I have purchased a large metal machine

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...One that utilizes the combustion of hydrocarbons to drive a set of reciprocating pistons, which are connected to a crankshaft designed to convert linear motion into rotation.

ie, I bought a car.

to be more specific, its a 1989 Toyota hatchback, light blue, with a five-speed manual transmission. I can't drive her yet, because she isnt yet insured, but she was a blast to drive from place of purchase.

I'll post pictures of her, and more specifications when I get time, but right now, I'm off for sleep.

anyway, thats all Smile

CCC

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[quote] with a five-speed man

Quote:

with a five-speed manual transmission

I hope you know how to drive a stick. If you don't, it's not *that* hard, but I'm shure that fellow drivers have their learning stories, and I'll share mine: The gate to prevent shifting into reverse in my car was taken out some years ago, and first and reverce are close together. To make matters worce, the car I started learning on had first gear to the left and up, where my car, if you did that, you would be going backwards when you let out the cluch! Shock Anyway, so I'm sitting at a stoplight, in nutral, shift to 'first' and let out the cluch.... Well, my driving instructor was mighty suprised! Wink Thank god nobody was around, that could be a very expencive mistake! Don't worry, I learned quickly!

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The only thing I have to reme

The only thing I have to remember is that I don't have a 6-speed, and I won't shift into reverse.

only trouble I have is shifting into fourth insetead of reverse, since my tranny is hard to find your way round in. :\

my gear order is as follows

1 3 5
|-|-|
2 4 R

so, no problem there

and it's kind of interesting, driving a manual car, because before this, the only manuals I have driven are large bush trucks, and this is totally different, and a lot nicer. I still havent mastered feathering the clutch in this car, but I'll get the way of it soon enough.

oh, and with the right rated tires, my car can pull 120 without half sweating, I could pull it higher, but I was scared, because I think I was running n H-Rated tires.

anyway, thats all from this end...

signing off..

CCC

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jt
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My Nova Twin-Cam had . . .

. . . the same tranny.

http://www.carsurvey.org/review_59287.html

That was my favorite car, very nice little performance package slapped onto a great econobox. Putting that 110 HP MR2 plant and an overdrive (in fourth) 5-Speed in place of the stock 70 Squirrel Powered autoshifting exercise cage was a stroke of genius.

enjoy!
jt ;D

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I can't...it's a Geo!

My Metro is the first standard I've owned. I was able to get it home from the dealer without much trouble - though I took a long way to avoid having to stop at an intersection that's on a steep incline.

Clinton, my shift layout is the same as yours, and the Metro - at least mine - is really finicky for shifting, probably because the transmission is about the size of a loaf of bread Wink

You'll get use to it pretty quickly, and soon you'll be at the point where you're shifting without even thinking about it. Conderlations!

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Manuals Are Fun!

Manuals are a blast to drive sometimes! I find it gives me something to do in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic Wink. Seriously though, it's a lot of fun to drive a manual, I like being able to decide when to shift. My biggest problem is shifting - however, it's when I go to take it out of gear to shift. I let the accelerator go too quick and the car drags back. I'm workin' on it though Wink.

1 3 5
|-|-|
2 4 R

That seems to be the most popular and logical shift pattern out there. My truck (Ford Ranger) has a Reverse lockout of sorts, so you can't shift into it coming out of overdrive (definitely a good thing Wink ).

One thing to keep in mind about Toyota's is they're legendary for their reliability BUT you have to keep the oil clean. Change it every 1000-1500 km or 6 months and use lighter weight oils in the winter. I know the manual says you can go longer, but your car will perform much better with fresh oil.

Just a few thoughts...

The Czar

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My car is known for BHG, and

My car is known for BHG, and is about the least reliable toyota engine out there, unless I install a metal head gasket (in place of the stock rubber one) and ARP studs. I love my car, thats for sure, I just need to get some insurance for her so I can drive her Smile

CCC

piccies coming soon, just uploaded to my photobucket account. The paint and interior are immaculate, and cradle you in luxury, with the eight-way power driver seat, the automatic climate control, and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

the paint is power blue (yes, POWER, not POWDER) and the interior is a really nice dark blue.

CCC

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Hay i "raced" against a guy w

Hay i "raced" against a guy who had one of those, and kicked his butt! I was driving a 87' Buick Century lol. Not long till the buick get canned for Nissan 280ZX though.

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munual power!

