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Author Topic: Shifty Advice  (Read 3596 times)
Lin
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« on: November 29, 2007, 10:49:42 PM »

I have now had my 1965 Mc-5a for several weeks.  I have not been doing a lot of driving, but some to practice this non-synchro shifting.  I must say that I do not get nice clean shifts most of the time.  Especially when downshifting, I am pretty much assured of getting some grumbling.  Is this the norm (it seems hard to believe that it is)?  Any secrets that I may have missed out on hearing?  Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2007, 11:32:46 PM »

The grumbling from the passengers is easily fixed - just tell them if they think they can do better, they can take over.

Have you had a look at
http://www.busnut.com/artrjl2.html
to get a feel for the problem
« Last Edit: November 29, 2007, 11:35:41 PM by tonylee » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 06:13:05 AM »

There are a few videos on Youtube that show double clutching.
I did one myslef on double clutching up through the gears.

Here is the link:



If you do a search for "double clutching" on youtube you'll get quite a few other videos also.


.
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 06:45:45 AM »

Quit using the clutch, except to stop and start.

Learn to float the gears and feel them as you go from gear to gear up and down.

And just like they say about getting on Broadway,

Practice, Practice, Practice!
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Lin
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 09:19:48 AM »

By grumbling, I meant the transmission.  I watched some of the videos on Youtube and am apparently following the correct procedure.  I guess I'll just have to keep up with the practice, practice, practice part.  Though I thought that was only necessary if I wanted to get to Carnegie Hall.
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 02:03:34 PM »

The best advice I received when I was starting out was from a bus mechanic.  He said drive it to the governor every time.  IOW, make sure you are always right on the governor before you shift.  I don't do that anymore but it sure helped when I was starting out.  And I still grind them - not every time but plenty.

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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 02:14:30 PM »

Always use the clutch.  Always use the clutch.  Always use the clutch.  That is what it was designed for...to break the torque for up and down shifting.  If you find yourself sitting at a light or something for more than 30 seconds, shift to neutral.   That is why your tranny has one.  The clutch is used for shifting, not for sitting with it pushed in.  The clutch is not a neutral gear.  You are human and you will get tired or bored and you will miss shifts.  It happens.

Anyway, that is what we were taught and over time I think it was good advice.  Others will disagree.  They have a right too also.  This is an excellent board.  My point is that your Coach is yours and you are responsible for it longevity.   Your choice.  Over time and experience, you will learn double clutching skills.  It's kinda like riding a bicycle or swimming.  You can do it.  Coaches are fun to drive.  It gives us a chance to act silly and young and good stuff like that.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 02:27:50 PM »

One skill that needs to be learned with the four speed box is patience when going up through the gears.

When the gearbox is cold, up shifting needs to be reasonable quick because everything slows down faster when cold, but once the oil is warm, up shifting needs to be a leisurely affair because of the big difference between gears and the need for the engine to slow down enough to match the road speed in the next gear. Except for when everything is cold, the timing suggested on the link I gave is not far off the mark.
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 02:31:28 PM »

if your bus has a spedo and a tach get some red vinyl tape and make some bugs.

 Put small pieces on the spedo at the top speed on flat ground against the Gov for each gear

Note what the tach is reading against the gov.  Put a bug there too.

you will have to detrinine where to put the bottom end of the RPM bug for your bus.

When downshifting:  your bus engine will be slowing down RPM.  as if approches the lower tach bug you will need to shift to the lower gear......to do this you will have to apply throttle so the Engine and transmission speeds are synched with the new gear speeds you are shifting into.  This throttle application can be done while in Nuetral during the double clutch operation.

Although some people can and do NOT use the clutch it is not the best for the system and it takes much practice.  I could do it marginally on my 04, but I did it for a change of pace only.  
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2007, 07:12:17 PM »

Do what Dallas says.

We don't shift with any load on the trans when we shift without the clutch, if you did you couldn't shift.

You unload the trans by use of the foot throttle-simple to do! Sometimes you can get hung up and have to use the clutch but very seldom.

You won't grind gears any more or less without the clutch. Once you get the feel without the clutch it becomes second nature but that only comes with, practice, practice and practice-as Dallas said.

If you like to use your clutch go ahead but it is a waste of time and effort and adds unnecessary wear to the clutch system!!

It is a mystery to me why more people haven't discovered this method?
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2007, 08:26:01 PM »

This discussion is like politics and religion: lots of us have strong opinions and are willing to defend them... I hope NOT to the death  Grin Grin Grin Grin

SO, I have to go with HB on this.

