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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-19-2005, 01:56 AM
startover startover is offline
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I can't get the car rolling smoothly...

I finally got my first bmw (03 330i zsp) and its also my first ever manual car. For the past week I have been driving it every day and totally enjoyed the ride. I got a friend who taught me the basics of stick shift and I was out in traffic within 3 hours.

One week went by pretty fast and I have improved a lot on upshifting and downshifting during moving. But there is only this one big problem: I just CANT start the car from a dead stop smoothly AND rapidly. No I'm not talking about an aggressive launch, just a normal one.

Yeah I know this is the basic of the basics. I have told myself millions of times to clutch out to that catch point, to gently apply some gas, not to let out the clutch too fast, etc etc. But no matter how hard and how many times I tried, the only way for me to start the car smoothly is to do it very very slow. I'm talking about at least 3-4 seconds to let the clutch completely out, which is plenty of time to have a corolla rape me. I try to be just a bit faster and the car jerks or stalls. It seems to me that clutch is just so unpredictable to control. I just cant find the exact timing to release it and cant keep up on the gas gently and continiously.

Can someone give me some detailed suggestions, preferrably a routine for me to practise. This launching issue has been bothering me a lot these days while I was driving and I want to get it resolved asap. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2005, 06:02 AM
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Moderato Moderato is offline
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I wish you were closer so we could get together and I could show you how to do all this. I know you probably want a simple answer, but there really isn't any. Have confidence that with time and practice you will get it down. I'd say give yourself a full year to really get confident with the car. Do a search on launching, shifting, clutch, manual transmission, etc... Don't expect to be 100% perfect all the time with your MT, you're a person not a machine. Don't floor the gas untill the clutch is all the way out, if you want it to last. Learn where the engagement point is, by letting the clutch out slowly without giving it any gas, when the engine rpms start to dip hold it there, that is the engagement point. You want to bring the clutch to this point while giving it enough gas to get the car to start rolling without bogging the engine. As the car starts to roll, continue to let the clutch slip while letting it out slowly and giving more gas at the same time, soon you should be able to let the clutch out all the way and then you can floor it. Don't worry about speed right now, just get this down so you can get a slow, smooth, but strong start. Once you can do this slow, work on speeding it up and you'll be beating those corrolla's without smoking your clutch or tires. Have fun.

PS - No one bring up the CDV please.

Last edited by Moderato; 03-19-2005 at 06:04 AM.
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2005, 06:33 AM
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shizat63 shizat63 is offline
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A clutch stop will make a big diff. Better seating position might also be a consideration. Your left leg and foot need to learn that motion. And I'm sorry to say but he CDV is also at work.
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  #4  
Old 03-19-2005, 06:46 AM
Will_325i Will_325i is offline
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Whenever any problem frustrates you, break it down into smaller parts. Get to some empty lot or something and just practice letting the clutch out to the catch point quickly. Only practice that for a while. Just let the clutch go until the car moves ONE INCH!. Make sure you go through the 'dead space' very quickly. I mean it's like you're almost letting it go of the pedal with no resistance from your leg.

Once you're confident with that, then practice ONLY the "active space" in the clutch travel. Meaning, the part from the catch point to fully released.

Don't worry. In no time you'll be heel-toeing every downshift and have perfect starts and upshifts.
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  #5  
Old 03-19-2005, 06:54 AM
richard richard is offline
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It's all practice. It will take time but soon your muscles will kind of know where the engagement point is and you'll get quicker. I had a hell of a time at first coming from a Honda. Driving only Honda manuals for 15 years made the Bimmer a bit of a shock at first. The engagement point was soooo high compared to my Prelude. I got used to it without a clutch stop or CDV removal. Since my car is no longer under warranty I had the CDV removed....don't bother, it's not your problem. All manuals drive different and it just takes some time. Now when I drive my girlfriend's Honda it feels as weird to me as the Bimmer did at first.
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2005, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumratt
Don't worry about corollas raping you. Worry about slipping your clutch for 3-4 seconds. Not good for the clutch.
This is true, and it's also the reason why the corollas are beating you off the line. When you learn how to get going properly that 3 - 4 seconds will be spent accelerating, not slipping the clutch.
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  #7  
Old 03-19-2005, 05:40 PM
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mppaz mppaz is offline
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CDV.... Oops sorry I said it. One thing that may help you is to let the clutch out to the point just prior to engagement and hold it in this position prior to launch. This helps minimize the mush mode that the CDV gives you.
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  #8  
Old 03-20-2005, 07:37 PM
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cantona7 cantona7 is offline
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The single best piece of advice I can give you--and my bimmer is also the first manual car I've owned--is to practice getting the car moving without getting on the gas. Just let the clutch out very gradually until the car starts to roll. This will tell you exactly where the engagement point is, and the more familiar you are with it, the easier it will be for you to launch properly. It'll also come in handy when you have to start on inclines like highway onramps without rolling backwards.
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2005, 09:06 PM
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wag-zhp wag-zhp is offline
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Install a clutch stop and practice. I installed a clutch stop from Rogue Engineering and it made a world of difference.
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2005, 09:34 PM
startover startover is offline
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Can someone PLEASE tell me exactly what CDV and clutch stop are? I did use search, but I can't find a post that explains what they do.
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  #11  
Old 03-20-2005, 09:35 PM
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shizat63 shizat63 is offline
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http://www.uucmotorwerks.com/html_pr...stop/index.htm

http://www.zeckhausen.com/CDV.htm
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  #12  
Old 03-21-2005, 12:23 AM
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FenPhen FenPhen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by startover
Yeah I know this is the basic of the basics. I have told myself millions of times to clutch out to that catch point, to gently apply some gas, not to let out the clutch too fast, etc etc. But no matter how hard and how many times I tried, the only way for me to start the car smoothly is to do it very very slow. I'm talking about at least 3-4 seconds to let the clutch completely out
You don't need to remove the CDV to get a smooth start, and I would personally say learn without a clutch stop (otherwise, you'll never learn ).

