[A4] A4 clutchless shifting

Sean Reifschneider jafo-audifans at tummy.com
Thu Apr 19 06:03:20 EDT 2007

On Thu, Apr 19, 2007 at 03:22:03AM -0400, T. Jackson wrote:
>shouldn't need a clutch replacement so soon.  If driven correctly, clutches
>should last much longer.  Just curious.  How many miles/kilometers on his

Indeed.  I have a '97 A4 2.8Q with 160k miles on it's original clutch.  And
my friends agree I don't baby it when I drive it, but I also don't hammer
the clutch.  I've been expecting to have to replace the clutch for years.
This isn't a "highway miles" car.

On the topic of "clutchless shifting" (also called "speed shifting" and
"rev matching", when I was farting around with it in my youth)...  A
new-ish Audi isn't the machine to be learning it on.  Who actually thinks
it's a good idea to risk damaging a transmission to save the cost of a
clutch?  If your friend thinks a clutch replacement is expensive, I can
only imagine what they'd think of a transmission rebuild.

It can be done.  I tried to learn it on my '69 Datsun B-210 when I was
learning to drive in '87-ish.  The whole car cost less than a clutch
replacement for an Audi, so...

I was able to successfully do it, where success is defined by actually
ending up in the destination gear.  A handful of times I was able to do it
without crunching gears.  The vast majority of times I was not.  I can only
imagine that it was really hard on the synchros doing this.

Of course, this ignores one thing...  Rev matching shifting only works when
you're moving.  If you're at a full stop, the only way to rev-match the
engine is to turn it off.  If your clutch totally goes, and you're in, say,
a really bad neighborhood...  You can turn off the engine, put it in first,
and start the engine to get going, then rev-match beyond that.  Naturally,
it will NOT be a smooth launch.

One thing I will say though...  To this day I rarely use the clutch when I
come *OUT* of gear to neutral.  Rev-matching the engine to the road is real
easy when you're in gear.  If I'm coming up on a stop sign or light, I will
often rev-match and go into neutral, instead of hitting the clutch.  If I'm
going into another gear though, I always use the clutch.

Also, if I've been out of gear and need to come into a gear (say, the
light changed after I went into neutral), I'll usually make a half-assed
attempt at rev-matching the engine before hitting the clutch, to spin up
the input side gears before hitting the clutch and pulling the transmission
into gear.

Those are two real-world applications of rev matching shifting that I still
use, but I don't try shifting between gears without the clutch.

 The day that Linux invades the desktop market is the day that I start
 believing in people again.
Sean Reifschneider, Member of Technical Staff <jafo at tummy.com>
tummy.com, ltd. - Linux Consulting since 1995: Ask me about High Availability

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