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Old 04-08-2007, 09:36 AM   #1
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Learning Manual on a Boxster?!?!

Hey Everybody,

I'm brand new to the forum and my girlfriend is buying a '98 Boxster with 37k. We're both driving autos right now and have each had few lessons driving stick, but neither of us are great to say the least. Do you have any tips? I practiced yesterday on a friend's new Scion tC and I'm wondering what to expect from the Boxster in comparison. I think I'm going to go out and practice some more today on someone's older VW as well. Thanks for all your help!


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Old 04-08-2007, 09:48 AM   #2
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Boxsters clutches can take awhile to get used to if you aren't used to driving them,just remember practice makes perfect!

F.Y.I. to replace the clutch it costs $1k+ parts & labor.
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:51 AM   #3
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Hey Dog!

Welcome to the Forum.

Here are my tips and thoughts:

1) Before you buy your Boxster get a PPI (Pre Purchase Inspection)
2) Keep practicing
3) IMHO, the Boxster is easy to drive because it is light and has good power
4) Don't teach your g/f how to drive stick, if you value your relationship (I tried this with my g/f about 18 years ago, and luckily we have been married for the past 14...but that one day almost ended it for us! )
5) Budget in your potential car expenses/maintenance for a new clutch, because you might contribute additional wear & tear during your learning process
6) Make sure you get practive on hills. Especially when starting from a dead stop...like at a stop sign.
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:52 AM   #4
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A manual is a manual. Sure there are variances, but from my experience (be it limited) as long as you can drive an S10, or a little cavlier manual, you should be fine with driving anything. But I would completely not recommend learning on a boxster. As stated a new clutch could cost a grand, not including a new flywheel if you score yours up too much. My advice, borrow the scion for a week and learn, and let him drive the boxster, its kinda a fair trade, he drives a cool car and you learn on his.
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:54 AM   #5
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Ok.. well i bought a 1997 boxster alittle under 90k miles and it was my first 5-spd car. I have been driving for almost 15 yrs and never ever drove or even tried to learn how to drive a stick car. My friend who has been driving manual cars for almost 25 yrs called me up when i got the boxster delivered to my house and asked if i wanted to learn . He met me at my house and he drove to empty parking lot and taught me the basics. After about 30-45 mins of us switching from passenger to driver's seat I was pretty much comfortable with the way everything worked. After he went home I stayed on local streets in which everytime I hit a hill or stop sign I would stall LOL... It just takes tiime and practice also do have patience cause if you get too nervous on a hill it will make it even more physcological then anything. Even if you stall at a stop sign and someone behind you beeps that is all tehy can really do since they are not going to be able to pass you so just be relaxed . as for the clutch it depends on who drove it and how it was taken care of. I am the third owner of my car in which a Dr. age 55)owned it from 1997-2003 and then a guy in his mid 30's was the second owner both took care of the car even had service records. I think since on learned on the boxster how to drive 5-spd that I couldn't compare it to any other cars . I hope that I gave to some info and I am sure that others on the forum will give you some more tips.
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:57 AM   #6
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Boxster manual trannys are pretty easy to drive, no real gotchas. Just a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • If you stall it, you need to turn the key all the way back to off and then try to restart it - it won't run the starter again if you don't
  • When the key is all the way off the steering locks! So don't try to restart it unless you're going perfectly straight or have stopped/pulled over already
  • You have a lot of power on tap. If something starts going wrong with a shift, esp. when starting off, push down the clutch and then try to figure out what's up. You'll never get in trouble if the clutch is in (down to the floor).
You're going to love it. And you may never go back to driving an automatic afterwards...
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Last edited by donv; 05-12-2007 at 08:55 AM. Reason: fixed emphasis
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Old 05-07-2007, 06:33 AM   #7
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It always surprises me that people don't learn how to drive a manual transmission right off the bat. In Germany, we have to learn with one to graduate the driving school and get the chance to get a license. However, that was roughly 20 years ago and things might be different now.

The best tip I can give anyone learning and having trouble with starting on an uphill is to remember you have a brake to hold the car in place, other than the one at your feet. My girlfriend had been driving for 15+ years and never thought of using the hand brake when starting on a hill. Now, she uses it all the time on an uphill start.

