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Old 05-16-2012, 10:47 PM   #1
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Downshifting to First Gear q - new boxster owner

Hi,

New Porsche owner here, I have a 2003 Boxster S.

Been a long time since I drove stick. My first few cars were stick so I have experience. Anyhow my question is how many people actually downshift from second to first gear when stopping? I seem to find myself in slowing traffic, braking, shifting down and based on stopping speed going from second gear right to neutral. If I hit first it's either for a millisecond and not worth it, or at enough rpms to be too soon causing me to slow more than I want.

Is it bad to drop from second to neutral? I have searched these forums for info about cruising rpms etc too and read several good threads about this and lugging and IMS etc... I am not looking to start a whole other topic about that..I think I got the info I needed about that... But I am really curious about downshifting to first....especially In stop and go traffic.

Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:00 AM   #2
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Downshifting from second to first is not good with out A. Rev matching or B. Depressing the clutch all the way effectively rendering the gears in neutral while the stick is engaged in first. It's not bad to drop from second to neutral, you can do so from any gear to neutral with no problem, on the highways I drop from fifth to neutral and let it coast sometimes, then rev the car in neutral to rev match it when I want to get back in gear.

Not to hijack this thread, but does the boxster have a speed limit into shifting into first? I searched and found nothing, it feels that if I am going over 12mph, I cannot shift into first gear, almost the same as trying to shift into reverse while moving, which I know has a mechanism that prevents reversing.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:28 AM   #3
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Not to hijack this thread, but does the boxster have a speed limit into shifting into first? I searched and found nothing, it feels that if I am going over 12mph, I cannot shift into first gear, almost the same as trying to shift into reverse while moving, which I know has a mechanism that prevents reversing.
It's more like below 8mph... won't downshift to 1st from 2nd gear until I'm almost to a dead stop.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:44 AM   #4
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Call me old school but I don't see the logic of downshifting to first period. You're either crawling in which case you can manage that in second more smoothly or going to stop which is always the better choice when going back to first. Some people hold the hill with their clutches too, never thought much of that practice either.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:00 AM   #5
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Brakes are for slowing, gears are for going!
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:25 AM   #6
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+1

downshifting through the gears every time you stop is just shifting the wear from your brake pads to your clutch. Personally, I'd rather pay for a brake job given the choice.

Use the clutch for driving and your brakes for stopping
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:26 AM   #7
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When you say it won't go in to 1st, are you blipping the throttle? RPM changes so quickly with road speed in 1st, it will require you to match the RPM fairly well, or it can effectively "lock out".

I have downshifted to first @ 20-25 MPH while heel-toeing when I'm not stopping completly. It gives a hell of a drive out of the corner! I no longer bother, and just pull 2nd, because that aggressive blip to first feels a bit abusive. When stopping completely, there is no reason to shift into 1st, until you need to take off.

Last edited by stephen wilson; 05-17-2012 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RobbieKnobbie View Post
+1

downshifting through the gears every time you stop is just shifting the wear from your brake pads to your clutch. Personally, I'd rather pay for a brake job given the choice.

Use the clutch for driving and your brakes for stopping

On the best day that's all it's doing, way more likely you're wearing the synchros not a great idea for those who don't lease.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:54 AM   #9
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All the time. At a red light or stop sign.
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:39 AM   #10
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+1
downshifting through the gears every time you stop is just shifting the wear from your brake pads to your clutch. Personally, I'd rather pay for a brake job given the choice.
Possibly, but I bought the car to have fun! I enjoy few things more than a perfectly executed heel/toe downshift.

Starting from a dead stop causes most clutch wear, proper shifting causes very little. I've been H/T downshifting my '89 pickup for 22 years without a problem! It has close to 200,000 miles, original tansmission, and 1 clutch replacement @ 125,000. And this is with oversized tires, and hard usage in snow/mud.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:00 AM   #11
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I drove muscle cars back in the 60's and only down shifted when showing off. Usually I just popped into neutral and braked. Brakes are cheaper than transmissions and replacing a clutch.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:42 AM   #12
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Can't imagine any situation where I'd down shift to first except at full stop. What would be the point? If I was to do it, I would definitely match revs.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:46 AM   #13
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Wow interesting. I tend to drive by feel and sound so the answers are consistent with what I was thinking then. Shifting to first is pointless unless I am near a crawl and about to pickup speed again. I tend not to downshift to brake/slow excessively tho I might depending on speed of braking and wanting some assistance so I don't slam my brakes. plus it can be a little fun but generally I will downshift to slow to take corners and have the power to come out of them and accelerate. In street driving I tend to brake more while still downshifting with more matchup...