I am sure that my opinion stems from the fact I was taught to drive by folks who were raised during The Great Depression and drove trucks during WWII when parts and repairs were hard to come by & new trucks were nonexistent. Everything was done to minimize the chance of breaking anything and prolong the life of everything. I have had hours long discussions about whether it is more harmful to drive through a pothole in  a parking lot (wear on springs, spring shackles, shock, possible tire damage, etc) or drive around it (tire scrub, steering gear wear, fifth wheel wear, grease wear, etc). We drove without the windows all the way down so sweat from our arms would not get on the paint on the doors. This was way before AC. We only opened one door to exit truck, both drivers would crawl out the same side so as not to wear out the door hinges. We alternated sides so the hinges would wear evenly. We used only one windshield wiper. We jacked the trucks up by the frame when parked at home so the springs would not lose their arch. If you broke a leaf in a spring, it came out of your pay and you replaced the leaf your self and re-arched all the leaves so they matched by hand with a 5 pound hammer on an anvil.

Therefore, I already know I am super sensitive to parts wearing out. No matter how good you are at shifting, you will miss a gear once in a while. When you do, if you are using the clutch, you are less likely to chip a tooth in the transmission. I know the old Spicers are almost indestructible and you can still chip a tooth if you are using the clutch, BUT you are LESS likely to damage the tranny if you use the clutch.

That said, it's your bus & you have to pay for it, drive it however you like.
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2007, 06:42:56 AM »


I feel like if you are comfortable using the clutch, then use it, if not don't.  I do it both ways because of conditions I am in.  On the road, up hills I rarely use the clutch since I go with rpm and speed and it falls in and out like butter on toast.  However,it is your coach and as already been said, you are paying the bills.  I would play around with it and see what fits you and keep on bussing. Huh

Gomer
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2007, 08:03:55 AM »

I have found that if you have an air throttle it is almost impossible to shift without using the clutch. You just can not get the throttle feel needed to do it.
Richard
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2007, 08:55:29 AM »

Boys and gurls!
An old mechanic took me into his shop one day and showed me to identical gears.  One was pretty good looking with no chips out of the metal.  He said it came out of a trannsmission in which the driver double clutched every shift.
The other had chips and gouges all over it and a couple of missing teeth.  He said it came out of a truck of a driver that claimed he was a professional and could drive without using the clutch! 
When you fail to use the clutch you have a lot of the (Fill in the number of foot pounds of torque you coach produces here) power of your engine pushing against the two gears you are trying to mate if it is not a PERFECT shift!
When I trained folks to drive trucks the biggest problem we saw was the new folks trying to rush the shift...in other words they thought they had to clutch and shift as fast as they could.  Once we got them to slow down they would ALWAYS shift well after that!
Jack
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Jack Hart, CDS
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Dallas
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2007, 09:31:45 AM »

I have to agree with Jack on slowing down the shift.

These machines aren't short shift Muncie M22 Rock Crusher transmissions. Heck, you can't even shift it like a cabover international with a 9 speed road ranger.

However, I've rebuilt many, many, many truck transmissions that were driven by "Professional" drivers. The professional part is only as god as the word. I've met professional drivers that deserve the term and I've met drivers fresh out of truck driving school that shouldn't have been let out of a house alone who were given the qualification of "professional". I also met one a few weeks ago that had been driving for 10 years but had no idea how to shift a manual transmission... He had always had autos.

A real professional driver will never force a gear,(causes the afore mentioned broken teeth). A real professional driver may or may not use a clutch. It all depends on how they were trained, and what they are comfortable with.

My earlier statement to quit using the clutch was a suggestion only. Mostly I don't use it, but there are times and situations in which I do. It is, however, a good way to learn to feel the meshing of the gears and learn to synchronize the engine and transmission speeds.

As you reach the top of the rpm range, let off the foot feed a bit, then step back onto it, at the same time pulling back on the stick. It should come out of gear easily, with very little hesitation.  As the shifter comes out of gear, let off the foot feed and let the RPMs drop while you are passing through neutral to the next gear higher. With a GENTLE pressure, pullthe gear shift to the point where you just feel the teeth start to touch, as the engine slows down, you will feel the gears equalize in speed and start to mesh. With a little more pressure, drop the shifter into the hole and step on the foot feed to accelerate.

