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Discussion Starter #1
I recently got my 2018 Focus ST with about 20,000mi about a month ago and I am getting pretty used to it. I have been out driving about every other day. I've never owned a manual transmission vehicle, but I have known the basics of how to drive one. Every manual transmission will be slightly different in engagement points of the clutch and revs for shifting and all that. After driving my Focus ST for about a month and a half now, I have gotten fairly good at normal acceleration and driving and can make it very smooth.

The problem I run into is now I am starting to lay into it a little bit and I cannot for the life of me get the car to shift smoothly under moderate to heavy acceleration. Specifically 1-2 shift. 2-3 can be a little bumpy, but it feels like I am riding on the back of a bull when doing 1-2 shift under moderate to heavy acceleration. The only way I can get it to shift somewhat smoothly without the car bouncing all around is when accelerating in 1st gear, I push the clutch in, shift to 2nd, wait for revs to drop about 2k, let off and continue accelerating. 2-3 under heavy acceleration requires same process but drop revs 1k. At that point, waiting for revs to drop is losing a lot of time and I am not longer accelerating quickly at all and makes the car seem slow because I have to wait 1 second or so between shifts. I remember when I first got the car, I was able to do a few smooth shifts from 1-2 under moderate acceleration, but I cannot remember how I did this.

I am also constantly chirping the tires in a 1-2 shift under moderate to heavy acceleration. Now I know a lot of this has to do with the Pirelli all season tires I have on the car and I am pretty much waiting for them to burn off before I get something better. Am I doing something wrong with my shifts that cause it to not be smooth? Is there something I am supposed to be doing different so I can accelerate fast and keep it somewhat smooth without the car bucking all over the place?

Bonus question: I don't really lay into it all that often, just here and there. Obviously doing pulls like this will put more wear on the vehicle, but it is pretty good at holding up to the strain right? My car is completely stock.
 

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I’m at 60k miles been stage 3 for like 10k and I rip on it all day, had a transmission replaced but that was my own fault for installing a short throw shifter improperly, the 1-2 shifts are hard and no matter the tires you will chirp a 1-2 shift unless you do some serious suspension upgrades. The car is a blast and can take a beating as long as you perform proper maintenance.
 

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I’m at 60k miles been stage 3 for like 10k and I rip on it all day, had a transmission replaced but that was my own fault for installing a short throw shifter improperly, the 1-2 shifts are hard and no matter the tires you will chirp a 1-2 shift unless you do some serious suspension upgrades. The car is a blast and can take a beating as long as you perform proper maintenance.
So for fast acceleration, I should just ignore the chirps and lay into it when I want to have fun? Not really any other technique for smoother shifting while accelerating fast?
 

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Other than lifting off throttle not really, couples mods help the wheel hop and make shifts smoother I mean I personally don’t want to mess with any shifter upgrades after my last debacle but I know a rear motor mount helps with wheel hop and lowering springs
 

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The tires have nothing to do with it. It’s a front wheel drive car. Those are good tires you currently have on it anyways. The only cure for wheel hop is 35k for an RS or Golf R.




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The tires have nothing to do with it. It’s a front wheel drive car. Those are good tires you currently have on it anyways. The only cure for wheel hop is 35k for an RS or Golf R.




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I have not heard great things about these tires and I spin them a lot. I am looking at getting some better summer performance tires that might be more grippy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Other than lifting off throttle not really, couples mods help the wheel hop and make shifts smoother I mean I personally don’t want to mess with any shifter upgrades after my last debacle but I know a rear motor mount helps with wheel hop and lowering springs
I am still trying to find a good balance. I normally do lift completely off throttle when shifting. I have been starting to do a little throttle while releasing clutch in 2nd, but I don't think it's making a difference.
 

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Upgraded rear motor mount will absolutely help with the 1-2 shift. I suggest a stage 2 motor mount. I run CPE stage 2. Solid shifter cable bushings, short shift arm on the tranny and a heavy weight knob also help with the smoothing out the shifts and making them quicker.
 

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It sounds like at this point you just need refinement, yourself. We can't know exactly what youre doing without riding along with you and watching everything you're doing. I just recommend keep driving it and keep working on your timing. Your arm and leg should be doing one motion at the same time. I think once it becomes muscle memory for you, thats when it will smooth out.

I DO NOT recommend replacing parts yet. When you replace parts, it changes the dynamic of how the shifting feels and you have to relearn it. You need to master the stock feel before you start changing things.
My entire shift setup is stock and i love the way it shifts and feels.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Upgraded rear motor mount will absolutely help with the 1-2 shift. I suggest a stage 2 motor mount. I run CPE stage 2. Solid shifter cable bushings, short shift arm on the tranny and a heavy weight knob also help with the smoothing out the shifts and making them quicker.
When I talk about smoothness, I am not talking about the motion that I physically perform, I am talking about how the car reacts to the shifts. I have no problem performing a fast smooth 1-2 shift physically. I think I am pretty fast at it. The issue is how the car reacts to it and it is really jerky, bouncy, bumpy, and bucky.

Again, this is when accelerating under moderate to fast acceleration. When driving normally, I can drive the car very smoothly.
 

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It sounds like at this point you just need refinement, yourself. We can't know exactly what youre doing without riding along with you and watching everything you're doing. I just recommend keep driving it and keep working on your timing. Your arm and leg should be doing one motion at the same time. I think once it becomes muscle memory for you, thats when it will smooth out.

