Downshifting with old car

asker23

Junior Member
Feb 14, 2019
2
0
6
Hello,

I recently got my license, and since im a uni student I drive my family's old car, a fiat punto 1996. With this car I cannot downshift from any gear to its lower (from 4th->3rd, or 3rd->2nd, or 2nd->1st) till i speed down a lot. For example i hit 1.900 rpm in 3rd and i have to go to neutral, brake a little and after a while when the speed has been dropped, i can downshift into 2nd. When im in neutral and try to downshift before the speed down, i just can't force it, it won't let me. That isn't a problem in general since i just got used to it, and my parents find it normal when talking to them about this behavior. My first question is "how normal is it really?". Is it supposed to be like that?

However recently i found myself in a difficult situation. I had to turn right in a road about 110 degrees which was really uphill. I was approaching with 2nd gear but since i needed to steer the wheel that much, in order to enter it safely, i had to slow down. The uphill however (which was almost illegal uphill, thats how much uphill it was), didn't let my car ride through it with 2nd gear in that speed, so i had to downshift 3-4 meters inside the road. It was fine, but out of curiosity on how to handle this situation i tried to pass through it again today. Since i cannot enter the road with 2nd gear, i tried downshifting to 1st beforehand. This definitely did not work since the car has to be almost stopped in order to change down to 1st, meaning i literally stopped in the middle of the road. So my second question is "how do i handle a similar situation. how can i ride through it normally without stopping before or during the entrance?"

Thanks in advance and excuse my English. It is not my native language.
A.
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
7,298
4,142
136
I'm not a car expert, but the synchros are probably shot. You may need to rev-match. When down-shifting, push the clutch in, hit the gas so the RPMs are near where they would be if you were already in the lower gear, and you should then be able to downshift.
 

deadlyapp

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2004
6,336
565
126
Snoopy is right. If you cannot downshift, more than likely the synchros in the transmission are no longer doing their job. Do you have grinding or have to force the shifter while up-shifting?

If you rev-match, you should be able to shift smoothly. It takes some practice to do it correctly but I know many people who no longer use their clutch anymore because they can simply rev-match.

If rev-matching doesn't work, there may be a problem with the shifter linkage itself.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jmagg

repoman0

Diamond Member
Jun 17, 2010
3,829
2,302
136
Rev matching is only half of it -- you should be rev matching every shift regardless when driving a manual for smoothness. If your synchros are shot you need to double clutch your shifts. That means you rev match as you normally would, but when the RPMs are at the appropriate level you release the clutch in neutral to spin up the transmission input shaft -- normally the job of the synchros, but here you do it manually. Then push in the clutch again and put it in gear. It should go in very easily with minimal force and you should be able to quickly clutch out with no bucking or slipping at all.

Look up a youtube video, easier to see it than read it.

Double clutching is also how you shift into first if you're above about 800-1k RPM. You should have to downshift into first very rarely. The only exception I can think of is putting along in second up a steep hill and a car in front of you has to turn or something, slowing you way down but not stopping. Don't want to lug the engine by continuing in second but don't want to stop to shift into first so you double clutch downshift because most cars' first gear synchros won't be happy with you if you force it.
 

asker23

Junior Member
Feb 14, 2019
2
0
6
Thank you everyone, took me a while to respond, but it gave time for more people to say their opinion. I've never heard any of these terms (bad synchros, rev-matching, double clutching) so i had to look them up and from my understanding your explanations seem pretty fair. For normal driving I will definitely give rev matching a try, since it should solve my problem on that part!
Again thanks for the replies, got me into searching some interesting stuff.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY