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Does anybody know for sure whether it's harmful to the tranny, clutch, etc. if when coming to a stop, you go into neutral?

It seems to me that with all that automatic downshifting going on at every stop, you could save a little clutch wear by switching to neutral.
But then again I've been known to be wrong before.
 

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Doesn't hurt a thing..

Shifting into Neutral doesn't hurt anything and neither does just letting the clutch engage.... One way you wear the brakes slightly more and the other you wear the throwout bearing a little more... Your choice...
 

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...if you're microanalyzing, wouldn't shifting into neutral also increase brake wear since you'd be eliminating the effect of engine braking?

I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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dangerous?

What if you've gone into neutral, but have to hit the gas to make an emergency maneuver? Don't you have to step on the brake to get back into first gear?

Sometimes I get honked a light if I've sat too long and the gearbox went to neutral unnoticed. Then you hit the gas and vrooooooom nothing but revs but sitting still. Then you honked at for being a doofus with a maserati who doesn't know how to drive it!
 

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You don't have to stop all the way, just light pressure on the brake, upshift, and the tranny will go into the appropriate gear - atleast it has done it for me the few times I was in traffic. It would go from nuetral to 2nd or 3rd with only one upshift while rolling.
 

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You don't have to stop all the way, just light pressure on the brake, upshift, and the tranny will go into the appropriate gear - atleast it has done it for me the few times I was in traffic. It would go from nuetral to 2nd or 3rd with only one upshift while rolling.
the problem with that is that I find the computer guesses wrong all the time. Sometimes it goes to 3rd or 4th when it should be in the 2nd...but how would it know anyways as it looks at speed and rpm not what's in front of it.
 

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While moving at any speed above a dog-slow creep, a pull on either paddle will take you from N into gear (usually one gear higher than I would have chosen). If you are stopped, then you need to press the beake pedal a little while pulling the paddle.
 

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Always shift into neutral when waiting - it really saves the clutch (17k & 31% wear so far)
I just see no way that clutch wear is impacted at all by going to neutral. Whether in N or 1 at a fullstop, there will still be clutch wear when starting out in 1.
In terms of the mechanical way things work.
When the car is at a full stop and in first gear, the clutch is disengaged and the only wear is to the throwout bearing that spins whenever the clutch is disengaged. Throwout bearings rarely fail, especially if they are replaced every time the clutch is replaced.
Putting the car in N at a full stop, at least in manual tranny, means there is no gear selected in the tranny. If the clutch pedal is depressed while in N, then you have the same situation as described above, with no contact between the clutch and the flywheel, and minimal wear, if any, on the throwout bearing. If the clutch pedal is not depressed, there is also no clutch wear since the clutch is fully engaged with the flywheel.
For my 2 cents, here is what I think maximizes CC clutch life (I had 30K miles on my first clutch when I had it replaced with ~30% life left while the F1 pump was replaced):
- always drive in Sport - the shifts are quicker, though a bit 'harsher' since there is less clutch slip, therefore less clutch wear
- never reverse up an incline - the clutch never fully engages in reverse gear, and you will burn the clutch
- try to avoid hill starts in first gear, there is just more clutch wear on a hillstart, just like a manual tranny
- if you downshift a lot when coming to a stop, or reducing speed (which I do), learn to blip the throttle during the downshift to better match the tranny speed to the engine speed. I know the computer blips a bit, but it needs help for a smooth downshift. They taught us to do this at a dealer track day (F360 owners were taught the same thing).
- oh yeah, and avoid driving in hilly places like San Francisco, or in rush hour stop and go, if possible. I'm retired, so no problem there for me!

If I have any of the above technically wrong, please feel free to correct.
Thanks
Mike
 

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Regarding Blips!