I DO NOT recommend replacing parts yet. When you replace parts, it changes the dynamic of how the shifting feels and you have to relearn it. You need to master the stock feel before you start changing things.
My entire shift setup is stock and i love the way it shifts and feels.
I feel like I have mastered it under normal driving conditions. The issue is when I'm accelerating quickly. My physical motions are smooth and quick. Driving the car normally is very smooth. It's only when I'm accelerating in moderate or fast manner. My motions are fast and smooth, it's just how the car physically reacts. It bucks and bounces all over the place unless I slow down the process which then slows down acceleration.
 

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It sounds like at this point you just need refinement, yourself. We can't know exactly what youre doing without riding along with you and watching everything you're doing. I just recommend keep driving it and keep working on your timing. Your arm and leg should be doing one motion at the same time. I think once it becomes muscle memory for you, thats when it will smooth out.

I DO NOT recommend replacing parts yet. When you replace parts, it changes the dynamic of how the shifting feels and you have to relearn it. You need to master the stock feel before you start changing things.
My entire shift setup is stock and i love the way it shifts and feels.
Yeah I’ll second this notion to stay stock for now. Not to be rude, but if this is your first manual, the issue is more likely you and not the car. I learned on an absolute junk box of a car and eventually I was able to smooth it out, you will too, just keep driving!
 

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Yeah I’ll second this notion to stay stock for now. Not to be rude, but if this is your first manual, the issue is more likely you and not the car. I learned on an absolute junk box of a car and eventually I was able to smooth it out, you will too, just keep driving!
Driving normally, the car and my motions are smooth. It is only when I am trying to accelerate somewhat fast that the car gets jerky. The motions I make I would say are pretty smooth. It's just how the car reacts to it.
 

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Driving normally, the car and my motions are smooth. It is only when I am trying to accelerate somewhat fast that the car gets jerky. The motions I make I would say are pretty smooth. It's just how the car reacts to it.
Yeah the motions you make to drive smooth when going slow are not the same ones required to drive smooth when going fast.

I wouldn’t assume there’s anything wrong with the car. The stock shifter setup does work well.
 

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Yeah the motions you make to drive smooth when going slow are not the same ones required to drive smooth when going fast.

I wouldn’t assume there’s anything wrong with the car. The stock shifter setup does work well.
Do you have any advice as to what I should be doing differently then? Pretty much I have just spend up the process of shifting when I am trying to accelerate faster. Clutch in faster, switch gear faster, off clutch faster.
 

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Do you have any advice as to what I should be doing differently then? Pretty much I have just spend up the process of shifting when I am trying to accelerate faster. Clutch in faster, switch gear faster, off clutch faster.
It’s hard to explain, your best bet is to just keep driving it, it will come with time.
 

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Are you worried about the normal "snap" of the car on a fast up-shift? It's going to be a much more abrupt gear change when under hard acceleration vs a smooth gear change under light acceleration. You won't be worrying about rev matching as much, smooth clutch engagement/disengagement, and slow changes. It's more of a switch, and consequently, the car will bark the tires/spin them under a hard 1-2 or 2-3 shift (and you need to not pull your foot off the gas). From your description (bucks, jerks, etc.) it sounds to me like you're getting OFF the gas instead of staying on it after you change gears. If you get off the gas on hard acceleration the car is going to try to slow down quickly (especially in the lower gears), and yeah... it's going to buck and be a mess.

What I would suggest is try to learn how to do the 2-3 shift under hard acceleration first, and NOT try to learn on the 1-2 shift. It's easier to deal with, IMO, and while you are changing the shifter gate (1-2 gate to the 3-4 gate), there's not going to be the high potential for the bucking that you're getting on the 1-2 shift (at least). It should help you get the timing (and feel) down so that you can utilize it on the 1-2 shift later. Since this is your first manual, though... you have a bit of a learning curve. Anybody can learn to shift a manual at slow acceleration, IMO, but it takes a bit of work to learn how to do it in the higher revs and make it work well.

Run 2nd up to 5500-5800 rpm, clutch in and foot off gas while you push it from 2nd and up to 3rd quickly, and then gas down and clutch out in one final motion. Then just keep your foot down as you accelerate in 3rd. Try that and report back.

Heck, I don't think I ever let the revs drop much on a hard shift (other than what it might come down in the 1/2 second or so between the shifts). I'm on the gas hard, clutch in and off gas, out of gear and into the new one, on the gas and clutch dumped and then hold onto the wheel) Yep, it may bark or spin the tires, but that's just part of hard acceleration.
 

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When my dad taught me to drive manual, he had not driven anything modern and I learned on old Pontiacs but what he said stuck with me:

1. When you rev match and shift correctly, to passengers it should feel smoother than an automatic.
2. Don't look at the tachometer - listen and feel it.
3. Smooth is fast.

I still glance at my tac but have found a lot of that is true, and when you get the perfect shift there is almost a slingshot, that is faster than just moving the levers faster if that makes sense. As said just take your time and enjoy the process!
 

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Again an upgraded rear motor mount will help with this when you're shifting under hard acceleration the entire engine is rotating on its axis. I've had the engine hit the firewall before I installed the CPE stage 2.
 
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