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Thread: Newbie needs shifting & downshifting tips.

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    BigDumbDog777 is offline Rookie
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    Default Newbie needs shifting & downshifting tips.

    You guys have been awesome so far. I was stressing about some of my skills test like backing into a garage from a 90 degree angle and other skills, and with your tips I aced all the the CDL skills exam. I've passed the pretrip and sklls portion so far.

    The only problem I'm having is with the road exam, because simply I suck at shifting. I'm looking for shifting tips, especially down-shifting tips. I've tried using the rpms and it seems hit or miss. Sometimes I do ok and other times I plain suck. a lot of grinding gears and not being able to find the right gear. I think it is a combination of nerves and lack of skill or feeling comfortable in what I know and this leads back to nerves.

    So any shifting tips for a newbie? its a ten speed. Doesn't seem to be a progressive shift since it seems I'm shifting same place on the rpm's no matter what gear. Basically I'm just sucking at shifting - any tips or advice?

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  3. #2
    headborg is offline Senior Board Member
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    Default Re: Newbie needs shifting & downshifting tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDumbDog777
    You guys have been awesome so far. I was stressing about some of my skills test like backing into a garage from a 90 degree angle and other skills, and with your tips I aced all the the CDL skills exam. I've passed the pretrip and sklls portion so far.

    The only problem I'm having is with the road exam, because simply I suck at shifting. I'm looking for shifting tips, especially down-shifting tips. I've tried using the rpms and it seems hit or miss. Sometimes I do ok and other times I plain suck. a lot of grinding gears and not being able to find the right gear. I think it is a combination of nerves and lack of skill or feeling comfortable in what I know and this leads back to nerves.

    So any shifting tips for a newbie? its a ten speed. Doesn't seem to be a progressive shift since it seems I'm shifting same place on the rpm's no matter what gear. Basically I'm just sucking at shifting - any tips or advice?
    What kind of truck is it? Freightliner?
    Progressive shifting is a term used to describe the proper technique to use-which has the driver progressively shifting to a gear which keeps the rpm's low--and the truck in the highest gear possible for that rolling speed( (saves fuel)
    until you gain enough experience--you should be using the techometer-
    with time you'll learn by sound---but if you don't learn WHAT RPM to shift at---and get used to shifting at the noise pitch of say...2000 rpm's(way to high) you'll be doomed to a bad habit for life.

    Now, if it's a freightliner--you'll notice the techometer is divided into color regions ---and the 1500 rpms is top of the guage--and the range around it--is colored GREEN.. GREEN is good. 1700-2100 is yellow---this isn't where you're suppose to be running or even rev'ing into---with the exception of down a hill( using the gears & engine to hold you back)
    likewise 1200 and less is lugging the engine or low range.

    there's a rolling RANGE for each gear--you need to learn what those ranges are--

    a good rule of thumb- 50mph or greater is top gear=10th
    city gear is ninth---usually a range from 35-50mph=9th
    each gear range below is progressively smaller range

    one most city turns--you'll want to be in 5th/or 6th

    Jump in any time here----current trainers---I'm rusty with these figures.

    Downshifting: most of my trainees had the problem with their FOOT-
    it can't be on two pedals at once- and they would forget--they got to 'break torque' , rev the engine back up to sync the tranny/engine
    First the brake--slow down to the rolling speed/ select the gear for that range/break torque/ disengage/rev up to 1400-1600rpm/ slip the transmission into the proper gear for that speed range.

  4. #3
    BigDumbDog777 is offline Rookie
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    It's a volvo so no green zone. So generally speaking I should be shifting up at abut 1500?

    for shifting down should I get RPMs to about 1200 and go into neuteral, rev engine to about 1800 RPM?

    It seems like I am doing this (key word is "seems") and sometimes I cant find the gear or grind the gear.

    It could be that maybe I'm stressing about not screwing up on the gear change that I forget to double clutch.

    state examiner (Illinois) told me it's easier to double clutch but it's not a requirement (doesnt charge points on for not doing it during exam).

    If double clutching is my problem, how does one shift smoothly without double clutching?

    Seriously, my shifting sucks. for some reason some days are ok (not good) and some days not. Any shifting tips really would be appreciated.

  5. #4
    tinytim is offline Member
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    Default shifting

    Just learning myself. Shifting wasn't much of a problem for me, backing is a different story lol.

    I'm sure it varies with the tranny but the difference on the one I've been driving is about 400 rpm per gear. I drop to about 1100 then rev to about 1500 for the lower gear.

