7MT Driving Habits & Owners Manual

Lowcountry Bronco

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I've driven manuals off and on for 40 years, never have shifted it into to neutral when slowing down. Typically I'll shift down and engine brake when coming up to a stop and then clutch and brake. Also I rarely put it in neutral at a stop unless it's a long light or traffic jam and never had issues with excessive clutch, engine, or brake wear.

I can't tell you how to drive, only the way I do it.





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BlazinGTO

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If you can see far enough ahead and have a slight hill you can make the person behind you think you have no brake lights. 🤣

Joking aside, rev matching will help downshifts. For smoothness and less wear. Just watch out for aggressive downshifting on ice or snow.

To answer the questions:

1) I'd guess the advice is for the automatic. Shifting to neutral might affect what gears it may choose if you accel from a roll? Idk. But I can't see how it would help the manual enough to matter. This leads into question 2.

2) I doubt those brief moments of slowing vs everything else could make any kind of dent in mpgs by shifting into N.

3) in general I don't have one method. I'd say I just end up doing it all ways. Its situation based. My car makes a lot of fun noises when I engine brake, so I probably do it more often and aggressively than the average person. But I still just shift into neutral and brake to a stop quite a lot too.

Also since you asked, if I'm down shifting to slow down. I'd would never go into neutral, slow, then pick up first just to engine brake more. I'd have used higher gears to slow as well and then downshift into first from 2nd.
 

Techun

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It's terrain dependant, but there is very rarely a reason to be in neutral while moving. Being in gear allows you to accelerate if something changes, saves fuel, and gives you colder AC!

When coming to an even stop I leave it in my current gear until 1500 then clutch in. If I know I'm going down a large hill with a stop at the bottom I'll downshift to one gear in the middle of the range.

I find it exhausting to ride in a car when someone will downshift nearly every gear every time they come to a stop. If you shake it more than twice you're playing with it.
 

wrbix

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When my wife rides behind me on our motorbikes she comments that my brake light rarely comes on until late in the slowing sequence…..a consequence of my use of downshifts and engine braking. I suppose I do the same when driving a car/truck. May be a bit of a safety issue for following drivers not to be alerted from their cell phone use by my brake lights.
 

VoltageDrop

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So generally with modern ECUs they're programmed to use essentially zero fuel when coasting, versus keeping the engine idling with the clutch depressed or the vehicle in neutral. The actual fuel savings is probably tiny but still some.

For instance, if you went down a mountain locked in 3rd gear versus neutral you'd have used more fuel in neutral.

As far as driving habits, I generally will leave my cars in gear when coming to a stop until the engine is close to bogging down versus row through the gears backwards.

Edit: Also, I generally just go straight for first when coming to a stop and if I know I'll be taking off again soon I double clutch or blip the throttle slightly so it snicks into first at about 10-15mph before stopping. Otherwise, you have to really lean on your first gear synchro.
My answer is exactly this. Additionally, it's illegal in most states to coast down a hill in neutral, for what that's worth.
 

Headsong

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I always popped into neutral and braked. I think I only replaced one clutch in maybe 350k miles over 3 vehicles.
 

TXRancher

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When coming to a stop light with no cars in front, I downshift all gears but 1st. If there are cars waiting at a light and every stop sign, I will take it out of gear and let out the clutch and use the brakes only.
 

dejones64

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Guess I had it all wrong regarding mpg and neutral. I usually coast in neutral for a bit then will downshift when I get down to 35. Long light I'll sit in neutral. 250k miles and have never had a clutch/trans issue, knock on wood. I still get 30-37mpg.

I don't like to sit at a light in gear. Blew a hose once holding the clutch in, but that was an old car. That's always been in the back of my mind.
 

Tricky Dick

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I don't like to sit at a light in gear. Blew a hose once holding the clutch in, but that was an old car. That's always been in the back of my mind.
I used to but I'm breaking the habit. Throw out bearings are usually not very robust or serviceable, and are labor intensive to replace.
 

dgorsett

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I used to but I'm breaking the habit. Throw out bearings are usually not very robust or serviceable, and are labor intensive to replace.
Yep, that was my Dad's lesson, sit in neutral to avoid throwout bearing wear, put it in gear when the opposing light turns yellow.
 

HotdogThud

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I know why I would drive like that in my (performance) cars, but not sure what the advantage would be with driving a Bronco on road. *shrug*

Primary reason for me in the car world tho, is to keep the engine in boost. Taking it out of gear and letting it go down to idle at speed will lower the oil circulation, coolant flow, and drop the boost pressure down to pretty much zero. 1, it leads to low power and taking that extra 3/4 second to build boost back up when you get on the throttle, and 2. with the engine hot and low circulation, you can get coked up turbos and things like that.

Clearly, Ford means us to drive the piss out of them. challenge accepted.
 

Buckin Bronco

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The only time I ever gear down through every gear while coming to a stop is when I'm riding my sport bike, because it's a sequential gear box.
 

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In the section about maximizing fuel economy, the driver's manual suggests: "Do not shift into neutral when you are braking or when your vehicle is slowing down"

My questions are:

1) Do they mean this regardless of MT or AT?

2) Is fuel economy affected by this due to the fact the engine is essentially idling? (which as I understand it, is not as much of a fuel-sipping state as it might seem?) Excessive idling is also not great for engines in general but that's another topic.

3) (For experienced manual drivers) *As a general rule* do you downshift when slowing to a stop or do you use brakes only? If you downshift, do you do it sequentially or just pick up 1st gear somewhere near the very end of the slow-down?

In my first 3 vehicles (all manual) and ~10 years of driving, (as a general rule) I did not downshift except when accelerating from cruising speeds. To stop, I just went into neutral and applied the brakes with discretion. I replaced one clutch on the first vehicle which had been used and abused by the previous owner (older sister). Brake job intervals were around 30k miles in all 3 IIRC.

Last question: Am I foolish or just lazy for planning to drive this way when I get my Bronco? (Safety cop nit-picks 'you won't be able to react as fast if you're not in gear,' notwithstanding)
With a manual, I’ve always down shifted. I can’t think of a time I ever went from 55 to stopping at a stop sign or red light without downshifting. Now if something jumped out in front of me, then that is a different story.
 

AZshot

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I've mostly driven manuals since I was 16, over 40 years ago. Motorcycles and cars. I downshift some slowdowns, but not always if not needed. Coming off the highway and up the ramp for example, I'll just lift off the gas for half the ramp, then go from 6th or 5th to third. Then brakes only for the last bit from 30MPH to stop. I don't "jake brake" it hard, I get about 25% of my stopping power from the transmission, 75% from the brakes. I match my revs so the tach blips up a small amount, but not way up the RPMs.

At the light or stopsign, I always go to neutral. Taught to save the throwout bearing that way, so always do it. Doesn't seem to hurt anything, many of my stick cars have gone way over 200,000 miles on their original clutches.
 

Tricky Dick

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Right on cue, MEJ gifts us this.

194438205_10224204446634156_3835736218614903456_n.jpg
 

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