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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

Ive been driving a good 20k on my new Ford Focus 2014 SE w/ Manual Transmission.

Now, ive been having an issue shifting gears. I came from an old VW 97 Jetta, which ppl told me allows for more clutch slippage, so I figured I would give some time before I complain about tranny issues.

But here is my issue, that I cant seem to perfectly solve. It happens even more when i have passengers in my car, or on a hot day too.

Essentially, when I try to shift from N to 1, or 1 to 2, and sometimes from 2 to 3, it feels as if the clutch engages (and sometimes disengages) way to hard, and its virtually impossible to get a smooth shift through the lower gears.

This is most pronounced when I am going from N to 1, where if I do not keep the rpms balanced at exactly 2000rpm as I release the clutch and give gas, I can feel the gear engage very hard... Its interesting because my car will already move and seems like its in gear as I start easing off the clutch and giving it gas, but if its higher than 2000 (or lower), it seems like there is a point where the gear engages very hard, then the rpms shoot up much faster than before... I then get similar issues as I shift through the lower gears, whith some relatively jerky shifts from time to time. Its become virtually impossible for me to shift through the lower gears without some jerkiness...

Is this a real issue, or do I still really need to learn standard clutches better? Ive been driving standard for quite a while.... The problem also seems more pronounced on warm weather days....
 

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Woah, I thought that was only me. Yeah, I have been having a hard time as well. Whenever I get two or three people in my car, or like you said, on a hot day, I always have a hard time getting from 1 to 2. It is very unpleasant. I do notice like the person above said, that the rpms stay high, so if I take my time it is smooth. But to keep up with traffic, you usually have to go pretty quick from 1 to 2 and it is never pleasant. I have only been driving stick for 4 months, but I feel like no matter what I do, it is always somewhat jerky in that first shift.
 

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It's hard to discuss how something should feel by typing, I'll give it a little try.

A clutch that's in good condition will grab firmly as it stops slipping, just how the pedals are used can make this tolerable or a real annoyance. Smooth movements of the pedals as you reach this point CAN make it almost unnoticeable if you catch it just right.

First, I'll comment on shifting between gears.

After the car is rolling, all shifts between gears CAN be made without even using the clutch if the throttle & shifter movements are coordinated perfectly. The clutch is used for these shifts ONLY because perfection is hard to accomplish, so using it saves stress on the gears from jerky banging through them. All of these shifts involve using throttle inputs to control engine speed to "match" engine speed to the speed of the gear you are in or want to select next.

ANY roughness when shifting out of or into a gear while rolling means that the engine speed does NOT match the speed appropriate for that gear at that car speed.

When the engine is trying to turn faster or slower than the gear that is engaged (accelerate or decelerate), there is a load on the gear. Moving the lever to take it out of gear or put it into gear when there would be a load on it results in a "bang" either way. Using the clutch helps, but if there is an appreciable load in either direction when you disengage or engage it the transition will NOT be smooth.

When accelerating & changing gears, throttle needs to be released JUST before the clutch pedal is depressed on these so the engine can stop accelerating by the time the clutch releases. If the clutch is pressed too soon, you'll notice the rpm's increase before dropping instead of dropping immediately and the release won't be as smooth.

Match speeds for the next gear (rpm lower for the next higher gear's engagement speed) and you can engage that one with the lever & let the clutch out smoothly to proceed. Think of this as a multi-stage procedure. You're shifting to neutral then shifting from neutral into another gear. NOT a straight movement from one gear to the next!

(I could give more details, let's get an understanding on this basic concept first)


Starting from a Stop.

This is different as you CAN'T match engine speed to the gear immediately since it isn't moving & the engine is turning.

A car requires clutch slip to get moving, simply engaging the clutch fast (dumping the clutch) will stall the engine because of a lack of power at idle to get the car up to the lowest gear's rolling speed.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish getting rolling is to 'blip" the throttle to increase engine speed, start engaging the clutch smoothly, then add throttle smoothly as you continue to engage the clutch. Add the throttle starting when you feel the car start to roll & it'll work out to be a smooth start.

