Problems In Lower Gears (10 Speed)

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Drew D.'s Comment
member avatar

I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction or offer some good advice.

I am taking my CDL skills test in two days. I still have two days worth of school/drive time. I am destroying the Pretrip and Backing portions. The shifting has its ups and downs and could ultimately be my downfall if I lose a gear during the road test.

I am totally comfortable going from 6th - 10th. And I am good floating from 2nd to 3rd. The problem is 4th and sometimes 5th for some reason. I get locked out of 4th and can rev up to 5th. Sometimes I have to skip all the way to 6th just to stay alive.

It usually happens if I hang out in 3rd too long completing a maneuver. Maybe I am upshifting too slow on the lower gears? Regardless, I can't let this be the reason I fail my road test. There were two occasions today where I completely flat lined in my lower gears, had to engage my 4 way, and restart. Which is unfortunate because I have really been progressing on the training on the manual where I have 2 hours of brilliance overshadowed by one screw up that would sink me.

So what is the deal with the lower gears? I hear alot about the math system for 6th and above. How would you recover being locked out of one of those lower gears? Do you skip it? or rev and wait for the gear to let you in?

I cannot afford a restart on my test from not being able to get a gear. Any and all recovery advice would be incredibly appreciated.

Thanks!

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

If you're dragging around an empty trailer. I would be starting in 3rd gear, then jump to 5th gear.

Drew D.'s Comment
member avatar

Great advice! Unfortunately, my CDL school wants to see proper gear progression. I have to start in 2nd and make my way through all lower gears. Needless to say, I am a real joy to be behind at intersections!

If you're dragging around an empty trailer. I would be starting in 3rd gear, then jump to 5th gear.

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

My rule of thumb; get out of the lower gears as quickly as possible. About 1 full second (1-Mississippi) until in fifth, then let it wind out a bit longer. You need to be quicker.

When empty you don’t need to start in first. Try 2nd or even 3rd. Get to at least to 3rd, preferably 4th before turning.

Without seeing you going through the gears, that’s the best I can offer.

I have the same concern for you now that I had when I first read your initial post... not enough practice and floating. The instructor will want to see the two pops on the clutch.

Drew D.'s Comment
member avatar

I can double clutch. And you are correct. I have driven a 10 speed for all of 6 days now. I am definitely making progress but I need real time behind the wheel. I have absolutely no delusions about being a Jedi Master at shifting. I just need the necessary foundation to build upon. Coasting in neutral is unacceptable from failing in lower gears. I will take your advice and try to get on the other side of that splitter ASAP.

Also, I am pulling a smaller empty trailer. Somewhere in the 20 - 30 foot range.

My rule of thumb; get out of the lower gears as quickly as possible. About 1 full second (1-Mississippi) until in fifth, then let it wind out a bit longer. You need to be quicker.

When empty you don’t need to start in first. Try 2nd or even 3rd. Get to at least to 3rd, preferably 4th before turning.

Without seeing you going through the gears, that’s the best I can offer.

I have the same concern for you now that I had when I first read your initial post... not enough practice and floating. The instructor will want to see the two pops on the clutch.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

1st off, I have to double clutch every gear and start from 1st. I climb through 1-5 very quickly to get moving. My RPM’s hit around 1800 clutch/shift to neutral, Mississippi clutch/shift to gear.I’m in 5th shifting to 6 in 20 yards or so. Next thing I know I’m in 8th gear doing 35.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Just get through those individual gears as fast as possible. You will have problems after six days or six weeks, honestly. I would skip the floating gears until you get a grasp on normal clutch shifting.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
David W.'s Comment
member avatar

You’re probably it letting the tack drop enough and rushing. My biggest advice to shifting is you can always over rev up a truck and catch it when it falls, but if you under rev you’re setting you self up to lose gears

Drew D.'s Comment
member avatar

I have been mixing in double clutching. Problem is, the instructor I had for the first five days insisted on floating. May I ask what the advantage is for a newbie to Double Clutch vs Floating? I feel like I have a good rhythm with Floating, but I will gladly take extra steps if it means being safe and not getting caught with my pants down and losing a gear I can't get recover from.

Just get through those individual gears as fast as possible. You will have problems after six days or six weeks, honestly. I would skip the floating gears until you get a grasp on normal clutch shifting.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Part of your problem at your experience level is the mixing. They are different. It used to be floating was not acceptable during testing. Get used to doing it one way, so you are consistent. It becomes muscle memory and your far more likely to not make a mistake. Do not rush. Keep it steady and smooth and you should do fine.

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