: how hard is it to learn stick



Crown Vic Owner
12-09-07, 02:57 AM
Plain and simple?

I want to learn how to drive stick, and to top that off, i am considering buying a older BMW 318 thats a 5spd. I understand the concept, just dont know how.

dkozloski
12-09-07, 03:25 AM
Take your grandmother out to the WalMart parking lot to show you how after you buy her dinner. If you want to learn the fancy stuff like heel and toe downshifts and double clutching you need to go to a good driving school like Jim Russell's

Night Wolf
12-09-07, 03:32 AM
I take it you mean a manual transmission vehicle? ;) :)

It's easy. It helps to have a basic degree of mechanical understanding, but I know people that know nothing other then where to put gas in and how to turn the key drive a manual trans pretty weel (kinda interesting to me actually)

Anyway, I learned on a '94 Jetta, 2.0. Ever since then I knew I had to have a manual trans vehicle, IMO just so much more fun and rewarding to drive, it makes otherwise boring cars fun to drive... I don't think I could live with a low powered 4cyl with an automatic... but the manual..... just makes it fun.

Anyway, it's not hard to learn... do you know anyone that owns a manual trans car? ask them to teach you... best place is in an open parking lot... first thing to do is get a feel for where the clutch grabs, then learn taking off and stopping, backing up, then drive thru the gears etc....

I haven't seen him on here lately, but DaveSmed has a thing for those older BMW's, I'm sure he can tell you about the car.

If anything else, this whole ordeal with the headgasket being blown on the Isuzu... the thing I miss most is driving a manual! The automatic is nice for a luxury car... but I just much prefer a manual, for that reason I'll always own one, and if I had to choose, one or the other, it'd be a manual.

Go to you tube and type learn to drive manual and stuff, alot of people have made videos of learning to drive manuals.

You can really push little putt-putts far too... a good driver can make a seemingly slow car move along pretty well :)

Crown Vic Owner
12-09-07, 03:32 AM
lol, i dont need to learn the fancy stuff, i just want to learn how to drive it somewhat smoothly and not stall.

Night Wolf
12-09-07, 03:35 AM
Take your grandmother out to the WalMart parking lot to show you how after you buy her dinner. If you want to learn the fancy stuff like heel and toe downshifts and double clutching you need to go to a good driving school like Jim Russell's

double clutching? Are we racing Mack dumptrucks here?!?

lol, like in the fast and furious movie when the guy gets accused of double clutching... its like.... ummmm....

But, don't need fancy driving school for heal and toe shifting, heh, I remember in one of the car mags was a write up about it so I went and was trying it on the Isuzu... takes alot of practice, but with the internet now, you can just research something, read up on and it and keep practicing it :)

Crown Vic Owner
12-09-07, 03:37 AM
I take it you mean a manual transmission vehicle? ;) :)

It's easy. It helps to have a basic degree of mechanical understanding, but I know people that know nothing other then where to put gas in and how to turn the key drive a manual trans pretty weel (kinda interesting to me actually)

Anyway, I learned on a '94 Jetta, 2.0. Ever since then I knew I had to have a manual trans vehicle, IMO just so much more fun and rewarding to drive, it makes otherwise boring cars fun to drive... I don't think I could live with a low powered 4cyl with an automatic... but the manual..... just makes it fun.

Anyway, it's not hard to learn... do you know anyone that owns a manual trans car? ask them to teach you... best place is in an open parking lot... first thing to do is get a feel for where the clutch grabs, then learn taking off and stopping, backing up, then drive thru the gears etc....

I haven't seen him on here lately, but DaveSmed has a thing for those older BMW's, I'm sure he can tell you about the car.

If anything else, this whole ordeal with the headgasket being blown on the Isuzu... the thing I miss most is driving a manual! The automatic is nice for a luxury car... but I just much prefer a manual, for that reason I'll always own one, and if I had to choose, one or the other, it'd be a manual.

Go to you tube and type learn to drive manual and stuff, alot of people have made videos of learning to drive manuals.

You can really push little putt-putts far too... a good driver can make a seemingly slow car move along pretty well :)

honestly, i plan to drive the shit outta this thing as it is a 1000 bucks and in mint condition as soon as i could get a front bumper.


The car has no secrets from the looks, it runs well, and when i DID attempt to drive it, they guy looked and said he was suprised i got it out of the driveway. for a first timer on a stick (went around the block).


I had a nice talk with him, he seemed to take care of the car and was very patient.

He has a list of everything done to it maintince wise and said it looks like i care for my cars (probobly because i took the vic and it was shiny with the collinite 845)

We had a nice discussion and i was saying how i like the car bla bla bla, and how i wanted to try a BMW before i dump a decent amount of money on one, and he agreed with me.


