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Discussion Starter #1
I finally picked up my 2003 3.5SE 5sp last Wednesday. I had it on order since last September. Brutal wait. I was trying to get it without leather but Nissan kept cancelling the order due to lack of 5sp 3.5's without leather destined for Canada. In the end I got a fully loaded model for only a few hundred dollars more. So far I love it. The heated seats sure have been nice the last few cold mornings.

I have one question:

I tried searching first, but could not find discussion exactly related to my question.

Since I picked my car up (with only 11 km on it), I have noticed a slight vibration when downshifting into 2nd or 3rd as the clutch engages. I don't really notice it when upshifting and it's smooth as silk when the clutch is fully engaged. I'm hoping this will go away as the engine/transmission/clutch breaks in. Is this normal? Please say yes.
 

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Yankmy Member
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krnch said:
I finally picked up my 2003 3.5SE 5sp last Wednesday. I had it on order since last September. Brutal wait. I was trying to get it without leather but Nissan kept cancelling the order due to lack of 5sp 3.5's without leather destined for Canada. In the end I got a fully loaded model for only a few hundred dollars more. So far I love it. The heated seats sure have been nice the last few cold mornings.

I have one question:

I tried searching first, but could not find discussion exactly related to my question.

Since I picked my car up (with only 11 km on it), I have noticed a slight vibration when downshifting into 2nd or 3rd as the clutch engages. I don't really notice it when upshifting and it's smooth as silk when the clutch is fully engaged. I'm hoping this will go away as the engine/transmission/clutch breaks in. Is this normal? Please say yes.

I have the same exact problem. I now have 11,000 miles on my alty and it is still there. Don't know what it is, Ive just been living with it. I will have it checked out before warranty is up.
 

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Are you talking about a vibration or creaking of the clutch pedal itself? Yes, I have that.
 

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Yankmy Member
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Not a creaking, it is a slight vibration and I only experience it downshifting into 2nd.
 

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krnch, are you talking about the notchy feeling? I still have no clue what this vibration is. But it is definitely a bit difficult to shift to 2nd at times. We all experience that and it is worse in cold weather. It seems to get better with more miles on the tranny.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
No, not the notchy feeling. It's more of a slight shudder in the steering wheel as the engine revs are brought up as the clutch is slowly engaged (e.g., during a downshift to slow the vehicle).
 

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OK, that may explain it. You should be bleeping the throttle prior to downshift to match rpms before you release the clutch. If not you may be experiencing torque steer as you suddenly go from low rpm in the higher gear to higher rpm in the lower gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You're right, blipping the throttle (ala "heal and toe" style) does eliminate the vibration. I've just never felt a manny tranny car do this if you don't blip the throttle. Then again, I've never had a manual car with 246 lb-ft of torque before either.

So hopefully this is normal and I'll just have to adapt my driving style a little.

I'm a newbie as far as contributing to this forum, but I've been reading it for months in anticipation of getting my new Altima. I find it a very informative and often entertaining forum.

I can't wait until this break-in period is over so I can REALLY drive this car.
 

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Welcome, and may winter end early for you, Pierre, and Rat et all.
 

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krnch said:
I finally picked up my 2003 3.5SE 5sp last Wednesday. I had it on order since last September. Brutal wait. I was trying to get it without leather.
I guess I just got lucky!
My 3.5, 5-speed came straight
off the lot without leather back
in Nov. '01. I really didn't want
leather either due to the brutal
Texas summers...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's my understanding that so few 3.5SE 5sp models are prepared in Canadian spec (metric gauges, slightly different packaging, cold weather package standard, etc.) that dealers have been typcially ordering only fully loaded ones in hopes of gaining a higher profit margin. I had a cloth one ordered and in the system but it was rejected by Nissan because, I presume, there weren't enough ordered to change the production run. Oh well, I'm happy with what I got.

I think that buying a sought after car in Canada is a much more frustrating experience than in the US.

So does your SE vibrate if you don't match engine RPM's to drivetrain speed when downshifting to slow down?
 

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RPM matching differs from heel and toe

NVS aLtiMa said:
What is the "heal to toe" thing ? Is that double clutching ? If so, can someone give me some insight as to how you do it ?? I'm confused. Thanks
You can RPM match before you brake by bleeping the throttle with your right foot while pressing the clutch...then releasing the clutch for a smooth downshift. Then brake.

This differs from double clutching where you add the extra step of bleeping the throttle AFTER putting the car in neutral, before clutching again and selecting the lower gear.

Finally, heel and toe is rotating your foot sideways to use the toe of your right foot on the brake and the heel of your right foot on the throttle to rpm match while using your left foot on the clutch. The advantage of this is you downshift and brake simultaneously.(A variation is to use the right side of your toes on the brake and the left side of your toes to bleep the throttle)

This all goes back to the days of non-synchro racing gearboxes where double-clutching was essential. It isn't essential anymore.

Heel and toe is still essential for high speed racing where you brake from high speeds to slower speeds demanding a lower gear.

Because a major factor in going fast in road racing is to brake VERY HARD at the last possible moment to maintain straight speed as long as possible, heel and toe is essential. Yet, while braking VERY HARD you must transition off the brake smoothly to minimize sudden weight transfer that disrupts the suspension and tire patch. This is called trail-braking. The RPM match during heel and toe does the same thing...keeps it smooth. So now you have the complexity of heel and toe downshifting coupled with VERY HARD late braking, transitioning to trail-braking and then acceleration in and out of the corner....this is why road racing requires more skill.

To be honest, I suck at heel and toe, and I'm too lazy to double clutch, but I ALWAYS RPM match. When I autocross, nearly the entire course is in second gear anyway, but if I must upshift to third and downshift to 2nd again, I brake very hard and late, transition to trail-brake, and THEN shift mid-curve with RPM matching. It's slower, but necessary, since I left-foot brake to allow me to get on the brake while I'm STILL ON THE GAS in many curves (dropping throttle mid-turn is a no-no in most cases-- it invites a spin or at least oversteer) and that saves time lost by not heel and toeing.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for your responses.

SoleIICole:

Nice description of heel and toeing. Have you ever experienced the shudder/vibration I described when downshifting into 2nd if you don't bleep the throttle? It seems like something that could go away after the clutch is broken in. Thanks!
 

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krnch said:
Thanks for your responses.

SoleIICole:

Nice description of heel and toeing. Have you ever experienced the shudder/vibration I described when downshifting into 2nd if you don't bleep the throttle? It seems like something that could go away after the clutch is broken in. Thanks!
Like I said I have this vibration when down shifting into second and I have 11,000 miles on the car. I don't think it is going away on its own.
 

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I noted something, but I hate to do it very much because of the wear on the clutch and sudden jarring of the engine rpm.

Oddly, I practiced double clutching a few times, too, and found it actually much jerkier than straight rev matching without the double clutch. I have not practiced heel and toe in a while. I used to have to do it pretty regularly to keep my old SVT Contour from stalling out at stop signs back before I got that problem fixed.
 
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