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Discussion Starter #1
I find it a bit unusual that the Civic manual gearbox has six gears instead of the usual five. I'm currently accustomed to driving a Renault Twingo ('97, bought second hand) with the usual five gears, so switching to the Civic is going to be quite a jump when it finally arrives. I got some insight into the gears when test driving the Civic, but I don't think I learned to master them at such short notice. I was wondering if you have any experiences, tips and recommendations for using the gearbox?

For example, when should the 6th gear be used? Only when cruising at motorway speeds, or can it also be used for steady gliding at 60 km/h? At what RPMs and speeds is it recommended to switch gears for maximum economy and gearbox lifetime?

I admit to handling my Twingo's gearbox a bit harshly, being a beginner driver (I've had a driver's license for 1.5 years now). It's probably gotten pretty worn. I want to avoid this from happening with my brand new Civic.
 

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I generally only use my 6th as an 'overdrive' whilst on the motorway.

I find that the gear boxes ratios are set superbly as standard, so around town, theres not much need for snicking it up and down the box too much, even with a Petrol engine.

Whilst on this point, I must say that the 'Eco' meter really teaches you how to drive more fruggley.....

Is it just me thats had that game with themselves to see how many Eco lights they can keep on???? :roll: :roll: :?

Minutes of pleasure to be had there!
 

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Hey!

Its not a problem - its just like having an extra gear between 1 and 5 on a normal car. The extra gear gives you more options when you need to drop down and will also aid acceleration from lower speeds due to the shorter ratios - i.e. the engine will get into the max power range quicker.

Nothing special about it really mate - just get it up to speed and bang it into 6th and cruise along!!!

J! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Mark996 said:
Whilst on this point, I must say that the 'Eco' meter really teaches you how to drive more fruggley..... Is it just me thats had that game with themselves to see how many Eco lights they can keep on???? :roll: :roll: :? Minutes of pleasure to be had there!
Yeah, I noticed doing that during the test drive, though I was also very tempted to try how fast the car can go. I didn't dare to go faster than 150 km/h (93 mph) though. Nor was I able to get the "Rev" meter to light up at any point. When does it light up?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh, I guess I don't rev my cars up that much then. :)

How does the Civic like engine braking, by the way? You know, the traditional way to improve fuel economy by switching to a lower gear when slowing down, so that the engine cuts off the fuel injection and the gas compression inside the pistons slows the car down. Sometimes I do the mistake of switching to a too low gear at a too high speed, which makes the revs shoot up really high. Is that bad for the engine? Or good? Someone said it actually helps to remove particles of impurities from the engine.
 

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Changing down too much - it aint good!! Either for the engine - as your welly the revs up very very quickly - or your neck when you decellerate very very quickly!!

You don't really need to utilise engine breaking anymore due to the breaks being so good. It was popularised when car breaks weren't up to much to supplement the breaks. As for fuel economy - watch your eco bar and MPG meter!!

They recommend for better economy you need to anticipate better - i.e. slowing well before a corner to allow you not use the breaks before you get there. Up to you though really! The car gives you enough info regarding how well your driving so just a play and have some fun!!!!!!!!!!

J :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
jme1978 said:
or your neck when you decellerate very very quickly!!
Yeah, I usually compensate for that by lifting my foot off the clutch real slow and smooth - but that wears out the clutch then won't it? Well, let's just hope I'll learn my way out of these mistakes before my Civic arrives. :)
 

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Skaven252, You should use the brakes to slow the car as they are easier and cheaper to replace than a clutch or gearbox. There is a way to do a low change with less load on the drive train by using a sustained rev gear change, but for normal driving, best to stick with braking
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah... if I remember correctly, when I was watching the fuel consumption meter during my test drive, just taking the foot off the gas pedal was enough to drop the fuel consumption to 0.0. The thing is, though, that you have to switch to a lower gear when slowing down to a stop, otherwise the engine will stall when your speed drops enough. To prevent this, you have to press the clutch. And when you do that, the engine switches to idle RPM to keep itself running (as the car's momentum no longer runs the engine), which uses petrol.

