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#1 14-02-09 14:50:20

BroomBroom
Member
Registered: 03-03-08
Posts: 10

Clutch Control

I'm stuck in a bind...well kind of. My first instructor when I first started driving (I didn't have an instructor before that, seemed kind of pointless) instilled (or installed, you pick) into me this almost 'fear' of the clutch pedal and now I find that it's affecting my driving as I'm far too nervous of it. It sounds silly I know but when I take my foot off the clutch I do it so slowly...too slowly. I realise you're not supposed to slam it down then take your foot off straight away but I bring it up millimeter at at a time which then means (I think) that when I go for the gas pedal as it's very slowly coming up the car coughs/chokes/judders etc.

How many seconds should it take for the clutch pedal to come back up after a gear change? My head says about 3 seconds but for some reason my foot takes longer, much longer. Any tips about how I can break out of this habit?

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14-02-09 14:50:20

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Re: Clutch Control



#2 14-02-09 19:50:36

scannermanh
Verified Member
Registered: 20-08-08
Posts: 206

Re: Clutch Control

Get a good instructor to teach you how to
use the clutch properly, it isn't rocket science
but need explanation and supervised practice


Scannermanh the Muppet
nils

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#3 14-02-09 22:51:41

evondoll
Verified Member
From: Glasgow
Registered: 27-01-09
Posts: 204
Website

Re: Clutch Control

Do you have a new instructor now? If so is s/he aware of your clutch 'fear'?

It is a common fault so please don't feel bad asking for a bit of extra help with it from your instructor.
I get pupils to 'play' about with the clutch so that they get comfortable with it....maybe letting them drive the car with the clutch alone (without any gas), also showing them different methods of knowing when they have the 'bite' point...what works for some doesn't work so well with others.
For bringing the clutch up run through the different positions the clutch goes through....as in, all the way down on the floor...up to bite (hold at bite till car moves)....all the way up.

Evon x

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#4 14-02-09 23:58:26

Makem Drive
Verified Member
Registered: 27-06-08
Posts: 197

Re: Clutch Control

Go with you head, 3-4 secs. is OK but chill out. The feet action will soon become so automatic you will do it almost without thinking.

As Evondoll says get some extra help from your instructor, he should have various ways of helping you.

One of my pupils had a similar problem, slow to find biting point & struggled getting it right. I had her put the clutch fully down (with engine off) then on 3 bring it up to just short of biting point VERY QUICK (less than 1 second). I would then tell her if it was too high or too low. She did this lots of times till she was getting it right every time. I then got her to start the engine, select 1st & do the same thing (I kept my foot on dual brake for safety). Twice she stopped pedal short of biting point (1" short), all the rest of the time stopped  at the position I wanted her to, another 1/4" out & engine tone altered indicating biting point.

After that she had no bother with the biting point & move offs from junctions improved dramatically.

Not sure if you instructor would let you try this but he can't shoot you for asking. DON'T try this without duals & an instructor pressing the brake.

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#5 15-02-09 08:38:04

driverpete
Verified Member
From: Nottingham
Registered: 06-02-06
Posts: 457

Re: Clutch Control

First of all try to keep your left heel in contact with the floor (you may need to slide it along the floor as you operate the clutch but that's OK); it will help to give you more control and stop that awful "knee trembling".

When I'm teaching clutch control I usually start with the engine on and handbrake on (I feel it's pointless doing exercises with the engine off). I get the pupil to bring the clutch up until the car just starts to "fight" the handbrake and then push it down by about the thickness of a pound coin (in other words so that it just stops fighting); don't worry about how thick a pound coin is just make it a very small amount. After a few goes and when you're getting the feel of where the biting point is (and making sure you are on flat road) do the same again with the handbrake off. This time, instead of "fighting" the handbrake the car will start to move. Again, as soon as this happens push the clutch down a little so the car stops. Now extend the exercise further; when the car starts to move keep you clutch foot still, don't raise the clutch any higher until the car has started to gather a little speed then bring it up the rest of the way at the same time as applying a little gas.

And relax!


