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Loose rivets
28th Feb 2018, 03:22
I just happened to glance at Amelia Earhart's re-found Hudson Essex Terraplane. In the past I've pulled down the .pdf of its - or one model of Terraplane - and spent ages studying the technical diagrams of the mechanisms that make the driver change gear with a small H lever on a heavy column stalk.

I was getting tired when I realised I'd only covered the clutch mechanisms.

It piqued my interest many years ago when a neighbour had one. It had been modified to have a stick-shift poked up through the floor. Rather clever of our little local garage, but I would have made it go, or go barmy trying.


Advance 50 years. I drove a Honda Type R quite briskly. By any standards it's a quick car. The connection is that it had a clutch, but a 'computer' put the rpm's right. One could, if one was not a purist, simply push the lever into the gear you wanted and it was as smooth as silk. Very, very good.

But now I get to my point. Given that a new breed of electric-shift automatics are so nifty, and the clutch is now obviated, I started to wonder why we need one at all.

Many of you will know that I left foot brake while in autos. Have done so for 60 years - my first auto being a 6,770 cc Oldmobile. While manoeuvring it was 'un-containable' with the choke still in. Had to be held on the brakes. And that's when it all started.

A few days ago I again sat in a BMW M5. I was surprised to see the brake is a small pedal. Well, normal for a manual shift. I don't recall the previous one being like that. Anyway, there it was. Two pedals, both normal stick-shift size.

Now, given this is one of the fastest boxes on Earth, 1/43,000 second change. And also given that I can not use left foot braking for the Advanced driving thingie, I started to think about a crusade to get everyone driving using only two pedals with two feet, in every (well almost) every car on earth.

This daft car that brakes with lifting off the 'gas' is going to have a queue of lawyers following the mistakes made while deciding whether or not to go for the brake pedal.

I know of what I speak here as I often play with the cruise adaptive braking on my BMW.

Yes, I'll be at 30 by the sign. No I won't. Ooo-er. Yes I will, no I won't . . . and if I touch the brakes, cruise is gone and I've lost the game. Buggah, not going to make it. It'll be okay. No it won't, but just pull two more clicks on the stork. NOT ENOUGH. Go for the brakes. Buggah, again.

What a silly game.

What is not silly is, having my foot over the brake for every, and I mean every, situation I think might need brakes. Children near the curb. Old boy, wobbling. That car is going to pull out - isn't he? YOu know what I mean, but now I'm maintaining sensible speeds while right on the edge of sopping. It gives me brakes on in point-two of a second from stimulus.

So, go back to stick shift and make a mess of it. Yes, very likely, it took me a while to get used to swapping, but suppose there was never any clutch - the entire world could go over to using both feet for two pedals. Auto clutches would be a tad simpler than the Hudson. All its logic was done with sylphons and relays and springs and . . .

Autos are already there, so its just the stick-shift guys to convince. First drive a Type R, think how little more would have to be done, like needing only a starting clutch as revs could be perfect, and all future generations will be freed from smoking friction-disks forever. And world wide, there'd be one foot for the brake - always.

galaxy flyer
28th Feb 2018, 03:29
I shifted underway without the clutch half the time, anyway. Just float the shift as you back off the throttle, match the revs and put it the next gear. Never replaced a clutch in 30 years of driving them.


GF

Jetex_Jim
28th Feb 2018, 04:02
The era of the clutch over?

Ask a Tesla driver.
AC induction motors, the type of electric motors commonly used in electric vehicles, produce 100% torque at any RPM. The torque from an internal combustion engine, on the other hand, varies depending on the RPM. Torque is what propels or accelerates a vehicle.

Typically, gasoline-powered car engines produce maximum torque at around 65% of the maximum RPM. The point of having a transmission is to keep the engine RPM in the vicinity of that sweet spot at any road speed. This is accomplished using different gear ratios.

Electric cars don’t need a transmission thanks to their constant torque motors. When you drive one, you can feel the difference every time you pull away from a stop. The feeling is much more akin to a jet taking off. In an electric car, you feel the same amount of power when pressing the accelerator pedal, regardless of your speed.

Since there is no transmission in an electric car, the number of moving parts in the power train is reduced dramatically. This increases reliability and reduces friction losses. It’s one of the reasons that electric cars cost less to drive than gasoline cars.
https://www.quora.com/Why-don%E2%80%99t-Tesla-cars-need-a-gear-system-Why-does-a-gear-system-make-sense-only-for-combustion-engines

sitigeltfel
28th Feb 2018, 06:10
It’s one of the reasons that electric cars cost less to drive than gasoline cars. And at least twice as much to buy.

Saintsman
28th Feb 2018, 06:55
The break pedal is used a lot less in a electric car because the motor does the breaking for you when you lift off the accelerator and it recovers energy (turning the motor into a generator). The breaking effect is quite significant.

mikemmb
28th Feb 2018, 07:11
...... surely the next step is the side-stick?

PDR1
28th Feb 2018, 07:27
I gather clutchless systems have been developed for those whose driving skills can't cope with a clutch, but some of us still can...

:E:E:E

PDR

mikemmb
28th Feb 2018, 07:38
I gather clutchless systems have been developed for those whose driving skills can't cope with a clutch, but some of us still can...

:E:E:E

PDR

Quite right, I still double de-clutch, heel & toe and left foot brake in a manual!

Various evolutions in gear changing have already taken place, I think the early model T Ford had a hand clutch and foot operated gear selection!

UniFoxOs
28th Feb 2018, 07:42
And some of us need one only for starting and stopping - see GF's post above. Those of us who have had a clutch failure on coming to a stop sign, 120 miles from home in the middle of a dark freezing night with no garages open between me and home will understand the benefits of this ability.

But electric is the way forward, so maybe LR will get his wish, albeit a long way in the future, by which time autonomous cars will have bypassed the safety aspect anyway.

