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Discussion Starter #1
OK, so my 2002 IS300 is not even three days old..and I've already screwed up!


Last nite while going to the 7-11 right here in Bellevue..I smoked the clutch.
The parking lot is on a steep incline..so as I was going up it in first with my foot still balancing the clutch...all of a sudden the clutch pedal remained pushed down without my putting any pressure on it..my foot was still slightly on the gas so the engine revved a bit. But then all of a sudden there was white smoke coming out from underneath the car! Smelled really bad...so immediately put up the handbrake put the car in neutral and turned the engine off.
I went into the store for a few minutes...came back, started the car, and was able to drive home normally..no smoke or anything.

But now I'm worried there maybe some damage done to the transmission or the clutch....anyone have any ideas what exactly happened and whether I should take it to Lexus of Bellevue to have it checked out?
 

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dont worry about it yet,if u keep doing it ,you should take it in,cause you can wear out the clutch doing that many times,but once or twice shouldnt hurt it
 

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its pretty hard to ruin a clutch in 3 days, but you probably wore off a thousand miles or so off of it (guessing of course) by doing that. you should ask someone experienced to give you lessons, so that doesn't happen any more times.


Originally posted by sk121_2000:
OK, so my 2002 IS300 is not even three days old..and I've already screwed up!


Last nite while going to the 7-11 right here in Bellevue..I smoked the clutch.
The parking lot is on a steep incline..so as I was going up it in first with my foot still balancing the clutch...all of a sudden the clutch pedal remained pushed down without my putting any pressure on it..my foot was still slightly on the gas so the engine revved a bit. But then all of a sudden there was white smoke coming out from underneath the car! Smelled really bad...so immediately put up the handbrake put the car in neutral and turned the engine off.
I went into the store for a few minutes...came back, started the car, and was able to drive home normally..no smoke or anything.

But now I'm worried there maybe some damage done to the transmission or the clutch....anyone have any ideas what exactly happened and whether I should take it to Lexus of Bellevue to have it checked out?
 

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I'd say there's a serious problem any time the clutch on a car stays depressed without you pushing on it.
 

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Hej is right, you may damage the engine if it is loaded and quickly unloads because of the clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, thanks to everyone for their input/advice. I took it to the dealership today..and they said the car and the transmission was fine. Obvioulsy a more thorough check will be done when I take it for the 1000 mile inspection.

OK..so in terms of lessons..here are my two main issues:

1) Getting going quicky from a stop (I'm not able to do it fast enough)
2) Most of the time my shifts from first to to second are jerky (unless I make a sustained effort to be really slow on bringing up the clutch..but then I'm going slow and can't accelerate fast enough) all the other ones seem fine..including downshifting


Is there anyone who is in the area who'd be willing to teach me? :) Or atleast recommend a good driving school in the Seattle/Bellevue/Redmond area?

I know a lot of it comes with practice and I am determined to get better at it and drive the 5 speed IS the way it was meant to be driven..but right now I drive my 2002 IS like a grandma
and nothig like how I used to my 2001 E-shift.
 

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Originally posted by sk121_2000:
Well, thanks to everyone for their input/advice. I took it to the dealership today..and they said the car and the transmission was fine. Obvioulsy a more thorough check will be done when I take it for the 1000 mile inspection.

OK..so in terms of lessons..here are my two main issues:

1) Getting going quicky from a stop (I'm not able to do it fast enough)
2) Most of the time my shifts from first to to second are jerky (unless I make a sustained effort to be really slow on bringing up the clutch..but then I'm going slow and can't accelerate fast enough) all the other ones seem fine..including downshifting


Is there anyone who is in the area who'd be willing to teach me? :) Or atleast recommend a good driving school in the Seattle/Bellevue/Redmond area?

I know a lot of it comes with practice and I am determined to get better at it and drive the 5 speed IS the way it was meant to be driven..but right now I drive my 2002 IS like a grandma
and nothig like how I used to my 2001 E-shift.
If you have the $ to buy a $35k car, it sure isn't because of brains...
Quit being so damn cheap and take a lesson before you burn out the clutch or worse!
 