RoSPA Gold
Retired RoSPA Approved Tutor
Retired NDAC & NDAS trainer
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#6 15-02-09 09:19:01

Makem Drive
Verified Member
Registered: 27-06-08
Posts: 197

Re: Clutch Control

From Broom Broom's post it would seem that he bring his foot up VERY SLOW because of his 'almost fear' of the clutch.

DriverPete has given a good account of how to find the biting point (I would have added raise the clutch 1cm at a time till the biting point is found).

With my pupil she could find the biting point but took so long to do so the she missed lots of optunities to move off from junctions etc.

The reason I said to practice with the engine off is that, at the speed (floor to short of BP approx. 1/2 second) I was asking her to raise the clutch to just short of biting point, if she got it wrong she would stall the car which was part of the reason for raising the clutch slowly. Once she was getting the position correct every time she started the engine, selected 1st then repeated the excessive. As I said the first couple of times she stopped short of the position for fear of stalling, after I told her she wouldn't stall the engine & it didn't matter if she did, she did what she had practiced with the engine off & got it spot on every time. I kept my foot on the dual brake so SHE felt confident the car wouldn't lurch forward.
Once she was confident I released the brakes (level road), she brought the clutch up to the point & nothing happened, the next 'pound coin' & the car moved. Repeating the process several more times and getting it right every time make a massive difference to her driving.

I am describing my method of overcoming a problem of getting to biting point quickly rather than teaching how to find it (if you can't find the BP my method won't work for you). This method uses 'muscle memory'.

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#7 15-02-09 11:28:14

scannermanh
Verified Member
Registered: 20-08-08
Posts: 206

Re: Clutch Control

Talk about making it rocket science!!
K.I.S.S,. Go to a open piece of ground, empty car park
or somewhere like it and start using the clutch, play with it,
get to know it, get to find the bite quickly, be comfortable with it,
practice pulling away and stopping, creep & peep all in a safe environment.
Most important keep doing it until you feel comfortable with your control.
Unknown to me, this is how my youngest sons were shown by the oldest
whilst out in his car when they were bored, and it appears a lot of younsters
get their first taste this way in their mates cars.


Scannermanh the Muppet
nils

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#8 15-02-09 11:43:42

Makem Drive
Verified Member
Registered: 27-06-08
Posts: 197

Re: Clutch Control

Talk about making it rocket science!!

It's not rocket science, it's just one way to overcome a problem ONE pupil had that no amount of practice worked for. She had no problems finding the BP, just wouldn't do it quickly. If 'normal' methods don't work then I try other way till I find one that does. Teaching is not a 'one size fits all'.

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#9 15-02-09 12:59:18

evanadi
Guest

Re: Clutch Control

Easiest way I have found is to get the pupil to go into 1st, raise the clutch slowly and watch as the bonnet rises, hold foot completely still. Then depress and do the same again a few times. Once this has been developed it is easier for them to recognize where the bite is and make subsequent gear changes easier by coming up at the same speed through the bite. It is important when teaching clutch control, and indeed a lot of the earlier control lessons that the instructor gives lots of talk through, telling the pupil when to stop etc........guess most are doing that anyway.

Also sitting on a gentle incline and holding the car on the bite then depressing and re-engaging works. I guess we all have our own methods, but I always find with my pupils that if they can see what they are doing as well as feel it, they generally make better progress. Certainly raising the bonnet up with the clutch, works.
At the end of the day it doesn't matter which method you use as long as you get the result you want. Ev

#10 15-02-09 15:02:15

scannermanh
Verified Member
Registered: 20-08-08
Posts: 206

Re: Clutch Control

The key point the OP had was not the clutch, but the fear
of it or the results of its misuse. By taking him/her off the
roads to practice will remove the fear and let him/her gain
confidence in their own ability and be able to predict with
confidence the result of their new attained skill.
How you explain the use is immaterial if they are afraid of
what might happen.


Scannermanh the Muppet
nils

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#11 15-02-09 15:26:50

evanadi
Guest

Re: Clutch Control

Yes and the fear of it comes from not knowing how to use it..........so your point is???