JWP1938
28th Feb 2018, 07:43
I have had automatics ever since 1973 when wife just could not pass her test on a manual. (I still have no problem with a manual if I have to use one though). I have ALWAYS driven with left foot over brake since then. MUCH safer and makes reaction time MUCH quicker.

ORAC
28th Feb 2018, 07:52
Is the era of the clutch, over? I thought the thread was about the death of the dinosaurs.....

mikemmb
28th Feb 2018, 07:54
Walter R demonstrating the use of the clutch.....

WARNING Contains scenes of fun & excitement from a pre Elf 'n Safety era!

youtube.com/watch?v=wdy8CG09rSU

Pinky the pilot
28th Feb 2018, 07:56
I still double de-clutch, heel & toe.... in a manual

And so do I on occasion.:ok:

And I will never ever buy a Car with an automatic gearbox!!:=:=


and left foot brake

In a manual??:confused:

mikemmb
28th Feb 2018, 08:00
And so do I on occasion.:ok:

And I will never ever buy a Car with an automatic gearbox!!:=:=




In a manual??:confused:

Yes, keeps the turbo spooled up, and reduces lag ......... don't mention the wear though!

See Walters video above.

Allan Lupton
28th Feb 2018, 08:01
I don't know about the Terraplane that was the starting point for this, but a normal Hudson Terraplane had a conventional three-speed gearbox and gear lever. As Earhart had a Cord it is possible that the Terraplane had been fitted with a version of the Cord vacuum-controlled gear-change which did have a small H lever on a heavy column stalk.
The other system of the time to have a change lever like that was the French Cotal 'box, an epicyclic system which used electromagnets to stop or lock parts of the epicyclic train as required. Being French it was fitted to Darracq, Delahaye, Delage, Lago-Talbot and even some Peugeots.
In both cases no clutch pedal was needed.

PDR1
28th Feb 2018, 08:28
Of course proper people don't use a clutch - we use a chauffeur.

PDR

PDR1
28th Feb 2018, 08:29
However, I would agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy a car with a proper handbrake.

PDR

jimtherev
28th Feb 2018, 08:30
On t'other hand, I was drifting along in me hybrid yesterday - lovely and warm, engine ticking over at 2.5 k rpm as always, wipers, lighting, heating all working perfectly and automatically, and thinking... wot appens wen one of the computers goes tits up?


Got me thinking back to my first 'real' car - a '59 or something Ford pop. Clutch didn't seem to have much use, 'cos the syncro never synked, so double-declutch was the order of the day. Heater? forget it. Wipers? Those terrible things worked by vacuum off the intake manifold which stopped when you put your foot down. Everything, fuel supply and electrics (not that there were much of the electrics anyway) all fully accessible - and if something went wrong it could always be repaired, even by my then-girlfriend!


Soooooo simple. Soooooo easy to understand compared to what we have today.


Would I want it back? No way! I just hope none of my computers fails while I have the Toyota.

Allan Lupton
28th Feb 2018, 09:20
However, I would agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy a car with a proper handbrake.
and when you do have one (as in me BMW) it's too high for one to be able to give it a decent hard pull.
Not much use as second line of defence (when the brake breaks!) but probably better than the all-or-nothing electric jobs.

cattletruck
28th Feb 2018, 09:39
Once-upon-a-time autoboxes were simple to use - the very descriptive P, R and D were the only things you ever needed to worry about.

Then they started complicating thing by sticking a gazillion buttons on the shifter. Gone is the simple and reliable 3 ratio hydraulically shifting neck breaker only to be replaced by electronic gizmodery and a gazillion more gears to be more sympathetic to your derriere.

The end game is to disconnect the driver completely.

Whilst on the subject of out-of-touch drivers...

Last month our friendless neighbours who keep taking us to court and loosing, purchased a near new British marque (the ones made in Austria) with all the e-trimmings just to let everyone that doesn't care know that they have money, only problem is none of them have ever held a drivers license and they are in their 50's.

The warranty man has been around a number of times to show them:
- how to start the thing when it doesn't want to start.
- how to make it go forward when it doesn't want to go forward.

In the past month, its only been going back and fourth 4 meters - albeit very, very slowly.

I'm predicting they will find driving far too stressful, bang up all the nice shiny panels, and give up then repurposing the car as a home for their chooks.

Some people just need a much thicker layer of cotton wool around their lives.

ShyTorque
28th Feb 2018, 10:12
The break pedal is used a lot less in a electric car because the motor does the breaking for you when you lift off the accelerator and it recovers energy (turning the motor into a generator). The breaking effect is quite significant.

What good is a broken car?

ShyTorque
28th Feb 2018, 10:33
And some of us need one only for starting and stopping - see GF's post above. Those of us who have had a clutch failure on coming to a stop sign, 120 miles from home in the middle of a dark freezing night with no garages open between me and home will understand the benefits of this ability.I used to own a Volvo 240 estate; the clutch release bearing completely disintegrated whilst reversing a caravan out of a field (the pedal went down, but it did nothing). I experimented and found I could change gear without the clutch. With the car being a solid old Volvo I could set off in first gear by just cranking the whole rig on the starter till the engine fired. I decided to drive back home (with van attached), a distance of just under 200 miles; I changed gear without crunching by finding the "no-load point" of the gearbox. To stop I just "tapped" it into neutral. The only time I had to disconnect the van was back home; I couldn't reverse it into the driveway safely in "direct drive".

I took the car to a specialist clutch repair garage the following day, about 6 miles from home. I warned them the car had no clutch release at all. When I went back later to pick up the car, the manager asked me how on earth I'd driven 6 miles with the clutch locked because he'd almost put it through the back wall of the workshop. I told him the same way that I'd driven it 200 miles towing a caravan the day before - his jaw dropped! He asked me again how I'd done that, so I explained, as above.