So here is a follow up q based on some responses... Is it really ok to shift to neutral from any gear? Do you have to match revs then? What if i was going 55 in third, saw stoppped traffic went to neutral by simply shifting and braking and did not touch or alter gas or rpms at all?

I would think that simply braking and shifting to neutral from a moderate speed would mean coasting and not being ready to accelerate. I was always taught instead to downshift thru each gear... in general... although first gear as mentioned especially in this car seems pointless unless starting from a dead stop.

Thoughts?
Thanks again! Comet
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:54 AM   #14
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Btw for the curious here is some info from a thread I found when searching ... This is apparently info from a 99 owners manual. You can search for a thread about "driving below 2800 rpm"...

"The specified maximum rpm figures should not be exceeded when shifting down, exceeding the safe operating limit can result in damamge to the engine.

For smooth shifting, observe observe the following shift points (applies to standard gear ratios only):


Maximum downshifting points
  • 5th to 4th ... 120mph/193km/h or 5100rpm
    4th to 3rd ... 84mph/135 km/h or 4700rpm
    3rd to 2nd ... 56mph/90 km/h or 4400rpm
    2nd to 1st ... 35mph/56 km/h or 4000rpm

Minimum upshifting points
  • 1st to 2nd ... 15mph/24 km/h or 3000rpm
    2nd to 3rd ... 25mph/40 km/h or 2900rpm
    3rd to 4th ... 40mph/64 km/h or 3100rpm
    4th to 5th ... 45mph/72km/h or 2500rpm"
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:55 AM   #15
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Good question. First gear is pointless to try and downshift to, especially in the Box S. The gears are too close to hit first before you hit zero mph.

Heel-toe down to second and if you have to start there you can do it just fine, short of a dead stop. The tiptronic (automatic) version has similar gears to our second gear anyway.

1st gear is just to take off from a dead stop or cruising around SLOWLY. Have not found any use for downshifting to it.
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:59 AM   #16
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When I teach it in performance driving, I suggest using 1st from a dead stop only. You could h/t downshift to 1st while rolling but it is unnecessary input. Minimum input is smooth and smooth is fast.

I use the same logic when approaching a corner going from 5th to 2nd. Instead of busying yourself running through the gears, apply full braking and h/t downshift to select only the gear you need for corner exit. Get your business done and be in the right gear before entering the corner so your foot is on the gas at apex. Minimum input, maximum focus on corner entry. These same techniques work well in traffic at a "less intense" level. Just building and practicing good driving habits that become second nature.

Disclaimer: These are only suggestions. It is your car and ultimately you can shift it any way you want. There will always be different opinions on this.
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:54 AM   #17
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From any gear you can push in the clutch, put the stick in neutral, and let out the clutch without damage to clutch or transmission. Coast for 10 miles, come to a stop, doesn't matter. Putting a MT car in neutral, rolling or stopped, will not harm a transmission.

BTW I second topless comments above. The faster race car drivers I've watched (and raced against) will often skip gears on downshift to corner entry. All they want the downshift for is to make sure they have the right gear/rpm when they hit the gas again. All the decel comes from the brakes.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:28 AM   #18
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Thanks all... I tried this yesterday... Much better for driving.

Also tried sticking with higher rpms before shifting up anywhere 3000 to 5000 rpm definitely more fun hehe. But the right to neutral on stopping is much better. Thanks!

The car i got has a a really stiff clutch pedal and i have work slated for that this weekend at dealer...so hopefully new clutch etc etc and I will be all in business in a few days!
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:54 AM   #19
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Coast for 10 miles,
How high is that mountain that you can coast in neutral for 10 miles?
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:58 AM   #20
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Possibly, but I bought the car to have fun! I enjoy few things more than a perfectly executed heel/toe downshift.

Starting from a dead stop causes most clutch wear, proper shifting causes very little. I've been H/T downshifting my '89 pickup for 22 years without a problem! It has close to 200,000 miles, original tansmission, and 1 clutch replacement @ 125,000. And this is with oversized tires, and hard usage in snow/mud.
You are right, a properly executed heel and toe downshift will wear the clutch very little, but the operative word is properly executed. An under revved or over revved downshift can wear the clutch more than a launch from a dead stop.

If I see a red light up ahead, or stop sign, and let's say I'm driving in third gear, I just left my foot off the gas and coast, in gear, until I'm going around 10 miles an hour and then just put the car in neutral and stop with the brakes. I don't see the point of downshifting to second, then to first, and putting wear on the synchronizers, which you will unless you double clutch, if you know you are coming to a dead stop.

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