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I don't have a IS300, but I'm planning on getting the 5spd probably by the end of this year. What I do have, is about 4 years experience driving manual. With any stick shift, you're going to have to practice. Although the urge to want to drive it fast is always going to be there, you need to control those tendencies until you are proficient at driving stick shift.

Even though I know how to drive stick, I still need some time to get acquainted with a car before I can drive it fast. Your first mistake is that you were balancing the clutch on a hill while stepping on the gas. You never want to do that because you're burning out the synchros on the clutch. Hills are a clutch's worst enemy. You may want to hold the parking brake up with your right hand, so that you can use your left foot on the clutch and right foot on the gas. When you feel the car start pulling, let go of the parking brake slowly and you'll start moving without rolling backwards.

There are lots of things you can do on a stick shift, such as double clutching, double clutching while braking, slipping the clutch for a split second on take off , etc. But these are all things that are going to take time. You just spent $35K on a car. . .if this is your first stick shift car, I would say that was a bad move. I would have gotten a beater stick shift and learned on that first cause I wouldn't have to worry about burning out the clutch or anything. But the choice has already been made so your only alternative is to "drive like grandma" until you learn how to drive stick correctly. It took me about 2 weeks to actually be comfortable enough to drive on a main road without being scared that I was going to stall. Take your time. . .and remember to baby the clutch since that has to break in as well.

As for the two issues you listed. Taking off fast involves knowing where the sweet spot on the tach is. On my car, I have a 99 Accord EX coupe 5spd, that's around 3K rpm. If I rev the engine to 3K then slip the clutch for a split second and then drop it, I can take off pretty fast with a little wheel spin. It's not the best thing to do all the time as it will contribute to clutch wear and is hard on the drive axles, but it's nice to know I can do it. Learn to drive stick correctly before trying to drive it fast. . that will come with time. As for the 1-2 shift, if it's jerky, it's most like because you're giving it too much gas which means the flywheel is moving faster than the clutch plate so when you let go of the clutch, it has to catch up with the flywheel and thus causes the car to jerk. Try moderating your right foot a little and you'll eventually find the right spot. It could also be caused by you not letting the clutch up fast enough. That would cause the clutch to slip until you let it up all the way, which would also cause jerkiness.

I hope that helps a little. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to try to help you out. Just remember to take it easy and take your time. Eventually, you won't even need to think about it. I don't even look at my tach anymore. . I just listen to the engine and know when to shift. Driving stick is a lot of fun, but it's not fun if you burn out the clutch and have to pay at least $1000 to fix it each time.

[ August 12, 2001: Message edited by: cnk ]
 

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Originally posted by sk121_2000:

Is there anyone who is in the area who'd be willing to teach me? :) Or atleast recommend a good driving school in the Seattle/Bellevue/Redmond area?

I got a 91 Honda Accord that you can borrow to learn on while I drive your IS.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
For those with the constructive advice..thanks once again..especially CNK..that was exactly what I was looking for! :)

As for SOyOBM...did you stop to think for a second that maybe I had already looked in the yellow pages for a stickshift driving school and couldn't find one here in Seattle that would teach me before you opened your mouth?!! There is only ONE driving school that was available..THREE WEEKS FROM NOW at the earliest...and charges $100 for 90 minutes (the price I wouldn't mind..if only they were available sooner)

AS for the clutch part...its covered under the warranty and so if I do burn it out..the dealership will replace it. I'd rather burn out the clutch on a new car under full warranty (which is mine and I need to get used to driving anyway) then someone's old beater. Besides...anyone tried renting a manual transmission car recently in the Seattle area?!?! Good LUCK!
Last but not least...I'm new to the area so..the very few friends I have here..all have automatics..so that rules out borrowing someone else's.