Ancient Mariner
28th Feb 2018, 10:54
A DSG 'box does not have one clutch, it has two. No clutch pedal though.
Per

SnowFella
28th Feb 2018, 11:09
Guess I'm a 40 year old dinosaur as I drive a manual using the left for clutch only and right doing both accelerator and brake and at the same time allergic to using cruise control.
Don't see an issue with having to first remove my foot from the go pedal and place it over the stop pedal in anticipation of a problem, after 20+ years of driving like that it's second nature and I've yet not put a dent on a car in working it that way.
Pet hate I find among the left braking auto mob here downunder is the amount of people that ride the breaks when they have one foot over each pedal, can follow some for km's and the break lights will light up every 30 seconds without fail even if there's nothing infront of them!

TWT
28th Feb 2018, 11:16
the break lights will light up every 30 seconds without fail even if there's nothing infront of them!

Yes, and also when they're going uphill !

gemma10
28th Feb 2018, 12:02
Quite right, I still double de-clutch, heel & toe and left foot brake in a manual!

Various evolutions in gear changing have already taken place, I think the early model T Ford had a hand clutch and foot operated gear selection!


My father used to do a similar operation, however he called it the racing change. Foot off the gas, gear into neutral [without clutch], clutch in, then into gear, back on the gas. Claimed it was faster than double de clutching.

Regarding the BMW M5 as above, taking one`s foot off the gas to provide braking is cause for concern indeed. I don`t left foot brake in my 530 auto, I was once advised that computer inputs from both pedals simultaneously could cause problems in the software.

Pontius Navigator
28th Feb 2018, 12:53
...... surely the next step is the side-stick?SAAB tried this years ago.

andytug
28th Feb 2018, 13:18
Braking costs you money, so you should avoid it wherever possible by anticipating ahead......

UniFoxOs
28th Feb 2018, 13:27
However, I would agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy a car with a proper handbrake.


Hasn't been for years - for those of us who consider a "proper" handbrake to be a "fly-off" type and have had to convert numerous cars to become so.

Well done ST! Completely beats my 120 miles without a caravan!

NutLoose
28th Feb 2018, 13:52
I shifted underway without the clutch half the time, anyway. Just float the shift as you back off the throttle, match the revs and put it the next gear. Never replaced a clutch in 30 years of driving them.


GF

Gone through 5 gearboxes though..:E;)

Jetex_Jim
28th Feb 2018, 14:21
I thought the thread was about the death of the dinosaurs.....
To the extent that it discusses combustion powered cars, yes.

k3k3
28th Feb 2018, 14:26
I wouldn't like to go one further than Shy Torque or UFO, but I did!

The release bearing failed on my Austin 1800 while I was visiting people near Brüggen, unfortunately I had to be at work in St.Mawgan the next evening, so off we went, me, wife and two year old daughter. Turn the key in gear and off we went, feeling when the gearbox wanted to go in to gear and gently easing the lever to where I wanted it. It all went quite well, especially once on the motorways etc., the only frightening bit was avoiding the crewman when driving up the ramp to get on the hovercraft.

MG23
28th Feb 2018, 15:24
Many of you will know that I left foot brake while in autos.

Good luck on the modern ones that cut the gas as soon as you hit the brake.

Technically speaking, I believe our Subaru has several clutches between the engine and wheels. They're just controlled by computers, not a pedal.

Then again, even the brakes are controlled by a computer. It's weird to hear them clattering away when your foot is nowhere near the brake pedal but one of the wheels has started to slip on a bad road surface.

piperboy84
28th Feb 2018, 15:36
In my youth I had a cheap waterbed with no internal sections causing a lot of sloshing back and forth. When “on the job” the backwash used to throw my timing off unless I double clutched to get back on rhythm and resume the job at hand.

Loose rivets
28th Feb 2018, 17:23
Yes, the Cord was the other user of that system I gathered last night. However, I have not been able to find the pdf which is pages long. It is utterly fascinating. Could write all it's logic onto a small ASIC chip these days.

I was told I changed gear in my friend's 1927 RR beautifully, but I had quarter of an hour to make the change. Oh, those grease gun intensifiers.:8

I used to double-declutch by opening all the windows, sticking my head out of the sunroof while winding my left leg around my neck and hitting the gear lever with my right knee (in UK) All while gripping the armrest with my buttocks. Then, and only then would I un-Zip my . . .

I could do all this in point three of a second from stimulus. :rolleyes:




I was once advised that computer inputs from both pedals simultaneously could cause problems in the software.

Oh, yes. Months of wondering why I got nearly a second's delay when pulling out of some junctions. Was it fields from overhead cables? Underground wires? A car that wanted to be stove in on the right side, or even a car that hated me. A second is an eternity when you like to dash into a roundabout.

BMW main techie couldn't answer it, no one on forums could either, but one night, trying to get off to sleep, I asked myself a question. I have tried not having power against brakes . . . haven't I? :ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh: Next day I started a routine of no power against brakes.

That was the 318 Ti. The 635 twin turbo doesn't care.


I was clutchless one busy day from the City to British Eagle's hanger at LHR. It was okay, I had a MKII Jaguar and the drive-train was really slack and first gear was a million to one. Planned to not hit a red but if I did, just pressed the starter and prayed.

ethicalconundrum
28th Feb 2018, 23:17
My 1937 Cord Beverly had been cut up and a series of levers and rods was installed to shift it. It took me weeks, and weeks to drag it all out, and then replace the correct pre-selector wiring, vacuum solenoids, and shift rods, then adjust it all. Once adjusted, it worked perfectly to select the next gear underway, then simple push and release the clutch pedal to automatically shift up or down. However, it was a maintenance hog to keep in good fettle.

I had a Dodge van that would sometimes get stuck in R and 2 gears, rendering it unmoveable until I would crawl under the left side, and bang it out of R. When done at a stop light - people will look at me and stare.

The clutch pressure plate fingers in my Fiat were slowly fading away. I was in college, and no time to take it down and fix it. So, I drove it for about 2 weeks without clutch by matching RPM and then select gear. Starting in 1st by just hitting the starter for a few seconds. Of course, I had to replace the starter not long after the clutch pressure plate.

