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Jimmy B.
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Being raised on automatic transmissions, I have very little experience with stick shifters but I've done some google research to learn more now that I have a G6 with the manual mode. I know that manual transmissions can save fuel and has other benefits, but I want to know exactly how I can use the manumatic of the G6 to gain such benefits. I've read about how to use a manual transmission and I've read the owner's manual, so I know how to shift but not how to maximize the benefits of the manual shifter. I've tried it once or twice before but only for a few minutes (I really didn't know what I was doing and it scared the bejeezes out of me lol). I've got a 2006 GT.
When is the best time to shift up and down? How many RPMs or MPH?
I've heard that the manumatic takes up more gas for some reason (more complex or something), is this true?
What NOT to do when using the manumatic (I don't want to risk hurting the car somehow)
Times when the manumatic is better than the automatic and vise versa.
Any other tips and advice for using the manumatic.
GO!
 

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Moderator
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4,060 Posts
I use it all the time. I guess i get worse gas milage because i let the rpm's get higher before I shift versus what the automatic trans would do. I have learned that if your in fourth gear and you slow down a good amount or stop, then hit the gas it will down shift for you to to first, second or third depending on your speed. .....you really want to watch your rpms if down shifting.

test it out from a start and see how high your rpms get in what gear at what speed, so you know when you can and cant down shift. for example I know if im already going 80 or over and i want to speed up i cant downshift into third, (i only have the 4 speed trans)
 

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Fried like a Cheese Stick
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1,035 Posts
Convention wisdom was that you always get better mileage with a stick (true manual) than an auto. Used to be true, but with today's modern autos, you actually do better mileage-wise to leave it in auto. Like waterfowler said, in manual mode the idea is to leave it in the low gear as long as possible/prudent, which sucks teh gas but ups teh powa :D :D :D

I suppose you could try to do the opposite and upshift as quickly as possible while being as light on the gas pedal as possible, but more than likely you will still do better just leaving it in D ;)
 

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test it out from a start and see how high your rpms get in what gear at what speed, so you know when you can and cant down shift. for example I know if im already going 80 or over and i want to speed up i cant downshift into third, (i only have the 4 speed trans)
and why cant you downshift to third? i downshift to second if im going any slower than 78mph when i pass someone and its only about 4800rpms or so so i have a lil better than 1k RPMs to run up lol, i have the 4 spd auto and third takes me all the way to like 120mph.........

if im gonna pass or anything like that i always put it in the lowest gear the car will let me, id rather be at the top of one gear with only 1k rpms left than the bottom of the next b/c the 4spd auto sucks at the bottom of a gear big time....
 

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07 Black GT Vert ♥
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445 Posts
I've read that you can increase your MPG by forcing it into fourth gear as soon as possible because excess RPMs waste fuel.
That being said, I think the manual mode was added purely to make it more exciting to drive the G6!
 

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Jimmy B.
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Very good tips everybody! One more question, is it safe to pop it into manual mode when you're driving and the car is moving or do you have to be stopped first?
 

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shiftn

i use the manual mode all the time downshifting should not really be a problem because its not a real manual so if you are going too fast to go down another gear and try to downshift nothing will happen cause the car wont let u do it. it wont let me down shift into first once i go past like 32 mph, 2nd gear goes to around 80 mph i dont go much faster than that so i can always get into 2nd lol, but for saving gas i suppose if u wanna speed up a bit but dont want the trans to downshift u can have it in man so itll stay in 4th no matter how far u push the pedal
 

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Moderator Member Thingy
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1,330 Posts
My 4 speed will redline at 40mph in 1st gear and will not let you downshift from 2nd to 1st unless you are below 35mph. Also, if you redline it too long, the engine pretty much throttles your acceleration until you shift.

The car automatically downshifts for you too if your RPM's get too low as well. You can go from auto to tapshift and vice versa while driving which is handy if you get a call while in tapshift.

The main problem I've run into is if you alter the acceleration while the gears are shifting. Say if you press the pedal further while it's shifting, then the gears will not be able to grip and cause them to grind. If you let up on the gas, then the gears will catch but cause the car to hard shift. If you don't move your foot at all, it shifts so smoothly that you don't even notice that you shifted gears.

