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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 04-03-2014, 03:25 PM
jaredfarouki jaredfarouki is online now
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Engine braking

Im not sure if there's anything on this but what is engine braking?

Normally to brake I pop it in neutral and coast and apply the brakes but I've read on a couple different sites that its bad for the engine and that I should really be engine braking.

What are the benefits and downfalls of engine braking compared to regular braking and are there any good videos that explain how to very well?

Ive got a 1.9 z3 if that helps in any way, and I'm new to manual

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  #2  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:13 PM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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There is certainly nothing bad for engine in doing what you're doing. One down side is that, with the transmission in neutral, you are not ready to apply power to avoid an emergency situation. It would be better to use the clutch for normal braking, then use neutral once when you are stopped to reduce some wear on the throw-out bearing.

The time to use engine braking is during prolonged braking, such as down a mountain, where the brakes can overheat, which causes the brake fluid to boil, which results in no brakes. Using engine braking in normal situation means that you would shift into a lower gear and release the clutch. There are times when that is good, but it adds wear to the clutch disc. The way you do it (using neutral with the brakes) results in less wear to the clutch, which is much more expensive to replace than the brakes.
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  #3  
Old 04-03-2014, 05:03 PM
awdonald awdonald is offline
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Years ago a wise person pointed out brake pads cost $100-300 whereas you could spend $3000 rebuilding a tranny.

Obviously exceptions apply.
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  #4  
Old 04-03-2014, 07:04 PM
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BeemerMikeTX BeemerMikeTX is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaredfarouki View Post
Normally to brake I pop it in neutral and coast and apply the brakes but I've read on a couple different sites that its bad for the engine and that I should really be engine braking.
I think it will depend on what you really mean by "engine braking". If you are clutching and putting the car in neutral as soon as you start to brake, every time you start to brake, then that seems unnecessary from a wear standpoint. There is no reason why you cannot leave the car in gear to allow engine compression to assist in slowing the car, until either the engine speed drops too low (lugging) and then you clutch and put the car in neutral until you stop, or you need to downshift to the appropriate gear to begin accelerating again. As Blacklane pointed out, engine braking is also beneficial to control speed during prolonged downhill driving to avoid "riding the brakes", which may require downshifting to a lower gear to provide the appropriate braking force and then staying in that gear. Motorcyclists do this a lot when riding downhill on curvy roads to avoid riding the rear brake, and also avoid using the front brake in downhill corners (to reduce the risk of locking the front tire).

However, some folks "engine brake" by downshifting through every gear as they slow down, letting each gear contribute to engine braking, with the required clutch engagement (and slippage) and synchronizer use for every gear change. Now that causes unnecessary wear on the clutch disc and the transmission synchronizers (which is usually the transmission parts that wear out first). Don't do that. Use your brake pads.
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  #5  
Old 04-03-2014, 07:06 PM
jaredfarouki jaredfarouki is online now
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Very good advice! Thank you to all that wrote

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  #6  
Old 04-14-2014, 03:05 PM
tolly812 tolly812 is offline
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Are you for real?

Wow! If you put a manual car into neutral before braking in the UK, you wouldn't even pass your driving test. This must be one of the best examples of poor driving I have ever heard of as you certainly wouldn't have any control of the vehicle during high speed braking. Lucky for me you're an ocean away
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2014, 04:23 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Automatic transmissions are so abundant in the US that very few people know how to drive a stick properly.

Coasting in neutral is a bad habit. You need to stay in gear the entire time, except when you are waiting at the red light.

The proper "novice" way to brake is to stay in gear, with the clutch engaged, until the car is moving too slow for the gear. Then disengage the clutch, match the engine speed and shift to whichever gear is appropriate for your new speed.

The proper "advanced" way is braking while downshifting, changing gears sequentially and matching the engine speed as you slow down. It does take some practice.

Last edited by CitizenOfDreams; 04-14-2014 at 04:47 PM.
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2014, 04:43 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tolly812 View Post
Wow! If you put a manual car into neutral before braking in the UK, you wouldn't even pass your driving test.
Here in the US of A driver education is quite pathetic. Very little attention is paid to proper driving habits. Most exam questions revolve around the administrative aspect of driving: "how many points will I get for speeding" or "what kind of insurance must I have".