419
28th Feb 2018, 23:26
An oldie but still worth a couple of minutes listening to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9t3XBXmtgQ

Octane
1st Mar 2018, 02:08
I don't think driving my souped up '67 Mini down a tight winding road would be quite the same if it wasn't a manual? :eek:
Re fly off handbrakes, they are great if for nothing else than an anti theft device. Watching people trying to release the one on my car is amusing. The harder they pull the harder they lock the rear wheels..:}

Fareastdriver
1st Mar 2018, 08:32
I had a go in an Armstrong Siddeley Hurricane coupe donkey's years ago. It had a pre-selector gearbox where you selected the next gear up or down as required. When the time came you pressed the clutch and it changed.

Compared with a fully automatic transmission it was too fiddly and didn't give you the feel that a manual did.

DType
1st Mar 2018, 10:43
The trouble with left foot braking to keep the turbo spooled up is that you pretty soon run out of brake servo vacuum.
And I remember driving father-in-law's automatic V8 Rover (many years ago) in snow, only to discover that the choke's fast idle required enough brakes to lock the front wheels - and still it drove towards the main road junction! Guess it would be more exciting with FWD, when footbrake would lock the undriven rear wheels, simulating a handbrake turn? Or does the mandatory ABS stop them locking - which would be even more exciting.

nonsense
1st Mar 2018, 12:00
I don't think driving my souped up '67 Mini down a tight winding road would be quite the same if it wasn't a manual? :eek:
Re fly off handbrakes, they are great if for nothing else than an anti theft device. Watching people trying to release the one on my car is amusing. The harder they pull the harder they lock the rear wheels..:}
Have you driven a Minimatic?

Just before I started my engineering degree, I built myself an automatic Mini Moke with a Minimatic front subframe converted to rubber suspension and a Morris 1300 4 speed auto motor and box, all on 14" wheels. CooperS brakes obviously (the 8" disks were almost unheard of in Oz).

Then in second year I converted it to run on LPG, partly to take advantage of the absurdly high compression ratio the motor had been built with, partly because I was sick of the 20 litre petrol tank, but mostly just because I could.

Because in Australia an LPG conversion was not considered a modification for insurance purposes, I was able to go straight LPG (no petrol) with an Impco brand mixer with a rather large throttle (1-3/4"), as well as an aftermarket inlet manifold and long centre branch extractors, all clearly necessary to make it run *very* well on LPG!

The longer cable lever on the Impco throttle body let me fiddle the auto linkage to change down rather aggressively with more throttle, without being silly at small throttle openings.

And of course even an automatic Moke is lighter with a lower centre of gravity than a standard Mini. It was essentially a large road registered go-kart.

Loose rivets
1st Mar 2018, 13:07
My 1937 Cord Beverly had been cut up and a series of levers and rods was installed to shift it. It took me weeks, and weeks to drag it all out, and then replace the correct pre-selector wiring, vacuum solenoids, and shift rods, then adjust it all. Once adjusted, it worked perfectly to select the next gear underway . . .


My hero!:ok:

chuks
1st Mar 2018, 13:25
We have three BMWs. One doesn't count because it is a motorcycle with a conventional clutch and a six-speed box.

The other two are both BMW 330s, one an older 330Ci with a petrol engine, and a 5-speed manual box. The other one is a much newer 330xd with a diesel engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter.

Sometimes I absentmindedly go for the clutch in the auto car as I am coming to a stop only to find the brake pedal. Other times I forget to de-clutch in the manual car, and stall the engine. Not often, just once in a while, and I think that shows that there's not much difference when driving with two different gearboxes.

I like the automatic for the way it downshifts on its own when I want to go faster. (It has little paddles behind the steering wheel for manual shifting, but I hardly bother to use them.) I just floor it, when it downshifts on its own and takes off like one of those muscle cars of yore. Better than, even, since it has AWD.

The newer car has some sort of clutch that sends drive to the front wheels when the rear wheels lose grip, and then there's something else that sends split torque to the front wheels to aid in turning. Both cars have DSC, which uses split braking to recover from skids. I guess it uses a yaw sensor.

All this new stuff is wonderful, except that the car started putting up all sorts of warning messages, messages that would then go away after shut-down, then re-appear a few days later in the same way: ABS failure, tire pressure sensing failed, DSC failure, some mysterious logo of a little car up on a lift that I never did figure out ....

Another thing was that while we were on a ski holiday with temperatures down to about -8 C the car would run rough after starting, for just a few minutes, as if it were on four out of six cylinders.

So, off we went to the BMW dealer. They plugged in a reader and came back with a long list of malfunctions, when they then cleared from the system, telling me that if the warnings did not recur to just come back for the usual service after 25 thousand km. (One reading was that two glow plugs were out, which would account for the rough running, except that it's even colder now here, yet the car starts just fine.)

We are already facing some sort of problem with a possible ban on diesels in German cities, when this car only has Euro 5 anyway (something that did not matter when we bought it just a few years ago). Now if it turns out that all this high-tech stuff has been quietly going to hell on us, so that the dealer might want some handsome sum to put the car right again, then I will be going all Luddite.

The first BMW my wife had, when I met her 30 years ago, was a little two-door 318i. It had nothing high-tech at all, aside from fuel injection and a catalytic converter. It had a sun-roof and a radio-cassette player, one I rigged an early Sony CD player to, but that was it, and we drove it for 7 years quite happily.

The next one was a 325Ci, with ABS, VANOS and integrated motor management. Maybe it had remote locking, but I can't remember now. I bought it with an M-series body kit, sport seats and sport suspension, but otherwise it was pretty basic, just a car that was really fun to drive.

After that came the 330Ci, with ABS, DSC, double VANOS, integrated motor management, GPS, a telephone, a CD player, automated climate control, interior lights that faded in and faded out, xenon headlights, remote locking that even made the windows close if they were open, two ignition keys that actuated separate memory settings in the driver's seat and the outside mirrors, and a little doo-dad that shuts off the air intake for the car interior if it senses something or other that it does not like, perhaps a Turk stood too close who had been eating garlic sausage.