Ironically, i saw the engine was pretty clean, the interior was clean, the seat was ripped, but i didnt really care, the CA bushings looked new, it looked like it was cared for.



Either way, i mean the old e30s are so simply engineered but they handle so well for there age.


My grandpa has a 1930 model a ford he left to me thats a manual, and i love the thing. Ive driven it once or twice and its been good to drive, a little hard, i just never got a clasp on it.


On the other hand, that reminds me, i need to go start up his caddy 54 series 62 4 door sedan soon.

Playdrv4me
12-09-07, 03:37 AM
Jesda showed me how to drive a stick in all of 30 minutes in the Sam's parking lot.

Night Wolf
12-09-07, 03:41 AM
lol, i dont need to learn the fancy stuff, i just want to learn how to drive it somewhat smoothly and not stall.

there is only so much someone can tell you, you just gotta go out and do it.

If you are serious about buying that BMW, ask the owner if you buy it he/she can teach you how to drive a manual... really an hour in an open parking lot and you'll atleast be able to drive it home, then on your own free time just drive it around, at first it's tough, but the more you drive it, the more it becomes transparent and just second nature.

Every car is different too.... my Isuzu has a new clutch set (and flywheel, and master/slave cylinder) but when I test drove a Pontiac Solstice GXP, I stalled it the first time, that thing grabbed low and quick.... and even then, my shifts were not as smooth as when I drive my truck.... same thing with my friends '99 Saab 9-5.... it takes a little bit getting used to each particular car until you shift really smooth, and when you are really used to a certain cluth/transmission feel, and go to another car, you tend take what you know too (I kept slamming the Saab's shifter cause I wasn't used to such a short throw)

But, I've heard alot of good things about the older BMW's, that were really made to be a drivers car... that appeals to me, I've been interested in them for a while now. Good Luck :)

Crown Vic Owner
12-09-07, 03:43 AM
My dad is going to check out the car with his body guy to see if theres any secrets and he said he would to it to the shop and look through it.

I really like the thing and i want to learn how to drive a manual. Ive driven a car with a flappy paddle gearbox before and it was easy, but its way different dealing with a clutch.

Crown Vic Owner
12-09-07, 03:44 AM
http://images.craigslist.org/01010501021101160920071207de11ba485081ffb674002d71 .jpg

CTSV_Rob
12-09-07, 12:55 PM
Wow.

For 1K that seems like a sweet deal, car looks to be in great shape.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-09-07, 01:16 PM
It took me all of three weeks to learn how to drive a stick shift around a parking lot, and not stall it at all, no matter if I was on a steep incline or decline. Before hand, I had NO idea how to do it. Hell, I'm still not totally proficent...it's been well over a year since I took a manual transmission out on the streets and highways. We've got a stick shift Scion T/C at my work, and it's a loaner. I almost wanna take that out for a weekend just so I can brush up again.

pimpin88
12-09-07, 01:23 PM
If you can grasp the concept of how it works, it is super easy. My neighbor taught me how to drive manual in about 5 minutes when I was 14 years old and my parents were out of town.

gary88
12-09-07, 01:26 PM
Manual cars are so much fun. It's one of those things you just get better at the more you do it. As soon as you get used to your car and where the clutch engages on it, it'll become second nature to you.
Although I do prefer a true flappy paddle sequential gearbox :hide:

AMGoff
12-09-07, 01:59 PM
Sheesh... you think your Cadillac is expensive to get repaired? Look out Bimmer forums! Before you get your panties twisted, I'm just messing around...

Honestly though... you can read about driving a stick until you're blue in the face but it won't do a lick of good... the theory behind it all is simple... but no amount of reading will help transpose theory into practice. I wouldn't really even recommend having someone with you either unless the person is Ghandi or Mother Teresa because all that will happen is you both end up frustrated and that'll make the whole all the more harder. Go by yourself and learn at your own clip... it's all trial and error my boy.

When I first started driving, my Dad made me learn how to do so with a stick, and his theory was sound - if you learn how to drive with a stick then any other car you get into will be a piece of cake... and it's just like a bicycle, you might get a little rusty but you never forget. Needless to say, my first 48 hours of driving was done in two vehicles - a four speed Alpha (because more of my Dad's infinite wisdom - you're not a true gear-head unless you've owned an Alpha) and an old Chevy with 3 on the column. He spent the first hour with me and then left me be.

In reality... when it comes down to it, you only need to master two things - getting it into first and getting it into reverse, after that everything's a cakewalk. My only two recommendations are this - find an incline to learn how to put it in first and second, teach yourself from the very beginning to not ride the clutch.

