Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practices?

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Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practices?

Postby de_engineered » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:47 pm

So, I'm getting an 88 Camry All Trac soon as a DD/learning platform. I'm gonna dissemble, reassemble, clean and change a part or two, but keep it stock for the most part, and then sell it here in about a year or so before moving onto a full on Camry build on a prettier car.

Car in question is a manual, and I've a shifting inquiry: what are your recomended best practices for shifting on a Camry All Trac?

Should I double clutch, and at that should I let it hang a moment as possible when it's in neutral (read that in an automotive class textbook, the author seemed quite resolute on the matter), any other quirks to the Camry transmission I should be aware of? My WRX 5 speed is, uh, a little funny for example.

I've really only ever driven preformance manual cars, which don't mind quick shifts and kicking the clutch now and again. Doesn't seem to kind a thing to do a commuter car drivetrain through, and I want to granny the car as much as possible for longevity and mileage sake. What kind of MPG do you folks get as well by the way?

Thoughts, comments, criticisms, tangents?
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby brutekiller787 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:26 am

Granny Shiftin Instead Of Double Clutchin Like You're Supposed To. Lol Fast And The Furious Gets Me Every Time.

Shift When Bad Noises Start happening, That's What I do
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby phattyduck » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:24 pm

Don't worry about hurting the transmission. Its the same unit in the ST165 Celicas... The synchros may be weak after this many years, but you aren't going to break anything otherwise. The 3s-fe doesn't make much power up top, and is good anywhere above 2k for torque. Listen carefully for pinging - the engine has no knock sensor. You may want to use 89 octane gas just in case due to carbon build-up in the engine. Otherwise it should be just be (lots of) regular maintenance.

You should get mid-20's for mileage if you keep the speeds reasonable and don't do all city driving (I got 24 average in my Alltrac auto before the motor swap, and get 22-24 now). If you had a good FWD 5-speed, you could expect over 30 in almost all situations - the penalty of AWD.

-Charlie
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby de_engineered » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:50 pm

brutekiller787 wrote:Shift When Bad Noises Start happening, That's What I do


Need to get that in a placard on the dash somewhere...

phattyduck wrote:Don't worry about hurting the transmission. Its the same unit in the ST165 Celicas... The synchros may be weak after this many years, but you aren't going to break anything otherwise. The 3s-fe doesn't make much power up top, and is good anywhere above 2k for torque. Listen carefully for pinging - the engine has no knock sensor. You may want to use 89 octane gas just in case due to carbon build-up in the engine. Otherwise it should be just be (lots of) regular maintenance.

You should get mid-20's for mileage if you keep the speeds reasonable and don't do all city driving (I got 24 average in my Alltrac auto before the motor swap, and get 22-24 now). If you had a good FWD 5-speed, you could expect over 30 in almost all situations - the penalty of AWD.

-Charlie


Copy that, thanks for the feedback. Yikes on the mileage though. I get about 26 in my Subaru, though that's a bit apples to oranges. For either ride probably helps that I'm a coast-n-braker, not a downshifter usually.

Can I cheapskate and do 50/50 85 and 89, call it 87 oct?
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby underscore » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:55 pm

Downshifting saves you gas, any time an EFI engine is in gear and you're off the throttle completely it's not using any fuel.
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby ___Scott___ » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:40 pm

underscore wrote:Downshifting saves you gas...

That´s true, but in some cases you can coast a lot farther in neutral than in a lower gear. I live 1600 feet higher than where I work, thus I have a lot of opportunities to coast. By carefully selecting those opportunities I am able to squeeze 30+ mpg out of my ST165 during the warm weather. Cold weather knocks the mpg down a bit.
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby phattyduck » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:12 pm

de_engineered wrote:Copy that, thanks for the feedback. Yikes on the mileage though. I get about 26 in my Subaru, though that's a bit apples to oranges. For either ride probably helps that I'm a coast-n-braker, not a downshifter usually.

Can I cheapskate and do 50/50 85 and 89, call it 87 oct?
Where are you finding 85 octane in California? 89 octane is about 2.5% more expensive than 87 octane... if you are that much of a cheapskate, an Alltrac is not the car for you.

As for coasting/braking/etc. I generally leave the car in gear (foot off clutch) and coast/brake from there. A good double-clutch downshift if it looks like the light is going to turn green, etc. works out fine. Shifting into and out of neutral more often than necessary can wear synchros, etc. Downshifting to brake is trading something expensive to repair (synchros, clutches) instead of using something cheap to replace (brakes).

-Charlie
'89 Camry LE Alltrac 3S-GTE - SV25/ST205 hybrid
'99 4Runner SR5 4WD 5VZ-FE
Previous: '88 Camry LE Alltrac 3S-GE BEAMS, '90 Camry 3S-GTE, '90 Camry DX
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby underscore » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:23 pm

phattyduck wrote:As for coasting/braking/etc. I generally leave the car in gear (foot off clutch) and coast/brake from there. A good double-clutch downshift if it looks like the light is going to turn green, etc. works out fine. Shifting into and out of neutral more often than necessary can wear synchros, etc. Downshifting to brake is trading something expensive to repair (synchros, clutches) instead of using something cheap to replace (brakes).