When we got that 330Ci I thought that we were really into this new world of high technology. Compared to the 330xd, though, it's Stone Age.

Then we got the daughter a new Golf VII, one with pretty much all the options aside from the double-clutch gearbox. (From what I have been told, the DSG clutches still wear, just as a conventional clutch does, so that when they are worn out, after about 150,000 km, you will need a new or rebuilt gearbox.) The handbook is about two hundred pages long for that little car, and everywhere you look it has something else that needs to be pushed, pulled, swiped, and/or selected or deselected.

Pull up at a light in gear and the engine dies. Then you can let the clutch out. Put in the clutch and the engine starts again immediately .... Witchcraft!

I wanted to dim the instrument panel lights on that Golf, when leafing though the handbook left me no wiser; the book is for the basic model, with that old-fashioned, easy-to-use rotary switch next to the headlight switch. Turns out that on this one you go into the menu on the big touch screen to try and find the right sub-menu, when you can then adjust the lights by swiping a finger on that screen.

HHornet
3rd Mar 2018, 12:08
As a school kid, I wondered what was going on in the isolated cab of our school's 1953 Oxford (?), as the teacher frantically double-declutched and hunted for the next gear. Sometimes there was lots of crunching noises and she was an unusual sight on the roads in the 1980s.

Fareastdriver
3rd Mar 2018, 12:43
isolated cab of our school's 1953 Oxford (?),

My 53 Oxford didn't have a cab. It did , however, have a four speed column change with no synchromesh on first. Reverse was to push forward and down and more times than not it selected top gear.

Don't remind me as to how one adjusted the tappets.

IFMU
3rd Mar 2018, 15:16
It's not over at my house. Here is the new clutch I put in when I rebuilt my 1999 Saturn with my teenager.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=50832&d=1501038701
Should be good for another 200K+ miles and a couple of decades anyway. It's a shame that people don't teach their kids how to drive a proper car. I've owned the car since new and it has all the best options- crank windows, mechanical locks, cassette player, and nothing fancy beyond EFI.

The rebuild was a great project. Currently looking for another Saturn for my younger son to rebuild.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230898

b1lanc
3rd Mar 2018, 16:08
...... surely the next step is the side-stick?
GM had a concept car at the 1964 NY Worlds Fair. It had a side stick on the console to the right of the driver. No pedals, no steering wheel. Push forward to decel and brake, pull back to accel, left to go left, etc. However, the linkage was not FBW and under test overcorrection became a problem because it wasn't adaptive. I wanted one....still do. With today's sophisticated in-lane, autobrake, computer assisted everything, I'd think it is in the realm of the possible.

Fareastdriver
3rd Mar 2018, 16:30
Any modern invalid carriage has that control system.

MG23
3rd Mar 2018, 18:35
I'm sure NASA did some research years ago where they concluded that a joystick was the best way to control a car. Though maybe only when driven by astronauts.

I believe that's what they picked for the Lunar Rover.

Mac the Knife
3rd Mar 2018, 19:39
What happened to 4(5)-on-the-floor and proper cars?

Driving a manual isn't that difficult (my 90-year old MOL still does) and its FUN (except in traffic). Steep hill? No problemo, shift down and the engine does most of the braking.

I've never had an automatic (well, for 6/12 & then I sold it 'cos I hated it), sure I can't change gear in 0.005 seconds, but why would I want to?

Much less to go wrong and at least you know what you are doing - nor do you need a PhD to change a clutch-plate.

Self-driving cars, yep, its going to end up like modern aircraft, all automatic until something confuses its little brain and it tosses the whole salad into the lap of someone whose manual skills have either atrophied or were never there in the first place.

But maybe I belong in the Meldrew thread…they'll have automatic women next…

Mac

:cool:

[OK, its bound to come for yer average saloon, just as power-steering and all the other widgets have, but I hope there will still be a few manuals around]

MG23
4th Mar 2018, 00:16
they'll have automatic women next…

Sex-bots are going to be one of the biggest technology markets of the next twenty years.

b1lanc
4th Mar 2018, 00:50
I'm sure NASA did some research years ago where they concluded that a joystick was the best way to control a car. Though maybe only when driven by astronauts.

I believe that's what they picked for the Lunar Rover.
Not much competing traffic on the moon though.

Danny42C
4th Mar 2018, 13:17
The complete solution was on the market fifty years ago - cost me an extra £30 wheb I bought my new Peugeot 403 in Paris in 1960. This was the "Coupleur Jaeger" - or "Smiths-Jaeger" in UK). It was a completely normal gearbox married to a magnetic particle clutch, there was no clutch pedal.

The following excerpt from my Posts of many moons ago may be of some interest:

Danny.

..."By now we were well settled-in in the Peugeot, and the more we saw of it, the more we liked it. The Coupleur did absolutely everything it said on the tin. On the steering column the arrangement was:

(to you).............. (up) 1.(middle) N. (away)...R......(wheel, side on view)
(spring loaded centre): (Up) 2 (middle) N. (down)...3.
(from you).....................(middle) N. (to you).4...[no down]

1 would climb up a wall. 4 was a geared-up (0.75, I think) overdrive. All your town driving was done in 2 and 3. Start in 2, it would easily take you to 45, then 3 went on to 75. On the open road/autobahn you'd "hook it up" into 4. This would take you very little faster (only to a true 80), but much more restfully, apart from a faint and not unpleasant whine.

The lever was spring-loaded to 2-3. Obviously you pushed away for R-1 (ideal for "shunting"). And the beauty of the whole thing was: you couldn't abuse it, whatever you did ! Start in 4 ? Certainly, Sir ! (it would be perfectly smooth, if you didn't mind being beaten from the lights by Steptoe's horse). Leave it in 3 in traffic, drift down to walking speed (or stop), pull away as slick as silk - no trouble.

