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Author Topic: Spicer - Easy for an experienced stick shift user?  (Read 4223 times)
pickpaul
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« on: December 04, 2008, 04:36:36 PM »

My daily driver is a stick and I have driven them most of my life and enjoy it. I would consider buying an MCI 8 or 9 with a spicer if the right deal was to be had. My only worry is whether the spicer is more difficult. I had heard stories growing up in England that old buses had manuals without syncromesh (sp?) and that you had to double de-clutch on every shift. Is that true? How much of a difference to driving a car with a stick is it?

Cheers, Paul.
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NJT 5573
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2008, 05:27:17 PM »

Well, Paul it is a whole different world. It will save you a couple of MPG though and if I didn't have an Allison probably would not want another one. The Spicer is not hard to learn, you just need good information and or a good teacher and you will be just fine. It takes some miles to get good with the Spicer and its hard to get any help with the driving although if its flat, you can change seats while moving and someone can drive along ways across the flat country so you can get a little rest.

If you can shift your stick without a clutch it will give you an idea of what you are up against, but not a real good idea, because the diesel does not turn many RPM like a car. The idea is to shift with the governor, both up shifting and down shifting. My old Eagle would be at the gov at 67 MPH in 3ed gear. So that is when you shift to 4th. To shift down, you want it to pick up the hole at 67 MPH so you down shift at about 69 and as it slows down it will slide right in. Same for 2nd and 1st, you need to know the speed and use the governor to make each shift and always use a slight speed cushion when down shifting. To shift up, when you hit the governor, you have used all of that gear up, so you take it out and wait for the engine to lose enough RPM to shift to the higher gear. Have fun!
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2008, 05:38:37 PM »

No problem Paul!

And it might help improve your technique in the car.

See RJ's article here:

http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/12262/16204.html?1167073154

Very most important that you DO NOT use any throttle as you engage the clutch.

Bad habits from cars cost you a clutch in short order in heavy vehicles.

My preference would be a 5 speed in an MC9. It was 4 gears and a solenoid reverse up to the first or second years of the MC9 and prior.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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gus
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2008, 05:59:27 PM »

Paul,

To answer your questions directly;

It is nothing like an auto or pickup.

It is nothing like any other truck either!!  I had driven about every vehicle on wheels from an eighteen wheeler on down to a Jeep and my 4104/w a four speed Spicer was a revelation. I finally learned but had to unlearn most of what I had known before.

Upshifting I don't use the clutch but downshifting while climbing hills I double-clutch. Downshifting on level ground or downhill I don't.

I've never found it necessary to use the clutch except when starting from a stop and as noted above.
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PD4107-152
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letz4wheel
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2008, 06:02:56 PM »

For some reason I always found it easier to teach someone who had never driven a manual to drive a truck. That said it really isn't very hard. Yes double clutching is the way to go if you can't slip shift it (shift without the clutch). It is like anything else...it will just take practice. One of the biggies to remember is that the only time you push the clutch to the floor is when you are stopped and putting it into either1st or reverse. When the pedal is to the floor you are actually on the "clutch brake". This stops things from rotating in the tranny so you can put it in gear. thing = something highly scientific in the tranny  Grin That said you between gear changes should be made with about 1/2 pedal application of the clutch.
I don't know if you have ever heard a truck or bus grind it into gear when stopped but that is what happens when the clutch brake wears out.
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2008, 06:09:20 PM »

Letz,

My 4104 has no clutch brake and I don't think many other buses have them - may be wrong about that though.
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PD4107-152
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2008, 06:27:54 PM »

no clutch brake in the buses until you come to relatively modern times, the 7 speed spicers I think?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2008, 07:49:39 PM »

The four speed spicer in the MC-5 and MC-7 do not have a clutch brake either. Slip shifting is the way to go unless you mess up then double clutch it. I've gotten quite used to it but I was raised driving farm trucks, some of which did not have synchros.

My recommendation would be to find a coach with an auto. It brings along a host of issues as well, but at least you can have others drive it. I don't think I could even stand riding along with an inexperienced person driving my MC-5 with four speed. As NJT said above, you're hard pressed to put the wheel in anybody else's hands if you have a spicer. My wife would drive it but she can't disengage the clutch. And the clutch is new and the air assist works! I've driven coaches with automatics and its a far more pleasureable experience.
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Fred Thomson
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2008, 08:17:19 PM »

pickpaul....I would not worry about it.  Double clutching is easier to learn (then forget that you are doing it) than chewing gum and walking at the same time.  Really.

It's actually easier to learn and employ than riding a bicycle, swimming, learning to type (er..keyboard), running a thinkum-dinkum computer thing, balancing your checkbook,

making an omlet or crape things, leaning gun control, (hitting your target) field dressing game birds, delivering babies, (human) flying an airplane, (kinda) much easier than

operating heavy construction equipment,  giving a speech, (yikes!) operating a fire engine, saving the fat lady, winning an argument with your lady friend, plus

a whole bunch of stuff YOU CAN ALREADY DO SO WELL!  Don't worry.  Learning to double clutch is fun...you can learn how.  I for one would have fun Bus Conversion hunting.   HB of CJ Smiley Smiley Smiley



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pickpaul
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2008, 08:22:22 PM »

Fascinating stuff but in that case I'm sticking to an Allison just for resale issues!
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pvcces
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2008, 08:47:05 PM »

Depending on fuel prices, that could be a loser, too!

Tom Caffrey
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Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2008, 10:53:07 PM »

If you have an Allison equipped bus and follow a manual transmission bus and accelerate at the same rate as the manual bus, you'll find that the fuel mileage will be within about .5mpg of each other.  Where the Allison really takes a nose dive is that Allison equipped buses are so much fun to drive, most just floor it from a stand still to get maximum acceleration-course that also gets maximum fuel burn.  Personally, after 21 years and 1.3 million miles of driving on the road, I really enjoy my Allison equipped bus.  My truck currently has a 13 spd single overdrive transmission in it that I'm going to change out to an Allison HT740.  With the 3.55 ratio rear axle, 11R24.5 rubber, my cruise speed at 65 mph will be 1820rpm-just about right for a Cat 3406B mechanically injected engine.  Once you've had an Allison transmission, you'll never want to go back to a manual-no matter the fuel savings.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2008, 04:58:57 AM »

no clutch brake in the buses until you come to relatively modern times, the 7 speed spicers I think?

happy coaching!
buswarrior

Uhhh I learned something today  Grin Thanks!
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2008, 01:51:45 PM »

Here is a video I did some time back showing me double clutching....

It is easy once you get the rythem down. And I do have air assist on my clutch..





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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2008, 02:40:39 PM »

I don't agree with HB that the 4 sp is that easy. The theory is simple but the application is not so easy. By that I mean shifting without grinding gears. It is not difficult to shift, it is just difficult to do smoothly. .

It is possible that had I not ever driven anything manual before the bus I would have not found it difficult. However, there is a world of difference between other manual trans and this one and the extra long linkage probably has a lot to do with it. The comparison to others was actually Paul's question

I would love an AT, just because of the too high Spicer first gear if nothing else.
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PD4107-152
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