I was taught this method over 40 years ago, and it has served me well. I have over 3.2 million miles as both a company driver and as a Owner Operator and fleet owner. I've never had a transmission come apart because of my shifting, and I've never had to rebuild a transmission because of broken teeth or gears.

In my experience, it's drivers that try to cowboy around and show off or force a piece of equipment to do what it isn't built to do that tear up transmissions.

However you drive is up to you and your skill set. Learning to double clutch correctly is a skill and takes some practice, as does floating the gears. Either way can be done wrong with the end result being a broken transmission. Either way can also be done correctly making the transmission last many years before failure.

Good Luck and Drive Safely out there, no matter how you do it.

Dallas

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gus
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2007, 07:13:50 PM »

Again, as Dallas says.

None of that binding of gears happens when not using the clutch if you unload the gears first, this is not brain surgery. Then, depending which direction you are shifting, you can either wait for the gears to match speeds or use the foot throttle to make them mesh.

I own a bunch of antique trucks, including a WWII GMC, a '31 Chevy 1.5 ton dual wheel, a '64 CJ-5, a '60 WC22 White 5 ton, a '53 730 GMC 5 ton and a '71 C900 Dodge 5 ton tractor. Normally I shift all these without using the clutch but sometimes, when I have, to I use it.

If you don't like to wear things out then why wear out the clutch when there is no need to?

Of course timing is important no matter what method you use, in fact with the Spicer 4-sp it is absolutely essential. This is the hardest thing to shift I have ever driven.
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2007, 01:47:23 PM »

Gus, I agree with you on at least one thing:

The Spicer is the most aggravating  transmission I have ever driven!

BTW, you gotta lot of nerve calling a '60 WC22 White an "antique"!  Grin Grin

I had a '54 Autocar AND a 64 Diamond Reo. Surely they would not be considered "antiques"! That would mean I might be antique!!!  Angry Angry

Ain't it funny (or sad) how time slips away!   Sad Sad
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2007, 06:37:01 PM »

Hello.

New folks, use your clutch until you are able to shift well, then try messing around with clutchless shifting, if you feel inspired.

Using the clutch to change gears is not going to wear it out.

Choosing the wrong method of starting off is what wears out a clutch. See RJ's shifting article over at BNO on dead pedal starts. Accelerator and clutch should not be used in concert.

Inside the transmission, the power of the engine comes in one side, and the weight and momentum of the coach comes in through the other.

Your choice whether those two forces meet against the edges of the splines and teeth as you try to put them together, or whether you use the clutch to seperate them so that either of those big forces is only acting against the momentum of a spinning gear set, which they are designed to withstand.

It's your money. Teach yourself on someone else's bus?

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2007, 06:58:52 PM »

Lin,
I also have a 5a with Spicer. When I bought it, the PO rarely used the clutch. I know becuase I had him drive it before I test drove it. I tried shifting that way at first and absolutely could not figure it out even though I understood the concept. After about 3,000 miles, I got real tired of pushing in the clutch all the time and none of my shifts were very good anyway. (And I'm good at double clutching)

I started doing exactly what Dallas recommends above and it is so much easier and smoother than clutch shifts. Plus you really get more in tune with your coach. Now I rarely use the clutch and the up shifts are so smooth you'd be amazed; no grinding, but you do have to concentrate (and practice!). Down shifts are more likely to be missed, but they go pretty well also. And you always have the clutch if you want to mess with it. I love driving without the clutch.

Follow Dallas' sequence it really works.

Fred
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2007, 08:02:15 PM »

Fred,

An excellent post, you said it as well as it can be said!!

oldmansax

Let's face it, we both are antiques!

The WC is not really an antique but it has the same style as when it first came out in '37 so I guess that makes it an "antique"! I always tell people it is a '39 or '41 or whatever comes to mind because most think it is a lot older than '60 and I don't want to disappoint them!

Love the '54 Autocar and '64 Diamond Reo, two of my favorites. My problem is that too many are my favorites, I can hardly keep all the batteries charged let alone keep up with the maintenance. The WC is a tractor converted to a dump so I use it quite a bit but not the others.

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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2007, 08:07:04 PM »

buswarrior,

I don't think you paid any attention to all the posts about how to unload the gears in the trans. This is a very simple thing to do.

You cannot move a shift lever when it is loaded.
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2007, 12:53:01 PM »

Gus, the problem is what forces are being applied to the teeth and splines as you attempt to put them into the next gear.

Clutch disengaged for the shift movement into gear, and the rattling in the transmission only has the momentum of the spiinning gear sets behind it. Hard to damage anything.