-Charlie


What the hell has been happening to your cars? If you're worried about wearing out syncros and clutches by changing gears, a manual isn't the car for you.
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby athousandleaves » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:06 pm

___Scott___ wrote:I live 1600 feet higher than where I work


:rofl: I love how you actually worked out how much higher it is :lol:
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby ___Scott___ » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:41 pm

It´s easy math. I live at 7600 feet and work at 6000 feet. :D
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby phattyduck » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:23 pm

underscore wrote:What the hell has been happening to your cars? If you're worried about wearing out syncros and clutches by changing gears, a manual isn't the car for you.
My 175k mile WRX has a trans that works better that most brand-new WRX's (75k of that behind a 350hp motor)... that's what has happened. (i.e., nothing)

"Worrying" about it is a bit strong of a word. If I can do something that prolongs the life of a component without hurting something else, then its worth it...

-Charlie
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby de_engineered » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:37 pm

phattyduck wrote:Where are you finding 85 octane in California? 89 octane is about 2.5% more expensive than 87 octane... if you are that much of a cheapskate, an Alltrac is not the car for you.

Brainfart about the 85, and just looking for ways to save up for a performance build Camry. The one I'm getting is just gonna be a commuter - I've my rex for the "spirited" driving.


phattyduck wrote:As for coasting/braking/etc. I generally leave the car in gear (foot off clutch) and coast/brake from there. A good double-clutch downshift if it looks like the light is going to turn green, etc. works out fine. Shifting into and out of neutral more often than necessary can wear synchros, etc. Downshifting to brake is trading something expensive to repair (synchros, clutches) instead of using something cheap to replace (brakes).

It's a carryover from how I learned stick (rather timidly heh), but I'm one to coast and brake in neutral a lot too. A while back I went to a meet with a few other forum guys here and we caravaned over some mountains (Highway 17 and 1 from Santa Cruz to Watsonville if you're familiar) and for the first time I made significant use of engine braking, just as a means to evenly regulate my speed in traffic while going downhill, without the zoom and stop of coasting braking. Brakes are meant to be used up and I don't mind doing so for any other situation.


phattyduck wrote:My 175k mile WRX has a trans that works better that most brand-new WRX's (75k of that behind a 350hp motor)... that's what has happened. (i.e., nothing)

That's a mighty stern 5MT, that or you've got real good technique. Mine is a lot more moody, and I'm unsure how much of it is known design problems, previous owner abuse or my skill (possible lack thereof - I'm only about a year deep driving manual).

In my WRX, I often physically cannot move the shifter into first, takes a few seconds of gentle forcing, at unless I move it through 2nd before that, and that's not even foolproof. The tranny will also often grind as I move the shifter into first - with the clutch pedal glued to the floor, sometime even at a dead standstill. Fourth grinds occasionally for a sec or two at high RPM. I'm finally used to the weird tall ratio for second, though frequently first is a better gear for a given situation (and I mean perfectly mundane driving), but as said it's often hard to just pop it in.

And randomly it's like butter some days, and all's right with the world. Warming the car up tends to help, but not always.

Had some heavier transmission and dif oil previously, which seemed to help, but when I had a new clutch and flywheel put in I forgot to ask for that and got standard weights instead. Next flush I'll specify I guess. I've heard of really good results to none at all from the cocktail blends some guys run, might be the ticket there *shrug*.

Point here being it's good in a way if it's mostly me, because that's correctable, and herein I was looking for help in that respect (and likely applicable to any manual car), though if it's a hardware issue, good to know what might give me grief with a Camry's transmission, and how to deal with it, like say the aforementioned 2nd-then-1st trick that my WRX seems to enjoy. Got that one off another Subie driver.

Fwiw, the only problem I noticed when test driving the Camry I'm getting was the stick-in-the-mud feel of the shifter, but I'll get some bushings in there to fix that right quick once I get it.

Thanks again all for the feedback.
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Re: Manual Transmission Camry All Trac Best Shifting Practic

Postby phattyduck » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:37 pm

The stick in the mud feeling comes from an old cable shifter trans with lots of slop. You might be able to lube things up a bit and shim the bushing that holds the shifter stick to tighten it up for free. The bushings (trans end and shift base) will help with end play, but resistance to stick movement won't be helped.

As for the WRX - most of the early 5MT's need the 2nd to 1st trick, even from a stop (not mine, but I have driven a number of other WRX's). I have always rev-matched into first - it just has a really weak synchro and I don't feel like wearing it out on my own car. As for the trans fluid - stick with Scotty's Cocktail, Subaru Extra-S (if you can get it) or regular (non-synthetic) Valvoline 75W90. I've had good luck with all 3 (Scotty's Cocktail wears out the fastest). Actually, all of those options would work for the Alltrac trans too, come to think of it (I've been using Valvoline 75W90 so far in my ST205 trans) - it has the same type of transmission + hypoid gears as the Subarus do.

Just keep paying attention to what the car is 'telling' you and you'll keep improving. I've only got 15+ years and 300k+ miles under my belt on various manual transmissions. :twisted:

-Charlie
'89 Camry LE Alltrac 3S-GTE - SV25/ST205 hybrid
'99 4Runner SR5 4WD 5VZ-FE
Previous: '88 Camry LE Alltrac 3S-GE BEAMS, '90 Camry 3S-GTE, '90 Camry DX
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