Just my experience.
 

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07 SILVER GT CONVERTIBLE
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121 Posts
Driving in the mountains the last couple of spring vacations I found the manual mode to be great,I relied on the engine and transmission to slow the car on steep inclines ,saved the brakes from getting heated up,and with the top down the sound of the engine exhaust was neat.Really made me feel like a kid again.Which is what GM had in mind with the tap shift I think lol.
 

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RAM AIR!!
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266 Posts
Well get a tune for your car than you won't need to worry about it, the best of both worlds. If you really want to shift you could trade your g6 in for a 6spd GTP, or a 07 GT Sport.
 

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Fried like a Cheese Stick
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1,035 Posts
Actually I look at it the opposite way - the major selling point of available tunes seems to be the better shift points - well I already do my own shifting so why should I bother getting it :p?
 

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Jimmy B.
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Hey guys,
I've been using the manual mode for the past couple weeks and it's pretty cool to use. My wife laughs at me since it's not a real manual shifter, but what does she know?lol It's more fun to drive and I feel like I just have more control over the car. I also feel like I can reduce all of the needless shifting that the automatic mode does if you get off or on gas a little or are rolling up to a stop and then keep going, etc.
One last thing I'm sort of wondering about is down shifting when coming to a complete stop. There are a lot of roads around here with speed limit 45 and lots of traffic lights. Should I down shift through each and every gear all the way down to 1st? Sometimes it feels a little rough from engine resistance, even if I keep the down shifting within 15mph increments (ie 0-15 for 1st, 15-30 for 2nd, 30-45 for 3rd, and 45+ for 4th). Sometimes it feels smoother if I down shift from 4th when it gets to 30 or 40 then 3rd at about 25, 2nd at about 15 then 1st at less than 10. Otherwise it seems like there's a little engine resistance when shifting into the next lower gear. Ultimately, if I'm stopping at a light should I cycle through each gear all the way down (which seems like a hassle sometimes) or should I just come to the stop and let the car down shift itself or should I try to shift the gears sort of late like I described above to avoid the engine resistance or what? What do you guys do?
 

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Moderator Member Thingy
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1,330 Posts
Tell your wife: Don't knock on it until you've tried it. People laugh at the concept until you try it, especially people who prefer manual transmissions. The tapshift give you more control over your car and makes it interactive yet simple. When I lose my G6, I'm going to miss this feature dearly.

Shifting down to a complete stop is the only thing that requires experience. For gas mileage reasons, any speed over 40 (while cruising) should be in 4th gear. To come to a stop, shift down to 3rd gear at 20 mph, 2nd gear at 10 mph, and 1st at 5 mph. Experiment with it, but that is the general shifting area.

You state that it's a hassle to shift all the way down for stopping for a red light, but that is what the automatic does and I'm sure thats what manuals do too.
 

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Professional geek
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433 Posts
I've been driving for longer than many of you have been alive. I learned how to drive in a stick, and my last two vehicles were manual trans as well - though for a more practical reason as they were SUVs that were actually driven off-road more than once a decade. ;)

I rarely use my autostick because I learned pretty quickly how to control an automatic transmission using mostly just throttle position to keep it in the gear I wanted. I had an '88 Grand Am SE (bought it new and no, it wasn't my first car) and a friend that accused me of wishing it were a stick the way I drove it. Again, it was all about using throttle pressure and listening to the engine and trans. When accelerating, gently increasing the accelerator pedal position will delay the shift, while suddenly letting up a little on the pedal then returning the pressure will cause it to shift to the next gear - try it some time! Same thing for selective downshifting.

It's more fun to drive and I feel like I just have more control over the car. I also feel like I can reduce all of the needless shifting that the automatic mode does if you get off or on gas a little or are rolling up to a stop and then keep going, etc.
While you can indeed force the car to stay in the gear you select (mostly) and thus exert more control over it, I wouldn't agree with calling the shifting "needless". The car will adapt the gear and engine speed to the load it is presented (climbing a hill, pulling weight, whatever) and the amount of throttle action you request (since it is drive-by-wire).

