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Old 06-28-2012, 10:52 PM   #1
baller3643
 
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New Camaro, first stick shift

Just got a 2012 Summit White 2SS/RS with an orange stripe with the orange interior. I planned on getting an automatic, but this one looked great and I got a good deal. So, I did some driving today and it wasn't pretty. Does anyone have any advice for first time stick shift drivers starting off with a Camaro?
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:18 PM   #2
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Nice choice
Whack it in first then shift to 4th and let the slowpokes scope out the radar units.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:30 PM   #3
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Find a nice bid empty space to practice shifting over and over. Take it easy and be patient.
Its more about feeling then anything else get used to the feeling of the friction point (that sounds dirty). Give a little gas and gently release the clutch. Pay attention to what happens and how it feels when it starts to grab. If the engine bogs or stalls, you need more gas, if it snaps and the car jerks, be more gentle with the clutch. Once you get the perfect combination/timing of the clutch, just take it slow and easy. After a few weeks it will be muscle memory and you can do it without thinking.

By the way, welcome and enjoy. Get some pics up soon.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:34 PM   #4
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I was just in this boat a week ago. Just take your time, practice the engagement point of the clutch. I'm down to stalling maybe once every 1-2 days. Don't worry about other drivers and just have fun with it!

Late night malls, neighborhoods are great to practice out with parking, starting and stopping, etc...

And Welcome!
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:41 PM   #5
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Infinite-T View Post
Find a nice bid empty space to practice shifting over and over. Take it easy and be patient.
Its more about feeling then anything else get used to the feeling of the friction point (that sounds dirty). Give a little gas and gently release the clutch. Pay attention to what happens and how it feels when it starts to grab. If the engine bogs or stalls, you need more gas, if it snaps and the car jerks, be more gentle with the clutch. Once you get the perfect combination/timing of the clutch, just take it slow and easy. After a few weeks it will be muscle memory and you can do it without thinking.

By the way, welcome and enjoy. Get some pics up soon.
I agree. You learn the mechanics in 15 minutes, practice is what you need to be confident. And turn the radio OFF and listen to whats going on.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:19 AM   #7
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if you want some visual examples go on youtube. There tons of vids on learning to drive stick there
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:27 AM   #8
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About a month ago I was in your same exact shoes. I'll admit it kind of frustrated me and really made me want to get an automatic but I kept at it and now, though I'm not a professional driver, can drive my camaro with confidence. Most of what everyone is telling you is what you need to do. I started a thread about tips on learning to drive this monster and one poster lead me to a thread about learning to drive stick that was very informative. What I did while learning was driving it mostly at night in lonely neighborhoods and would get a feel for when the clutch begins to grab and when to give it some gas. After smelling a sleightly burnt clutch a few times I quickly learned how much gas was too much gas and also learned when it wasn't enough when the car would stall. Don't get discouraged like I did when first learning. You'll get used to it, trust me .

P.s. Congratulations!
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:36 AM   #9
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Focus on the clutch, not the gas so much. You should be able to get the car to start rolling before you need to give it gas. Practice getting it rolling from a stand still with no gas a few times, then start giving it some gas, then start making the clutch/gas combination fluid. Like everyone said, practice practice practice.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:08 AM   #10
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Some one else mentioned turning off the radio and listening to the engine. That was a big key for me.

I don't want to go zen on you, but you need to really pay attention to the sound and feel of the car.

Once you get it, driving is so much more fun!
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:10 AM   #11
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I don't know if anyone else will agree with me, but I found everything much smoother with the traction control off. Since turning it off I've never spun the tires, I heard a chirp once, but that's once in two weeks. With the traction control on it seemed like the RPM's would drop on me, which was a real problem because I kept going from one extreme to the other at take off - too much accelerator or too little. With the traction control off I have complete control over the RPMs and I know exactly what the car will do.

Best thing about a stick so far, for me anyways, is second gear around corners, it's like a rocket ship! No auto can do that.

