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Old 08-07-2020, 09:26 AM   #1
Mulletwagon
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Default Do YOU single-clutch ?

Of all the quirky Model A traits, shifting must be number one. Like most, I double-clutch on upshifts. Some have mastered single-clutching on the upshifts. How do you do that ? Also wondering about downshifting when turning corners. Downshifting to second of course requires raising the rpm before the downshift. To the unexperienced Model Aer, turning corners is a multitasked procedure which is like playing a picolo while stacking BBs - brake, turn signl, neutral, increse rpm, shift, turn signal etc. My only question here is do you downshift before or after the turn ? Still cool to drive a stick ---- VERY COOL to drive a Model A !
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:37 AM   #2
Ruth
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

I double clutch both upshift and downshift. I have never been able to 'single clutch'. I downshift after the turn when the car is going a little slower but have down shifted on hills with success. Usually get it right without any grind.

Funny thing is that some days she doesn't want to cooperate and it seems like I am almost driving a different car. Or maybe it is me.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

I double clutch but I don't see why you could't single clutch, just take your time. You can't speed shift these things. Or you could shift without the clutch. I find myself doing that occasionally by accident (not thinking) because that's how i drive my Pete. I find down shifting a PITA because the ratio between 2hd and 3rd is way too wide IMO. This little (well, not so little) banger has pretty decent torque for what it is and what it is doing so I don't down shift when taking a corner. I can slow right down and turn in 3rd and have not problem accelerating from there. The main reason that I have issues down shifting is that the throttle spring is rather strong and I have a bit of an issue revving the engine up smoothly to the desired RPM for a down shift.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

I tried single clutching for a while but the momentum lost waiting for the gears to slow down was annoying so I went back to double clutching. As far as down shifting for a turn I do that as soon as I pull my arm back in from signaling so I’m downshifting while taking the corner. Piece of cake once you get the hang of it, just have to remember to rev it more than you think you have to. If it’s a wide turn sometimes I won’t downshift but I’d rather wind it out than lug the engine.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

My father could float shift (no clutch other than takeoff) a model a..he drove truck back in the thirties and forties,when spur gear transmissions were common.Timing it is the same as double clutching,missing the shift can be deadly to the transmission.As a kid I was in awe of that,for the life of me i couldnt do it..I try it now every once in awhile in his memory..and yes I have a few spare transmissions just in case...
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

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The key to single clutching on up-shifts is two-fold. First, the engine idle speed needs to be set low; Low enough to not stall, of course, but the lower the better. Second, you really need to wait before actually going into the next gear for the engine to come back to its low point. For instance, when shifting from second to third, don't be in a hurry to shift. Put the clutch in, shift out of second, then wait until you hear the engine settling down, and then put it in third and let out the clutch. Kind of like shifting in slow motion. Maybe two seconds, maybe three.


Sometimes we want to shift like a modern car and just shift without thinking. It is also tempting to shift fast when in traffic. Just have to take your time.


When turning a corner, I usually downshift (with double-clutch) when in the corner, and sometimes after.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

Double clutch going up or down the gears. Corners are a challenge, each one can be different.

After 60 years I still don’t get it right all the time. So far, have not lost a transmission.

I guess that this is part of the fun of owning these old cars.

Enjoy.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

Hey Mulletwagon..... I've never heard it explained so well..... yes very close to stacking bb's. Stay safe
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

I don't double clutch on upshifts. I just take my time.

Double clutching is common on downshifts, almost mandatory. I started out that way but now I just single clutch them. Just raise the engine speed enough and kept it up. It sounds better and is smooth. I also down shift in the turn, its also smoother.

The only downshift I still have to double clutch is from 2 to 1.
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

I normally single clutch on upshifts, double-clutch with 'rev match' on 3-2 and 2-1 downshifts. No grinding whatsoever unless I hurry it.
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

I single clutch going up and most of the time down shifting but double clutch if my speed it up when down shifting. My uncle could shift a model A without using the clutch at all, it was amazing to see.
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:30 PM   #12
1930-Pickup
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

[B]Mulletwagon says:
"My only question here is do you downshift before or after the turn ?"

Usually after the turn, that's when I'm going the slowest, and the double-clutch down-shift is easiest and safest. Its not the fastest method, but I'm not in a hurry either...I'm in a Model A.

