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Author Topic: Shifty Advice  (Read 6992 times)
Angola Coach Conversion "Aesop's Tortoise"
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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. . .


RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
S13406 1978 MC-5C Converted
S14947 1980 MC-5C Shell
Cheney WA
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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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« 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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