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For any self-respecting driver that has a car with a manual transmission, there are two things that cast shame; stalling and grinding. It doesn't matter if you're the only one in the car or if there are no other motorists on the road, the embarrassment associated with these gaffes is omnipresent. To save myself from shame and for fear of wrecking my transmission, I hadn't tried clutchless shifting (also called powershifting) until very recently, after I saw it done on YouTube. I knew this was something that could damage my synchros (it's my personal car), so I figured I'd do it once and record it, so you don't have to do it yourself.

A friendly Autoblog warning from our own Dan Roth: Trying this out a couple times probably isn't going to grenade any gearbox that's in good shape, but you really shouldn't make clutchless shifts a regular part of your repertoire. While fine for a racing-duty "dog" gearbox, it's torture on the synchros in your street transmission. The inevitable grinding you'll perpetrate on the transmission while practicing clutchless shifting also means more particulate matter floating around inside your tranny. Think of it as a neat parlor trick, maybe try it out in case you should ever have a problem with your clutch actuation system, but otherwise, treat your gearbox with love.

Hit the jump to watch the video.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thanks for the effort, but I feel I should point out a few things:

      1) >> "I hadn't tried clutchless shifting (also called powershifting)"

      This is incorrect. Powershifting is where you continue to depress the throttle (as in, you do not lift off the throttle) during your shift. So your RPMs do not drop.

      Clutchless shifting requires you to lift off the throttle to a point where you are not engine braking, but also not accelerating (you must remove load from the gear).

      The two can be combined... but its hell if you don't know what you're doing

      2) Video: "It takes a little effort" - please stop doing this!! Clutchless shifting, if done correctly, requires ZERO effort. Yes, ZERO effort. It would be like moving around a shifter with the engine off.

      If you are encountering resistance, you have not matched gear speeds correctly... and the synchros are picking up the slack. When you do not depress the clutch, your synchros must not only speed up/slow down the next gear, but also the *entire engine*!

      Beware of youtube... there are a lot of fools who can't drive stick properly who think they have it going on.

      Basically, you must remove load on the gear first (refer to above), then you must wait until the next gear is in the exactly correct speed - if done correctly, the shifter will slide in with no effort whatsoever. There's no way you can sense the gear speed in a traditional sense - you must just be able to "know"

      ... Remember, when done 100% correctly, clutchless shifting is the only way to shift that produces no wear on synchros or clutch! However, since most people (myself included) are not at the level of doing such, its best to use the clutch - its there for a reason.

      Please don't try this at home folks, this is one thing which will definitely kill your synchros far before they should die (which, if used normally, should outlast the car itself).

        • 7 Years Ago
        He said "when done correctly". If you know mechanically how a syncromesh gear box works you would know that "when done correctly", there is in fact no impact. No wear on clutch and no wear on syncros. Problem is that it is nearly impossible to do "correctly". The only reason anyone would want to know how to do this is in the case where you clutch grenades and you don't want to be stuck. I have done this a few times in my old Integra. When you have to stop you just pull it to neutral. Come to a stop then turn off the car. Then put it back in gear (with car still off) and wait for the light to turn green then just turn the key and let the starter pull/start the car. Hell on the bat too.
        • 7 Years Ago
        • 7 Years Ago
        Amen. I learned how to do that with no noise or grindage at all 20 years ago. I rarely did it, but when the clutch went out on my old Integra 10 years ago it saved me from being stuck in a toll booth at rush hour.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well done Paul - clutchless shifting is nothing new but very few people ever develop the skill to do it.

        A google search for 'clutchless shifting' would have come up with this very good article explaining how to do it as the top result. http://www.ehow.com/how_2000670_clutchless-shift.html

        Not sure why Autoblog continues to post without doing any research on the subject they are talking about.

        Hey Autoblog - I heard of a great way to do burnouts!!
        Its called a 'neutral drop' - put a car in neutral, rev up to about 7k RPMs and drop the transmission into D (drive) - everyone on YouTube is doing it!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey Chris I noticed you have an S40 like me. Has it given you any problems? Mines a dud, and I wanted to see if any other S40's were crap like mine.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ Greg Koenig:

        "How they think a burned CD is any different from a stamped factory CD is beyond me."

        Burned CD's, for whatever reason, are slightly thicker than regular CD's. I have also had this problem, it was in an '03 Ford 6-CD changer.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I had an S40 and it was an absolute dud.

        During the sales process, I was told that the- brand new for 2005 - S40 had an iPod connection kit. Bought the car, went to the parts department a week later and found out that such a kit doesn't exist, nor were there provisions for one from the factory. Due to the funky stereo being fitted into the crazy center console, no stereo shops could fit a line-in jack for my iPod. Suckage.