One funny anecdote about reverse (just to highlight the stupidity a manual can instill in people)... I remember the first time I ever got into a VW Beetle, it was my uncle's and we were borrowing it for the day. Mind you, the shifter wasn't marked... we must have sat there for 20 minutes trying to get the damned thing backed out of the driveway... up until that point, any floor mounted stick shift I had ever driven had reverse located at the lower right... so I'm trying and I'm trying... still nothing. My uncle finally comes out and asks if everything's okay... and I tell him that the damned car refuses to go in reverse. So he says he'll back it out for us, he hops in and zips right out... I'm confounded... those freaking Germans put the reverse in the upper left! Needless to say I was so embarrassed...

But yeah... just get in it and play around, you'll only learn by trial and error.

Night Wolf
12-09-07, 02:08 PM
Yeah, and on VW you gotta push the shifter in, then move left and up... kinda cool.

I must say, when I first got the Isuzu and the clutch was shot (would slip in 3rd if I gassed it, or slip is tried to take off moderately fast in 1st) it really taught me alot on how to be nice to the clutch... I see people racing the heck outta the engine then riding the clutch in reverse... man when I and backing upm unless its an inclince I don't need to add any throttle input, and then I can let the clutch fully out.... but learning to drive and having to make whats left of the old clutch (worn well into the rivets BTW when we did change it) was really good, cause now I automatically default to those driving conditions... yeah, sometimes I get spirted and what not, but most all of my driving with it is very easy and very laid back.

AMGoff
12-09-07, 02:16 PM
Manual cars are so much fun. It's one of those things you just get better at the more you do it. As soon as you get used to your car and where the clutch engages on it, it'll become second nature to you.
Although I do prefer a true flappy paddle sequential gearbox :hide:

What exactly are you driving around that has a "true" paddle shift gear box?

Manuals are fun, but not for daily drivers... however, those paddle shifted clutchless manual take all the fun out of it... you may as well just drive an automatic.

Speaking of VWs as I was before, I remember the same uncle had a '70 (I believe) Karmann Ghia that had VW's "semi-automatic" transmission... it was basically a manual with a servo-actuated hydraulic clutch... they were really fun to drive - when they worked that is.

Red_October_7000
12-09-07, 02:25 PM
Since you've already figured out how to get it to move around, it's really all just technique and finesse from there on out. If you've got a friend who has a stickshift car, have them take you to a big parking lot and just drive it around the parking lot until you're confident enough to go on the roads, then drive them home. From that point on it's just learning technique, timing, and that sort of stuff. Since you've managed to make the car move, you've learned all that you can read. From here on out, it's just driving. You'd do OK if you bought the Beamer today, honestly, I know a buddy of mine did that, he bought a Chevy Celebrity with a stick and learned to drive it on the way home, pretty much.

gary88
12-09-07, 03:05 PM
What exactly are you driving around that has a "true" paddle shift gear box?

Manuals are fun, but not for daily drivers... however, those paddle shifted clutchless manual take all the fun out of it... you may as well just drive an automatic.

Speaking of VWs as I was before, I remember the same uncle had a '70 (I believe) Karmann Ghia that had VW's "semi-automatic" transmission... it was basically a manual with a servo-actuated hydraulic clutch... they were really fun to drive - when they worked that is.

Like the SMG in an M3. It is the same exact six speed transmission as found in the manual cars, but the clutch is hydraulically controlled like you just said. It's actually faster on a track than manual, and easier for daily driving. Way different from the tiptronic-like systems found in most cars today where the gear doesn't change until a second or two after you tip the lever. With SMG set to S6, the gear changes in about 80 milliseconds. Purely awesome to experience.

Kev
12-09-07, 04:18 PM
Plain and simple?Yes, as long as you understand the concept and mechanical workings, have adequate hearing (for grinding gears) and are relatively physically coordinated ........ you should have no problems....... :bigroll: :duck:

Playdrv4me
12-09-07, 04:43 PM
Actually, understanding the concept was a big reason I learned so quickly in that parking lot. I literally went to a How Stuff Works article (and a few others) that explained what it is that your foot and hands are controlling, then I just applied that when I took the car out with Jesda.

It was bumpy at first, but after the first half hour I was doing well enough that I could go out on the street, then after a few days I got the clutch modulation down more and more (this was a 1990 Nissan Maxima) until I wasnt lurching at intersections.

The one thing that changes from car to car is the clutch modulation. BMW's for example are the WORST. Their clutch is practically like a LIGHT SWITCH... with almost NO give, its either ON or OFF. Other cars allow a little more play in the clutch mechanism making it easier to take off. Dont feel bad if you dont get the modulation right away. Even the Edmunds.com writing staff has trouble with BMWs.

Spyder
12-09-07, 08:30 PM
My sisters boyfriend-of-the-time taught me how to drive a stick when I was about twelve years old. One day shortly after I asked my dad if I could use the truck for something and he threw me the key, assuming I wouldn't be able to get it to go anywhere. When I jumped in and fired that mutha up (what song?!) he freaked out a bit and wanted to know where I learned.