Quote:

1 3 5
|-|-|
2 4 R

Just for clairification, most euro' cars have a shift pattern like this:

R 1 3 5
|==|=|=|
***2 4
Anyway, I whent out with my mom for a bit just to run the engine, and I did fine, no reversing (exept that I shifted into 3d when I wanted 1 once.), or any other fancy stuff. It was my first time driving with my mom in the car, and she doesn't know how to drive a stick. I don't know if I want to teach her, she might start liking my car a bit too much! Wink

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One of what

What did you race against?

CCC

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Re: munual power!

JetStar wrote:

Just for clairification, most euro' cars have a shift pattern like this:

R 1 3 5
|==|=|=|
***2 4

Some, have a shift pattern like that, I've only driven two with that layout and they've been a new Citroën C5 (R,1-5) and a Renault Vel Satis (R,1-6). Probably 95% of the European cars I've driven have used the more common 1-5,R layout. Admittedly I refuse to go anywhere near anything with a BMW badge on it so I can't comment on those.

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Gears

Sitting here in the UK...
Makes me chuckle to hear of all you US guys n gals getting a kick out of driving manual cars - The only time I've been thankful of automatic is when I busted my left knee for 6 weeks and couldn't use it for anything. Like the clutch.

There's something very satisfying about deciding when and how fast you let that clutch in...
And nearly all the cars I've driven over here have been the 1st gear/Top left, Reverse gear/Bottom Right.
Unless you have a 6th forward gear Laughing out loud

jt
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Clutch?????

Shock Who uses that? On my old GMC truck I'd control the RPMs with the throttle and shift up or down when it sounded/felt/looked right . . .

I thought clutches were just for engaging granny low and reverse or when you really have to use it to get the sucker rolling in first when parked on a flat surface or uphill? :?

jt Wink

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Well, my Dad's *gasp* BMW has

Quote:

Some, have a shift pattern like that, I’ve only driven two with that layout and they’ve been a new Citroën C5 (R,1-5) and a Renault Vel Satis (R,1-6). Probably 95% of the European cars I’ve driven have used the more common 1-5,R layout. Admittedly I refuse to go anywhere near anything with a BMW badge on it so I can’t comment on those.

Well, my Dad's *gasp* BMW has the pattern I described, and since volvo is a euro' car (IIRC still at Gothinbug, Sweeden, but Ford bought them, so it may have changed), I based my small bit of info on what I said. Tisk. Just what Teanagers do. :Smile Anyway, I guessing that you *have* to go with reverce up by 1 if you have 6 forward gears. Wink

BTW, if anyone is thinking about learning how to drive a maunual, don't be freaked out by what you see on this thread, learing isn't that hard, and as a pece of 'inspirational' info, I heard from a freand that had gone to texas, that he had to ride a dune buggy with a 8 yearold at the helm, standard transmiton, and was shifting just fine. Shock Don't worry if you stall at an inersection, just start it back up and get on your way. *Most* drivers are understanding, once you start cranking your starter again. Once you get it down, you'll be able to drive any stick shift! Evil Block Company

Jt: What?!? How the heck do you change gears without grinding? I don't have a tack ether (I got one from the junkyard accouple of weeks ago. Pet Peeve: I like to know how fast the hampsters are going), but using the cluch is manditory in most cars!

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I used to shift like that in

I used to shift like that in my old ranger. It helps if you have a high milage tranny as it will be a little looser.

It works exactly the same way that double clutching works. Were you have to rev the engine so that the front and rear of the tranny is in sync except you don't use the clutch. Then all you have to is pull it out of gear and slightly let up on the gas and it will slip right into the next gear.

Learning how to do it is fairly simple. As you get more familiar with the car you find that it shifts smoother at certain speeds.

Once you learn a little more about how a manual tranny works it will make more since. You can take a look here http://auto.howstuffworks.com/transmission.htm

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Re: I used to shift like that in

redrouteone wrote:

It works exactly the same way that double clutching works.

Well, not quite. In any modern transmission you have synchromesh, and believe me, having that takes all the art out of "Double-Clutching".

The first manual transmission car I owned was a three-speed 1965 Ford Falcon which didn't have synchromesh on first gear. (First was a straight-toothed slider that did double-duty as the reverse gear.) Shifting any newer car without the clutch is complete cake compared to trying to get that old bucket back into first gear why the car was still rolling.