Last edited by 1930-Pickup; 08-07-2020 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

Just use the clutch to start and come to a stop. Comes from years driving tractor trailers, especially in towns with stop lights.
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

When I first got my AA a friend came over to see it. Asked if would like to go for a ride/drive it. Answer of course was YES. He got in and single clutched all the gears without grinding. I on the other hand have some trouble double clutching in my Fordor I have still not learned to single clutch. OH, and by the way my friend had never driven a Model A or AA until that day!
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Old 08-07-2020, 02:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

Yes. If you can count to 2, you can shift from 1st to 2nd or 2nd to 3rd gear without double-clutching and without grinding gears.

For example, running in 1st gear, ready to shift to 2nd:
  • Step on clutch and take foot off gas at the same time
  • Shift from first to neutral, keep stepping on clutch
  • Count slowly to 2 while shifter is in neutral, still stepping on the clutch
  • Gently push the shifter over and up into 2nd and you will feel it drop right in when the gear RPMs match
  • Let clutch out and go (step on gas)

If you hardly run the RPM up in 1st gear before you shift, then you only need to count to 1 in neutral. (This is not very common because everybody runs the RPM up before they shift, even though there is no need to.)

If you like to run the RPM up kind of high in 1st gear to accelerate before you shift, then you may need to count to 3 in neutral, instead of counting to 2, before going to 2nd gear.

If you are drag racing, you need to double-clutch!

The above works the same for 2nd to 3rd gear shifts. Count to 2 in neutral, then gently apply pressure to the shifter down toward 3rd gear position. You will feel it drop right in.

If your gears still grind a lot, try lowering the idle RPM. Also check the thickness of your transmission oil; it might be too thin (modern gear oil instead of 600W). The oil viscosity is what slows the spinning gears in the transmission, so it needs to be a bit goopy (technical term) to slow them down in 2 seconds.

If your gears grind a lot when the engine is cold, try shifting sooner (count to 1, then shift). The thick oil slows the spinning of the gears quicker when cold.

I hope this helps.

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Last edited by Jim/GA; 08-07-2020 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

The up-shift I have down. Occasionally I mess it up when I get in a hurry.
Down shifting is the hard part, I'm always afraid to over rev the engine when RPM Matching before I down shift. I try not to get that high in the Revs when I can help it and I get antsy that I'll lose too much momentum at the same time.

These failures my own.

I have one A that lives exclusively in the flats (RPU), and another that lives in the mountains(coupe). They are both very different. The coupe is very much "tighter", shifter, suspension, steering etc and is very much harder to driver. Especially getting up the steep country roads.
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Old 08-07-2020, 04:37 PM   #17
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

I usually double clutch out of a habit I learned with my first Model A when I was 17. However, with our present roadster, I can single clutch or use no clutch at all.....need to listen to the engine rpm with any method and do it slowly.

We also have a '31 Chrysler with the same kind of transmission and it baffles me how different it is to a Model A. In spite of whatever weight oil I use in it, it wants to be double clutched and shifted rapidly or it will grind. Can't figure out why the big difference between the two. Also, down shifting without grinding it is difficult. Anybody have any ideas about that?

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Old 08-07-2020, 06:05 PM   #18
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

As mentioned by Jack Shaft, if you think you've got your double clutching off pat, it's time to try the challenge of not using the clutch except for starting and stopping.
Of the many crash box cars I've driven, the Model A is the simplest to drive without using the clutch for gear changes.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:26 PM   #19
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

Whether I double declutch on the up shift depends largely on how cold the oil is. I use a quite thick oil so when the car is cold, I change early (cold motor) and it slides straight through like it has synchro. Once it is warm and the oil has thinned, it depends on whether I want a quick change or am prepared to take it easy (my preferred). Double declutch if I need a quick change, single if I'm able to wait.
On the down change, cold oil takes a bigger dose of throttle between gears. I change BEFORE the corner. I was taught that changing while cornering could cause the gearbox to break if you're a bit quick with the clutch and it did the diff no good either. The mantra was: "change down before the corner and power through it." I find the car much easier to control this way, not that I am a boy racer but wet roads after a long dry spell can be slick. NEVER freewheel around a corner, I was taught
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: Do YOU single-clutch ?

I single shift most times up. I do double on the down
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