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Riding the Clutch

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Finn 7 five 11
  • Finn 7 five 11

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:05 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Apr 27 2013, 09:56)
Wow, a great deal of myths are being perpetuated in this thread.

Riding the clutch is bad because of no other reason than it leaving you temporarily out of full control of the vehicle. It's looked down on by most advanced drivers and is an automatic fail in an ARDS licence test (that's an advanced driving qualification designed for club-level motorsport). Very bad practice brought on by nothing other than laziness.

I would also like to rebut several things fin4life has said:

1) There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the clutch for gradual creeping in stop-start traffic. The wear on the clutch plate and mechanism created by doing so is trivial in comparison to the progressive stretch in the handbrake cable created by repeated application. Given that the service life of most clutches is about 100,000 miles or 10 years use, the additional wear costs are negligence at worst, bordering on non-existent.

2) Within reason, using gear ratios to decelerate can be highly beneficial. In regular driving, it has relatively little effect. However in adverse condition driving, it is invaluable. When driving on snow and ice in particular, using gears to control speed avoids triggering the ABS and/or ESP and therefore it is possible for a good driver to decelerate much more rapidly without locking the wheels or risking losing control. It is also highly useful in fast road and track driving as the use of gears and clutch in combination permits a greater degree of lateral adjustment when slowing. You can decelerate through fast corners without understeering in a fast driving environment by using the gear ratios to your advantage- and that's quite aside from using opportunities created by deceleration to keep the engine within the peak power band. Put simply, you want to drop to the right gear as part of the slowing process, utilizing the deceleration and keeping the engine in its sweet spot.

About clutch riding, that's logical as well, I suppose, I was trying to point out that it wasn't damaging, but there isn't really any reason to do it either.

1) Alright good point, haha, when you put it that way it kinda does make sense, probably should have thought about that a bit more.

2) That's what I actually meant, don't use gears to slow down ridiculously slow. Like sure, you can use them a little bit, but don't be going 100km an hour and slam it down into second gear, try and be close to the "Sweet spot" at you said, by either slowing down enough with brakes first or rev matching, it's going to easier on the gears and more comfortable a ride.

  • Lurch

    Yeah...pretty much.

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:24 AM Edited by Lurch, 01 May 2013 - 06:27 AM.

It's all simple math on knowing how slow you need to be before going to the next gear. Any gear calculator will tell you the maximum speed of each gear. If you're not slow enough, then bad things are obviously going to happen.

Example from this calculator with my car's gear ratios, tire size, rev limit, etc.

225/50R16 tires (24.86" OD)

3.25 final drive ratio

Rev limiter starts to cut in at 6k. Fuel cuts at 6200.

1st gear - 3.822 = 36 mph @ 6000 rpm = 37 mph @ 6200 rpm

2nd gear - 2.203 = 62 mph @ 6000 rpm = 64 mph @6200 rpm

3rd gear - 1.398 = 98 mph @ 6000 rpm = 101 mph @6200 rpm

4th gear - 1.000 = 137 mph @ 6000 rpm = 141 mph @6200 rpm

5th gear - 0.812 = 168 mph @ 6000 rpm = 174 mph @6200 rpm

Therefore if you're under the road speed where you're rev limiter kicks in at in a gear lower, you can in theory downshift to the next gear (though depending on which gear, the force of compression and gearing working at high RPM's might damn near throw you windshield tounge.gif ). Rev-matching (or bumping/blipping the throttle) will obviously make each downshift a little easier. That's also the way to shift without using the clutch. Though if you do downshift at a high speed for the gear under, I'd recommend using the clutch as you can at least feather it a bit to lighten the initial shockload somewhat. Though, midway through the RPM range is definitely gonna be most ideal here for normal driving.

  • epoxi

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:50 PM Edited by epoxi, 01 May 2013 - 08:52 PM.

I am confused, I always thought "riding the clutch" meant having the clutch pedal partially depressed, but I guess not. Let me check:

RIDING the clutch = keeping the clutch pedal fully depressed disconnecting the engine from the wheels completely AKA "coasting"

FEATHERING the clutch = partially depressing the clutch pedal for hill starts etc.

This what sivis appears to mean but lurch is using terminology how I thought originally.

  • sivispacem

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:14 PM

QUOTE (epoxi @ Wednesday, May 1 2013, 21:50)
RIDING the clutch = keeping the clutch pedal fully depressed disconnecting the engine from the wheels completely AKA "coasting"

FEATHERING the clutch = partially depressing the clutch pedal for hill starts etc.

That isn't really what I meant. Coasting is distinct from riding the clutch, but you still don't have any proper control when you are riding it because "riding the clutch" implies feathering done badly or unnecessarily. It's a partial depressing of the clutch in unnecessary circumstances, for prolonged periods of time or otherwise in ways that are detrimental to the control of the car.

  • Ben73


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Posted 04 May 2013 - 10:31 AM

My mate held his car on an incline with clutch partiality pressed to hold him still.
He only did it for 10 seconds but we could smell it as he took off.

I don't know if that was due to him holding the car there, or because his 1.7 ton car currently weighed 3.8 tons including trailer.

  • Lurch

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 11:58 AM

Probably holding it for 10 seconds there. There is really no reason to use the clutch to hold you for anymore than a second.

  • visionist

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 03:37 PM

QUOTE (finn4life @ Friday, Apr 26 2013, 22:29)

- Don't use the gears to slow down, EVERYONE does this saying "Save your brakes." Okay what do you think is gonna cost more to fix? Clutch or brake pads? You need to rev-match to the lower gear, or try to.

I learned that lesson the expensive way.

Except that I didn't. Habits die hard.

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