    The big thing is it should be the same difference for each shift. Find out the difference for that one and try to shift at the same rpm each time, whether it's 1100 or 1300. I found it didn't take long know the sound the engine makes at 1500 for example and it didn't take long to downshift without looking at the tach once I got a feel/ear for it.

    It can be overwhelming at first trying to shift while watching the tach, traffic, mirrors etc. and some of the guys in my class got real frustrated and down on themselves. Like I tell everyone, it will come. And it will come easier if you just relax and don't overthink it. Keep it simple, try to do each shift at the same rpm and once you get comfortable with that you can worry about something else.

  6. #5
    headborg is offline Senior Board Member
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    no..not really all of your shifting should be between 1400-1600 except for the low range gears....

    realize it's been 6yrs since I had a trainee in a truck with me...and it was a lot easier to set in the jump seat and SEE what he was doing wrong. And a whole lot harder to set here in front of a computer screen and THINK about the mechanics of something I do all day/night automatically without thinking.

    you need to be 'double clutching' until you are more experienced--floating of gears(without grinding them to bits) comes almost by accident after learning
    how to break torque with the accularator--then by feel/timing/engine sound-when to slip it into the next gear.

    When downshifting; the rpms are going to drop--because your foot is on the brake petal, you just used the clutch to break the torque,

    YOU SHOULDN'T BE ROLLING AROUND IN NEUTRAL for more than a split second....notice here your rpm's don't have to be dropping down to 1200--you can catch em before they drop that far down-tap the accularator so the rpm's are between 1400-1600 and slip the stick in the gear.

    Now on a hill--with a load. You're going to use progressive shifting...

    When the rpm's start to lug( 1200 rpms) that's when it's time to downshift,

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    BigDumbDog777 is offline Rookie
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    I was reading some past posts on shifting. If I read one of them correctly, when downshifting, should I keep my foot on the throttle as I'm shifting from one gear to the next lower gear? My foor should be on the throttle from I start to clutch and go into neuteral, rev it up to about 1600-1800, let off the throttle then go into gear quckly?

    Like I said, I grind alot and miss gears.

  8. #7
    headborg is offline Senior Board Member
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    Ok..update...just discovered I'm completely full of **** with with the above rpms and shifting this standard 10 speed. I was recalling what I "preached" to trainees with a super 10. I just tried driving from walgreens to truckstop stony ridge, oh....watching rpms, double clutching....and it's completely different rpms---oh, and i hate double clutching...new advice....

    smoke a big fat one--right before the test..get relaxed and ace the road test.

  9. #8
    headborg is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDumbDog777
    I was reading some past posts on shifting. If I read one of them correctly, when downshifting, should I keep my foot on the throttle as I'm shifting from one gear to the next lower gear? My foor should be on the throttle from I start to clutch and go into neuteral, rev it up to about 1600-1800, let off the throttle then go into gear quckly?

    Like I said, I grind alot and miss gears.
    well, the only time I downshift...is when I'm slowing down or being pulled down by gravity....so my right foot is usually on the brake.<<<--this requires me to think about what the limbs are doing..and when...
    yep..you take your foot off the brake and put it back on the gas(fuel), but now you're rolling slower-so time to drop a gear.....

  10. #9
    Soladad is offline Board Regular
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    I had difficulty at first. :cry: Then learned the 10's after reading some post on this website.

    1+0 (10mph)=5th
    1+5 (15mph) =6th
    2+5 (25mph)=7th
    3+5 (35mph)=8th
    4+5 (45mph)=9th

    This is just a starting spot. Helped me sort it out. :lol: Below 5th gear is tricky since the mph for each gear is so small. After I got the basics then I started working with learning just how/where my particular truck likes to be shifted. This will also vary on the weight you are pulling. This "formula" also helps in downshifting and when you need to make a fast decision or recovery. Only other suggestion is just the old practice, practice, practice. Then there will be days that you really think you got it all figured out then the next day you can't find the right gear if your life depended on it. :shock: Start out by learning how to double shift correctly. After you master the clutch, the you can move on to floating the gears without using the clutch or minimal clutch.

    Soladad

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    Kranky is offline Senior Board Member
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    Headborg Wrote:[quote]Downshifting: most of my trainees had the problem with their FOOT-
    it can't be on two pedals at once- [/quote]

    Why not?

    That's how I always do it when downshifting to slow down.

    I brake with one side of my foot, and work the throttle with the other side of my foot

    Much smoother than jerking your foot from throttle to brake and back again.
    If you can't shift it smoothly, you shouldn't be driving it.

  12. #11
    headborg is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soladad
    I had difficulty at first. :cry: Then learned the 10's after reading some post on this website.