Some things you might try:

The first is what others have suggested, which is to, on flat ground, do a start by slowly letting the clutch out with no throttle input. This will help you find the engagement point.

The second is, on flat ground, use the gas pedal to bring your engine rpm up to say 1,000 rpm and just hold it there. Without moving your right foot, let the clutch out gently and smoothly. Practice getting your left foot to move fluidly. If you are doing this right, your rpms should not dip too much.

After you get your left foot movement down, you can start working on your right foot. Try to consistently let the clutch out with your left foot, while controlling the throttle so your rpms don't dip at all. So, bring the engine up to 1,000 rpm, and as you're letting out the clutch, add a little more gas to keep the rpms even. Once your clutch is all the way out, off you go.
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  #13  
Old 03-21-2005, 12:35 AM
startover startover is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FenPhen
You don't need to remove the CDV to get a smooth start, and I would personally say learn without a clutch stop (otherwise, you'll never learn ).

Some things you might try:

The first is what others have suggested, which is to, on flat ground, do a start by slowly letting the clutch out with no throttle input. This will help you find the engagement point.

The second is, on flat ground, use the gas pedal to bring your engine rpm up to say 1,000 rpm and just hold it there. Without moving your right foot, let the clutch out gently and smoothly. Practice getting your left foot to move fluidly. If you are doing this right, your rpms should not dip too much.

After you get your left foot movement down, you can start working on your right foot. Try to consistently let the clutch out with your left foot, while controlling the throttle so your rpms don't dip at all. So, bring the engine up to 1,000 rpm, and as you're letting out the clutch, add a little more gas to keep the rpms even. Once your clutch is all the way out, off you go.
Thanks for your suggestions. I actually tried the 1000rpm routine. There seems to be a problem for me (which might sound embarrassing ) I find it hard to maintain a 1000rpm even in neutral on this car! To me the gas paddle is just sooo sensitive. I let loose just a little bit and the rpm drops to 500ish. I push it just a little harder and boom it goes to almost 2000. This feels just so different from the previous (all american) cars I've driven. I guess it'll just take time for me to get used to it...
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  #14  
Old 03-21-2005, 12:40 AM
startover startover is offline
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BTW, if I were to hold my right foot still at 1000rpm, ideally how much should it dip to if I could let out the clutch smoothly?
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  #15  
Old 03-21-2005, 01:20 AM
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FenPhen FenPhen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by startover
BTW, if I were to hold my right foot still at 1000rpm, ideally how much should it dip to if I could let out the clutch smoothly?
Off the top of my head, I don't know. The amount it dips is proportional to how fast you let out the clutch. If you let out smooth and gently, it'll dip a couple hundred rpm. If you pop the cluth out quickly, the rpm will drop a lot and the engine will stall.

The trick here is, eventually, to compensate for that drop using your right foot. So, for a gentle start, you let your left foot out smooth and gentle and apply a little gas. For an aggressive start, you let your left foot out faster but smoothly and apply more gas. Apply too much gas and you'll wear the clutch longer. Apply too little gas and the engine rpm will dip too much and you'll stall. Just the right amount of gas should keep the rpm constant while you're engaging the clutch.
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  #16  
Old 03-21-2005, 04:08 AM
gf44108 gf44108 is offline
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Here is a link to M5 Virtual Driving School. It uses videos to demonstrate sitting position and shifting techniques. I hope this will help.

http://www.bmwm5.com/greg/school
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  #17  
Old 03-21-2005, 05:45 AM
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Moderato Moderato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gf44108
Here is a link to M5 Virtual Driving School. It uses videos to demonstrate sitting position and shifting techniques. I hope this will help.

http://www.bmwm5.com/greg/school

The only thing about these videos to keep in mind is that's an M5 not a 325, so some of those techniques will have to be varied slightly, although the basics are the same.
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  #18  
Old 03-21-2005, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by startover
Can someone PLEASE tell me exactly what CDV and clutch stop are? I did use search, but I can't find a post that explains what they do.
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  #19  
Old 03-21-2005, 08:48 AM
chopper chopper is offline
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Almost sounds to me like you need to give it a little more gas. The e46 engagement point is a bit higher than some cars.

Also, I find serveral things helped me learn how to drive stick:
1.) reading howstuffworks.com on how a MT transmission is structured. Maybe it's me, but it made more sense to know what I was doing by knowing exactly what the transission was doing.

2.) Rent/borrow a MT car (not the same model) from someplace and drive it for about a week. When I learned, I drove three different cars for a bout a week each, and even though they were all different, it helped me get better.

3.) Reading tons of articles on the internet about driving stick, any article for beginners, for forum, and even racing driving tips. Not that you'll want to shift like a track driver yet, but having that understanding makes things easier.

It definatly is all about practice though...and I totally agree with the year or more. Just don't try and get fancy until you have normaly driving down (ie no double clutching, etc)
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  #20  
Old 03-21-2005, 12:02 PM
allaboutme allaboutme is offline
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Maybe you should head over to standardshift.com since they are geared towards newbie and manuals.
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