Anyway, some advice, no radio, no phone, and don't talk to the passenger. As soon as I get distracted my instincts lead me to drive like I'm back in automatic. Also, keep a hand on the shifter at all times, this helped me remember what gear I was in. Oh and third is up, like straight up, I kept missing it because I didn't get that it was just straight up.
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baller3643 View Post
Just got a 2012 Summit White 2SS/RS with an orange stripe with the orange interior. I planned on getting an automatic, but this one looked great and I got a good deal. So, I did some driving today and it wasn't pretty. Does anyone have any advice for first time stick shift drivers starting off with a Camaro?
Disengage handbrake.
Press left pedal down.
Move shifter to upper left position.
Press right pedal until dash mounted rev counter reads approximately 5k rpm.
Release left pedal.

Off you go

PS: There might be some slight smoke coming from the back, but that's entirely normal




(Seriously: rev to about 1500rpm, then release the clutch gently)

Last edited by PeeBee; 06-29-2012 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by snaphappy View Post
Also, keep a hand on the shifter at all times, this helped me remember what gear I was in.
Auch... one of the first things they taught me NOT to do...

Your shifter is supposed to move around freely while "normal" driving. If you keep your hand on it at all times, you limit this movement and put more stress on your synchros... This can in time lead to a broken transmission...
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:01 AM   #14
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I agree. You learn the mechanics in 15 minutes, practice is what you need to be confident. And turn the radio OFF and listen to whats going on.
Despite the fact that I love the sound of the radio, he's right. Feel the sweet spot when the clutch pedal starts engaging and push it back in. I went to a flat empty parking lot and just used the clutch until I felt it start to grab and move the car forward, then pushed the clutch back in. I repeated this until my leg started getting the "muscle memory" of where the sweet spot is. Still getting used to trying to match the RPM's when switching 2-6 tho lol.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:11 AM   #15
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I've taught my wife and her sisters to drive with 3 pedals. To help them with the friction point, I started by getting them to slowly release the clutch until they felt the car begin to move, then had them press the clutch back in so the engine wouldn't die.

Did this 5 or 6 times until they began to understand the point at which the cars needs the gas. Then begin to introduce throttle and off they go. Spend a lot of time in a parking lot and you'll do great.

P.S. My first car was a '68 Camaro with a stick. We brought the car home and I begged my dad to drive it (I didn't know how to drive a stick). He reluctantly let me go. I returned after 3 hours of cruising and had it down pat. Spend a half day literally driving around town and you'll be solid when you're done
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:41 AM   #16
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Auch... one of the first things they taught me NOT to do...

Your shifter is supposed to move around freely while "normal" driving. If you keep your hand on it at all times, you limit this movement and put more stress on your synchros... This can in time lead to a broken transmission...
Agreed.

An easy way to learn the shifter and what I say is just row the gears from a stand still without looking. Also throw in some confusion don't just do 1-2-3-... imagine going 6-4, 5-3, 2-4, etc...

You can also practice starting with only the clutch just over and over again to get feel and muscle memory down.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:07 PM   #17
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Don't worry OP same happened to me. My father had to drive my brand new dream car off of the dealer lot for me (embarrassing). I picked it up saturday afternoon and was driving myself to work on monday morning.

You learn the basics quick, but I was still terrified of even slight hills for a few weeks after. I used the emergency brake "trick" on hills for awhile until i learned the point where the clutch engages and holds the car in place. Practice, practice, practice and don't get discouraged!
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:48 PM   #18
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I'm in kinda the same boat. I can get her rolling pretty smooth now, even on hills (don't know if it's cheating but I just keep my foot on the brake, let the clutch out til I hit the magic spot, then swap onto the gas to get it going)...

...but I still manage to cause all sorts of heck when rowing through the gears sometimes.

I am not sure why but sometimes (usually infact) it's buttery smooth, and sometimes the car makes me go all bobblehead and scares the hell outta the girlfriend.

I don't really have anyone else who's driven a stick to help me along .. so I will thread-jack and ask what causes one shift from say 2nd to 3rd to be buttrey, and another to cause all sorts of jerking?

