BMW Brake Cooler Kit E36 M3 by SneedSpeed

2 10 2012

Learning Manual Transmission Driving

1 10 2012

If you are tired of going around using an automatic transmission car, you might want to improve your driving skills by driving a manual transmission vehicle. It feels good to be able to drive this kind of vehicles since you will be a very versatile driver and race cars only use manual transmissions. The down side to this is that you will be grabbing the race shift knob more often especially in traffic.

At first driving a car using manual transmission might feel awkward, but as you go along and get more experience in manual shifting, grabbing that race shift knob to shift gears will feel natural.  Getting familiar with the use of the race shift knob, transmission, the clutch and the brake is all you are going to need in order to master the manual car.

Learning how to drive using a manual transmission, you have to condition your mind to use the race shift knob with your hand and both of your feet pushing the brake and clutch pedal at the same time, while driving. If you have been driving around for years in an automatic transmission car, you might feel a little awkward since you are used to resting your left foot while driving.  But in manual transmission, you have to depress the clutch with your left foot every time you shift gear. This is mandatory because the clutch disengages the transmission from the engine so you can change gears.

If you are a new to the manual transmission, you might be confused at first since clutching, revving the engine and shifting gears must be properly timed. Sometimes even if you already depressed the clutch, and applied your brake to get the right speed for shifting down, your transmission gear box will fail to disengage its main gear shaft to the engine.  If this is the case, you can perform the old hat trick of long distance trucker where after depressing the clutch they will make a quick revving of the engine to force the gearshift to disengage from the clutch disk. The procedure for this is quite simple however it takes years of practice to master.

To start your practice session, you can go to an abandoned road or parking lot without many people or other cars around and start by using first gear. The most crucial first step is the releasing of the clutch while simultaneously revving the engine slightly so the engine can anticipate the sudden load it will be engaged to it once you release the clutch. This needs careful, timing, measured revving of the engine and slow releasing of the clutch.

If you timed it wrong or you are depressing too much or too little your clutch and accelerator pedals, then your engine will die or cough and you might feel that jolting motion of the car. But don’t worry about this cause it’s the start of your learning process. So grab that race shift knob and start manual-transmission driving today.

photo credits: corneveaux on flickr




Big Brake Kits for Shorter Stopping Distance

26 09 2012

When you go around the city driving your car, you might notice modified car of the same brand and model as yours however sporting extra-large disc brake. Your best guess is that they have installed big brake kit on their car.

With big brake kit installation, a very significant decrease on the stopping distance of your car is apparent. The feel of the brake is also great as the car will respond faster on every push of your brake pedal.

But how can a big break kit helps you stop faster when all the modification you see is the enormous brake rotors inside the wheel. You will be wrong if you think those extra big brake rotors are only for show. The principle of wheel braking system is that longer the leverage, the greater the stopping power of the vehicle.

How can increased leverage of big brake kit be the key component on faster stopping of your car? Simple, if you remember your high school you will recall that the longer the lever, the bigger boulders will you be able to move. This is a basic rule of simple machines.

But a braking system is a far more complex machine than the lever. Yet as you will observe, that complex machine are only several simple machines integrated to make one big machine with many components. It might have several parts but the law of simple machine still apply no matter how simple or complex your machines are.

Even if your car comes in with a very reliable stock brake system, you might be in a situation where the break response of your stock car is no longer sufficient for your riding requirements. You might consider upgrading your braking system if you drive very fast on a very crowded street. Here a few inches decrease on the stopping distance could mean a difference between life and death if you are stopping suddenly because the car in front of you brake suddenly and block your forward path.

You might also be riding down a long and steep mountain road and you need stronger break response since you will be pressing on the pedal more often and for longer periods of time. Here, holding on to your stock brake system might no longer be effective.

You might have tried every other remedy instead of paying the one time big time big brake kit. Putting on high performance dot 4 brake fluid might give you better braking response but dot 4 brake fluid needs to be replaced much faster than the regular dot 3 and hence higher maintenance cost for your car. You might try buying a new set of brake pads androtors however aside from the greater brake response you feel and the faster breaking response, you might be surprised that the braking distance of your car remains the same. This is because the braking distance of your car is only dependent on the leverage of the brake pads on the wheel. And the braking distance can only be decreased by installing big break kit.

photo credit: jeminke on flickr