2004ctsv
12-09-07, 09:50 PM
Plain and simple?

I want to learn how to drive stick, and to top that off, i am considering buying a older BMW 318 thats a 5spd. I understand the concept, just dont know how.

I don't understand.:confused:

If you drive a crown vic, you should be at least 60 y.o. and should remember how to drive a manual.

I thought that my wife was strange for wanting a grand marquis and she's only 56.:bigroll:

Crown Vic Owner
12-09-07, 10:21 PM
im 16 bro. I like the old barges, cheap, reliable, fun when modded, sound great when you give it the go pedal.

Playdrv4me
12-09-07, 10:36 PM
I don't understand.:confused:

If you drive a crown vic, you should be at least 60 y.o. and should remember how to drive a manual.

I thought that my wife was strange for wanting a grand marquis and she's only 56.:bigroll:

Well that was uncalled for.

DaveSmed
12-10-07, 01:16 AM
I haven't seen him on here lately, but DaveSmed has a thing for those older BMW's, I'm sure he can tell you about the car.


Hmm, seems i've been paged to this thread. ;)

Excellent choice, The car your looking at is called an "E30" by most enthusiasts, as that encompasses all of the cars built on that chassis. (example, yours, being an '84 or '85 318i, and mine, being an '87 325iC are still all E30s despite differing powertrains and model years)

The early model 318i came with the M10 engine, which was carried over from the BMW 2002 (thats the model, not the year) and because of that, is a proven, reliable and cheap to fix powerplant. Anything that is a common problem is also very easy to find information on to fix. E30s are generally fairly reasonable for parts price-wise, so repairs (and modifications) are not a big problem.

Some interesting points on your car: Yours is the only E30 to get drum brakes for the two years the early 318i was produced. Every other E30 has rear disk. It is one of (if not possibly the) lightest E30. The reason I keep early 318i, is because in '91, they brought it back but with a different engine than the M10.

This is an excellent candidate for your first E30, and first car to learn stick on, as it is very simple to work on, fun to drive, and cheap to own. Note I said "first E30". You WILL want another one should you ever get rid of this one. Fair warning. They are very "pure" cars in that they are designed with sporting aspirations in mind, and lack any electronic assists. Given you drive a Vic now, there won't be a RWD learning curve (and that is a sign of good taste already, a Vic, a Cad, and now an E30... sweet!) but the short wheelbase will surprise you if you decide to take a more sideways approach to a corner and expect it to behave like the longer wheelbase Vic.

Post up pics here when you get it, and if your looking for some E30 communities, the most popular ones are R3VLimited.com (http://www.r3vlimited.com) and E30Tech.com (http://www.e30tech.com)

If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them for you.

And now to whore mine out a bit:
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/davesmed/bmwgrass.jpg

AMGoff
12-10-07, 02:10 AM
im 16 bro.

That explains SO much...


When I jumped in and fired that mutha up (what song?!)

Charlie Daniels - Uneasy Rider

Come on now... you gotta have a slicker curveball than that...

Spyder
12-10-07, 02:15 AM
:D Surprised anyone got it, really...most on here don't seem like the type to listen to the good stuff!

AMGoff
12-10-07, 02:52 AM
:D Surprised anyone got it, really...most on here don't seem like the type to listen to the good stuff!

Are you saying they're all a bunch of long haired, hippy-type, pinko f-a-gs with commie flags tacked up in their garage, and that they voted for McGovern for president?

Crown Vic Owner
12-10-07, 02:55 AM
That explains SO much.
Hey, i dont see the problem, i have a job, i get good grades, i dont annoy people, and i really keep to myself.

Red_October_7000
12-10-07, 03:05 AM
I think perhaps he means the fact that you have the typing skills of a relatively-well trained ape.
No offense dude, you seem like a great guy, but seeing people type a lowercase "i" all by itself enrages me.

EcSTSatic
12-10-07, 11:32 AM
I think perhaps he means the fact that you have the typing skills of a relatively-well trained ape.
No offense dude, you seem like a great guy, but seeing people type a lowercase "i" all by itself enrages me.

I agree with the typing issue but I've ceased to comment on anyone's communication skills. I make it a game to try and figure out how far they got in school. :duck:

I'm grateful for Firefox. It has a built in spell checker that corrects me as I type. Then I'm just responsible for grammar. This isn't grammar school but writing reflects on the person. 'nuff said from me.

IMHO, learning to drive a stick is easier if you understand the fundamentals of what goes on behind the clutch pedal and stick. Then anyone with rudimentary mechanical aptitude can appreciate why you do what you do to drive a manual.