Changing gears without the clutch

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Chuck Steak
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Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by Chuck Steak » October 1st, 2013, 9:42 am

A couple of years ago I had a conversation wuith a truckie who was doing a delivery to my workplace and he was showing me all over his truck. AQs part of the conversation he told me about the road ranger gewarbox, which you drive without a clutch (only for "takeoff and landing"mas he put it) - so you just match engine speed with gear ratios and bob's your uncle.

That got me thinking - how hard can it be on a car (4WD)? So I started experimenting, and to cut a long story short, I now drive my Paj without a clutch, except for starting and stopping. Once you get the hang of it, it's a piece of cake.

I once had to get a Toyo gearbox built because of worn synchros - if I'd learned this technique, I wouldn't have bothered.

Does anyone else do this?

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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by nethergate » October 1st, 2013, 12:44 pm

Yeh I do it a bit, changing down is harder but isn't too bad, always good to learn in a work vehicle :)

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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by oversite » October 1st, 2013, 1:29 pm

Or rental cars :)

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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by MarkIIa » October 2nd, 2013, 9:18 am

So much quicker than double shuffling the non-synchro box in my old Landy, but on my very notchy synchro box in my newer Landy it is really difficult.

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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by DJR96 » October 2nd, 2013, 11:21 am

Generally speaking, it is REALLY not a recommended practice with a syncronised gearbox.

If you are very proficient at it and can effectively do it without the syncro's doing any work, then fine. Anything less and you are making the syncro's work much harder than if you were using the clutch properly. They were never designed to alter the inertia speed of the whole engine, only the input shaft and clutch plate. And you can't "feel" what's happening in the box like a Road-Ranger box either. It simply won't go until shaft speeds match, and it you miss it you'll need to go back to neutral, use the clutch and allow the syncro to do it's job again.

[I'm saying this with having the experience of driving trucks with traditional RR and syncronised RR too. ]
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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by Peter Aawen » October 2nd, 2013, 12:33 pm

^^^ Yep, changing without using the clutch on a synchro box can be OK (altho still not recommended) IF you are already skilled at doing that, but if you are just learning to match revs/gear & road speeds/changing smoothly without synchro's, then it can kill things fairly quickly, and you don't always know when you are getting it wrong either. Often the first sign of your lack of skill/success most of the time will be the growing accumulation of funny coloured metallic debris in the bottom of the gearbox; but if you don't check that too often, the first sign may be the sudden but expensive grinding noise and loss of all drive from your gearbox!! :eek:
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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by 75workhorse » October 2nd, 2013, 2:52 pm

Early road rangers were all crash boxes [no synchros in any gear]
as it has been said with practice it can be done
in sand I do it all the time[up or down the gears]
If it is called common sense
then why is it so uncommon

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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by nilla60 » October 2nd, 2013, 11:23 pm

The old 4sp box in the 40 was a dream for that, especially an older box that was looser. I'd drive it all day and flick it up and down with the tips of my fingers and pause in between at neutral to spin the input shaft shaft up and down until the speeds matched. Much harder on newer gearboxes.

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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by kevinmealing60 » October 3rd, 2013, 11:04 am

Always good to learn just in case a clutch master or slave cylinder lets go (personal experiences) - at least you can drive yourself home.
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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by stockhorse » October 3rd, 2013, 7:29 pm

I haven't used a clutch for the last 2 years, oh yeah I have an auto lol.

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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by lylov8troopy » December 5th, 2013, 6:39 pm

I drove semi's for 13yrs and as stated before, you can drive without using the clutch. But not using the clutch in a synchro box will stuff it in time. As I am a motor mech and have been for 40yrs, the principal between a roadranger and a synchro box couldn't be further apart. The synchro box has brass brake drums (to use layman's terms) and it is these that stop the two moving parts so that they can engage each other before they GRRRRRate so you get a smooth gear change. If you continue to force un-timed gear changes then you will in time cause your g/box to fail. Truck boxes (like roadrangers) are designed to have a much larger window of opportunity to select gears and do not have synchro hub assemblies. Also double clutching in a vehicle that has a synchro is a total waste of time. Having said all this, in a breakdown situation (ie clutch failure) it is ok not to use the clutch. providing you can gauge road speed and match it with engine speed to change the gears and get yourself home.

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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by Hilux_Ryan » March 30th, 2014, 8:59 pm

I learnt to change gears without a clutch not long after I got my license, but since then I havent ever done it alot, excpet for clutch system failure ;)
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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by Bushie » April 20th, 2014, 5:45 pm

The other thing to consider especially with an 18 sp road ranger, is the gears are much closer spaced so the rev difference is nowhere near what you need to 'synchronise' on your average 4WD gearbox.


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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by old4t2 » April 27th, 2014, 11:21 pm

If you have no clutch at all then you can even start and take off by key start in first gear then clutchless changes from there. Gets a bit tricky in traffic or when you need to stop as you need to turn ignition off so as to turn it on again to key start.

Drove my old HJ47 a couple thousand km's like that until I could get to where I needed to be to put in a new clutch. Last 50 km of that trip was in Sydney peak hour. Oh what a feeling. Made it ok but nerves were frazzled. Even with a good clutch I rarely used it for normal gear changes. I have truck driving background and drove some pretty ordinary heaps so learnt the hard way.

Don't know about the modern vehicles though.
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Re: Changing gears without the clutch

Unread post by Jimmy Wood » April 28th, 2014, 11:55 am

Yeah, I wouldn't make a habit of it cause like most of the guys said, it gives the synchros hell. Good skill to have but, especially in the bush.

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