(Just for the heck of it I did experiment with double-clutching, which is a pain in the neck without a tach for reference. I didn't knock too many teeth off the gears, but... honestly, most of the time I just resorted to either underrevving in second, or stopping and putting the thing back into first from a standing start.) :^b

I honestly wouldn't recommend driving your car without using the clutch, since doing that means the synchros have to deal with the stress of slightly speeding up or slowing down the engine when making the shift, instead of just changing the speed of the unloaded transmission input shaft, but... whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

--Peace

jt
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NYC gridlock . . .

. . . was MADE for speed shifting . . . which is a total misnomer or maybe an oxymoron? You get very good at it very quickly . . . or you'll need a knee replacement AND a new clutch in no time at all! Granny Low on a sloooooooow roll is awesome in gridlock, btw, no clutching OR braking and about 10-20% of the time, idleing along is just fine, just gotta stay awake to steer.

jt Evil Block Company

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Okay that is what I get for p

Okay that is what I get for posting at 2:30 in the morning. I remember typing "except you dont use the clutch" on the end of that sentace. But it is not there.

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Well, you are leaving out the

Well, you are leaving out the economy European cars! VW jettas and passats have that shift pattern. I am not a fan of VW's, but my friend has a jetta and I have driven it.

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Double Declutching

Double declutching is no longer an art, but it takes strain off the synchros.

on older transmissions, I tend to do a clutch and a half, when downshifting. basically, pull the car out of gear without the clutch, blip throttle, and shift back into gear with clutch.

on "crash" transmissions, you have to be really precise, and I tend to do full double declutching, because for some reason, I always grind when trying to clutch and a half.

and I have never had to speed-shift, but I have also never driven any car that could idle along in first gear without stalling.

I've never really lived anywhere you have serious gridlock either, so I guess it wasnt a necessity.

and driving a car with manual transmission is easy, provided its fully synchronized, and has a decent clutch that has a goodly amount of sliptime before it hard-engages.

my car has a narrow slippage window, and I am still getting used to using the clutch.

JT, how long do your transmissions tend to last?

CCC

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Arg! Photos!

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I've driven a 1986 BMW 535i w

I've driven a 1986 BMW 535i wit hthat pattern, i think it's commen to all BMWs.

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1993 Dodge Ram 150 2WD fullsi

1993 Dodge Ram 150 2WD fullsize pickup...
5 speed manual FLOOR MOUNTED shifter. yeah one of thise 2ft long levers you gotta crank the hell at to shift. 2nd gear is the hardest to get into. i think it needs a new linkage bushing......

my mom's 2002 VW jetta has a setup like this:

R 1 3 5
\| | |
2 4 6

mu truck has this:

1 3 5
| | |
2 4 R

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I've never understood why Ame

I've never understood why Americans use automatic gear boxes. For petrol heads, manuals are better because you can get more speed out of them. For eco-freaks, manuals are better because they are more feul efficient. You also seem to see BMWs as a sign of great riches. Where I live, they cost nothing. And then theres Europe. For some unknown reason, every American I know seems to think that space-travel was a push over compared to going to Europe. Please, some rational answers!
I drive a dark silver BMW Z4 3.0 ltr topspeed 155mph (I'm trying to improve it by taking off the stupid limiter), about 25mpg, great fun driving up and down the Autobahn!Laughing out loud

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well...

...most Americans prefer automatic trasmissions because they can be more hands free. For some it is the carless nature of wanting to have a free hand or two to drink coffee or read the paper or eat while driving. for more responsible folks, like my wife, it is just the only thing that she learned on. Of course she does not want to learn a manual transmission anyways.

The sutomatics are simpler to use and more convenient. But as you point out, there are several costs for this convenience. I prefer manauals for most all of the reasons you point out in their favor.

Given that the market has been pushed this way, it is actually harder to get the average car in a manual transmission without going to a stripped own low end deal, or a higher end performance based vehicle. Sure, many mid-range cars can be had with manaual trans-axles, but odds are the dealer has not ordered any and you will have to order it and wait if you cannot find it on the lot. We Americans like convenience. I guess it must seem funny from the outside-looking-in when you see the oddities.

As far as BMW goes, it is marketed and priced over here as a more luxury-sport type car than not. It has a projection of status and achievment that add to this. I chalk it up to a successful marketing campaign some years back. Besides, being an import, the are usually not carried by the more prolific dealers that focus on domestic brands by only on manufacturer.