Clutch engaged, the rattling has the force of coach momentum on one side and the engine power on the other, a particularly risky procedure for teeth or spline damage on a downshift, when the throttle is being used in the attempt to match the gear sets rotating speeds.

Remembering that inexperienced busnuts have no one to guide them in their attempts to learn by themselves, I wouldn't want to try describing a gear changing style that might lead to unneccesary transmission damage, if that new person is out trying something none of us would dream of.
We know better now, but back then....?

Using the clutch in a traditional double clutching style removes a lot of potential for unwitting damage by someone teaching themselves to shift.

Once you have the hang of it, by all means, go clutchless. It's your coach!

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2007, 01:40:22 PM »

I tried to post this last night but gave up on the flaky wi-fi. 

As usual, BW gives good advice.  You can give your whole drive train one H of a whack when it grabs into gear going down.  I know that Fuller builds good transmissions - I'm just not sure they are good enough for me to finish learning to shift without the clutch.  Gus is 100% right - you can't get it out of gear without unloading the gearset but you can for sure put it back in gear without matching the torque and you will 100% know when that happens.

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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2007, 01:49:06 PM »

Lin...don't you just love this board?  Not only will you receive all sorts of good info, you will also get many opinions backed up from cold hard experience--in all directions.

Your decision.  Your choice.  With a little time, practice and fun you will be shifting your coach like an old pro--with or without the clutch.  We are soosss lucky to own buses.   Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2007, 07:44:21 PM »

Yes, there has been a lot of good information.  I am nowhere near trying to shift clutchless.  Maybe I will be able to think about it when I get to point that every shift feels like a divine revelation (or at least as good as sex).  For now I would be happy to go up and down that ladder without any scrapes.  This board is proving wonderful for letting me no how clueless I am about my MCI even though I have had my Superior for 10 years.
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2007, 07:55:57 PM »

BN & BW,

You make some good points, however; (Isn't there always a however!), the gears are not loaded if one uses the throttle properly, even going down in the gears. Essentially what you are doing clutchless is the same thing as when you double clutch, you're matching the speed of all the gears.

I maintain that it is easier for a newbie to shift clutchless than to learn to double clutch. Some oldtimers may have forgotten how hard it was to learn to double clutch gracefully. If you double clutch and don't use the proper amount of throttle you're still going to whack the gears!

I'm not saying I don't whack the gears shifting clutchless - I'm saying I don't do it any worse and often much better.

I've driven all kinds of old trucks over the years and thought this bus would be a snap since it was only 4 speeds - ha!! Was I in for a surprise. Hardest thing to shift smoothly I've ever driven.

On my 800 mi trip home when I first got my bus it was the first one I had ever driven so I religiously did the double clutch thing and still raked the gears. I said to heck with it and shifted clutchless and did no worse and sometimes even better - have been doing it ever since.
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2007, 09:06:03 PM »

Interesting debate. I tend to double-clutch, unless I'm feeling a bit lazy, but never thought much about the extra wear on the clutch and linkage!

If you can shift well one way, you shouldn't have much problem shifting well the other. OTOH, if you're rough (and worse, if you're strong), double-clutching might be a bit more forgiving. My technique is a bit of both, in that I deep clutch out of gear and shallow-clutch into gear (it almost falls in by itself when the time is right). My reasoning is based on the suggestion I heard long ago that damage is done to forks and release bearings from "leaning" on the shifter taking it out of gear, but never having to tear down a transmission, this is hearsay to me.

The only supporting evidence I've noticed is the "feel" of a tranny being different when it is accustomed to being double-clutched vs. not clutched. Double-clutched seem to feel tighter (more like new?) and maybe harder to shift cleanly, vs. sloppy and easy to shift cleanly.

 It seems to me that transmissions shift more easily using the method they have been exposed to over a long period of time. Anyone else notice that?

Don

Additional note: By "deep-clutch", I don't mean to the boards! Your clutch brake won't last long doing that. "Deep clutch" is more like half way, and "shallow-clutch" is just past the release point, or slipping it a bit.
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2007, 09:33:15 PM »

Don't know about in your part of the world but over here it is said that during your heavy vehicle licence test, shifting without using the clutch is an instant fail.
Reading a few operators manuals, I haven't noticed any advocating clutchless changes.
Maybe there is a good reason.
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2007, 09:50:38 PM »

Don't know about in your part of the world but over here it is said that during your heavy vehicle licence test, shifting without using the clutch is an instant fail.
Reading a few operators manuals, I haven't noticed any advocating clutchless changes.
Maybe there is a good reason.