As smooth as the best hydraulics, no slip, no creep, no penalty in power or consumption - and no clutch pedal. The little Coupleur handbook was not translated, but I was charmed by the requirements of 'maintien - "pratiquement nul !"- although this was rather spoilt by the start of the next paragraph: "En cas de non-fonctionment", you were advised to consult "L'Agence Peugeot la plus prochain" - (there to be royally ripped-off, of course, but Peugeot was no worse than all the others in that respect).


''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

..."Our view of automatic transmissions was that they were only successful with cars so powerful that they didn't need gearboxes in the first place, and we couldn't compete on that basis. But we could at least get rid of the clutch pedal, the operation of which was (and is) the bugbear of all learner drivers. And that should be much cheaper than a full autobox.

I think Ford were first in the field with the "Ford-o-Matic", and no doubt it was followed with "Austin-o-Matic" and "Morris-o-Matic", and every other-o-Matic. The idea was the same in all cases: Keep the box of cogs which had held sway since the beginning of time, and the friction clutch, but actuate the latter with manifold depression, controlled by solenoid switches.

(Pre-war there had been ingenious efforts made to get round the problem. Daimler had their "Pre-Selector" box with an epicylic system (I think Armstrong-Siddley and Lanchester bought into it, too). And Rover had the attractive idea of a "freewheel", which dispensed altogether with clutch operation once the car was moving, but required good brakes as now there was no engine braking. :eek: And there was, I seem to recall, a "Hobbs" transmission, but I know nowt about that).

All the "O-Matics" failed for the same reason. Friction clutches wear slowly, the human ankle unconsciously compensates for the increasing pedal travel. But the mechanism couldn't do that, so the things were always having to be re-adjusted; the whole idea got a bad name and everybody gave up on it.

Except Jaeger in France (I don't know at what stage Smiths Instruments got in on the act, but they did, and it became the "Smiths-Jaeger" transmission over here). They went straight to the root of the trouble - the two leather (or later composition) lined plates rubbing together.

Bin those, for there was a much better idea waiting in the wings: the Magnetic Particle Clutch. Two concentric rotors, fitted, one inside a "hollow" larger other so that only a very small gap was left between the "mating" surfaces. Permanently magnetise the driven surface so that an ounce of powdered stainless steel can be evenly spread round it.

Embody coils of wire in the engine-driven rotor so that when a current is passed through them the filings will "scrum down" in the middle, bridge the gap - and "Bob's your uncle". And you could find [not now] a diagram and much more about it on Google/Wiki under "Coupleur Jaeger". (Tip: if you come across the Google translation of "balais" as "broom", what they mean is a (carbon) "brush.")

.........................

In '65 or '66, the 403 was showing the first signs of age. Specifically, the silky-smooth power take-up from standstill of the "Coupleur Jaeger" was becoming "lumpy" and "snatchy". I am no electrical (or any other kind) of engineer, but the Coupleur was a very simple mechanism, and I knew that the "iron filings" between the two parts of the clutch, were "excited" into scrumming-down together (and so transmitting the drive) by an unregulated voltage from a third brush on the dynamo (no alternators in those days). As the motor speeded-up, so did the dynamo; the voltage increased and 'Bob's yer uncle'.

Clearly the dynamo was the place to look, I had it off and on the dining table (well, it was chilly outside - and I'd put a couple of sheets of newspaper down underneath, no reason for Mrs D. to get so het-up :{ about it) . I inspected the three "portes-balais" (brush carriers - ["broom" carriers in Googlese]). The two main ones were all right, but the third (smaller) job was a poor design. The carbon brush was held down by a sort of bent paper-clip, the bare metal loop on the clip bore directly on the friable graphite brush, the top of this had crumbled; there was my problem.

Clearly some sort of conductive pad was the answer; the morning's milk bottle top was rescued from the gash-bin, washed and a piece cut out, folded to size, and put between paperclip and brush. Put all back: we had our Rolls-Royce once again. :ok: "Shame on Peugeot", I thought "I'd always found their engineering to be first-class". Then of course, it struck me. It wasn't their fault at all. Motor manufacturers buy in alternators, starters, batteries and all sorts of electrical widgets from outside firms (in those days Lucas was a prime supplier for British cars). So what French equivalent had done this sub-standard job for Peugeot ? Who cared ? What did it matter ? Why would I even want to find out ? So the matter rested for 50 years, until I got the idea for this Post"....

Fareastdriver
4th Mar 2018, 14:36
It was a completely normal gearbox married to a magnetic particle clutch, there was no brake pedal.

How did you stop it, Danny?

ShyTorque
4th Mar 2018, 15:06
I now use an auto 'box car to commute if the traffic is likely to be busy. I once (out of curiosity) counted 1200 clutch operations and I was only half way home...not surprisingly, my lower spine problem didn't appreciate it. Thankfully, modern autoboxes are streets ahead of how they used to be when I owned my first one, some forty years ago.

But my street legal competition car and a couple of others we own do have manual gearboxes. The former has non-power steering and non-servo disc brakes; it needs a lot of concentration to drive; great fun though.

RAT 5
4th Mar 2018, 17:15
Subaru CVT is brilliant. Has paddles for the long up-hill down-hill bits. Delivers smooth rapid acceleration from standing starts.

BMW 325i inline 6. What an engine. 25 years old and singing like a sewing machine with torque sublime. With good anticipation I can do everything in 3rd until the speed ramps up. It'll even pull from lights in 3rd. In town 3rd is almost an automatic, i.e. no gear change.

What I always enjoy is a bit of fun in the bends changing gear perfectly on the rev counter with no clutch. I learnt it years ago, and it is fun & rewarding. No jerks or grinds.

I remember Jackie Stewart (I think) winning a GP, with no clutch after a few laps.

pulse1
4th Mar 2018, 18:14
On the subject of clutches I would appreciate some advice from the experts on this thread.