One last thing I'm sort of wondering about is down shifting when coming to a complete stop. There are a lot of roads around here with speed limit 45 and lots of traffic lights. Should I down shift through each and every gear all the way down to 1st?
If you are reducing your speed in manumatic mode, to maintain the most control over the car you should shift down through the gears. If you don't do it, the transmission/ECM will shift into 1st when you stop.

Sometimes it feels a little rough from engine resistance, even if I keep the down shifting within 15mph increments (ie 0-15 for 1st, 15-30 for 2nd, 30-45 for 3rd, and 45+ for 4th). Sometimes it feels smoother if I down shift from 4th when it gets to 30 or 40 then 3rd at about 25, 2nd at about 15 then 1st at less than 10. Otherwise it seems like there's a little engine resistance when shifting into the next lower gear.
Yes, you are using the engine as a brake, known as compression braking, to help slow down the car. In the same vein, you would choose a lower gear when descending an incline instead of riding the brakes all the way down (and causing more wear and possible loss of the brakes). Whenever I am driving in a 'spirited fashion' and see an officer of the law nearby, I downshift one or maybe even two gears to slow the car down in a hurry without standing on the brakes. Using your brakes makes you stand out more in these situations, believe it or not.

Ultimately, if I'm stopping at a light should I cycle through each gear all the way down (which seems like a hassle sometimes) or should I just come to the stop and let the car down shift itself or should I try to shift the gears sort of late like I described above to avoid the engine resistance or what? What do you guys do?
Don't worry about "engine resistance" as again it helps slow you down. But if you're feeling too lazy/whatever, slap it into automatic when braking and back into manumatic for acceleration and cruising.

As far as shift points, keeping the engine speed (RPMs) as low as possible for upshifts will help you with better economy, providing you don't shift too early. Engine lugging on acceleration can use more fuel. For downshifting, it's not as much of a concern.

Shifting down to a complete stop is the only thing that requires experience.
No, upshifting requires experience as well.

For gas mileage reasons, any speed over 40 (while cruising) should be in 4th gear. To come to a stop, shift down to 3rd gear at 20 mph, 2nd gear at 10 mph, and 1st at 5 mph. Experiment with it, but that is the general shifting area.
I go by engine RPMs, as shift speeds will vary depending on the transmission and axle (or transaxle for front-drive) ratios and tire size in the car. Try to upshift before 2500 RPM, preferably around 2000. Downshifting, not so critical.

You state that it's a hassle to shift all the way down for stopping for a red light, but that is what the automatic does and I'm sure thats what manuals do too.
When driving a manual, you can skip gears on both upshifting and downshifting. You could also choose to coast along in neutral while braking, though that is illegal in some states. Skipping gears in a manumatic is impossible, though you can shift through them very rapidly, and shifting in an out of neutral on the manumatic can cause extra wear on the transmission and torque converter.

There are only a couple of times I get much use out of the manual position on my G6. One is when descending a couple of hills nearby - I have to shift to 2 to hold the speed at 50 because the stupid programming in the ECU keeps the throttle open too far. Makes me wish for a cable-actuated throttle. The other occasion is when I am in heavier traffic and need to accelerate moderately but don't want the car to downshift. Usually it happens around 45-50 and the downshift goes two gears, much more than I want in that situation. It's an inconsistency in the ECM/TCM programming from my point of view.

~ MattInSoCal
 

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Fried like a Cheese Stick
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shifting in an out of neutral on the manumatic can cause extra wear on the transmission and torque converter
:confused: To do that you'd have to go out of M and past D to get to N.
 

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Professional geek
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433 Posts
:confused: To do that you'd have to go out of M and past D to get to N.
It's very easy to get from the M position to N without the TCM having time to recognize that it is engaged in D; even going from R or D to N it can take one full second or more for the transmission to disengage with our trans and TCM setup. But think about how the whole system works. In manumatic mode you are not mechanically changing anything with the transmission as compared to drive. You are only (mostly) overriding the TCM's control of the shifting of the transmission. You could even install pushbuttons on the steering wheel to change the gears in M mode if you desired.

~ MattInSoCal
 
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