Shifting The Truck....AAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!

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Mike V.'s Comment
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Well, we started a day early on our driving. The good first....I can straight back and parallel park decently. Shifting? Thought the tranny was gonna fall out. Instructor taught us how to float the gears. I can go up through the gears ok, downshifting??? OH MY GAWD I am a stumbling bumbling rank beginner. Need help and or tips from the veterans here.....PLEASE.

Float The 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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Shifting up feels natural - just slide the shift lever through neutral into the next gear up.

But in downshifting you really need to put some extra spin to the gear. That's probably what drives you crazy: how to do that.

To start with, know where you're shifting to - straight back, forward, that catty corner diagonal when you flip the selector.

1. Slide the lever to neutral. Get ready to (but don't yet) slide to the next lower gear. (Not using the clutch pedal at all)

2. Tap the accelerator a bit, hear the engine give a little oomph.

3. Right then, slide into your destination.

It's like learning how to ride a bicycle: if you have to think about it, you'll fall over. Actually shifting shouldn't take more than half a second. So thinking about it will slow you down, but that's how you start.

You might practice some just sitting there, no engine running. Then try it while you're rolling. Best if luck!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Also, wait until the RPM's come way down before you try to downshift. Get them down in the 1000 RPM area (or even lower) and then downshift. If you're downshifting with the RPM's too high you really have to kick the RPM's up sky high to get it to shift into the lower gear. At higher RPM's the engine wants to lose RPM's more quickly so your timing has to be more precise. At lower RPM's it's a little more forgiving.

So try letting those RPM's drop really low before downshifting.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

The RPM thing is not too crazy. The engine operates best between 1000 and 1500 rpm (Look at the tach dial, see the 10 and15 Some tachs have a little mark around 13 - the sweet spot for the engine.

So, shifting up, you focus on the 15 area (high revs). Downshifts are then in the lower, 10 area. Let the engine do its thing to get the the target (up goes to 15, down goes to 10), then shift. Shifting up, you don't need to add speed with the accelerator. DOWNshifting is when you have to tap the "gas" pedal a bit.

I know! All this reading (& memorizing?) will drive you crazy! It the ride-a-bike thing. Just do it, allow your body to learn, then you won't have to think about it ever again.

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

It just takes practice. Take a deep breath and calm yourself. It is probably that you are shifting too fast.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Shifting up feels natural - just slide the shift lever through neutral into the next gear up.

But in downshifting you really need to put some extra spin to the gear. That's probably what drives you crazy: how to do that.

To start with, know where you're shifting to - straight back, forward, that catty corner diagonal when you flip the selector.

1. Slide the lever to neutral. Get ready to (but don't yet) slide to the next lower gear. (Not using the clutch pedal at all)

2. Tap the accelerator a bit, hear the engine give a little oomph.

3. Right then, slide into your destination.

It's like learning how to ride a bicycle: if you have to think about it, you'll fall over. Actually shifting shouldn't take more than half a second. So thinking about it will slow you down, but that's how you start.

You might practice some just sitting there, no engine running. Then try it while you're rolling. Best if luck!

Mike V.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys, but I cant seem to get it to go into gear with the engine off, and when I try it just sitting there with the engine running....the truck wants to move. I know the pattern, but hopefully with practice and repitition it will come to me.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys, but I cant seem to get it to go into gear with the engine off, and when I try it just sitting there with the engine running....the truck wants to move. I know the pattern, but hopefully with practice and repitition it will come to me.

Without motion in the gearbox the gears often won't fully mesh. But move your arm & elbow to get that rhythm down.

Find a straight stretch of lonely road so you won't have any distractions.

Practice, repetition. You got that right!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Also, wait until the RPM's come way down before you try to downshift. Get them down in the 1000 RPM area (or even lower) and then downshift. If you're downshifting with the RPM's too high you really have to kick the RPM's up sky high to get it to shift into the lower gear. At higher RPM's the engine wants to lose RPM's more quickly so your timing has to be more precise. At lower RPM's it's a little more forgiving.

So try letting those RPM's drop really low before downshifting.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Sounds like your still in school if so you shouldn't be floating the gears Cuz dot wants you to double clutch.. if not then yeah the best time to practice is a back road with not a lot of traffic...

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call 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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

The RPM thing is not too crazy. The engine operates best between 1000 and 1500 rpm (Look at the tach dial, see the 10 and15 Some tachs have a little mark around 13 - the sweet spot for the engine.

So, shifting up, you focus on the 15 area (high revs). Downshifts are then in the lower, 10 area. Let the engine do its thing to get the the target (up goes to 15, down goes to 10), then shift. Shifting up, you don't need to add speed with the accelerator. DOWNshifting is when you have to tap the "gas" pedal a bit.

I know! All this reading (& memorizing?) will drive you crazy! It the ride-a-bike thing. Just do it, allow your body to learn, then you won't have to think about it ever again.

classA's Comment
member avatar

Well, we started a day early on our driving. The good first....I can straight back and parallel park decently. Shifting? Thought the tranny was gonna fall out. Instructor taught us how to float the gears. I can go up through the gears ok, downshifting??? OH MY GAWD I am a stumbling bumbling rank beginner. Need help and or tips from the veterans here.....PLEASE.

I, too, had issues with downshifting. What really helped me is I went to www.eaton.com and found a PDF user manual for the Eaton-Fuller 10-Speed Transmission and read it. Then, when I would drive, I could visualize what was actually happening when I'd shift.

Float The 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.

Craig M.'s Comment
member avatar

I just finished school. I had a very hard time at first down shifting. Once I started doing what some of the veterans here suggested I was able to get the hang of down shifting. Slowing your vehicle till it is in the 1000 RPM range before you attempt to take it out of gear is key for successful downshifting. Atleast for me it was. Once in neutral I would then rev it to about 1400 RPM and then drop it into the next lower gear. Some variation is needed if going up a hill or down a hill. If going up hill take it out of gear at about 1200, if going down hill take it out of gear at 800 RPM. Of course, minor differences in different trucks. I hope this helps. You will get it, just keep practicing. Good Luck!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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