Going to space was a big thing, but traveling to Europe has always been portrayed here is being expensive. Part of it is misinformation added to misunderstanding on the parts of Americans. Some of the considerations are that the many resources for sights, entertainment, meals, and lodging are not as well known and going through a travel firm can add a lot of cost.

While some folks may still be intimidated by the need to do some real research to plan a trip abroad, not to mention the paperwork involved in getting the passport (something actually very few citizens hold) and dealing with questions of money, anyone going must contend with the fact that the average American only gets two weeks paid vacation per year. Some get much more and nice holiday (read as National days of observance like Christmas, not as weekends as per my understanding of what Europeans call holiday) packages as well. I get 10 paid holidays per year, plus 25 paid days off.

Another factor since September, 2001 is that a good many still Americans feel somewhat targeted. It is paranoia, albeit healthy paranoia.

--DDTM

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Its ironic that here in the U

Its ironic that here in the UK you can't get a full driving licence unless you know how to and take your driving test in a manual car.

If you use an automatic, you get a semi-licence which means you can never drive a manual without taking further tests and are stuck with driving automatics...(very hard to get at a decent price here...almost non existant)

Also, anyone reading a paper in a car while driving etc should be shot.

Finally, what is the point in driving huge engined gas guzzling, 3 miles to the gallon cars?

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Thanks for the explanation. I

Thanks for the explanation. It now makes some more sense than before. I'm now suprised than most Americans dont own a passport. Most people I know have at least one. Ahh well, I guess the questions never end.

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martakz, because most america

martakz, because most americans DONT CARE...unlike me.

truely_cuboid, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, etc. are all overpriced here for the same reason that American cars are overpriced there. Besides, the average speed limit for american highways ranges from 50mph to 80mph. the average driver doesnt go above 85mph. rhis is so because american roads and public driving schools SUCK. many roads are bumpy, lots of people have clunker cars, many people dont know how to drive safely. thats why im moving to germany in 20 years.
i have a huge gas guzzling truck, its slow, the big, it maneuvers like a bathtub. i hate the hell out of it. but at least its manual. i want a Volkeswagen or BMW. something fast, maneuverable, efficient, and better built than american cars (blech). i love my moms volkswagen, it accellerates hard in 5th gear, she can take the offramp at 60mph with out the slightest squeak in the tires. hooray for german engineering.

hope that cleared a bit up for you people.

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Uh, why should I ever care ab

Uh, why should I ever care about gettting a psssport? I have no need for a passport so it will never be an issue for me and for 95 percent of the american population who never visit a country other than mexico or canada (i know for a fact that I don't need a passport to visit canda).

As for a transmission choice, i personally would like a stick only for purely performance reasons but for convience, a auto is much nicer and easier. Sure it would be fun to slam though the gears during a race but for 99 percent of normal traveling, a auto is just much nicer.

I never got stuck in the snow with my auto LHS last year so the whole "its better for snow" is not necesarly true.

Its a pain to have to constaintly shift.

And the gas savings is like 1 or 2 miles per gallon with a stick, big whoopeedoo, not really important to me.

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A word on Volkeswagons...

CRAP!!!!

I have owned them--they suck! My mom had one--it would probably have handled great if she had used a more daring course than the one she was most often forced to use--the one between her house and the mechanic. And that's only taking into account that it could get there on its own--without a tow truck. Hey I hear they handle well--must be the big hook on the back--keeps it balanced! And most of them are big american-made trucks. Ironic, is it not, that the only way a Volkswagon can consistently make it's way through these bumpy awful american roads is while being pulled by a badly engineered american truck. Hmmm...

Bottom line--everything I have ever heard or experienced concerning Volkswagons--or really any German car other than a high-end BMW--is that you should only get behind the wheel with a cross and some holy water, because they are possessed by demons that don't like people to drive them. Like Germany so much? Why wait twenty years--flights depart for that particular destination all the time. Bon voyage! I am however glad that that there are people like you, simon_C, that are out there looking out for "us" because goodness knows we are not typically able to make informed decisions for ourselves.

I have two Honda Civics--my wifes and mine. Best cars on the road--not because they are foreign but because they are good. Toyotas are also great, so congrats on your purchase!

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Volkswagons and all other ger

Volkswagons and all other german makes always find there way to the bottom of various car reliablity and longevity surveys.

Just because something is very well engineered, doesn't mean its reliable and made for the long term.