Can't say I've heard that around these parts, but you'd better keep both hands on the wheel or you'll fail for sure! (Of course, that means bringing an automatic for the road test.)

Don
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« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2007, 01:42:38 AM »

Would be easier to do the test in an auto but here if you want to drive a crash box you have to have taken the licence test in a crash box.  My wife managed it and she was still grinning ear to ear when they took the photo for her new licence.
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« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2007, 12:15:32 PM »


(Of course, that means bringing an automatic for the road test.)



Don -

In CA, if you take your CDL or non-commercial Class A/B road test in an automatic, you get a restriction slapped on your license "Automatic transmission only".  If you get pulled over for some reason, the CHP isn't very happy if you're driving a stick-shift with an "automatic only" restriction, and will gleefully allow the traffic courts to lighten your wallet of precious diesel funding.  In addition, you get to sit alongside the road until you can come up with a driver who has the appropriate license to move the equipment.  Can really ruin one's day, you know. . .

FYI, most Highway coaches with Spicer or Fuller 4- or 5-speed manual transmissions do not have clutch brakes.


Fred -

Your point is well taken - you have to concentrate and practice to shift smoothly, regardless of whether or not you're using the clutch. 


Gus -

In my years of training bus drivers, IBME that folk who came over from the trucking industry and were used to 9-, 10-, 13-, and 15-speed gearboxes, were the ones who had the hardest time adjusting to the much, much slower rhythm required for the Spicer 4-speeds. 

As for me, personally, I'm way, way, way out of practice driving the manual box.  Because of that, I'll start off double-clutching until I really begin to get my rhythm back, then shift (pun intended) to clutchless or a combination, depending on the situation.

I do believe, however, that a driver who's been properly trained to double-clutch is easier on the equipment than one who hasn't been, especially when they're first getting started and don't have many miles under their belt.  And I think you'd be one of the first to agree with me that some people have that innate "feel" for driving a manual and can do so effortlessly, while others, regardless of the amount of practice they have, never quite seem to get the hang of it.  Doesn't make any difference if they're using the clutch or not, some folk are just better off with an automatic. 

My own two kids are perfect examples of that - my son can shift a manual so smoothly you'd think it was an automatic, whereas my daughter cannot make a smooth manual gearbox shift to save her soul.  OTOH, some of the smoothest shifting bus drivers I've dealt with have been women, so it's not a gender thing.  It's all in that innate ability of technique and feel I mentioned earlier.


Lin -

Hopefully, you've picked up some good pointers from this little discussion.  The main thing is to practice, practice, practice.  The more miles you drive, the more shifts you make, the more you pay attention to how you're making those shifts, the better and smoother you'll become.  Try the trick of a styrofoam cup of water on the dashboard, too (referenced in my article over at BNO).


All -

Now you can see one of the reasons the bus industry has converted almost exclusively to automatics.  Shifting a crash-box manual gearbox well is quickly becoming a lost art.  Much easier, cheaper and faster to simply teach them how to "stab 'n steer", then turn 'em loose on the unsuspecting public. . .

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2007, 01:29:54 PM »

One time I let a lady friend's daughter drive my Crown because she asked me to.  I asked her if she could shift a heavy duty, close ratio, non synkro, overdrive, ten speed Roadranger truck transmission.  She answered..."what?"

Anyway, this young person simply amazed me.  When I was 18 and learning to drive manual tranny Crown school buses, it took me/us hours of practice, practice, practice learning how to shift up and down--double clutching and using the clutch.

The remembered CHP California school bus driver's test was very difficult and it included closely observed shifting ability.  Anyway, I passed, but my score was nowhere perfect.  This girl was shifting AS WELL AS I IN ONLY 30 MINUTES!

In fact, she was better in that her "motor skills" were better than mine.  I asked her how she learned to shift soosss well and quickly and she told me she rode horses, scuba dived and had been riding/racing quads and dirt bikes since the age of 8.

Wow.  Young people nowadays.  Anyway, I was flabbergassed (sp?)  Anyway, the greater point of this longwinded post is that with a little or lots of practice and FUN, we can learn to do just about anything AND act goofy and young and silly doing it.  Thank you.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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ChuckMC9
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« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2007, 04:27:30 PM »

with a little or lots of practice and FUN, we can learn to do just about anything AND act goofy and young and silly doing it.  Thank you.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
That's the story of my entire conversion!
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