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      01-17-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
slider86
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Learning BMW MT

Hi guys,

I've been wanting to learn how to drive stick for a couple of years now, and I'm close to buying a early 2000's RWD 3 series with a MT to teach myself. This is in preparation of buying a 6MT e92 M3 2 or 3 years down the road - I really want an NA M3, but I've read of way too many hassles/replacements with the DCT (not being able to select odd or even gears, NOT being able to change the fluid, 10-12k parts/labor replacement), so selecting the 6MT would be natural since I want to keep it for a long time.

Now, do you think by learning stick myself for the next 2 years, that I'll be able to handle shifting in the M3 without either crashing the car or ruining the clutch/tranny? Or would I just be wasting my money and time with the used 3 series?

Any non-flame input is appreciated. Thanks!
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      01-17-2013, 10:54 AM   #2
patrickguu
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you can learn to drive stick in a matter of a few hours, depends if your a quick learner.
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      01-17-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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I'd say pick up the used 3 and learn in that, you will pick it up right away its not a hard thing to do Plus any mistakes you make (and you will make mistakes when first learning) will be cheaper to fix on the older 3 than on the m3. What years are you looking at?
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      01-17-2013, 11:15 AM   #4
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Doesn't have to be a BMW to learn to drive a stick. Any manual car should do.

The biggest difference for me when I went to BMW was the different reverse pattern. Other than that, it's all the same.
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      01-17-2013, 11:17 AM   #5
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If you are NYC and drive mostly city you are going to be better off with an auto. City driving, especially in NYC traffic is going to be brutal on a clutch. Upside of learning in NYC traffic is you will either learn or die in very short order.
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      01-17-2013, 11:18 AM   #6
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I learned in an old civic and civic si. You should be able to do it easily. It's just practice. Take a week to get used to it- no problem.
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      01-17-2013, 11:28 AM   #7
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I learned how to drive manual when I was around 15 (same car I used to learn how to drive in general). After a week or 2 it all becomes second nature. You'll make a few mistakes at first, but after at most a month of driving manual you won't even think about it. There are always small differences with things like clutch engagement between cars. A few minutes of driving around and finding the sweet spot and you're good to go. I have taught several people to drive manual, too, and it took each of them 5-10 minutes to get it down. Really not that hard.

I went auto with this car because I do a lot of city stop-and-go driving, but I have owned mostly manual cars, and I do miss it (although it is a little difficult when wearing heels ). With my next car I will probably go back to manual. You'll love it
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      01-17-2013, 11:54 AM   #8
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I learned on my 335 with almost no prior experience. Looked up the concept and just taught myself (with a lot of stalling haha)... Few hours is enough to take it out on the road and a few months will make you ready to at least operate any MT car... It'll prob take years to get really good. BMW is pretty easy to learn MT on too. My friend has a G37S and that clutch is a disaster
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      01-17-2013, 12:23 PM   #9
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Learned how to drive stick after a few drives. Just remember to stay calm if you stall or forget to shift. I'd say the hardest part is gettin the car to go smoothly to first gear but it'll soon become 2nd nature and you'll be driving in no time
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      01-17-2013, 12:32 PM   #10
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I actually learned on my M3 and created the following thread prior to taking delivery to get advice; I got tons of helpful responses: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=501071.

Now before I actually got the car, in addition to that thread I had already done a ton of reading about how to drive a manual transmissions, important concepts and techniques, things to avoid and why, etc since I didn't want to mess my car up right away. I also learned how a manual transmission actually works, which was immensely helpful for understanding the rationale behind everything I was reading. I basically wanted to know as much about driving stick as one possibly could without actually having done it. Then when I got the car, I drove home VERY carefully (and stalled quite a few times), and from there I just went out at 10-11PM at night and went around and around the block getting a feel for shift timing and rhythm. Once I was confident there, I found a steep hill that had curb parking with no cars there so I could pull over to the curb and practice starting on a hill without getting in the way of traffic. From there it was just a matter of refining rev matches (including double clutching, which I do whenever I skip gears on a downshift, e.g. 6>3), and MUCH later I looked at heel-toe on the track, which I now use very occasionally on the street. Fyi the best place to practice rev matching and general shift smoothness once you feel basically competent is on the freeway because you can safely use 4 gears (3 through 6) and traffic moves at a relatively constant speed, so you can just keep shifting up and down to your heart's content; just remember to take breaks here and there to take it easy on your clutch, especially if you haven't been matching revs very well. And when you stall (as you will, many MANY times), just remember to take a breath to recompose yourself, start the car back up, ignore any honk from the car behind you, and carry on.

All in all though OP, I would say I was confident driving in normal traffic and no longer stalling every day or two within a month (my wife wouldn't ride with me early on because my shifting was giving her headaches ), after about 8 months I felt capable (enough to take my car to the track, at any rate), and now after 2 years no one would mistake all of my shifts for a DCT, but I'd say I'm pretty consistently smooth and it's just second nature to me. Just read LOTS of articles about how to drive stick before you take delivery, give yourself plenty of room in traffic when you start out, and you should be fine.
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      01-17-2013, 02:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhawk36 View Post
If you are NYC and drive mostly city you are going to be better off with an auto. City driving, especially in NYC traffic is going to be brutal on a clutch. Upside of learning in NYC traffic is you will either learn or die in very short order.

My wife and I live in NYC and she has a manual is250. She rides the clutch hard and drops it sometimes.... Crazy driver what can i say! But we just replaced her original clutch at the tune of 51k. So city driving can be ok on your clutch just have to know how to engage the clutch when in traffic. Sit on the clutch to long and you will inevitably burn it out quicker.

Its all about heel and toe.
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      01-17-2013, 02:47 PM   #12
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I had the reverse problem...learning to drive auto.
Was driving my sister, who was carrying a bowl with goldfishes, as a gift.
Slammed the clutch....or at least what I thought was the clutch and got goldfish and water all over the front passenger well....

Back to your question, I don't think it's really that hard to learn manual.
If you have a friend, to help you the first time(s), who can tell you what you're doing wrong you'll probably learn a lot faster. So that'd be my tip.
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      01-17-2013, 03:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slider86 View Post

Now, do you think by learning stick myself for the next 2 years, that I'll be able to handle shifting in the M3 without either crashing the car or ruining the clutch/tranny? Or would I just be wasting my money and time with the used 3 series?

Any non-flame input is appreciated. Thanks!
You'll pick it up in short order. If you haven't learned in two years, you'll have burned through a lot of cash and clutches, trans, etc.
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      01-17-2013, 04:03 PM   #14
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I learnt how to drive stick on a rental miata. Burn 4 tanks of gas in a weekend. Securities were watching me practicing stop and go on an up ramp of a shopping mall at 3 am in the morning. Mastered it after.

When i returned the Miata, the tranny was so "smooth" that i couldn't hear any grinding noise when i did the clutchless shifting. lol
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