        At 4000 miles, it spun a bearing. Jim Fisher Volvo in Portland was a complete PITA to deal with and they accused me of "Overdriving" the vehicle. We went round and round for a few days until the local Volvo rep showed up and had them replace the motor. It finally got done, but thinking that I might need to eat a $17,000 repair on a brand new car was stress inducing.

        During the repair, a tech left his country music CD in the disk changer and it got stuck. Jim Fisher again was a PITA (requiring that I put down a deposit while they sent the player back to Volvo to see if I had stuck a burned CD in it). How they think a burned CD is any different from a stamped factory CD is beyond me.

        All in all, it was a gutless, passionless vehicle designed for the sort of people who buy into the myth that a Volvo is somehow loads safer then any other car in the same price range. I sold it and got a new 3 Series, which I am madly in love with.
        • 7 Years Ago
        To be honest, I've had some minor electrical problems (alarm goes off by itself, radio didn't work for no reason for about 3 days then came back..) but it's been good otherwise... 27k miles on the odometer. The front end is also easily damaged. I hit a tire going about 10mph and it caused $1300 in damage.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You guys should keep making more videos. Actual demonstrations are always better than just reading text. Autoblog could become the Mythbusters of the Automotive press.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I used to clutchlessly shift my Saturn a lot. It's nothing on the engine/tranny if you do it right.

      I started by learning to just pop the car out of gear without using the clutch. It's very easy and it's useful if you want to coast to a light in neutral. I did that almost all the time.

      Then you just keep pulling on the lever, and it goes into the next gear (if you're upshifting) smooth as silk. The Saturn even pauses at the right rev range (for emissions purposes) for you.

      Just DON'T put the gas back on until it's full in gear or you WILL be putting a lot of wear on your synchros fast.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That was the clubrsx.com video haha.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I used to do this all of the time in my last manual shift vehicle. Like the previous poster said, all it takes is to "know" when to shift and to get a feel for it. It really shouldn't take any effort and if you have to force it you aren't doing it right.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Agreed. I used to do this quite a bit with my old Chevy truck (3 speed manual). It was relatively easy once you got used to it. But I drive a manual Impreza now (2007) and I sometimes don't give it enough clutch, and can sometimes feel the gearage rolling through...other than that....it's all good.

        stoneman auto review dot com
      • 7 Years Ago
      He is making this out to be harder than it really is, all you do is match engine speed and road speed for the gear you desire to go to. The same idea applies if you want to downshift without the clutch, bump your shifter into neutral, blip the gas pedal to raise the rpm's, and then downshift. It's actually quite simple.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ha, I love it. Yes, many are not aware of this phenomena. I first discovered clutchless shifting in Africa when my driver demonstrated it on an old Land Cruiser. I was dumbfounded. I was actually surprised it could be done relatively smoothly on a Volvo S40...well done
      • 7 Years Ago
      Whats the problem with using a clutch?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Haven't you heard? You can claim a $500 tax credit from IRS if you can do clutchless shifts. You just need to fill out Form-1337EZ for the credit.

        NOTHING saids 1337 like doing clutchless shifts....NOTHING!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've only driven a manual once, and I wish to learn some time in future...so, basically, I didn't even know you could do that. It was very interesting and I got something out of it.

      Regardless of what some of the other people say or think, this post definitely has its worth. Thanks for the info!

      *cue The More You Know music*
      • 7 Years Ago
      Given that I once drove from Loveland, Colorado to Redondo Beach, California without a clutch I know for a fact this can be done, and done without damage to the transmission... IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Don't blame me if you blow your tranny (smirk).

      This was during the 1999 Cannonball Classic and we were driving a 1965 Jaguar modified with a 5-speed (T-5) transmission. The car ran great from Manhattan to St. Louis, MO, where a sudden cold thunderstorm at the end of a VERY hot day cracked two spark plugs, destroyed our ignition coil and the optical trigger in our Mallory Unilite distributor. After repairs were complete our clutch gave out in Colorado. Then the car died completely (alternator failure) 116 miles from the finish, out in the Mojave Desert. So technically we only drove as far as about Andrews AFB, but Google Maps tells me that is over 1300 miles of speed shifting by the route we took.

      The tranny was fine. Alternator & Clutch slave cylinder had to be replaced. New Coil, plugs and dizzy trigger were installed roadside in MO. Had tons of fun and I'd do it all over again!



      • 7 Years Ago
      If you want to learn how to shift without the clutch, find a friend who drives a diesel big rig for a living. They have a heavy clutch, and after 1st gear the next few shifts getting up to speed come really quick so they don't use the clutch for most of their shifts.

      My buddy Mark would pop the shift lever out of the current gear and hold it up to the next gear without really trying to shift into it...then he would work the revs gently until the transmission practically shifted itself.
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