If you try to balance the RPM at an exact speed, you'll be on & off the throttle to accomplish that. The result will OFTEN be a "lurch" then "zoom", as the clutch could easily be engaging JUST as the throttle is being reduced - then as it starts to stall you're on the throttle to compensate, causing the "zoom".

Post back with questions, I'm starting with basics you may know something about just for a starting point.

Cheers
 

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ElCouz mentions the same "rpm hang" I alluded to when mentioning getting off the throttle JUST before using the clutch. Response is slower on these for a number of reasons, so your timing has to change slightly from other cars to compensate.

(couple replies as I typed the manifesto)

Grin
 

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I have been driving a manual tranny car for 50 years...I never try very hard to shift smoothly.
IMO: Why bother?
Yeah some passengers heads bobble like those big headed 'bobble dolls' when I am shifting.. (seems some folks can handle it, others are completely helpless like giant rag dolls?)
Not my problem. LOL (though once in awhile I will try to NOT snap the neck off of a passenger if i am feeling kindly)

If you want to make your passengers happy you should have bought an automatic.

So manual shifting is NOT like an automatic. Period. If you want to ease the burdon of Bobble Head then you have to shift slower and more smoothly. Plus generally at a lower RPM...

Since almost NO ONE will ride witn me anyway.. (maybe because after a ride with me, their necks are sore as Hell? anyway. Do not worry about it much. [angel]
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I may drop by my ford shop and talk to tranny tech.. I know vw cars are different but I guess I just have a hard time believing a car from the 90s can shift better than a car from 2014. I never had any tranny trouble before... like I said, for me it seems that sometimes there is nothing I can do to avoid the hard shift which is real annoying at times...interestingly I also don't feel the issue when shifting through a turn..
 

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I may drop by my ford shop and talk to tranny tech.. I know vw cars are different but I guess I just have a hard time believing a car from the 90s can shift better than a car from 2014. I never had any tranny trouble before... like I said, for me it seems that sometimes there is nothing I can do to avoid the hard shift which is real annoying at times...interestingly I also don't feel the issue when shifting through a turn..
But I will also try some of the tips above first to see if there is a change...still I don't think that will change some of the issues I have but we will see. Thanks so much for the quick replies
 

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Prob. taking it a little slower/smoother when shifting in a turn.

Try adjusting your timing on the throttle, I had to do it on my earlier model (same trans BTW) and even more once I got a tach cluster & realized there was still some throttle over run on each shift I couldn't hear.

Emissions tuning to prevent a quick RPM drop has been blamed for the difference, it can be custom tuned out but I haven't spent the $ for that.
 

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I have been driving a manual tranny car for 50 years...I never try very hard to shift smoothly.
IMO: Why bother?
Yeah some passengers heads bobble like those big headed 'bobble dolls' when I am shifting.. (seems some folks can handle it, others are completely helpless like giant rag dolls?)
Not my problem. LOL (though once in awhile I will try to NOT snap the neck off of a passenger if i am feeling kindly)

If you want to make your passengers happy you should have bought an automatic.

So manual shifting is NOT like an automatic. Period. If you want to ease the burdon of Bobble Head then you have to shift slower and more smoothly. Plus generally at a lower RPM...

Since almost NO ONE will ride witn me anyway.. (maybe because after a ride with me, their necks are sore as Hell? anyway. Do not worry about it much. [angel]
THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS ahahaha. Every time I have driven someone I couldn't believe how much their head bobbed and I was pretty self-conscience at first. I have been getting over it with every drive, but now that you said this I feel better. It is funny how every person reacted differently (most people I know have never driven or ridden in a manual car) and either "loved the feel" or would joke about me being a "crazy" driver... lol. I do know that the less I think about it, the better I drive.
 

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Is this a real issue, or do I still really need to learn standard clutches better? Ive been driving standard for quite a while.... The problem also seems more pronounced on warm weather days....
I am a long time manual transmission guy. I had a stick in a Opel GT, VW Scirocco, Alfa Romeo, Nissan truck, BMW 3 series, Porsche 911 etc. The only one of those cars that was atypical was the Porsche because the clutch pedal pivots from the floor instead of the firewall. Some people never could drive a 911 because of that.

I never noticed any difference when I first got behind the wheel of my MTX-75 Focus. Shifts are smooth as butter and I don't even notice a rev hang.

