Affordable CDL Driving Lessons For Non-career Driver

Topic 21074 | Page 2

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Adam's Comment
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I was always taught to double clutch (especially when loaded)...and never push the clutch all the way in (down), otherwise the clutch brake kicks-in and fouls the shift.

I think my only point of confusion is that, even though I understand the function of the synchro, I'm not sure how it affects the steps you take to change gears. It sounds like what you're saying is that, even with the synchronized Spicer 6+1 (most likely what the 7 is, it seems, although could also be a Fuller -- not sure if they're synchro or not!), I'd still double-clutch, with clutch in only 2" or so for shifts while moving, and only all the way in when starting from a dead stop. I just wouldn't need to rev the engine in downshifts like you would in a non-synchro, and wouldn't need to worry as much about the RPMs dropping too low in upshifts. Am I understanding this right?

You mentioned You-Tube, there are numerous 10 speed shifting videos you can look at.

Yep, and I think I've watched just about every one, from 10's on up to 18's! I think I must have missed the 7-speed videos, though... Anyway, it's one thing to know the theory of how to shift, and another entirely to have the skill.

It takes practice and likely some instruction to get the hang of this at first. Based on your recent reply, I really think some formal training is best for you.

I think that's something we both agree on! Looks like the Henry Ford College program might be a possibility. Probably have to wait until next week to call at this point, though... That said, if anyone else has other suggestions, I'd still love to hear them! :-)

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.

G-Town's Comment
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Yes therory vs execution, indeed two different animals. I'm with you so far..except this...(below)

Popping the throttle to raise the R's on a downshift is advisable on both types of transmissions. Otherwise the truck might buck a bit...your cargo might not like that. Smooth transition on the downshift,...just a "blip" on the throttle will help.

Adam's Comment
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Thanks for the help so far, guys! Thought I'd give a quick progress update and run one more option past you all...

Henry Ford College (Dearborn) has a whole set of " CDL " classes.

I did end up contacting Henry Ford College. I was hoping I would be able to enroll in just the driving lab, which would mean just a few hours a week stretched over three or four months, to get some real, practical experience with a trained instructor, at minimal cost (looked like potentially a little over $500).

Well I just heard back from the dean this morning and, unfortunately, it's a non-starter. Not only do they require enrollment in all five courses, payment in full is due upfront, to the tune of $8349. I'm not even sure how they can charge that much, when a typical private school in this area runs $4000-5000 for the same training!

As for other options...

Wayne County Community College is starting a CDL program with the City of Detroit (you may be iced out of this). It seems to be new. Info in this PDF file.

Unfortunately, I can't get this link to work. Going to try contacting the school directly and see what I can find...

I also found is this: ABC Training and Testing Refresher and Accelerated Training Programs

These sound a lot like what Big Scott mentioned.

Looking specifically at the ACCELERATED CDL CLASS B COURSE (8 hours instruction, 4 hours "independent study", $1350.00) and the ACCELERATED CDL CLASS A COURSE (16 hours instruction, 8 hours "independent study", $1875). The only practical reason for me to do the class-A over the class-B would be to have flexibility to drive larger combination rigs in the future, although honestly, it would be mostly just for fun, and to fulfill my childhood dream of learning to drive a big rig. Logically, that's probably not worth the extra $525... At any rate, my biggest concern with this route is that it seems pretty expensive for the amount of training you actually get, even factoring in the "complimentary" road skills test they appear to include.

Any thoughts on this option?


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.


Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

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