Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Mark (Brazil)

Having a bad day and therefore deciding I don't want to talk with anybody, I was instead mooching through old threads and I saw a reference to the above.

Now, I suppose this is probably trying to use the throttle & the brake at the same time. Although braking and gear changing seems like something you'd only do when slowing down and a whole lot of work.

Q1) Is that right ?
Q2) Why would you want to do that ?
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Ian Cook
In older cars the syncromesh probably wasn't much bottle so it was a good idea to try to match the gearbox input shaft speed with what it will be for the next ratio down. With crash gearboxes (such as I learned to drive on) you had to do this.

Nowadays I think the technique is only of use in running in a new pair of slippers - that's if DW is too busy to do it for you.

Ian
Slippers again. - David W
Stuart is the man for this, he'll give us chapter and verse.

Re the slippers Ian. Just two things worse than pressure washing in them.

One is driving in them and the other is realising you've got to the shops still wearing them. As HJ would rightly say (sort of) you are already beyond the point of being safe in an automatic car when you do this.

David
Re: Slippers again. - ladas are cool
i left the house one day in my slippers, thank god i realised by the time i got to my car, as i was going to a job interview.
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Randolph Lee
this rev matching skill is most needed with a crash (non synchro) gearbox and was of large value with older gearboxes to take the strain off of the clutch and synchros while downshifting... with a bit of practice the clutch was not needed at all
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Ian Cook
Or if the clutch cable had failed you could carefully match the revs and get away with it.

I drove my 61 Beetle from Lewes to Brighton with no clutch cable - put it in first gear with the engine off, then held the starter in until the car had attained walking speed and the engine had fired up. Then carefully matched the engine revs up and down the box.

Ian
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Mark (Brazil)
I'm missing something..

I can see the rev matching and therefore using the clutch & throttle together - but where did the brake get involved ?
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Ian Cook
Ah...glad you spotted that, Mark. The whole purpose of the plot was, I think, to be doing this down shifting as part of the braking exercise before entering a bend. Then you ended up in the right gear to power away and didn't waste time braking THEN changing gear.

Or so my memory tells me.

Ian
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Tomo
Having always been a bit of a stiffy, I only ever really got it right with a centre throttle. With a Lagonda Z-type box (no lamp-swinging, a high-chassis 3-litre special was only an old car when I had it) you had to get it RIGHT.
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Ben Chapman
The point is, this is the only way to drive a manual car fast. For example, if one approaches a corner in fifth gear, but wishes to power out of the corner in third, the driver must change down. If you brake hard into the corner, with the tyres slipping around 7-10% (attempting thresshold braking) you must change gear very smoothly, otherwise the additional braking effect will cause the tyres to slip too much , or in the worst case scenario, lock up. You must be in the right gear when you turn into the corner. Hence the need to blip the throttle with the side of your foot whilst braking to achieve a smooth gearchange. Alternatively, Scandiavian rally drivers pioneered a technique of braking with there left feet. Unless you are a very skilled driver this is probably only sensisble in a car with a "dog-legg" gearbox.

Ben
Re: Left foot braking - Stuart B
Ben made his post whilst I was typing so I might as well comment on the left foot braking technique.

Can't recall whether this was pioneered by Eric Carlsson in the 2 stroke Saabs in which the free wheel device made it easy, but I think the first driver to use it reliably with a normal manual box was Timo Makinen, (Tommi's Dad) in the works Cooper S. In fact I recall an old rally film comparing Timo's technique with the conventional one of Hannu Mikkola in the works Escort Twin Cam in practice for the Thousand Lakes late 60's.

In those days the gear changing was not easy in connection with left foot braking, and I never mastered it, but in today's cars with the sequential gearbox, almost the only time you use the clutch pedal is to get off the start line.

You must remember that these cars have split circuit brake systems, with separate circuits for front and rear brakes. Each circuit has a different master cylinder connected by a sort of balance arrangement so you can adjust all the braking effort forwards or backwards dependant upon the surface and road type. The real guys, adjust it on the fly mid stage.

The significance of this is that you can put so much effort on the rear wheels that when you brake you get the effect of pulling on the handbrake but in a much more controlled way so that the back of the car steps out of line and is then in a much safer position to deal with a bend which might tighten. All this is of course techniques for loose surfaces and non public roads, honest occifer. So if you use the left foot to hit the brake you can keep the right welly on the gas, or should it be the right slipper?

Most cars have so much braking effort on the front wheels that its impossible to emulate this with the standard set up.
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Stuart B
Taken some time to get to this thread, been working away and then at the outlaws.

Interesting drive last week in **extremely** slippery conditions which I will put in another thread when I get round to it. Bit topical considering weather you got in UK last week.

I assume David W was referring to me for chapter and verse on this. If not sorry for being presumptious.

Most of you have already covered the chapter and verse but here's my bit to explain where braking comes in.

John Slaughter was spot on in his description of technique in covering brake with ball of right foot and "blipping" throttle with outside of right foot to match revs to gear speed.