Just trying to drive economically, as they taught me in the driving school (they had some additional "Eco Driving" courses we had to go through), but it's pretty tricky to drive both economically, and minimize wear on the clutch and the gears, apparently. :)
 

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The engine never stops being supplied an amount of fuel, even when you take your foot of the gas pedal. It always supplies an amount to keep the engine running. Don't do this, but if you were to do, say 60 kph and turn the engine off, the braking effect of the engine with absolutely zero fuel being suppied would be significantly more than overrun with the engine on. The reason I say don't do it is because you will lose power steering (maybe), assisted brakes etc, and when you did restart it, you could flood the catalyst with unburnt petrol.

Try to drive by being in the right gear for the right speed. Don't labour the engine by downshifting too early and using the engine as a brake. Brake the car to the appropriate speed using the brakes and then change down. You'll find you don't have to slip the clutch in as much and you'll put less mechanical strain on your car. If you perfect this your passengers will be barely aware you are changing down a gear. If you are coming to a stop, don't change down every gear to get there, use an intermediate gear, using the technique above. Remember, replacement brakes = approx 100 Euros, replacement gearbox = approx 2000 Euros (2000 Euros is a guess) :D
 

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They teach all this when learning to drive these days. I think a lot of people missed out on the "how a car works" thing.
 

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4 years ago they taught to always be in the lowest gear possible for maximum control; with all the eco stuff they've changed this to be in the highest possible to preserve fuel, etc.

But coming to a roudabout/traffic lights you're still supposed to go at least 3 - 2 and 1 if/when you stop, in case they change or it's clear.
 

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Our driving test is geared up for beginners and is sound advice for starting off, but if you progress your driving skills, different techniques are taught. Forget the men in Tweed jackets and caps trying to save the planet. If they only realised that slowing and speeding for speed bumps have put emissions up more than being in a higher gear they would be doing well! Right gear for the right speed is best practice. 1st gear should be used only for moving off from a standstill and on very few other ocassions. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hartside said:
The engine never stops being supplied an amount of fuel, even when you take your foot of the gas pedal. It always supplies an amount to keep the engine running. Don't do this, but if you were to do, say 60 kph and turn the engine off, the braking effect of the engine with absolutely zero fuel being suppied would be significantly more than overrun with the engine on.
Oh. What they taught me was, that in older cars that have carburetors, fuel is always fed to the engine, so if you engine brake by switching to lower gear and the RPM shoots up, the fuel consumption actually increases as the carburetor sucks in more fuel.

But for newer cars with fuel injection, the fuel injection completely stops if the inertia of the car is enough keep the engine action running. At least they said so in the Tekniikan Maailma (a local car & tech magazine) review of Honda Jazz; I quote and translate, "engine braking cuts off the fuel injection completely". However, if you press the clutch, the car's inertia does not run the engine, so the injectors start feeding fuel to keep the engine running at idle RPM.

That's what they said. But apparently this isn't so? Thanks for the heads up. But I presume that during engine braking, the amount of fuel fed to the engine is still very small? I read somewhere this is partly because the catalysator needs to be kept warm.
 

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Skaven - yes on modern FI engines the FI cuts the fuel totally. Normally it waits for a second or so (to detect a long overrun like a downhill section) and it will re-introduce the fuel before idle revs. You can sometimes feel it, particularly on a large engined small car (205 1.9 was a good example).

Also, when some chip manufacturers claim that they "improve drivability" on normally aspirated engines, they mean that they remove this "feature" to improve pickup from a closed throttle.

Hartside - the ancilliaries (brakes and hydraulics) all still work because the engine is still turning, and there's no cat damage because the ignition is running all the time. I very much agree with you about speed bumps though - real waste of fuel and generator of CO2.
 

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The Civic has electric power steering so running with the engine off means no power steering.

The engine braking thing used to be taught many years ago, but brakes are much better these days so you don't need the engine brake (best to keep it running in a higher gear to save fuel though, idling uses fuel) Got this on a MAC course a couple of years back with my CTR.
 
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