Wanting To Learn On A Manual

Topic 27096 | Page 1

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Aaron St.Clair's Comment
member avatar

Within the next year, perhaps sooner... I will accept one of the many positions that offer paid training. I know that these companies are switching to automatic trucks to save on fuel costs etc. I have no problem driving an automatic if that's what they want to give me if hired. However, I already know how to drive a manual car. I just don't want the restriction on my drivers licence...

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
However, I already know how to drive a manual car.

I've never driven one in a car but I've heard here many times it's easier to learn if you dont have the bad habits to unlearn as they're completely different.

I just don't want the restriction on my drivers licence...

I personally do not if anyone is still training on manuals unless they send you to a private school that the company (swift, schneider) will pay the tuition for upfront. Most local companies are also switching to autos so if you end up with the restriction it isnt the end of the world. Worse case scenario you have the restriction and then pay someone to teach you and use their truck and just take the road test to remove it. I'm not sure if you also need to pass skills or not.

Michael W.'s Comment
member avatar

If you can learn how to shift a manual, and it is not that difficult, I would at least make sure the school you are attending has that option. Just because the big guys are going automatic, does not mean everyone is. I believe manual transmissions are still relevant out here, as many of the smaller, better paying outfits still use these trucks. Automatics are very expensive to repair, and they do break. Manuals, in competent hands are darn near bulletproof. Learn how to shift a truck.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm going to echo washer Rob T. says.

The difference between car manual and truck manual is like the difference between flying a plane and flying a helicopter. Trucks have more gears (between 10 and 18} and the clutching involves some coordination and rythm that you don't need in a car.

As for the restriction, it will be rare that you, as you get a job with a major truck company, will ever see three pedals below the steering wheel. And your company isn't interested in training you for something they don't have.

Like most people who have been driving trucks for more than four years, I started out in a manual, then was moved into automatic shift trucks. And after a while, I figured out how to make the features like Adaptive Cruise Control, and automatic retarder ("Jakes") work for me. I got spoiled for the features.

40 Days's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Errol V. It is very different from how you drive your car. I had my restriction removed the next day after testing for company in an automatic. Then going home and testing again in an O/O's manual truck it is very different and very stressful to do but can be done. Just more opportunities for an auto fail. Have you researched proper shifting? Double clutch? Proper downshift? I held a class B CDL for 10yrs before trying to join the big leagues but I remember everything being backwards when I was learning. Bringing RPMS up during downshifting instead of hitting brakes like a car. Or putting vehicle in neutral and letting RPMS lower between gears. I taught my wife to double clutch on the on ramps or on empty highways when she had to stop. If you already own a manual I would practice that a bit. Plus side if you have a sporty car it can improve your racing abilities. Don't get a ticket there are tracks for that. My wife says it makes her feel like a bada** when she nails her shifting so worth learning but probably not necessarily needed these days. Best of luck.

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.

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.

PlanB's Comment
member avatar

I'm all for testing in a manual if you have the opportunity. I've always been in autos, but im glad I tested in a manual and don't have a restriction.

Having driven a manual car doesn't really make it any easier to learn manual in a big truck. In some ways it will make it harder as you now must break old habits. Car manuals are synchronized and therefore don't need to be rev matched. You can downshift from 4th to 3rd and when you let out the clutch it will just rev the engine up as the pressure plate engages. The syncros keep everything in alignment so you can complete a shift with a single clutch depression. A big trucks gears are not synchronized, so if you try that same shift it will quickly get out of alignment and not let you go back into gear. You'll just have that wonderful grinding sound and it'll spit the shifter back into neutral. The driver must manually keep engine, transmission, and wheel speed synchronized to execute a shift.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I just thought if an additional point favoring automatic shift for training & testing.

When you do all the stuff in truck school to learn how to back and drive in traffic without killing cones or hitting curbs, the less you have to worry about when it's CDL showtime the better.

Shifting during your road test often adds the danger of grinding too many gears up or down shifting, coasting (rolling with the clutch in) or, horrors!, loosing all your gears and having to stop on the roadway to put it in first - an automatic failure.

Get the CDL, get the OTR road experience. You can then learn the secrets of shifting later when you don't have to worry about driving that big beast.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Lou's Comment
member avatar

I’ll echo what PlanB said. I just completed my CDL training in a manual and tested and passed this past Friday. It was challenging for sure but worth it in my opinion. Once you get on the road with your instructor and learn to double clutch and downshift then it becomes enjoyable, at least for me it did. I will say that knowing how to drive a manual car can, as many have said, hurt you in some ways. It’s NOT the same for sure. The main advantage really is clutch control as far as letting off of it when you’re at a full stop. We had a student in my class that didn’t know how to drive a manual at all and he stalled and bucked that truck many times at first but eventually it all clicked and he too passed his test on his first attempt. I went to a private school. I wish you the best of luck!

Lou

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Aaron St.Clair's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Errol V. It is very different from how you drive your car. I had my restriction removed the next day after testing for company in an automatic. Then going home and testing again in an O/O's manual truck it is very different and very stressful to do but can be done. Just more opportunities for an auto fail. Have you researched proper shifting? Double clutch? Proper downshift? I held a class B CDL for 10yrs before trying to join the big leagues but I remember everything being backwards when I was learning. Bringing RPMS up during downshifting instead of hitting brakes like a car. Or putting vehicle in neutral and letting RPMS lower between gears. I taught my wife to double clutch on the on ramps or on empty highways when she had to stop. If you already own a manual I would practice that a bit. Plus side if you have a sporty car it can improve your racing abilities. Don't get a ticket there are tracks for that. My wife says it makes her feel like a bada** when she nails her shifting so worth learning but probably not necessarily needed these days. Best of luck.

Are you saying that you can double clutch a car? I never even heard of double clutching until CDL driving. I still don't know how to down shift anything that will slow me down when driving downhill on a mountain covered in ice. I haven't figured out anything when driving downhill and dangerous turns other than tossing it in neutral and trying not to burn up the breaks...

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.

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.

Double Clutching:

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.

Aaron St.Clair's Comment
member avatar

Thanks!

If I get trained and pass my CDL exam on a "automatic only restriction" then, am I still allowed to drive my little 5 speed car?

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.
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