What happens when you shift to neutral w/o the clutch.

I very recently got a new 5 speed car. My dad took it out for a quick joyride, and as usualy showed off his ability to shift without the clutch. Naturally I tried it…I pulled it out of gear with no issue, but grinded trying to get it into the next gear. My question is. Does anything ‘bad’ happen by popping the car out of gear without using the clutch? I know that bad things can happen if the engine speed isn’t right trying to get back into gear, but what about going into neutral?

My understanding is that you’re just disengaging the clutch plates, and since you’re making them NOT touch, you’re not harming them.

I had a car in which the clutch went out entirely, and I had to shift completely by matching revs for months. I even got so that when going very slowly, I could get back into first gear. If I had to stop, I had to switch off the engine, and then use the starter to get moving again. It CAN be done.

Nah - you’re alright sliding into neutral clutchless, although I wouldn’t make it any kind of habit. Basically, you want there to be zero load going through the transmission - that means not only that you’re not accelerating at the time, but that you aren’t engine-braking either.

The clutch is there to take up the mis-match beween engine speed and transmission input shaft speed - if the clutch is engaged, then they are by definition matched. With zero load through the transmission, it is easy then to slide out of engagement and put the transmission into neutral.

Sorry Cardinal but your first line doesn’t make sense. The OP is asking about what happens when you don’t disengage the clutch.

When you pop the car out of gear without disengaging the clutch, the parts that actually disengage are doing so while under pressure (instead of while freewheeling). At some point in the process of disengagement, they are only partly engaged but still under pressure. This is going to cause additional wear, plus the chance of cracking or chipping something. This isn’t a good thing, but I don’t think too much harm is likely, particularly assuming you are not accelerating/braking as you do it.

I can see your point about creating more slippage, but I meant what I said, even if it’s wrong. Aren’t you bringing apart the clutch plates by forcing the stick into neutral?

Now, if anyone could explain what I was actually doing inside the gearbox when I was matching revs and feeling for the point to ram it into gear, I’d be appreciative.

Here ya go, read about dog teeth near the top and syncros at the bottom. You, where taking the place of the syncros.
(I think)

you are not doing anything to the clutch when you move the gear lever. You only do things to the clutch when you step on the clutch pedal.

Look at Joey P’s link. Scroll down to the anaimation. Put your mouse over 1st gear and click, see the slider engage the dog teeth on the gear? Now click on N. See the slider move back to where it is no longer engaging the dog teeth of first gear? When the dog teeth are disengaged, no power is being transmitted, and the trans is in neutral.
You are doing nothing to the clutch by moving the gear lever. You are just moving the sliders inside the tranmssion.
Moving the lever to neutral without pushing down on the clutch does present a slight risk of trans damage. As you move the slider there will come a point where the dogs are not fully engaged. At that point if you were putting power through the trans, there is a risk (small but >0) that you could break a tooth/teeth off of the dogs. I have never seen it in all the years I have worked on cars, but then again I don’t tear down manuals very often.
When you shift with a clutch the syncros bring the dog teeth on the gear and the slider to the same speed so there is no grind. When you shift without a clutch the speeds of the dog teeth are too far apart for the syncro to do their job, so you have to match the revs close enough that the syncros can match the speed of the dogs. The grinding you hear is the dog teeth are grinding against each other.
That is bad. And expensive.

You bring the clutch plates apart by stomping on the clutch pedal. Hence, the name.

If you disengage the gears just as you let up on the accelerator pedal nothing much in the way of added gear wear happens because the transmission, for the moment, is unloaded. If you do it while the transmission is under load then you cause added wear to the dog teeth and the shift collar and lever.

Of course, using the clutch results wear to the release bearing and lever and the clutch friction and pressure plates.

However, repairs to the clutch are a lot easier than transmission repair.