Apart from the no synchro bit nowadays its really a competition technique to enable braking at the last second and yet be in the correct gear as early as possible so there is no time lost spent freewheeling during the change. Right, so that technique, as written, probably does not have much place on the public highway, by that I probably mean being the last of the late brakers, however much fun it is.

For ages its always been recommended that braking and gear changing should not be done together, ie approach hazard, brake to desired speed, change into desired gear, then go. (i've missed out all the mirror checking and so on)

Its now accepted, I believe also by the IAM and police, but I could stand correcting there that there are certain circumstances when overlapping braking and gear changing is an acceptable and even desirable technique.

Let us imagine going down a steepish hill and intending to take a turning to the left.

IN the previous system,
you braked to the speed,
stopped braking,
changed gear,
then the vehicle had speeded up again due to gravity so sometimes you had to brake again.

Alternatively if you were perfect you would slow a bit more to allow for the bit of increase in speed during the gear change. All this takes up more time and road, during which the rep in the Laguna up your rear end is getting closer and closer, if that were possible.

So if you want to brake and change gear at the same time the simple way is to keep on the brakes, whack the gear change through on the synchromesh during braking and use the clutch to drag the engine revs back up, not very smooth and if the change/clutch action is a bit harsh it unsettles the car and can even unstick the rear wheels in a rwd car. (also colloquially known as diff braking technique, and braking in this case is too often spelt breaking!)

So what you do is towards the end of the braking period, you keep the pressure on the brake, and change gear in one go, say 4 to 2, matching engine revs to keep the drive smooth and the car stable. To do this you need to overlap your foot on both brake and gas per the John S description.

The best way I can put this is to quote verbatim from Roadcraft. HMSO publications, worthwhile read IMHO.

"Sometimes it is helpful to overlap braking with the gear change. Do this by braking normally and changing gear towards the end of braking. The advantages of this are that it takes less time, contributes to vehicle stability and is often safer because your progress matches the expectations of other road users.

These disadvantages have to be weighed against the disadvantage that for part of the braking period both hands are not on the steering wheel, and the possibility that the technique could lead to late, excessive braking and rushed gear changes."

The section then goes onto how this should be included in your planning.

Hope thats clear, and I've not repeated myself too much.

Just as an add on I got stressed during the writing of this post because I realised IF I TYPED BARKING INSTEAD OF BRAKING ONE MORE TIME I WILL SCREAM its one of those words I always get wrong)
Slippers etc - Cliff Pope
Other variants on non-standard foorwear are a) gumboots b) barefeet
Re: Slippers etc - ARE YOU SANE
Wots wrong in driving in your bare feet.? My wife drives her auto with her right foot bare..
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - John Slaughter
Mark

Common practice in the Minor due to the weak synchro, and used regularly to show I can still do it, and to amaze the passengers!

Shouldn't be required on the road if you brake first and then select the right gear, but you can't get it right all the time, so I tend to use the technique.

Other than that I've used it on the track when you don't want to have a pause while you change gear after braking, when you want to get back onto the throttle. At the same time it eases the gear change through, rather than relying on the synchromesh.

It is very dependent upon pedal layout - easy in some cars and virtually impossible in others

Regards

John
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Brill
Where's (dancing feet) HJ? He mentioned this some time ago but didn't reveal the magic formula. Perfect Paul did go into detail in his column, but I couldn't follow it!
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - John Slaughter
Brill

Nothing to it - press the brakes with the ball of the foot and then double declutch, blipping the throttle with the side of the foot or the heel as you go through neutral.

Just make sure the road's empty the first time you practice it!

Regards

John
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Piers
I use it in my Caterham. Under braking the rear end is very light and the blipping of the throttle to match the engine to road (or track) speed prevents any loss of rear end grip. As you are usually braking for a corner this is important. For instance if you bring up the clutch suddenly to engage a lower gear when braking you can effectively 'lock' the rear wheels as they fail to be able to accelerate the engine up to speed and so lose grip. Not nice. It's all to do with balance - with something like a Seven it's very important - for a modern FWD car with a robust synchro on the road I wouldn't bother and the pedals wouldn't be positioned to allow it.

Also it sounds good and impresses the hell out of passengers! Not doing the heel and toe is good way to get big power slides - unsettle rear end then hold it out on the throttle (on track, airfield, car-parks of course).
Piers
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - Sue
Ignore all the fancy stuff which follows. We regularly used to do this in a Vauxhall - think it was an Astra - with a dodgy automatic choke. When the engine was cold, you had to keep the revs up or it would stall. Unfortunately it didn't get a chance to warm up properly before we joined the crawling queue at the Dennis roundabout under the A3 in Guildford. So hubby perfected the technique of keeping his foot on the accelerator and the brake at the same time.

Probably not recommended, and we did get the choke fixed!
Re: Heel & Toe Gear Changing - THe Growler
I only tried this once, but the results of my misplaced size 12's convinced me the old established ways as nature intended were less likely to see me go across a roundabout instead of around it!
size 12's and fiesta driving. - ladas are cool
i also have size 12's, i can tell you this - its murder trying to drive a fiesta with such big feet (i dont own a fiesta, i got one on hire when i went to spain)
Never mind Fiestas - John Slaughter
If you think a Fiesta is bad youve never driven a Saxo!