My 82 year old sister has recently suffered a slight stroke and has been stopped driving for several months at least. Her slightly older "boyfriend" had a bigger stroke last year but is back driving his Skoda estate although he has lost some coordination in his left foot. This has resulted in him burning the clutch out once and it sounds like it is in trouble again. He is afraid to drive it at the moment. This means that they can't get together although they only live a few miles apart.

He is considering buying a new, smaller car but is afraid that he could get into a real mess if he bought an automatic. I know that there have been several horror stories around here with old people losing control of automatics. One ran over his wife with a brand new car as she was guiding him into the garage. Another drove through the wall of our local library.

I cannot think of any alternative except for an electric car. he only does short journeys so it might be suitable. Any comments from the wise?

G-CPTN
4th Mar 2018, 19:05
My neighbours managed without a car - using taxis when necessary.

The cost was competitive with tax and insurance, fuel and depreciation (and repairs).

Danny42C
4th Mar 2018, 20:29
FED (#54),

Oh dear ! - Senior Moment ! - For "Brake", read "Clutch". (I shall go and stand in the corner with "Dunce"s Cap on). My Post has been amended.

Although the thing would sit still on the level in any gear with the engine idling, no handbrake on, because there was a "bead" on the accelerator cable which worked a switch to cut power off to the clutch when your foot was off the pedal, you still had engine braking on the move, as there was another centrifugal switch on the output shaft of the box, which supplied battery power to the clutch when the shaft was turning whether or no the generator was producing power.

The thing was as clever as a basket of monkeys: I tried all ways but could never catch it out. I would have the system in preference to any of the autoboxes I've had in the last 60 years.

Danny.

Loose rivets
5th Mar 2018, 00:57
My rather pompous*, magistrate, old neighbour got himself a brand new Wolseley-fied 1300 automatic. He went in one end of his brick-built garage and came out the other, filling his greenhouse with bricks.

The BMC agent came and took it away. I'm sure it's not a record for short term ownership.



*He walked into the council offices one day and emptied a bag of small stones over their counter. He protested that since the stones had been taken out of his tyres, there must be too many stones on the road.

Funnily enough his name was Mr Stone.

tdracer
5th Mar 2018, 02:50
Pulse, assuming the elderly folk in question can safely operate a car, it sounds like a perfect case for one of the shorter range electric vehicles if they can park near a charger (then again, I've always considered auto transmissions to be near idiot proof).
Otherwise, G-CPTN's suggestion of taxi's is pretty good. Where I live, they have special senior transport services available to transport the elderly who no longer should be driving themselves.

Ancient Mariner
5th Mar 2018, 05:46
My rather pompous*, magistrate, old neighbour got himself a brand new Wolseley-fied 1300 automatic. He went in one end of his brick-built garage and came out the other, filling his greenhouse with bricks.

The BMC agent came and took it away. I'm sure it's not a record for short term ownership.



*He walked into the council offices one day and emptied a bag of small stones over their counter. He protested that since the stones had been taken out of his tyres, there must be too many stones on the road.

Funnily enough his name was Mr Stone.

Classmate bought brand new Opel Record, picked it up at dealer, sped 150 meters down road into 90 left, rolled car, walked back to dealer. Car totalled. How we laughed.
Per

pulse1
5th Mar 2018, 08:14
tdracer, G-CPTN

Thank you for your responses. A taxi service, backed up by yours truly, is what they are looking at short term. I think that, financially at least, they should consider it longer term. It removes all the worries about keeping it taxed, insured and serviced.

At the same time I am going to offer my services to help him look at electric cars. I know very little about what is available but I rather fancy one for my wife, something like a Tesla Roadster for example:eek:

papabravowhiskey
5th Mar 2018, 08:38
On the subject of clutches I would appreciate some advice from the experts on this thread.

My 82 year old sister has recently suffered a slight stroke and has been stopped driving for several months at least. Her slightly older "boyfriend" had a bigger stroke last year but is back driving his Skoda estate although he has lost some coordination in his left foot. This has resulted in him burning the clutch out once and it sounds like it is in trouble again. He is afraid to drive it at the moment. This means that they can't get together although they only live a few miles apart.

He is considering buying a new, smaller car but is afraid that he could get into a real mess if he bought an automatic. I know that there have been several horror stories around here with old people losing control of automatics. One ran over his wife with a brand new car as she was guiding him into the garage. Another drove through the wall of our local library.

I cannot think of any alternative except for an electric car. he only does short journeys so it might be suitable. Any comments from the wise?

Either an electric car or a Toyota Hybrid. I persuaded my mother to get a Yaris hybrid - she now thinks it is the best car she's ever had and it has extended her independence. She was previously struggling with a manual clutch and the Yaris Hybrid's CVT is just the smoothest ever system.

PBW

VP959
5th Mar 2018, 08:52
Either an electric car or a Toyota Hybrid. I persuaded my mother to get a Yaris hybrid - she now thinks it is the best car she's ever had and it has extended her independence. She was previously struggling with a manual clutch and the Yaris Hybrid's CVT is just the smoothest ever system.

PBW

My other half drives a Yaris Hybrid, and now wouldn't go back to any other form of transmission. She's not elderly, but has always been a bit of a nervous driver, with her particular concern being clutch control, especially at junctions and when manoeuvring slowly. She's owned a couple of automatics, but reckons that the hybrid is far easier to drive and she feels more confident driving it than she has in any other car.

Piper.Classique
5th Mar 2018, 17:11
My other half has a little Clio automatic. He isn't allowed to drive a manual box any more, with one not too good arm. 1.4 litres, and I'm embarrassed to say it will stroll away from my MGB.
He lets me borrow it when it's raining.
We are thinking about a Renault Zoe, or a Kia soul, as the leasing deals are interesting. Got test drive booked. I can't help but think they will be boring, and the Kia is fugly.
Has anyone tried either of them?

jimtherev
5th Mar 2018, 22:07
My other half drives a Yaris Hybrid, and now wouldn't go back to any other form of transmission. She's not elderly, but has always been a bit of a nervous driver, with her particular concern being clutch control, especially at junctions and when manoeuvring slowly. She's owned a couple of automatics, but reckons that the hybrid is far easier to drive and she feels more confident driving it than she has in any other car.
I do wish I could persuade Mrs Jim to go the hybrid route. She hates driving my Auris (doesn't like it creeping away as soon as the brakes are off) but is frequently complaining what terrible fuel cons she gets from her Fiesta.