The clutch is there for a reason, not just to sell clutches. When I buy my next new car I will not let your dad drive it. :dubious:

Drive steadily down a street in any forward gear. Put one finger on the shift lever and apply a small amount of pressure in the direction that would shift into neutral. Smoothly let off the accelerator. Just after you ease up on the gas pedal, your finger will push the shift lever into neutral. That was the moment when there was no pressure on the gears, either by the engine trying to propel the rear wheels (accelerating or cruising) or by the rear wheels trying to speed up the engine (decelerating or braking).

That was also the moment when no harm could be done. Forcing the lever into neutral when there is pressure on the gears takes quite a bit more effort, and results in some extra wear on internal transmission parts. It’s unlikely to break something suddenly, but if done routinely it will result in premature failure of something.

So if it takes hardly any effort, I wouldn’t worry about it. If it takes noticeable effort, I wouldn’t do it.

It’s called floating, big trucks don’t have synchronizers, so you have to keep engine speed up with the transmission to shift. If you use a clutch in a truck, you have to double-clutch to match the engine with the tranny, so truckers generally only use the clutch to get into the first gear they use, then they float through the gear sequence that best fits the load. A lot of companies won’t hire a driver that is overly dependent on a clutch.

I’ll be sure to let him know that.

He doesn’t do it regulalry, he does it more to show off to someone that’s still learning. But if it makes a difference, when he does it, it as smooth as an automatic tranny.

During a brief episode where I was deluded into thinking I could drive a truck, I went out to UT and tried to train for England. We were told that the instructors (and company) did NOT want us floating the gears due to the added wear and tear. The explanation was that while you might have the engine/transmission speed fairly closely matched, chances were good that it wasn’t perfect and that you’d have some grinding going on that you might not even notice.

OTOH, I pretty quickly realized that driving a big truck scared the bejeezus out of me, so my experience of what really went on was pretty limited.

I hope this isn’t too much of a hijack, but I thought it was more appropriate here than in a separate thread.

Also, before you start laughing, please consider that I am pretty clueless about the mechanical functioning of automobiles. Anyway, here’s the question:

My two-year old loves to sit in my car and play with the controls. Of course, it’s not running at the time, but I’m not sure whether I should let him play with the gearshift (it’s a manual). Can he cause any damage/wear by moving it around with the engine off?

A two-year old should not be strong enough to hurt anything by playing around with the gear lever. Just make sure that the e-brake is on, and it might be a good idea to keep some supervision on him. As he gets older, he will become strong enough to bang the transmission between gears clutchless, and that would not be desirable.

If he gets it into neutral without the parking brake. . . .IMHO don’t let a child play with the controls of a car, they’ll learn that it’s a toy. Someday he’s going to climb in with the keys when you’re not looking. Tragedies are rare but children can get into all kinds of trouble in a car.

I’m not really sure what you mean by 'bang the transmission between gears clutchless" but a BIG concern would be releasing the E-brake and rolling somewhere.

I can think of no damage that could occur by moving the gear lever around with the engine off
I can think of several very bad things that can happen if the the kid manages to get the car out of gear, and the brake off.
I have also seen children that have managed to stuff some very interesting items into casette and CD slots. A CD changer full of change and Legos is not covered under the warranty. :eek:
Needless to say a car is not a toy, I would recommond not letting your child play in it unattended.

So today I got bored and tried the clutchless shifting thing just for fun. And, by golly, it worked. I don’t plan on doing this very often, but this would have come in handy six months ago when the clutch master cylinder went out on my old car and I was stuck in neutral on the highway (until I stomped several times on the clutch and managed to somehow get it in gear).

As long as I don’t grind the gears is there any danger to the transmission? When I did it today, I just popped it out gear and, if upshifting, waited for the RPMs to come down (if downshifting, I blipped the throttle), and then just gently pushed the shifter into gear. If I was rev matched, the car simply popped into gear almost automatically. If I wasn’t, there was resistance and I didn’t try forcing it–simply tried rev matching again. At no point did I hear the transmission grind or make any alarming noise–either it popped into gear or stayed in neutral. I did this about a dozen times today, then stopped just in case I could do some serious harm to my vehicle. At any rate, it’s a good thing to know you can do in an emergency situation.