I think we are both approaching the problem from the same angle. Teaching how to work a clutch can be done on a housing estate a car park or a persons drive. If of course the person doing the teaching knows what he or she is doing,  Ev

#12 15-02-09 18:41:18

scannermanh
Verified Member
Registered: 20-08-08
Posts: 206

Re: Clutch Control

Well my point is that its already been taught, the pupil knows
how to use it, but knowing how to do it and actually doing it isn't
the same. The pupil needs to be in an enviroment, that to them
is not hazardous, then the fear goes, they can then use the
clutch as they have been taught, practise and gain their skill.
You can't do that in persons drive, as the OP said, its not about
the clutch but the fear.


Scannermanh the Muppet
nils

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#13 15-02-09 18:56:50

tony adi
Verified Member
From: Selby
Registered: 12-05-08
Posts: 1,233
Website

Re: Clutch Control

OP is not asking about clutch control when setting off;

How many seconds should it take for the clutch pedal to come back up after a gear change?


Answer

After gear engaged, clutch back up one smooth action, 1-2 seconds. You were probably confused by your previous instructors explanation of clutch control/biting point. No biting point in other gears, so just bring clutch up in one smooth action.


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#14 15-02-09 19:08:29

evanadi
Guest

Re: Clutch Control

Well my point is that its already been taught, the pupil knows
how to use it, but knowing how to do it and actually doing it isn't
the same. The pupil needs to be in an enviroment, that to them
is not hazardous, then the fear goes, they can then use the
clutch as they have been taught, practise and gain their skill.
You can't do that in persons drive, as the OP said, its not about
the clutch but the fear.

Oh right I see ok.........I thought fear came from not knowing about the control and associated use. Sorry, I stand corrected. Ev


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#15 15-02-09 22:51:23

evondoll
Verified Member
From: Glasgow
Registered: 27-01-09
Posts: 204
Website

Re: Clutch Control

No biting point in other gears

I think there is.....from 1st to 2nd its most noticable and if brought too quickly up it causes the car to judder.
Biting point is just the point when the clutch plates come back together again...this happens on every gear change.

Evon x

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#16 16-02-09 00:22:44

tony adi
Verified Member
From: Selby
Registered: 12-05-08
Posts: 1,233
Website

Re: Clutch Control

No biting point in the context of finding bite to set off in 1st gear. Just one smooth action when bringing clutch back up.

clutch plates

Not quite



http://auto.howstuffworks.com/clutch1.htm


www.selbydriving.co.uk

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#17 02-03-09 08:56:04

yasmin
Verified Member
Registered: 02-06-07
Posts: 562

Re: Clutch Control

Hi Broom Broom
I've only just seen your post and by now you may well have sorted out your problem with the clutch! However, here's my 2penniworth. First of all does the juddering happen at every gear change or one particular one? In the lower gears you need to bring up the clutch more slowly whilst gently applying some gas. A bit like a slow moving see-saw. In the higher gears (e.g. 3-4) the clutch can come up quicker as wheel speed, revs etc are more equally balanced. What you are doing, I suspect, is hovering around the 'bite' in whatever gear and this is telling the car to stay slow whilst your gas is saying go faster! Think of that see-saw and make a smooth action from one foot to the other--it will just be a bit quicker in the higher gears. Sometimes pupils like the security of having both feet on the pedals and hate to let go of the clutch in case the car shoots forward. Hope this helps!

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#18 02-03-09 10:09:02

Makem Drive
Verified Member
Registered: 27-06-08
Posts: 197

Re: Clutch Control

Quote
clutch plates
Not quite

There are 3 plates.

Plate 1. The flywheel (driven by the engine)
Plate 2. The pressure plate (the pressure plate assembly is bolted to the flywheel)
Plate 3. The friction plate (sliding fit on gearbox spigot shaft sandwiched between plates 1 & 2)

It's not necessary to know the full technicalities of it's operation, simply that it disconnects the drive from the engine to the gearbox (often incorrectly cliamed by drivers/instructors as disconnecting drive from engine to driving wheels) to assist moving off & gear changes all of which can be done without using the clutch although moving off is a bit harder.

I have noticed that some pupils pause too long with the clutch down then raise it too quickly causing the car to judder to some extent. They sometimes apply too much gas before the clutch 'bites' causing a similar effect.

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