    1+0 (10mph)=5th
    1+5 (15mph) =6th
    2+5 (25mph)=7th
    3+5 (35mph)=8th
    4+5 (45mph)=9th
    hey, i like that--very nice memory aid there...the speeds arnt exact( depending on how your company programs horsepower etc.) But nice ball park.... I'll have to remember this one--should I return to the trainer business :roll: :roll:
    Like G.O.A. L. and P.A.L.S. etc.
    nice

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    BigDumbDog777 is offline Rookie
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    I didn't think it was posible for you to ever be wrong HEADBORG. I saw that formula for shifting when I was doing my search. Defenitely looks helpful, though one can't dismiss HEADBORGS "natural alternative" approach - just kidding as I'm sure HEADBORG was too - hmmm...then again....

    The instructors at the school are really nice guys but nearly everyone has been failing the state examination road portion because of the shifting. Sometimes just because you are good at something doesn't mean you can necessarily teach it well. I wonder if this is the case or if its just a case of needing more practice.

    IDEA. - I have one strike on the road portion (failed 1st time though I passed the Pre-trip and skills portion), I have two more tries at the road portion. I'm thinking of taking few more lessons on shifting, but I'm going to take the road exam in an AUTOSHIFT to protect my opportunity to get the CDL. I will be going with a trainer anyways whoever I drive for where maybe working with someone else will help. Like I said some days I'm do ok and other days I just suck. I understand the concept, its just the experience and confidence from the experience that is the problem.

    Even after I get the CDL in an autoshift I can still continue to practice shifting on a good ole manual. This is more to protect my opportunity to get a CDL license with one fail already and only two shots left, plus there would be additional school costs. In Illinois there is no license restriction or distinction on autoshift or manual. What do you guys think?

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    Kranky's Avatar
    Kranky is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by headborg
    Quote Originally Posted by Soladad
    I had difficulty at first. :cry: Then learned the 10's after reading some post on this website.

    1+0 (10mph)=5th
    1+5 (15mph) =6th
    2+5 (25mph)=7th
    3+5 (35mph)=8th
    4+5 (45mph)=9th
    hey, i like that--very nice memory aid there...the speeds arnt exact( depending on how your company programs horsepower etc.) But nice ball park.... I'll have to remember this one--should I return to the trainer business :roll: :roll:

    Like G.O.A. L. and P.A.L.S. etc.
    nice
    Those speeds would only be correct for a truck with the same rear axle ratio as Soladad's.

    In a truck with different rear axle ratio those numbers are meaningless.
    If you can't shift it smoothly, you shouldn't be driving it.

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    BigDumbDog777 is offline Rookie
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    Hey thanks, yeah I came across that in my search too. I'M definetely going to give it a shot.

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    Soladad is offline Board Regular
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    Yes, I agree there are variables but it is still a starting spot for a new driver to work with. I have had to modify the formula based on my trucks as I am on my 3rd truck. But when you need to recover quickly and you are new to the shifting it does work.

    Soladad

  17. #16
    headborg is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soladad
    Yes, I agree there are variables but it is still a starting spot for a new driver to work with. I have had to modify the formula based on my trucks as I am on my 3rd truck. But when you need to recover quickly and you are new to the shifting it does work.

    Soladad
    Yep, I'm with you 100% on that---that's why I said nice ball park.
    It is a nice "memory aid" did you come up with it yourself or where did you find it?

    very one knows(IMO) that 9th is "city gear" around 35-45 all of your city speeds. Mainly right around 45.....I never thought about a formula like
    4+5= 9th
    3+5=8th

    I'm glade I learned a new "trick"

  18. #17
    Soladad is offline Board Regular
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    Where did I find it...right here on this web site.

    Soladad

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    AKandMT is offline Rookie
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    Kranky, You need to keep your negative comments to your Kranky self.... Im sure you do everything perfect.. These guys on here are trying to make a living for there family. Its prob. your way of helping but your coming off as a jerk. Just cuz your unhappy doesnt mean we need to hear about it. you dont see me be negative because i dodged death in iraq everyday and when coming back i half to deal with people who dont appreciate what we do for people To live in the free world... LIGHTEN UP!

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    agree with you kranky ,should know all that stuff in your training,and AKandMT you mite of done good for us all in iraq,but it dosnt give you the rite to be a smart arse ,lol from your helpers at the bottom of the world

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    AKandMT will be okay... just don't look at him while he's eating.

    Kranky is the only one who has done the 1939 REO 3 range triple clutch/triple shifter, with splitter backflips, 10% downgrade pulling a smoothbore on Widowmaker Mt.


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