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WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1)Mercedes, Audi, BMW... all German cars are great cars. Dont Diss

2)I know many people with German cars OLDER THAN ME. And they still work, sometimes better than the new stuff

3)They are WAY WAY WAY better than any American car. You Americans dont seem to understand the idea of "feul efficency", handling (I know of ONE American car that does corners) and decent speed without the use of jet engines. They are all pathetic when it comes to feul consumption and/or performance. Some of European cars may use a lot of feul, but those that do (except French cars, which fall apart when going over 50mph) go very very fast; and they all do corners!!

So next time you want to have a go at foreign cars, THINK ABOUT THE S*ITTYNESS YOUR OWN AUTOS FIRST!!!!

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Its "Fuel" not "feul". Wha

Its "Fuel" not "feul".

What is the top speed limit in america?

Also, as auto's become more efficient you will start to see them in more and more european cars. I mean, a gear system with an infinite amount of gears will one day be far more "Fuel" efficient, once they get rid of some of the weight etc...

Even so, I prefer manuals.

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Top speed here is usually aro

Top speed here is usually around 65-75mph.

Why is 1 or 2 mpg all that important of a difference betweened a stick and a manual.

You can get any car to last a long time if you keep throwing money at it. German car afficnadios (sp?) have a tendency to overlook how much money you are throwing at a car and keep throwing money at it to just keep it going (at least the ones I know).

Have you ever looked at the prices for parts for a mercedes (who is now part of chrysler) or bmws? Very very expensive. I do not have enough experice knowing about volks/audis/etc to know how expensive it is to repair them.

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I registered just to post thi

I registered just to post this message.

German cars suck. It wasnt always that way, but overengineering and cost cutting in recent years have taken their toll. Here's proof:


Only three european brands are ranked as above average in dependability, two german one swedish.
Seven are American.
Five are Japanese.
Check out Volkswagen, duking it out with Kia, Daewoo, Land Rover, and Hyundai for last place.


Only 2 out of 51 of the cars listed as dependable, are German.
28 cars shown are Japanese (The Chevy Prizm and Chevy Tracker are rebadged Japanese engineered and manufactured cars).
21 are American.

BMW has been consistently good, except for rubbish electronics in new models. MB's cost cutting since 1996 has been hideously obvious, and overpriced parts and poor dealership service doesn't help matters. Volkswagen and Audi since the 90s have become disposable lease-and-dump brands. Whats left are Saab (owned by GM, with cars built on GM platforms) and Porsche; some argue that Porsche is a low-volume boutique brand that shouldnt count in the survey. Even so, Porsche dependability is very high if you exclude the Volkswagen-made craptrap Cayenne.

And then there's Jaguar... its odd how it takes a middle to low-end American brand (Ford) to save a premium British brand from itself.

There are Audi 5000s, MB 420SELs, MB 300s and 500s, and BMW 3, 5, and 7-series cars ticking over 200,000 miles. But you'll find that MOST of them required little beyond routine maintenance, as opposed to current models that leave drivers locked in their cars, forced to break a window to get out (BMW 7-series trashy electronics locked the prime minister of thailand in an airtight cabin), or breakdown repeatedly and finally require a flatbed tow truck to drag the junker out of its misery (Autoweek Magazine MB S430 test drive). And dont get me started on the sludging issue on those crappy-ass 1.8L Audi/VW engines.

Once simple, solid automobiles, German cars are now unsafe unsightly undesirable nightmares. The Swedes seem to have it together, at least.

My Infiniti Q45 has 192,000 miles. The longest running Q45 to date had 450k on the original engine, destroyed in an accident in September 2003. Others are at the 400k milestone.

-Jesda

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Re: Top speed here is usually aro

bobotech wrote:

Why is 1 or 2 mpg all that important of a difference betweened a stick and a manual.

Because, there are millions of cars, trucks, vans etc in the world. If they were all wasting 2mpg, then that is a huge huge huge amount of fuel wasted. Remember you are not the only one in the world.

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Re: Top speed here is usually aro

martakz wrote:

Because, there are millions of cars, trucks, vans etc in the world. If they were all wasting 2mpg, then that is a huge huge huge amount of fuel wasted. Remember you are not the only one in the world.

I still fail to care. Sorry. I enjoy my quadcam V8 with the auto (however I think it would be more fun to drive if it had a stick but one was never offered with my car).

I have a honda crx that I can drive if I need to save a few pennies here and there but I don't drive it much.

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The point?

