a stop and progressivly up ( shifting at 8K )through 3rd in my 308. I have not been able to spin the tires in 3rd but not a problem in 2nd using this insane method of thrill seeking. I think that is how one would want to race the 1/4 mile in one.

    WARNING: I have done this in a 914 with very poor results ( broken CV joint at a huge 4 way intersection!)

    Doing it my jeep ( 4 litre High output Studebaker motor ) I had to put it in 4 wheel drive to keep the one back tire from spinning! Boy then it would launch!

    So as you can tell I am not one to take advice from!
     
  24. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
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    <chuckle> This is clearly FerrariChat... lotsa people used to plenty of torque. There are cars where if you give it no gas, you will stall no matter how slowly you release the clutch.

    On other cars, you may be able to release slow enough, but that might NOT be the best option. Slipping the clutch for 10 seconds at 800rpm is worse than slipping it for 2 seconds at 1500rpm.

    Best advice has been given a few times:
    1) Find an empty parking lot with elevation changes.
    2) First start on slight declines, then flat, then slight incline, then big incline.
    3) Get a feel for slipping the clutch at idle... feel where clutch engages and how much torque engine is transferred.
    4) Get a feel for getting the car RPMs up just a bit... 1000... 1200... 1400... takes a light touch.
    5) Put #3 and #5 together... on each amount of incline, you want to find the quickest way to get off the clutch without jerking the car... smoooth, but quick.


    Oh, and FWIW, I've driven sportscars for many many years without a clutch failure... and I only bothered to put it in neutral and release the clutch at a stop light if my left leg was getting tired. I've never seen anybody do anything different... and I've never heard of it being an issue until this thread. Very interesting!
     
  25. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    When I was learning how to drive, my home in Florida sat on top of a small hill. For my first lesson, my dad backed our 1964 VW half way down the driveway, killed the motor, and set the hand brake. He then said, "Get in." I had to learn how to use the clutch, while heel/toeing the brake and accelerator. Needless to say that was a frustrating day. But I learned very quickly how to slip the clutch while giving it gas and, at the same time, avoiding rolling downhill. Ah, the life of a Navy brat.

    Good nite



     
  26. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Brian, it is not really an issue UNLESS you are driving a British car with a carbon clutch thrust bearing, say an MGB. Because the English always try to engineer the cheapest possible solution they came up with a clutch release bearing that is really a dry thrust bearing ... that wears real fast if you keep the clutch disengaged for long periods of time.

    The only other issue is it gives the crankshaft thrust bearings a slightly harder time as you are trying to push the crank out the front of the engine ...

    Pete
     
  27. Wasco

    Wasco Formula Junior

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    Yes that is another fun thing to try in a manual. Start out in first at a stop on one of San Fransisco's steep hills. In most cars you would need to have your left foot on the clutch letting it out slowly with your right foot on the brake and the gas letting the brake off slowly and the right amount so as not to slip the clutch.

    I had to do this for a woman one time who was headed downhill towards a large ditch. She kept trying to let her foot off the brake then to the clutch. All the time coasting closer to the large ditch.

    One nice feature with the hand brakes is you dont need to have your foot on two peddles at once. I always wondered if that is why european sports car peddles are so close.
     
  28. Wasco

    Wasco Formula Junior

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    327 SB Chevy, Corvette 202 heads, huge lift with terribly long duration hard lift isky cam, 800 dbl pump Holley, Strip Dominator Manifold, blue printed and balanced, it would turn 10K RPM's. Went thru three chevy rearends till settling with a ford 9 inch locker. I had to sell it I was worried about hurting myself and others.
     

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