I need help with shifting NOW!

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by nickto21, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. nickto21

    nickto21 Bobtail Member

    Feb 10, 2012
    Hey All,
    I'm out with a trainer, pre-cdl. I was expected to go back and test for my cdl after 2 weeks, but I'm out for a 3rd week because of shifting issues. With upshifting, I get hung-up from 5th to 6th (10-gears) I have to move the shifter all the way from the right(5th) to the left(6th). Sometimes I get hung-up in some other gear, but mostly the rpm's fall, and I have to rev it up again to get it in to gear. With downshifting, I mostly have some major troubles. Either I try to downshift to 8th, but miss because I'm really shifting to 10th, or, well.... I don't know. My trainer has told me he's told me as much as he can, and I just have to figure it out.

    I'm supposed to downshift at 10(on the rpm guage), rev it to 13, and pop it down a gear. And upshift when I hit 13. And double-clutching.

    I've successfully done all of this before, but I think it's a consistency issue. There's so much to pay attention to, all while trying not to die.lol
    Ok, I'm not really that uptight. There is alot to pay attention to, though, and I'm having trouble putting it all together.

    I need any tips, etc. that anyone can give me. I need to get better at this quickly. I need this job.

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  3. ecmcintosh

    ecmcintosh Light Load Member

    Dec 23, 2011
    Murray, KY
    If you're downshifting from say...9th to 8th.....don't try to physically jam the shifter in the right hole. Pull it down with your fingers only and let it go, BY ITSELF, to the center, then pull it down into the hole.

    It sounds like when you're upshifting from 5 to 6, you're going too fast, and rushing things. THINK of where you want the stick before you start the shift. Flip the splitter, push the stick up, then all the way to the wall, then down in the hole.

    Sounds to me like you just need to calm down a little.
  4. windsmith

    windsmith Road Train Member

    Sep 2, 2011
    I've found that for me personally, using the tach for shifting works best. My instructors stress road speed vs. gear selection, but that didn't work well for me when going up and down through the gears; it was just too much for me to keep up with while learning. So I just glance at the tach, and upshift every gear, and downshift every gear, or every other gear depending on whether I'm stopping, slowing for a turn, or slowing for a lower speed limit.

    If I'm slowing to stop, I'll downshift 2 gears at a time. Let the tach drop to about 700rpm in gear, then go to neutral, raise rpm to 1500 and it'll drop in. For dropping one gear, I'll let the tach bleed down to 1000, go to neutral, then raise to 1400 and it drops in. For turns, I'll go 10-8-6-4, or 9-8-6-4. Stopping I'll go 10-8-6-3.

    Also remember that 6th is your friend if you get lost on the high side while slowing - brake down to 25-30 mph and 6th should fall. Our 10 speeds at school yield about a 400rpm change between gears.

    This is what works for me, but you should also ask your trainer for tips.
  5. T-Lady

    T-Lady Medium Load Member

    Feb 20, 2012
    Wautoma, WI
    it's a rhythm you need to find...if you rush, you grind...if you dawdle, you grind...and when you rev, you need to do a quick RPM climb to get the RPMs up before your road speed declines too much where you're going to have to drop another gear besides the one you've already missed...if you're aware, it's not too bad...but I've also found that the rhythm is different (usually quicker) in low range, as opposed to high. That's just the nature of the beastie. Quicker gear changes in low range get the truck and load moving, the longer, slower changes in high range build more momentum...
    My suggestion, find a stretch of road that you can practice shifting for a half mile or so, do a u-turn (easiest, of course withOUT a trailer on) and start over again. When I first learned to shift a big truck, that's how my trainer worked it. He got out (he made me nervous) and talked to a friend of his while I puttered around in large circles, u-turning til I got dizzy. And yanno what? It worked. Once I found that rhythm without being so nervous about him looking over my shoulder, I managed to catch on.

    Best of luck however you figure it out!!
  6. Wargames

    Wargames Captain Crusty

    Jul 22, 2010
    Practice, Practice, Practice, You`ll get it. It has happen to many people. Get to know your truck, and soon you`ll perfect it. Good Luck.
    Marksteven, 123456 and Onetruckpony Thank this.
  7. GasHauler

    GasHauler Master FMCSA Interpreter

    Oct 23, 2005
    You need to relax. If I were you I'd forget about watching the tach and and just let the engine die down then rev it up and go into gear. That's downshifting and you don't need to rev it up that much.. On the upswing just drive and shift and just slow your shift down a tad. That just might get you through shifting. Then when you start hitting the gears better you will need to know what gear to be in at any given speed. Watching the RPM's to me is useless until you know that trcuk since every truck is different. Your instructor should know how to get you to shift and maybe he needs a little training.
  8. Female Driver

    Female Driver Medium Load Member

    Dec 9, 2011
    I have noticed that 1300 RPM works, but my school suggests 1500 RPMs on all their trucks (a wide variety of 10 speeds). I would guess that at 1300 RPMs, you're not given enough time to find your gear before your gears close back up again. I suggest trying a higher RPM.

    Don't worry too terribly much about what exact RPM you're revving your engine to downshift though. Just give that throttle a nice, solid rev (with the goal of going above 1300 RPM to give yourself more time to find your gear). Try revving it while at a stop a few times to get a good feel of how hard is too hard and how hard is too soft, to reach the RPM goal. That way, if you hit the throttle too hard, or too little, you'll know what it sounds like. You'll also just know, generally, how hard to tap that throttle to get it to the RPM range you need.

    Good luck!
  9. jmconneely

    jmconneely Bobtail Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Federalsburg MD
    Relax, and don't force it. Have you tried double clutching? I had to double clutch while practicing to take my test and while on my test.
  10. walstib

    walstib Darkstar

    One issue may be the "rev it up" part..."Revving" it up is a crap shoot as it goes up and comes right back down giving you a small window of opportunity to put it in gear...Work on "raising" or finessing the rpms up, it'll make for much smoother shifting and give you a greater window to hit the gear...As far as finding the right gear, practice going thru them while sitting still to get the feel of where they are...
  11. MNdriver

    MNdriver Road Train Member

    Feb 24, 2012
    I watched the cummins and the Detroit videos and started to do that as well.

    Then talking to one of our drivers that's getting top mileage, with the suggestion to not let the rpm's drop below 1100 either upshifting or down shifting, things started to go much better.

    If you are upshifting, shift at 1500-1550. It will drop to about 1100-1200.

    Downshifting, shift at 1100-1150 and you will need to rev to 1500-1550.

    And just relax....
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