Why a gas-guzzling V8? I dunno, you ever have fun?

Many American families also own boats and trailers and horses that require a lot of power to haul down the highway. A Citroen hatchback isnt going to cut it.

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Re: The point?

jesda wrote:

Many American families also own boats and trailers and horses that require a lot of power to haul down the highway. A Citroen hatchback isnt going to cut it.

I was just wondering...but how does one stop the horse being flung, chucked and slung in the back of a horse box when going around round abouts and corning at >70mph?

I found it hard enough to stay in one place when in the rear or a tipper tuck.

Also, what is the speed limit in america? By this I mean max, on the motorway. I was told that it was 50 mph...but this seems way to slow! My best friend hits that on the downhill road bike runs! (Ive hit 30..and that was fast enough for me.)

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speed limits

As a matter of law:
parking lots - 5mph (but no one really enforces that)
school zones - 15mph (enforced most usually)
residential neighboorhoods - 30mph, unless otherwise posted
City streets and roadways - 30mph-45mph, posting varies
highways and major rodaways - 45mph-55mph
interstates (these are roadways uninhibited by stop signs or traffic lights (aka robots) - 65mph-75mph
farm country - some areas in the mid west have no posted speed limit and the driver is free to go as fast as the want, but at their own risk as these paths are usually far from major medical centers and passing motorists, meaning if you are going to drive with a death-wish, pray it come true should you crash.

--DDTM

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amen

amen

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Ooops

oops, edited and removed.

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Manual vs automatic

For petrol heads, manuals are better because you can get more speed out of them. For eco-freaks, manuals are better because they are more feul efficient.

Most popular perceptions about the performance and efficiency of automatic transmissions are flawed. As another European (with a Mech Eng degree and some experience of engine design), can I shed a little light?

All bench comparisons of manual vs automatic transmission use a robot to replace the human in the manual box car. Unfortunately the robot is a whole lot smarter than the average motorist so any bench-based performance/efficiency comparison is useless. When these tests were first introduced in the UK twenty years ago, the automatic transmission (three forward gears) was 20% less efficient than the robot. On real roads however the average driver in an automatic was only 15% less efficient than the average motorist in a manual transmission car. How many drivers know what bmep means or what is the significance of the torque curve with regard to efficiency?

Times have changed and auto boxes have four or five gears, just like a manual box. A fluid torque converter in an automatic box has considerable inefficiencies compared to a manual clutch. But having five gears controlled by an electronic system that knows when to change gear for efficiency or performance (as opposed to the typical motorist who changes gear to reduce engine noise so that his/her in-car hi-fi sounds better) can make up for that in the real world. And there are much more efficient options than a fluid converter in this electronic age.

Get over it. An electronic transmission system will drive your car better than you do -- if not now then in a couple of years. Why did they outlaw automatic transmissions in Formula 1 cars?

Phil

1961 Austin A35 van [manual], 1970 Triumph Herald 13/60 [manual]

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I thought an automatic had an

I thought an automatic had an infinite number of gears...

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Not quite...

martakz wrote:

I thought an automatic had an infinite number of gears…

You can get CVT gearboxes which are close to an infinite number of gears (I'm not too hot on powertain developments but I believe it uses belts instead of 'gears' as such for power delivery - but don't quote me on that). But an automatic has as many gears as it is produced with, e.g. my Saab is a 4 speed auto box (And a very nice one at that), whereas the new M5 is a 7 speed auto.

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re: Manual vs automatic

Phil (charlieman) wrote:

Quote:

An electronic transmission system will drive your car better than you do . . .

Excellent point, in principle one with which I generally agree.

Except that from what I know most USA folks driving automatic-equipped American and Japanese cars experience something different than those driving European cars. Now I admit I haven't driven many modern cars (ie: post 2000 or so), but every non-Euro automatic I've encountered shifted early and sluggishly and generally felt like a barrel of mush between the engine and the drive wheels. Maybe Amer./Japanese automatics are better nowadays? If not, then those cars are probably better when equipped with a manual gearbox.

Makers generally build to their markets and in the USA the average driver appears to favor softness and gentleness. Hell, look at traditional USA suspension tuning, mush, mush, mush! Americans especially seem to prefer being insulated from the actual experience of interacting with their driving environment.

OTOH, virtually every Euro automatic I've driven felt responsive and tight, engendering a much more enjoyable (for me!!) driving experience.