I just see no way that clutch wear is impacted at all by going to neutral. Whether in N or 1 at a fullstop, there will still be clutch wear when starting out in 1.
In terms of the mechanical way things work.
When the car is at a full stop and in first gear, the clutch is disengaged and the only wear is to the throwout bearing that spins whenever the clutch is disengaged. Throwout bearings rarely fail, especially if they are replaced every time the clutch is replaced.
Putting the car in N at a full stop, at least in manual tranny, means there is no gear selected in the tranny. If the clutch pedal is depressed while in N, then you have the same situation as described above, with no contact between the clutch and the flywheel, and minimal wear, if any, on the throwout bearing. If the clutch pedal is not depressed, there is also no clutch wear since the clutch is fully engaged with the flywheel.
For my 2 cents, here is what I think maximizes CC clutch life (I had 30K miles on my first clutch when I had it replaced with ~30% life left while the F1 pump was replaced):
- always drive in Sport - the shifts are quicker, though a bit 'harsher' since there is less clutch slip, therefore less clutch wear
- never reverse up an incline - the clutch never fully engages in reverse gear, and you will burn the clutch
- try to avoid hill starts in first gear, there is just more clutch wear on a hillstart, just like a manual tranny
- if you downshift a lot when coming to a stop, or reducing speed (which I do), learn to blip the throttle during the downshift to better match the tranny speed to the engine speed. I know the computer blips a bit, but it needs help for a smooth downshift. They taught us to do this at a dealer track day (F360 owners were taught the same thing).
- oh yeah, and avoid driving in hilly places like San Francisco, or in rush hour stop and go, if possible. I'm retired, so no problem there for me!

If I have any of the above technically wrong, please feel free to correct.
Thanks
Mike
Hey Mike,

Would you mind elaborating on the "Blips while down shifting". It seem to me that the transmission does an adequate job of downshifting at the correct speed intervals at relatively low RPM's. Maby I am missing the point and I appreciate your advice.

Best,

Tony
 

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For a smooth downshift in to a stoplight, corner, etc, I just keep light pressure on the gas through the shift, rather than all the way off.
 

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Mike's description of clutch engagement \ wear is thorough and correct.

I personally always keep it in first at a light because you never know when you might need to move in a hurry, and if the people behind you think you are going to, they hear the engine rev, but oops you're in neutral and you need to hit the brakes to change, they could rear-end you. (I've done something like that once, but got it in gear before the people behind me made contact.)

Upshifts \ Downshifts and throttle position - when upshifting, you needn't move your foot, except if you want to feather the throttle slightly to smooth shifting.

The transmission guesses what you want it to do based on what input you give it (what rpm you shift, and throttle position are the inputs it guesses from) If you change this input just pre-during-post shift it will change how it shifts.

Slight feathering can smooth shifts, but 9/10 I just keep my foot where it is and let the computer do the rest.

Downshifting - Especially with the newer software that got rid of this in the Coupes and Quattroportes when you're not driving it really hard - when you pull the downshift paddle, as you feel the clutch disengage and as it is selecting the next gear, quickly dip slightly into the throttle - enough for 1000-1500 rpms, and it will make the downshifts smoother, shorter, and should prolong clutch life. (basically just do it by ear - mimic what the computer does, but amplify it from 2-300 rpm to closer to 800-1000)

Plus it sounds cool. :)

Tony; It sounds like you are letting the computer do the downshifting while you are simply using the brakes to slow down? Many people, myself included, prefer to downshift more aggressively and use the engine to help slow the car. This has two benefits - 1 it slightly benefits gas mileage, 2 - you're always in the right gear if traffic does something stupid and you need to move out in a hurry. I've always been taught with my manual transmissions, more specifically in my motorcycles, that you should always have an out, and always be ready to go there if need be. If you're in neutral, or in fourth when you would need first or second, the time to shift could be valuable given a dangerous situation.

These downshifts take a far smaller percentage of clutch wear vs. the engagement during 1st gear takeoff\reverse, and if you did it every time you stopped, you might reduce overall clutch life a small amount, but I think it's a good tradeoff in the name of safety.

- Mark
 

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Hey Mike,

Would you mind elaborating on the "Blips while down shifting". It seem to me that the transmission does an adequate job of downshifting at the correct speed intervals at relatively low RPM's. Maby I am missing the point and I appreciate your advice.

