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Well, I and my 93 164L 5-speed survived a driving session with my daughter. She only stalled car twice. Getting much better as last time was about 6 months ago and after three times stalling my 91 164B 5-speed I sent her back to her 164B automatic.

I think she can get the hang of it with some practice.
 

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I taught my daughter this summer in the '88 spider. The 2nd gear syncros are almost gone and the steering is "indistinct". It was tough sledding.
So when the '78 was finished, she got alot better. The gearbox is great, the front-end tighter, and the car is lighter. She's small, so it's a good fit for her.

Once the 164 is mobile again, she'll try it.
 

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I've taught both of our kids, one girl and one boy, how to drive in our '76 Spider when they were each 14. It wasn't pretty but we all survived unscathed. Our daughter, now 23, is getting married next summer and we're giving her and her fiance' the car as a wedding gift.
 

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Surving life with father

I think part of the learning curve problem she had in my 91 is it is my "baby" and clutch has over 30k on it so not as easy as 93 and has some chatter.

And with me being nervous about MY car didn't help whereas the 93 is a rescue project so I am not as anal about it and the new clutch is still chatter free.
 

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It took about seven lessons or so with our 164S this past summer. I think I did a pretty good job hiding my cringing, and clenching of the inside door pull every time the car would jerk to a stop. Or the attempts of releasing the clutch on a hill at an intersection during the three traffic light cycles. (People were very understanding, and not one honked) I finally let her go on her own, and by the end of the day, she was proclaiming the joys of shifting manually.

Our S had a fairly heavy clutch, and now that she is driving the Saab, with a clutch that is much more user friendly, she shifts like an experienced driver.

Our patience paid off, it was difficult at first, but worth it in the long run. You just gotta stick with it.
 

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I taught most of my kids to drive manuals first. The #1 son (#3 child) was the first that we taught to drive in an automatic. He now enjoys the manual he drives. #4 child also learned in a manual trans. car and loves them. The learning curve isn't terribly steep.

My take on it parallels the path that aviation instructors use for pilot training. A pilot is taught that the throttle controls rate of rise and descent, and the stick (elevator) controls speed. This paradigm keeps inexperienced pilots from instinctively pulling the stick back to make the airplane climb and pushing it into an immediate stall. Instead, opening the throttle is the response taught to arrest descent. In the auto instance, I tell my kids that the clutch is to be used to govern the engine RPM (and I emphasize the audio input channel -- listening to the engine) and the throttle is used to govern available power. This means that the first reaction to a slowing engine becomes pushing in the clutch pedal, significantly reducing the number of stalls.

I try to sensitize for audio feedback by this exercise: in a BIG parking lot (level ground) with no cars around and me as eyes in the passenger seat, I have the new driver close his eyes and start the car moving from idle with no applied throttle by engaging the clutch in first gear. After this is mastered, he does it a few times in second gear. The audio feedback channel is the only one he has available to keep from stalling the engine. This has worked well for me in teaching new drivers to integrate audio and visual feedback with "seat of the pants" sensations. Maybe this is what everyone does, but I had to deliberately put these elements together on my own. I hope it will be of help to someone.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Part of the issue with my daughter driving stick as I see it is she is only about 4'11 3/4" tall aka Dolly Parton and yesterday we made money during training session because I made her wear her sensible shoes she uses for dance school and that made all the difference.

She can start off fine for first couple stop signs but then she forgets to keep her left foot steadily braced with heel on floor and to pivot foot. Being short even with seat forward and down makes it hard for her to reach clutch properly.

She really did do a good job yesterday. We just need to find time to keep training going. Even last night it was really dark before we could fit it in family schedule.

School, dance, voice and work schedules plus homework don't leave much time for Dad's driving school.
 

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It's amazing how the need to get around motivates them to learn to use a stick.

My 16-year-old learned quickly; to the point of knowing where the power is in the rev range of the engine.
 

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I taught most of my kids to drive manuals first. The #1 son (#3 child) was the first that we taught to drive in an automatic. He now enjoys the manual he drives. #4 child also learned in a manual trans. car and loves them. The learning curve isn't terribly steep.

My take on it parallels the path that aviation instructors use for pilot training. A pilot is taught that the throttle controls rate of rise and descent, and the stick (elevator) controls speed. This paradigm keeps inexperienced pilots from instinctively pulling the stick back to make the airplane climb and pushing it into an immediate stall. Instead, opening the throttle is the response taught to arrest descent. In the auto instance, I tell my kids that the clutch is to be used to govern the engine RPM (and I emphasize the audio input channel -- listening to the engine) and the throttle is used to govern available power. This means that the first reaction to a slowing engine becomes pushing in the clutch pedal, significantly reducing the number of stalls.

I try to sensitize for audio feedback by this exercise: in a BIG parking lot (level ground) with no cars around and me as eyes in the passenger seat, I have the new driver close his eyes and start the car moving from idle with no applied throttle by engaging the clutch in first gear. After this is mastered, he does it a few times in second gear. The audio feedback channel is the only one he has available to keep from stalling the engine. This has worked well for me in teaching new drivers to integrate audio and visual feedback with "seat of the pants" sensations. Maybe this is what everyone does, but I had to deliberately put these elements together on my own. I hope it will be of help to someone.