Trouble is that the engine of the Ford is acceptably quiet, so she has no prompts to change gear. So, 45mph in 2nd and 25 in 5th are all the same to her. 4th gear never gets used. Sitting alongside her for any distance is a teeth-gritting experience.


She sometimes responds to long loud sighs...

Yamagata ken
6th Mar 2018, 08:38
Current car is a Legacy Wagon with conventional 4-speed auto. It's a good one (as autos go) with a parallel gate converting it to a clutchless sequential gearbox. It works very well on mountain roads with hairpin bends. In auto, power up the straight and lift off for the hairpin. Gearbox decides "no load" and changes up just as you enter the steep climb. Car bogs, gearbox kicks down, thump. The sequential auto fixes that, as it does with long steep descents, requiring minimal braking. I still don't have the fine control that a clutch gives. No more autos for me, ever.

Left foot braking in a car? No Thanks. I cut my teeth on British motorcycles and it has taken me a lifetime to re-progamme to right-foot braking on a bike. I don't need that indecision in a car. Driving defensively I'll lift off and hover my right over the brake pedal. On the bike I keep two fingers over the brake lever most of the time. The Suzuki's clutch and gearbox are superb, BTW.

I'd mastered the art of clutchless changes and a crash box by the age of 14, driving a Massey Ferguson 35. Right hand throttle, left hand gearchange. Look Mum, no hands!

Danny42C
6th Mar 2018, 15:58
jimtherev (#67)'

Was a story just after the war, of a lady with her new Ford "Pilot" (ie old 22 hp Ford V-8 dolled-up). Went back complaining bitterly of fuel consumption. Salesman had a ride with her. ... She'd never had it out of second gear! (there were only three anyway, plus reverse).

Nearly all the moans so far could've been fixed by swapping into something (Peugeot 403, 404 and some Rootes models) with the "Coupleur Jaeger"

aerobelly
6th Mar 2018, 19:41
jimtherev (#67)'

Was a story just after the war, of a lady with her new Ford "Pilot" (ie old 22 hp Ford V-8 dolled-up). Went back complaining bitterly of fuel consumption. Salesman had a ride with her. ... She'd never had it out of second gear! (there were only three anyway, plus reverse).


Only once have I driven a Ford Popular (1950s 1172cc flat-head for those un-aquainted), borrowed to collect some parts for my Lotus. Damn was that slow! On the last hill before returning it to its owner I found that it had a two-stage carburettor with a strong resistance between the stages. I'd been driving it on the economy part of the carb all the time. :bored:

'a

pulse1
9th Mar 2018, 08:13
Thanks to those who offered good advice on what my sister's 82 year old friend should do about a clutchless car. Yesterday I enjoyed a rather surreal experience when I took them both to the local Toyota dealer just so he could see what was available and to see if a hybrid would be suitable for him.

Three hours later we came out having done a deal on a brand new Auris Hybrid. He didn't care what colour it was as long as he could have it straight away. My daughter will be cross with me as she doesn't think he should even be driving. I sat in on his test drive and he wasn't too bad considering he had never driven a car like it before.

UniFoxOs
9th Mar 2018, 08:32
Sounds like a good result, then.

I know that there have been several horror stories around here with old people losing control of automatics. One ran over his wife with a brand new car

It's not just old people. Recently a friend of a friend (in her 30's), having acquired an auto as a replacement for a manual, managed to run over her workmate when parking. Life-changing experience for both.

If anybody is in any doubt about going auto, one driving lesson in a dual-control car from a school that does auto as well as manual training will be money well spent. Look at it as a type conversion.

Effluent Man
9th Mar 2018, 10:19
My rather pompous*, magistrate, old neighbour got himself a brand new Wolseley-fied 1300 automatic. He went in one end of his brick-built garage and came out the other, filling his greenhouse with bricks.

The BMC agent came and took it away. I'm sure it's not a record for short term ownership.



*He walked into the council offices one day and emptied a bag of small stones over their counter. He protested that since the stones had been taken out of his tyres, there must be too many stones on the road.

Funnily enough his name was Mr Stone.M

My friend's elderly aunt did exactly the same thing with a DAF Daffodil. Shortly after passing her test she came home and got out to open the garage door only to find the DAF following her in. She leapt clear as the car gathered pace, demolished the end wall and very aptly given it's name, buried itself in the flower bed.

longer ron
9th Mar 2018, 10:55
M

My friend's elderly aunt did exactly the same thing with a DAF Daffodil. Shortly after passing her test she came home and got out to open the garage door only to find the DAF following her in. She leapt clear as the car gathered pace, demolished the end wall and very aptly given it's name, buried itself in the flower bed.

Many years ago my shift chargehand in the flight shed at Dunsfold had developed a 'clever' habit of stopping our wee tractor short of the hangar door,leaving it in gear so it crept slowly fwd (auto box),he then leapt out of the cab - opened the door enough to get the traccor inside.
Until one night - he did his usual leap out of the cab - went towards the door switch and then realised the tractor was moving faster than usual :hmm:
So he leapt back in the cab - stamped hard on the wrong pedal and slammed into the hangar door hard enough to throw him off the traccor,big dent in door and he was lucky not to be injured.
We had always thought of him as being a bit of a dipstick and he just had to go and prove it :)

ShyTorque
9th Mar 2018, 13:22
The father of a school friend of mine was a coal merchant. He employed a driver, who was also known to be a "bit of a dipstick".

One day, whilst reversing the coal truck, he opened the driver's side door to get a better view behind, fell out and ran himself over!