It works like this...

Come to a stop at the stop sign, clutch in, brakes applied. Pull up the hand (emergency) brake and take your foot off the brake. The clutch should still be in, so put the gear shift into first gear. Give the car a little gas to bring the revs up, slowly let the clutch out. When you feel the car starting to pull, gradually let the hand brake down. This is also a good method to get people new to manual transmissions started.

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Old 05-10-2007, 08:30 PM   #8
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You will have no problem! I bought my boxster a few months ago having never drivin a standard in my life. I flew from New Orleans to Dallas then drove the boxster back alone. I was comfy with the tactict from driving dirtbikes, 3 wheelers, and 4 wheelers, but with a few minutes of practice, you can learn in a jiffy. I have since driven a BMW z4 and a honda civic, and they are both much more forgiving. If possible, practice on something else, if not, you will be fine.

Your old lady, however, may be another story. Mine has tried on 3 occasions before she said "I hate that stupid car and I will not learn anything with that fearful look on your face." No problem here.
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Old 05-11-2007, 07:59 PM   #9
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A manual transmission - the good old days. For once, I like the German method.

Got my motorcycle and car learner's permit 35 years ago. Never learned how to drive with an automatic transmission. Never owned an automatic.

To get a car license you needed to have drivers ed at school. I had been driving for a while before I took drivers ed. The training car was an automatic. I would left-foot brake, and the instructor did not like that.

There was no school for a motorcycle license back then. You would brake with one foot or the other, depending on the make of the cycle.

When I took the test for the car license I did so in an automatic. I had to remember not to left-foot brake or I would fail. To this day I still left-foot brake if I drive an auto.

I would not want to learn how to drive a manual transmission in a Boxstir.
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:47 PM   #10
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I actually turned sixteen a month ago and got a used '99 Boxster. I practiced on an old saturn stick for about 10 hours, and have done the rest in the Boxster. I had no problems learning, and for those of you who care, I have never ground the gears or abused it, just because I am 16.
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:27 AM   #11
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Welcome to the fold! This is my first Porsche but I have been riding bikes since college where I learned on a Ninja 750, so I am used to getting tossed into the deep end. I started out with a lowly 5-speed manual Mazda Protege back in day with new wife and limited funds (my first "real" car after my $200 rusted out junk car) and it was a very easy manual to learn on. Since then, I have had various cars from CJ7s to SCCA Vettes (383 Strokers) & ZO6s. --- all manual. It is true, a manual is a manual, but I do find the Boxster to be rather unforgiving, has pretty good power (if you punch it) and easy to stall at times.

I agree with the premise of learning on something less forgiving first to get the knack of a manual in various situations, uphill, downhill, parking, stop signs, rolling tendencies, and the clutch to gas pedal release harmony. It takes some time to learn and you might be slightly more aggressive in the Box just because you want to "show it off" and you could grind some gears and stall it alot if you are not paying attention. (not good for you or the car)

Just a few Suggestions:
1. Turn the #$%#$% radio down or off. Shut up your gf or leave at home.
(learn to "listen" and feel the engine and need to shift, you should get so good that you never have to look down or even peek at the tach, you can hear and feel when you need to shift)
2. Find an empty shopping mall or grocery, something and practicing starting and take-off at "lights" or "stop signs" - practice steady control. Don't RIDE the clutch or keep it engaged. Learn to shift to neutral and use just your brake at lights, and only position it into 1st just before the light change. No need to MASH the clutch at all times!
3. Just like a bike, don't start trying to gun it or race anyone. (at least not when trying to learn!) Learn with good control, discipline and by being slightly defensive when driving a new manual.
4. The biggest thing is control and feeling of the shift. It will come but I don't know if I would have tried to "learn" on a Boxster. My clutch at least (it is relatively brand new) is pretty hard and tight. Nowhere near anything like a Civic or a SCion I wouldn't imagine.
5. If you do "Get into trouble" (like a bike again) --- engage the clutch and regain control before you get in over your head. It certainly is not rocket science, it will just take a little time...(good thing? Once you learn to drive a Box manual, you can certainly drive nearly anything else.....IMHO)

Practice, Practice, Practice.
All the best and welcome.

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