I Suck At Shifting

Topic 10360 | Page 1

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Bryan D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey everyone. So I got my cdl , trained for a couple months, and now I'm with a really good company. I love my job, but I am terrible at shifting still. It's so rough, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm almost considering giving it up.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bryan, it's not a matter of suckiness. When you're body learns the moves and you can stop thinking about the steps out will get better.

What part of shifting gives you problems?

New Beginning's Comment
member avatar

Hey everyone. So I got my cdl , trained for a couple months, and now I'm with a really good company. I love my job, but I am terrible at shifting still. It's so rough, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm almost considering giving it up.

I too hate shifting!! Some days I seem to shift like a pro. Other days I feel like it's my first day. Although I have never thought of giving up driving, I have thought a lot (excessively) about what company I will go with after my year obligation is up. There are so many companies switching to automatics that quitting never entered my thought process. So Bryan don't quit unless you don't like the lifestyle. There are many other options and companies to choose from who are catering to those of us that just want to drive. Call me a steering wheel holder all you want. We will still get paid like those super truckers.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Jason V.'s Comment
member avatar

First, for the,love of whatever God you believe in, do not get into an automatic!!!! This GREATLY reduces your abilities as a trucker. How many companies would you have to walk away from an amazing offer because they don't have automatics? It's VERY easy to shift. Get 3 paper tubes, one for the clutch, one for brake, one for throttle. Get a plunger, that's the shifter. Get familiar with the Addams Family theme song. The 2 claps are the speed you need to shift. It gets easy with practice. Clutch neutral, clutch gear. Your road speed and RPMs will dictate if you get the gear. Example, at 5mph in a 10-speed, 2nd gear. Shift to 3rd at 9-10mph and 1100 rpms. Do it Addams Family theme speed, you will get the gear. Don't jam the shifter either. Think of the shifter as a fabrige egg. Gentle pressure with your finger tips is PLENTY to,get it,in gear. Light pressure with your Palm is enough to get it out.

Dustin P.'s Comment
member avatar

First, for the,love of whatever God you believe in, do not get into an automatic!!!! This GREATLY reduces your abilities as a trucker. How many companies would you have to walk away from an amazing offer because they don't have automatics? It's VERY easy to shift. Get 3 paper tubes, one for the clutch, one for brake, one for throttle. Get a plunger, that's the shifter. Get familiar with the Addams Family theme song. The 2 claps are the speed you need to shift. It gets easy with practice. Clutch neutral, clutch gear. Your road speed and RPMs will dictate if you get the gear. Example, at 5mph in a 10-speed, 2nd gear. Shift to 3rd at 9-10mph and 1100 rpms. Do it Addams Family theme speed, you will get the gear. Don't jam the shifter either. Think of the shifter as a fabrige egg. Gentle pressure with your finger tips is PLENTY to,get it,in gear. Light pressure with your Palm is enough to get it out.

I am pretty bad at shifting also, this is my first week of cdl school and the instructor told me to do the Adams family song also. Thank you for affirming that the song works!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Jason V.'s Comment
member avatar

After a while, you'll learn to understand the "language" your truck is speaking. Listen to the engine. It will tell you when it's time to shift. Just remember the Addams Family song and you'll be fine. Don't panic if you lose a gear. Everyone does it from time to time. Just recover your gear and try again. About the paper tubes, if you press the clutch tube to the floor, that's way too far. Half way down is the most you should ever press unless coming to a stop or starting the engine. There are tons of videos on YouTube that show double clutch technique. Practice Practice Practice. It'll come to you. Be patient. Keep your cool. Don't panic. Also, don't try shifting down hill. You and a run away ramp will become good friends.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Doc's Comment
member avatar

My biggest problem at first was deep clutching. Which was slowing down my RPMs and messing up my timing. Once one of my instructors had me put the seat back as far as possible while still being able to press the throttle and break my shifting became smooth and easy. Try moving your seat back and adjusting the steering wheel so your comfortable.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jason V.'s Comment
member avatar

Every part of that truck that has to do with you controlling properly will adjust to the driver. Notice the seats. They almost envelop you. They go up, down, forward, back, lumbar support, thoracic support (middle back), the steering wheel adjusts to you. Get comfy. You're gonna be there a while.

New Beginning's Comment
member avatar

First, for the,love of whatever God you believe in, do not get into an automatic!!!! This GREATLY reduces your abilities as a trucker. How many companies would you have to walk away from an amazing offer because they don't have automatics? It's VERY easy to shift. Get 3 paper tubes, one for the clutch, one for brake, one for throttle. Get a plunger, that's the shifter. Get familiar with the Addams Family theme song. The 2 claps are the speed you need to shift. It gets easy with practice. Clutch neutral, clutch gear. Your road speed and RPMs will dictate if you get the gear. Example, at 5mph in a 10-speed, 2nd gear. Shift to 3rd at 9-10mph and 1100 rpms. Do it Addams Family theme speed, you will get the gear. Don't jam the shifter either. Think of the shifter as a fabrige egg. Gentle pressure with your finger tips is PLENTY to,get it,in gear. Light pressure with your Palm is enough to get it out.

You sound like my trainer. He says he got into trucking because of the rumble of the stack pipes when the jake break is on (pre-def). I told him I got into trucking so I can get paid to see parts of the country I might not other wise get to see. How can I take in the scenery if I have to constantly look at RPMs and how fast I am going(just kidding, I always look 12-15 seconds ahead). Anyway, I am glad I learned how to shift truck gears. Its like joining the military, only a small percentage of people can say they made that choice and succeeded. Driving an automatic is a choice. If one hasn't started yet, i'm sure a TT Wiki thread on companies going automatic will be started soon(hint hint Bret). Like manuals transmissions in cars, manuals in trucks will become less common. Especially with millinuals (however you describe the generation after us gen Xers). How else can they text and drive if they have to shift gears and pay attention to traffic.

Cindy K.'s Comment
member avatar

I am currently in school and was one of the best shifters on the range. Then, we went on the road, and everything changed. AAgghhh....

I love the input on TT and will use the suggestions above. Thank you.

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