As far as "driving test"... When I got my license, the "test" took five minutes in the parking lot. Put your seatbelt on, check the mirrors, move forward, full stop at the stop sign, show turn signal, back up for 50 feet, engage the parking brake. Congratulations, you are now a driver, your license is good for "any non-commercial vehicle with gross weight of 26,001 pounds or less, or any RV".

Last edited by CitizenOfDreams; 04-14-2014 at 04:48 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2014, 04:09 AM
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BeemerMikeTX BeemerMikeTX is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tolly812 View Post
Wow! If you put a manual car into neutral before braking in the UK, you wouldn't even pass your driving test. This must be one of the best examples of poor driving I have ever heard of as you certainly wouldn't have any control of the vehicle during high speed braking. Lucky for me you're an ocean away
Why would this make you not pass your driving test in the UK?
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2014, 04:16 AM
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BeemerMikeTX BeemerMikeTX is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
Coasting in neutral is a bad habit. You need to stay in gear the entire time, except when you are waiting at the red light.
Although I generally do not coast in neutral, why do you think it's a bad habit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
The proper "novice" way to brake is to stay in gear, with the clutch engaged, until the car is moving too slow for the gear. Then disengage the clutch, match the engine speed and shift to whichever gear is appropriate for your new speed.

The proper "advanced" way is braking while downshifting, changing gears sequentially and matching the engine speed as you slow down. It does take some practice.
It may be "advanced" to be able to demonstrate your downshifting skills to your buddies, but for street driving (and maybe even track driving) I can think of no practical or beneficial reason to downshift through all the gears with a normal 3-pedal manual transmission while braking and slowing down. All it will do is put more stress and wear on your synchros and clutch.
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Mike White
"That's right, you're not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway." -LL
2001 Z3 3.0i Roadster (Topaz Blue Metallic, 5-speed manual, Sport Package, CD radio, heated seats and mirrors, non-power top via special order)
"Beemer" is for my BMW motorcycles - '13 K1300S, '95 R1100RS, '88 K75S, '75 R90S (gone, but not forgotten).

Last edited by BeemerMikeTX; 04-15-2014 at 10:17 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2014, 05:35 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tolly812 View Post
...
you certainly wouldn't have any control of the vehicle during high speed braking.
Putting the car in neutral during high speed braking will cause total loss of control of the vehicle? Not for me. Plus, if you are braking hard enough to engage the ABS, whether the car is in neutral or not, the braking distances will be the same.

Why does going to neutral during braking cause total loss of control of the vehicle? Why is the ABS system unable to compensate? Why has the steering stop working? Why are you unable to let up on the brakes?

During ABS engagement, I was taught to steer. Plenty of control.

Or is your entire definition of control the ability to accelerate?

Last edited by dougmcintyre; 04-15-2014 at 05:51 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-15-2014, 09:57 AM
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BeemerMikeTX BeemerMikeTX is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmcintyre View Post
Plus, if you are braking hard enough to engage the ABS, whether the car is in neutral or not, the braking distances will be the same.
^ This. As I understand the operation of the Z3 ABS, each wheel is monitored and controlled independently, so IF the engine braking forces combined with the rear wheel service braking forces cause the rear wheel(s) to lock up earlier relative to the front wheels than they would if using service braking alone (i.e., transmission in neutral or clutch disengaged), the ABS should reduce the service braking force to the rear wheel(s) to compensate and maintain the wheels at the limit of adhesion. Therefore, the result should be the same overall braking forces and the same braking distance.
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"That's right, you're not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway." -LL
2001 Z3 3.0i Roadster (Topaz Blue Metallic, 5-speed manual, Sport Package, CD radio, heated seats and mirrors, non-power top via special order)
"Beemer" is for my BMW motorcycles - '13 K1300S, '95 R1100RS, '88 K75S, '75 R90S (gone, but not forgotten).

Last edited by BeemerMikeTX; 04-15-2014 at 12:05 PM.
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