Best,

Tony
Tony
They taught us at a track day sponsored by FMOSF at Infineon (Sears Point) to blip the throttle during downshifts, and I do it all the time now. The computer does an ok job, but if you are performance driving, at the track for example, the computer isn't aggressive enough and the blip on the throttle helps a lot. You just need to practice a little bit to make sure you time the blip right, so you don't lurch more than just a computer assisted shift does. BTW, they were teaching us Maser guys and the F360 guys with F1's the same technique.
And, as mentioned by Maserati of Minneapolis, it sounds cool too!!!
Also, I think by blipping on downshifts, and keeping the throttle fully, or at least strongly, engaged on shifts, that you save the clutch as well.
Now, if I could only learn left foot breaking.....
Mike
 

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Tony
They taught us at a track day sponsored by FMOSF at Infineon (Sears Point) to blip the throttle during downshifts, and I do it all the time now. The computer does an ok job, but if you are performance driving, at the track for example, the computer isn't aggressive enough and the blip on the throttle helps a lot. You just need to practice a little bit to make sure you time the blip right, so you don't lurch more than just a computer assisted shift does. BTW, they were teaching us Maser guys and the F360 guys with F1's the same technique.
And, as mentioned by Maserati of Minneapolis, it sounds cool too!!!
Also, I think by blipping on downshifts, and keeping the throttle fully, or at least strongly, engaged on shifts, that you save the clutch as well.
Now, if I could only learn left foot breaking.....
Mike
i have tried a few times without any success. i gave up everytime the car just lurches on braking.....

i can heel and toe fine on a manual transmission; but i just can't time it right in a DS or CC. how can you time when the DS or CC is going into that split second of N to blip? on different gears and speed, the box downshifts differently.
 

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Tony

Now, if I could only learn left foot breaking.....
Is that what that other pedal is for? I was wondering... ;-)
 

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i have tried a few times without any success. i gave up everytime the car just lurches on braking.....

i can heel and toe fine on a manual transmission; but i just can't time it right in a DS or CC. how can you time when the DS or CC is going into that split second of N to blip? on different gears and speed, the box downshifts differently.
Well, I am not claiming any particularly awesome skill here, but I seem to get it right almost all the time. Once in a while I miss it and the car lurches, but usually it works smoothly.
When we were learning to do it at the track day, we would use the drag strip and runout area to accelerate to 80mph or so and then brake hard and practice downshifting with the blips. It took a while to get it right, and I still don't do a great job going down into 1st.
Mike
 

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Well, I am not claiming any particularly awesome skill here, but I seem to get it right almost all the time. Once in a while I miss it and the car lurches, but usually it works smoothly.
When we were learning to do it at the track day, we would use the drag strip and runout area to accelerate to 80mph or so and then brake hard and practice downshifting with the blips. It took a while to get it right, and I still don't do a great job going down into 1st.
Mike

i did the jim russell driving school there last april they taught us the same thing in the formula cars but we were heel toeing. it was so much fun.
 

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I've always heel-toed in my stick-shift cars (absolutely necessary in something like the F40), but back in 1999 when I purchased a Ferrari 355 F1 GTS, the F1 software wasn't sophisticated enough to do the throttle blips for you, so I started left-foot braking and blipping the throttle on every downshift. It was fun on the road, and crucial on the track.

Since then, even when the car "thinks" it's smart enough to blip for you (360, 430) I've always still manually blipped because I feel I can do it better than the computer can (the computer always seems to slightly underestimate the amount of RPM to feed). My new QP is no exception. The computer downshifts are ok, but manually doing it always results in smoother decelleration, and cooler sound. I didn't think that many other people did it, and I'm glad I'm not the only person who's crazy enough to think that I'm smarter than a computer. :)

FWIW, the car that came closest to "doing it right" when I first drove it was the F430 in race mode. But it still wasn't perfect every time.

Regardless of which car(s) you drive, with experience you'll get a knack for how much blip needs to be issued depending on how the car sounds and feels at the moment you're about to do it. Braking with the left foot takes practice, and you will have a tendency to use too much brake at first, but your right foot learned eventually as a teenager, so your left foot will eventually learn it, too. Don't be afraid to go down the learning curve!
 
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