I'll figure it out..its not rocket science :)
 

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sk121_2000 I think is a good idea to find some side street have a slight inclide and pratice your ur foot by starting at the grade and drop the clutch in the right moment..pratice makes perfect(go back to the 7-11 u said)..don't worrie about burning clutch...
remember:
>if you want to start at incline don't let ur clutch go too fast , and u have to put little bit more gas but slowly pressing not flooring it
>if the incline is too steep .. use hand brakes..to prevent rollback( stall ur car)
>let of the clutch slowly once the car is going forward.. don't stay ur foot on the clutch forever
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow..what a difference of two hours of solid practice makes! And reading the owner's manual for the best shift points. It also says in there to use the handbrake on a hill instead of balancing the clutch..so thats exactly what I have been doing now.

Still need to work on making those 1-2 shifts smoother..but everything else is looking good.

Thanks
 

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the way to find the the sweet spot on the clutch is find a even serface and try lift off the clutch(slowly) until u feel the car is not rolling( stop) that is the contect position of the clutch at that time u can feel the car is VIBRATING( like u not pressing ur brakes hard enough when you stop and the brakes will vibrate)at that moment u give a little bit of gas the car will move and. once the car is move u can let off the clutch slowley

- i had been expirence driving a standard solera v6 ..however toyota try elmimate the engine vibration ..sometime is hard to find the sweet spots on toyota v6 and I-6 engine ..since is too quiet =), and make me over rev the engine or end up lift off the gas too quickly making me stall
 

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sk121_2000, no problem. I remember what it was like when I first starting driving stick. There were times I was so frustrated that I wanted to just go back to an automatic, but I kept trying and I would never think about getting an automatic again. There is so much more control and you get to understand your car much better. Just keep up the practice and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about in a few weeks.

As for the 1-2 upshift, you could try something else. Go somewhere like an empty parking lot or some empty street. What you need to do is pay attention to the tach needle. When you shift from 1 to 2, does the tach needle drop down a great amount?? does it surge?? If it drops down, it means you're giving it too much gas and the engine is revving high. When you let go of the clutch, the car will jerk. If the tach surges, it means that you're revving the engine too little and the engine has to catch up with the wheels. The engine most likely boggs down and then surges with torque when you give it more gas and the engine returns to the rpm range where it makes power. It takes some practice, but just like when you first tried to get the car moving, it takes time.

Concentrate on the standing starts on a level ground before focusing on starting from a hill. You have to get used to the way the engine sounds and the way your car behaves. There's no shame in using the parking brake when you're on a hill. It's the smart thing to do in order to save your clutch.

Let me know if you need anything else. . .more than happy to offer some tips and advice.
 

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I totally agree with SoyB... Why buy a $35K car that is 5spd and you cant drive stick? That doesnt show much brains if you ask me? the smart thing to do is buy an old hooptie and practice on that.. then later invest in a new manual. Oh well I guess those who have mom and dad buy them stuff, it doesnt really matter much to them.
 

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Good luck getting a worn clutch replaced under warranty! It's a wear and tear item just like brakes my friend.
 

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Originally posted by sk121_2000:
AS for the clutch part...its covered under the warranty and so if I do burn it out..the dealership will replace it.
Unless there was a mechanical defect or a mileage guarantee on the clutch, I'ld seriously doubt they'ld replace a burnt out clutch.
 

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Even though I know how to drive stick, I still need some time to get acquainted with a car before I can drive it fast. Your first mistake is that you were balancing the clutch on a hill while stepping on the gas. You never want to do that because you're burning out the synchros on the clutch. Hills are a clutch's worst enemy.
There are no synchros on the clutch. The synchros are in the transmission itself and are there to equalize the rotational speed of gears between shifts. They do wear over time, but not by burning up like the lining material of a clutch disk.

Using the handbrake is a valid technique to use if you don't want to roll backwards, but there is really no harm done by slightly slipping the clutch a bit to get going.

Just keep driving the car and work on getting smoother. It will all come in time, and it's really quite hard to damage the drivetrain of a new car. You'll be cracking off perfectly matched heel-toe downshifts in no time.... well, if the pedals were arranged better you would be.

Desmo

[ August 14, 2001: Message edited by: Desmo ]
 
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