A great example of a proper auto tranny (4 speed BTW) is found in my '92 BMW 525iA. Shifts gently but firmly under partial accell, but under hard accell it allows the motor its redline and then bangs directly up into the next gear, much faster than I could do it myself with a manual gearbox. All in all a very responsive drive, and I confess I do not miss having to stir the gears myself.

dan k

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First, Jesda. The cars labele

First, Jesda. The cars labeled as "un-dependable" are mostly those designed for speed, not reliablity. And they seem to have only gone for those which they want to point out. The majority of European cars seem to have been missed out. And any fault in build quality can be blamed on the European Commision (they get blamed for everything) and their rules.
Porsche are by far the best of the German car companies. BMW electronics have cleared up now (also, this is APPLEFRITTER, promoting Apple, and therefore everyone Apple supports. One of those lucky few are BMW). And Jaguar only suffered because of British Layland, the company they were forced into.
Dankephoto (strange name - thankyou photo), the reason European automatics are rubbish, is because no-one drives them. The only person I know who uses one, has to because of a permanently broken hand.
Automatics suck. You know it, you're just an American, and thus too stubborn to admit it. The automatic may change gear for you, but it cant properly decide. They drink fuel non-stop, no matter what speed, because it takes a ridiculous amount of fuel just to be on, let alone the fuel of driving the car, which it does very ineffieciently.
And bobotech, Chrysler are owned by Mercedes-Beinz. Get it right.

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Please no flaming, after this

Please no flaming, after this post!!

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LOL.. don't worry, i'm not go

LOL.. don't worry, i'm not going to flame, its just someone who is misinformed, being overly-senstive, and close-minded to the truth about their precious mercedes, volkswagons, and audis. Well wait, that is sort of a flame, never mind the first part of this post, I just think that its enjoyable pointing out things like reliabity to merc and volks fans. They get so uppity!! Its fun!

If you really love mercedes benz's go to these websites to learn some fun stories:

http://www.fortune.com/fortune/investing/articles/0,15114,517706,00.html

http://www.mercedes-benz-usa.com/

http://troublebenz.com/

For some interesting comments on volkwagon reliablity by volks fans:

http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?cmd=&id=1471593

Porsches and BMW's are higher than the indusry average (where Ford and Saturn lay) which is good for them but the survey doens't speak highly of Volkswagan and Mercedes Benz or even Audi (which is still below the industry average). But its still sad that bmw is below Chevy and GMC.

I fail to see the correlation between applefritter and apple and bmw though.

As for the whole automatic thingy, most americans just don't care for manausls. They don't suck. They are just different. If autos sucked, then americans would buy manuels in droves, they don't. I never had a problem with my car deciding the proper gear that my car should be in when i drive it. Hell even my old crappy 1976 buick skyhawk with a turbo350 tranny that i had in 1987 shifted acceptiably (but boringly). I had a 1988 honda accord (boring) that actually whould shift at the redline when pushed.

Personally, i would like to have a manual since its more fun, but most people don't buy them so i don't get much of a choice. Just becuase you think that I am a stubborn american doens't mean that I thin that auto's are great. They are fine and comfy and reasonably fuel efficent. I like the comment about "drinking fuel non-stop", um, i think that is the engines fault! (i never put fuel into my tranny).

I never said that chrysler owned merc benz. I just said that they were part of each other (they are). I really don't care that merc owns chrysler. Actually i think that merc might be better off if they were owned by chrysler, they might learn a bit about reliablty (which again, is sad that chrylser's reliablity is higher than merc's)!

Blind faith just excuses the car company from fixing their own faults.

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High performance is ABSOLUTEL

High performance is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for poor quality. Porsche (excluding the trash Cayenne) has proven that dependability and performance can and SHOULD go together. See also the Nissan Skyline, Honda S2000, Honda(Acura) NSX, and other high-performance vehicles from Japan.
The NSX is reputed for being the world's cheapest to own and maintain supercar. (Hello, Italy. Are you listening?)

Saab, Volvo, and Porsche are doing it right. Jaguar and Aston slowly improved since Ford took over, the same for Saab after a buyout by GM. Perhaps Mercedes Benz, Rover, VW, and Citroen can learn from their more focused competitors. If not, then here's a toast to their extinction. Consumers will dump the cars that disrespect them.

Regarding Apple, it'd be pretty darn silly to buy a $35,000 automobile based on how much the company supports a $2000 computer.

-Jesda