I would have your car looked at and make sure nothing is wrong. Have a Ford tech drive it who is well versed on the MTX-75.
 

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I have been driving a manual tranny car for 50 years...I never try very hard to shift smoothly.
IMO: Why bother?
Yeah some passengers heads bobble like those big headed 'bobble dolls' when I am shifting.. (seems some folks can handle it, others are completely helpless like giant rag dolls?)
Not my problem. LOL (though once in awhile I will try to NOT snap the neck off of a passenger if i am feeling kindly)

If you want to make your passengers happy you should have bought an automatic.

So manual shifting is NOT like an automatic. Period. If you want to ease the burdon of Bobble Head then you have to shift slower and more smoothly. Plus generally at a lower RPM...

Since almost NO ONE will ride witn me anyway.. (maybe because after a ride with me, their necks are sore as Hell? anyway. Do not worry about it much. [angel]
I always try and make my shifts as smooth as possible, even when it's just me in the car. Sort like a competition for myself, makes driving more interesting
 

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When I first got my car a couple months ago I had this issue when going from N - 1st on a hill and occasionally on the flat if I was rushing. What I found helped me get used to the clutch was give it a bit more throttle than you think you should and let the clutch out slow. As soon as it bites don't back off the engine revs will compensate and the clutch will slip just a bit right before it engages. Basically I was not giving it enough throttle then backing off as soon as the clutch slipped which caused the car to bog badly and once I stalled it hah.

After I did that I got used to the engine RPMs and where the clutch bites quite quickly and my shifts are faster and smoother now. Definitely no more bogging down or stalling.
 

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When I first got my car a couple months ago I had this issue when going from N - 1st on a hill and occasionally on the flat if I was rushing. What I found helped me get used to the clutch was give it a bit more throttle than you think you should and let the clutch out slow. As soon as it bites don't back off the engine revs will compensate and the clutch will slip just a bit right before it engages. Basically I was not giving it enough throttle then backing off as soon as the clutch slipped which caused the car to bog badly and once I stalled it hah.

After I did that I got used to the engine RPMs and where the clutch bites quite quickly and my shifts are faster and smoother now. Definitely no more bogging down or stalling.
Also the ti-vct engine on the mk3 has NO TORQUE UNDER 1250 RPM... you have to give it more gas when launching from a hill or stop...

Previous tranny car had enough idle torque to launch on flat stop or reverse (1.8L 90hp golf 1996) ... the mk3 can't unless you give gas or get the PCM flashed for the TSB 12-5-5.

Damn emission regulations!!
 

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When its hot and the a/c is on and you have a load...these cars are jerky. My 2000 Jetta was the same way (manual w/the gutless 2.0). Nothing wrong with it as far as I am concerned...I just have to give it way more gas to smooth it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thx for the tips!

Thanks for the tips!

I may not need to take it in to the shop after all... My shifting smoothed out a heck of a lot after I gave time for the rpms to lower after depressing the clutch. Seems like the car needs more time than my old Jetta to do so... Im still trying to find the optimal balance for N to 1 gear though but getting there.


As I was reading about this, I wondered if there was a way to speed that up? Not sure if tuning options help, or if thats more engine than tranny related (ie http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=324935)
 

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Tom's tuning can eliminate the "rev. hang" to make shifting quicker & allow use of engine braking without a wait before it starts working on the MkIII models just as it does for all the other versions AFAIK. It's one of the largest drivability improvements resulting from a "tune" IMHO.

Taking your foot off the gas & waiting a while as it glides along before finally starting to decelerate more is the largest PITA of normal operation for my preferences. It makes it harder to drive without using the brakes, one of the better features of using a manual transmission car over a classic torque converter automatic (not that they won't slow down, it's just not as immediate & useful).
 

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Tom's tuning can eliminate the "rev. hang" to make shifting quicker & allow use of engine braking without a wait before it starts working on the MkIII models just as it does for all the other versions AFAIK.

Regardless of any assurance a customer may receive from a third party, the tune may jeopardize your warranty. Even if subsequently removed, there is some evidence to suggest that Ford may still be able to detect a previous modification.
 
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