Regards

John
Size 12s - ian (cape town)
What is this? a Yeti's motoring page! :)
I remember having to remove fascia (?) under the steering column from my 80s BMW, as there wasn't enough room for my feet - the eventuallt got loose from all the nudges, and fell down, jamming my foot againt the accelorator pedal.
No, size 9. - John Slaughter
No, not a yeti, I only take a size 9!

JS
Re: No, size 9. - ian (cape town)
Are these cars designed for Pygmies, or what?
On business trips, I often get hire cars, and find it impossible to (a)
get comfortably into them and
(b) work the pedals efficiently, because of the tight grouping and tiny pedals.
Normally I point this out to the rental company, and get upgraded!

Do the car manufacturers have any sense of reality, or are they convinced the average motorist is 5'6"?
Re: No, size 9. - David W
John,

There are never any good size 9s in the sales are there.

David
Re: No, size 9. - John Slaughter
No, and very few 15" collar shirts either!

regards

JS
Re: No, size 9. - Jake (uk)
size 11 feet, size 18 collar, 6'2" and just under 18 stone. used to drive a citroen AX GT and regularly used to hit go pedal when trying to hit stop pedal. Strangely, me and a mate who's 6'3" and who also had a GT never had any problems with room, and in fact I'd have to say that the driving position was one of the most comfy I've had - well it was until I sat down rather heavily one day and tore one of the front seat mounts off.

managed to sell it before I killed myself.

jake
Re: No, size 9. - Jake (uk)
size 11 feet, size 18 collar, 6'2" and just under 18 stone. used to drive a citroen AX GT and regularly used to hit go pedal when trying to hit stop pedal. Strangely, me and a mate who's 6'3" and who also had a GT never had any problems with room, and in fact I'd have to say that the driving position was one of the most comfy I've had - well it was until I sat down rather heavily one day and tore one of the front seat mounts off.

managed to sell it before I killed myself.

jake
Re: No, size 9. - Dan J
I learnt to drive an an AX - emergency stops invariably involved all three pedals, whatever sized shoes you had on. Thank god the brakes were usually pretty effective!
Re: No, size 9. - David W
John,

You haven't a nice dark blue spare suit going!

David
Re: No, size 9. - John Slaughter
David

No, sorry, although jeans and t shirts are normal office attire (joys of working from home), I still need the suits for business meetings.

Regards

JS
Re: No, size 9. - ChrisR
I am informed by the doctor who lives next door that the average height for men is (surprisingly) five feet ten. Since five feet six is tall-ish for a woman, I'd guess the average overall must be around five six or seven.

Chris
Re: No, size 9. - Brill
Ian,

Someone will know, but 5'6" probably *is* the average height!
I'm not sure what size the ergonomic model is.
Anyone . . .?
Re: No, size 9. - ian (cape town)
Ok, point taken! Being the Chauvanist I am, I forgot women! SORRY LADIES!!!
Re: No, size 9. - Sue
Brill wrote:
> Someone will know, but 5'6" probably *is* the average height!

Too small to me for the total population, but possibly about right for ladies only.

> I'm not sure what size the ergonomic model is.
> Anyone . . .?

No idea, but the clothes industry has finally started to wake up to the fact that the 'average' shape and size has changed radically since the second world war and to make clothes to fit 'real' people rather than 'ideal' shapes. In particular, recognition is dawning that less than 50% of the female population take a dress size smaller than 16.

ian (cape town) wrote:
>
> Ok, point taken! Being the Chauvanist I am, I forgot women!
> SORRY LADIES!!!

Apology accepted - from me at least. But then, I'm taller than average for a lady!
Re: No, size 9. - Sue
Brill wrote:
> Someone will know, but 5'6" probably *is* the average height!

Too small to me for the total population, but possibly about right for ladies only.

> I'm not sure what size the ergonomic model is.
> Anyone . . .?

No idea, but the clothes industry has finally started to wake up to the fact that the 'average' shape and size has changed radically since the second world war and to make clothes to fit 'real' people rather than 'ideal' shapes. In particular, recognition is dawning that less than 50% of the female population take a dress size smaller than 16.

ian (cape town) wrote:
>
> Ok, point taken! Being the Chauvanist I am, I forgot women!
> SORRY LADIES!!!

Apology accepted - from me at least. But then, I'm taller than average for a lady!
Re: No, size 9. - Randolph Lee
Some one at ford design dept about 10 years ago told me the lower cost cars were designed to the 90 percentile and more expensive ones to the 95th percentile and that At 6' 3" and 17 stone I was about the 95th percentile when it came to men...

But he said that the models used did not take into account folks who were tall in 'diferent' ways... long legs short trunk or vice versa.

I am long in the leg so need a length adjustable steering wheel to be realy comfy for a long trip...

I have best luck in auto fit in products from Land Rover, Rover, M-Benz, BMW, VW, Audi, Sabb and Volvo... and I have never found a far eastern design that I would want to drive a on a long trip
~R
 

Value my car