Michael
The first place we went to was a large parking lot with a hill at one end, in an industrial park. She started doing well rather quickly, but in the "panic" of real world traffic, she seemed to regress to the very first trial.

The last paragraph of your last post has very helpful and important information. We did a lot of what you did also, and it helped my daughter become acutely aware of the communication from car to driver.

"Seat of the pants" is a huge part of it, I had trouble articulating that feeling to my daughter. After a few lessons, suddenly the ah-ha moment came, and she knew immediately what I was talking about.

It was difficult to explain something that is as natural as walking to me. I learned the manual shift method at 13 on a Rickman 125 dirtbike 35 years ago, and then in a car at 15 in my fathers 1967 Austin Healey 3000. I always felt that the Healey gave me tons of confidence in manual shifting--long throw heavy clutch, tractor like shift mechanisim.
 

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I will probably be Teaching My Daughter Next Summer

so I appreicate all your comments. Especially Mr T's regarding learning to feel the clutch without using the gas. Will have to give it a try!
 

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Especially Mr T's regarding learning to feel the clutch without using the gas.
I consider learning to the feel the clutch and learning to hear the engine are about equally important. When starting on flats or hills, a new driver can't pay attention to all of the myriad sensory inputs he has, and the tach falls way to the bottom of the list. Then the engine stalls....that worst of all "beginner standing naked in the intersection" feelings. Learning not only to feel the car start moving, but to hear the engine start to lug down and to push in the clutch instead of stalling, is very comforting to the newbie.

Michael
 

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It must be a bit odd to start learning to drive in a car as powerful as the 164 :) Maybe it's not powerful by American standards, but compared with our usual runabouts it is!

I first drove a FIAT 128 and then a FIAT Uno (1116cc and 999cc respectively), where the engine must have quite a lot of revs to move the car away, but also where the clutch is light and the gear ratios low. Even so, when I was 13, I managed to drive into a tree (in the driveway) at full-bore in first gear after I got my foot on the wrong pedal during a parking manouevre. I dread to think what would have happened in the 164 - would have been MUCH faster ;)

When I reverse my 164 down my driveway first-thing, I find that it wants to go too fast at the idle speed of about 1000RPM - end up regulating the speed with the clutch!

Also an engine as torquey as the 164 is an interesting experience to stall (I did this in traffic today, even though I've driven it a lot). This is because you need so few revs to pull away (and therefore little auditory signal), you get into the habit of barely brushing the accelerator and then one day, POP, and it's stalled. Maybe I can blame the heavy clutch.

I suggest block-changing techniques as well, since for modest progress around town, you can skip a gear here and there (e.g. 2nd to 4th or even 1st to 3rd). I get reasonable economy this way. You can lift off and coast a long way too.

There is so much acceleration available in the 164, I really notice it when getting out of my 1.2L FIAT Punto CVT. And the 164 is now so smooth and quiet. It's surprising what perspective a change of car brings!

-Alex
 

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When I reverse my 164 down my driveway first-thing, I find that it wants to go too fast at the idle speed of about 1000RPM - end up regulating the speed with the clutch!
So true, I would back out of my driveway without using any throttle at all, though my driveway is on a very slight grade, probably about 3-5 deg.

Also an engine as torquey as the 164 is an interesting experience to stall (I did this in traffic today, even though I've driven it a lot). This is because you need so few revs to pull away (and therefore little auditory signal), you get into the habit of barely brushing the accelerator and then one day, POP, and it's stalled. Maybe I can blame the heavy clutch.

-Alex
Now that I'm driving the Saab, I sometimes tend to stall it, mostly because I can't hear the engine as well, and sometimes because I just don't use enough throttle!:eek:
 

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It must be a bit odd to start learning to drive in a car as powerful as the 164 :) Maybe it's not powerful by American standards, but compared with our usual runabouts it is!

I first drove a FIAT 128 and then a FIAT Uno (1116cc and 999cc respectively), where the engine must have quite a lot of revs to move the car away, but also where the clutch is light and the gear ratios low. Even so, when I was 13, I managed to drive into a tree (in the driveway) at full-bore in first gear after I got my foot on the wrong pedal during a parking manouevre. I dread to think what would have happened in the 164 - would have been MUCH faster ;)

When I reverse my 164 down my driveway first-thing, I find that it wants to go too fast at the idle speed of about 1000RPM - end up regulating the speed with the clutch!

Also an engine as torquey as the 164 is an interesting experience to stall (I did this in traffic today, even though I've driven it a lot). This is because you need so few revs to pull away (and therefore little auditory signal), you get into the habit of barely brushing the accelerator and then one day, POP, and it's stalled. Maybe I can blame the heavy clutch.

I suggest block-changing techniques as well, since for modest progress around town, you can skip a gear here and there (e.g. 2nd to 4th or even 1st to 3rd). I get reasonable economy this way. You can lift off and coast a long way too.

There is so much acceleration available in the 164, I really notice it when getting out of my 1.2L FIAT Punto CVT. And the 164 is now so smooth and quiet. It's surprising what perspective a change of car brings!

-Alex
We used throw pillows in the '88 spider; both on the seat bottom and in the small of the back. This allowed her to fully actuate the clutch. In her car ('78 spider) the seating position is different: you sit higher so the bottom pillow is not needed.
 
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