Also, when going down a hill .. do I put the clutch in and let it coast, or leave it in gear and just let the engine spin normally?
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:02 PM   #19
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My addvice stay calm and find the perfect "grab" point. I learned on a 2011 camaro ss. I did it with my dad though I'm only 15 though soon to be 16. I love the camaro and the 6 speed stay calm and it only get better. To bad my first car is and automatic and a mustang.... I love it, but nothing beats the fun of driving the Camaro.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:05 PM   #20
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I'm in kinda the same boat. I can get her rolling pretty smooth now, even on hills (don't know if it's cheating but I just keep my foot on the brake, let the clutch out til I hit the magic spot, then swap onto the gas to get it going)...

...but I still manage to cause all sorts of heck when rowing through the gears sometimes.

I am not sure why but sometimes (usually infact) it's buttery smooth, and sometimes the car makes me go all bobblehead and scares the hell outta the girlfriend.

I don't really have anyone else who's driven a stick to help me along .. so I will thread-jack and ask what causes one shift from say 2nd to 3rd to be buttrey, and another to cause all sorts of jerking?

Also, when going down a hill .. do I put the clutch in and let it coast, or leave it in gear and just let the engine spin normally?
It all depends on if you want the compression to help you slow down on the hill if not push the clutch in and shift in to neutral and let the clutch out and it will free wheel down with ease. Good luck.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:05 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by crashprime View Post
I'm in kinda the same boat. I can get her rolling pretty smooth now, even on hills (don't know if it's cheating but I just keep my foot on the brake, let the clutch out til I hit the magic spot, then swap onto the gas to get it going)...

...but I still manage to cause all sorts of heck when rowing through the gears sometimes.

I am not sure why but sometimes (usually infact) it's buttery smooth, and sometimes the car makes me go all bobblehead and scares the hell outta the girlfriend.

I don't really have anyone else who's driven a stick to help me along .. so I will thread-jack and ask what causes one shift from say 2nd to 3rd to be buttrey, and another to cause all sorts of jerking?

Also, when going down a hill .. do I put the clutch in and let it coast, or leave it in gear and just let the engine spin normally?
The jolt you feel is due to the rpm's dropping in between shifts.

Say for example 20MPH is 3000RPM in 2nd Gear but in 3rd gear its 2000RPM well while shifting it drops to 1200-1500 but when you let off the clutch and the engine and drivetrain are engaged it has to jump back up to 2000rpm to match the speed. You feel the jolt.

To eliminate this takes time where you're smoother adding throttle while stepping off the clutch as well as being smoother and faster so there isn't as much "neutral" time where you are not in a gear. You can also blip the throttle with the clutch all the way in if the RPM's drop too low, this will help in smoothness.

When going downhill if I'm decelerating you can push the clutch in and coast but it does wear on the clutch, I recommend just let it coast in gear. If you put it in neutral to coast you lose ability to accelerate and control the throttle if something happens where you need to.

For me it's the 1-2 shift that is the hardest but I've noticed shifting at 10-13 MPH seems to be best and its much smoother than doing it earlier around 7-10MPH.

This is just my experiences over the past week and a half.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:12 PM   #22
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When going downhill if I'm decelerating you can push the clutch in and coast but it does wear on the clutch
The only time the clutch gets wear is when it is slipping, i.e. being used to start out and when shifting, typically.

The throw-out bearing, on the other hand, does get worn anytime you have the clutch pedal in.

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Old 06-29-2012, 08:19 PM   #23
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I did the same thing. My first manual was my Camaro. Practice around your neighborhood. After a few days I was good to go.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:25 PM   #24
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My SS was my first stick as well. Best advice I could give is practice around the neighborhood a bit like others have said.

The two best tips are that you really barely have to push clutch in to shift gears. Also' be smooth letting clutch out at the top or it will be really jumpy.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:27 PM   #25
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If it was me, I would find a different car to learn and practice shifting in (maybe a friend or family would let you use theirs), strictly because I wouldn't want to hurt my baby. That way you can learn how a manual transmission behaves and by the time you're ready to try it in your camaro, you'll have a big head start and will reduce chances of accidentally breaking anything.

P.S. I learned to drive stick in an ancient VW bus. It was a PITA to drive and that's probably one of the biggest contributing factors to my current shifting/clutch skills in regards to manual cars.
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