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I think my engine's racing in third at 35, but that's too low

The shift points, according to the manual, are 15, 25, 40, and 45 (for my Toyota Pickup, '87, Deluxe Xtra-cab, long bed, 4-cylinder, carbureted, 5-speed, sesame seed bun, extra mustard) but when I reach 35 in third it sounds too fast to me. I try to speed up to 40 so I can shift into fourth or slow down. Could something be wrong with the car or is it me? Should I buy a tach and shift at an rpm?

I noticed Mazda Miatas have the same shift points.

I never figured out what makes it Deluxe.

What happens if you shift into 4th at 35? If the motor is not lugging (too low an RPM, usually <2k) then it’s fine.

Those numbers are not cast in stone (or whatever the saying is). Shift where you are comfortable and the engine is comfortable. Large loads, hills, all modify the shift points. Anyone who has been driving a manual transmission for some time quickly learns when to shift.

But you really need a tach to get a good answer.

edit: my rule of thumb is to upshift at 3k and downshift at 2k. But that is modified if I need more acceleration, or on hills, etc. Edit2: but after a bit I don’t have to look at the tach to know when to shift, I can tell by ear.

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Is it me or is something wrong with truck? That is just too easy of a question.

Just depends on whether you’re going uphill or down, and how much throttle.

Those up-shift speeds recommended are for mild acceleration with fuel economy in mind, when in the mood I shift from 2nd to 3rd @ 50 MPH.

When you reach your desired speed you should up-shift to the appropriate gear, not the gear shown in the manual for accelerating. Forth gear should be reasonable @ 35 MPH, in my car I can use 5th gear @ 35 MPH on flat ground.

I’ve never used a tach to determine when to shift and never will. Learn to shift by engine noise and how it feels.

I used to have a 4 cylinder car with the notorious “shift light” that showed a yellow light when it calculated you “should” shift to get better mileage. It almost never came on when I drove it. The car had a tach, I only used it to stay off redline after which it would cut the spark - Annoying!.

Your Toyota probably has a big drop from 3rd to 4th requiring a bit more RPM to keep it in the powerband. Go ahead and shift to 4th. If it feels sluggish, go back to 3rd. It won’t hurt it.

Your advice reminds me of the fellow who called ‘Car Talk’ and asked about learning to drive a manual. A friend ‘taught’ him, but he only said, ‘You have to feeeeel it!’ I fratelli Magliozzi told him to sell it and buy an automatic.

I’ve owned it for 18 years; before that a friend owned it and I drove it occasionally. Until I bought it then an owner’s manual I shifted by sound and feel. The advice of the owner’s manual surprised me. I asked partly out of curiosity and partly in case something was off, possibly something worn; the transmission is 30 years old.

Japanimports from that era often had high-revving engines that unnerved people who were used to the more lumbering redlines of their American counterparts. It took me a long time to convince one of my friends that winding his CRX up to 5,000 RPM not only wouldn’t hurt it, but was more than 1,500 under redline.

It can get especially fun in the cars that have no tach, which I’d be willing to bet includes your truck.

But here’s the secret: The engine has a rev limiter. Your redline is, if I recall, somewhere around 5700, which on that motor is going to sound very high when you’re actually doing it. You’re pretty unlikely to ever get near it unless you give it to a teenager who wants to pretend he’s in a race car. And if you do get to it, the rev limiter will kick in and stop you from overspeeding the engine, and you’ll know it’s kicked in because the car will buck and you’ll hear the fuel being cut off and turned back on in rapid succession.

I highly doubt that 3rd gear at 40mph is anywhere close to 5,000rpm, so you’ve most likely got a lot of headroom shifting at 40.

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The gear ratios won’t change in a manual trans. There is NO way for the engine to be spinning faster than it was when new in 3rd gear at a given speed while its pushing the car forward. It is digital, 0 or 1, broken or not, it drives the car forward or it doesn’t and the motor spins. I hope that makes you feel better about the trans. In a vehicle that old many things make more noise than when the car was young and it can seem as if the engine is spinning faster when it isn’t. Add a tach if you need objective data.

Unless the clutch were slipping, but I’m sure the OP would recognize that deal.

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Rev limiter or not it is unlikely but still possible to mechanically over-rev with a M/T.

Yup, hit 2nd on a fast shift when you meant to hit 4th. All kinds of things can get bent… mostly your wallet!

I didn’t say the gear ratios had changed. As best as I can remember it always did this. I didn’t notice until I bought an owner’s manual that told me when I should shift. I replaced the clutch once so I know what that’s like. I’m not worried about destroying the transmission all in 1 go, but wearing it or the engine out more quickly that I would otherwise. The other shift points are pretty close to where I shift by sound and feel.

Sure, it’s possible, but generally not when you’re winding the engine out under acceleration. You have to do what Mustangman suggested and mis-shift, at which point the discussion turns from “proper shifting method” to “learning how to not screw up bigtime.” :wink:

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So there is such a thing as too much information!


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Pretty much the same scenario I envisioned. A long steep downgrade. Unable to hold speed below 80mph in 5th gear. Not wanting to risk overheating brakes and correctly downshifting to 4th gear. Accidentally engaging 2nd gear. Whoops!

Circuitsmith, don’t be so sure that the OP would know his clutch was slipping.

OP: if you shift to high gear, floor it, and the engine revs without accelerating the truck, you need a new clutch. The engine should either lug or slowly accelerate the truck. You might also need a few tips on driving manuals.

By the way, if we had the year and mileage of the truck, as well as your history with driving manual transmissions, it might help us help you.

In my original message I told everyone who wanted to read it that it is an '87. It has 150,956 miles; the transmission is the original. I replaced the clutch 15 years ago. Except for rentals and other people’s cars I have driven manual transmissions. I’ve had a license for 46 years.

That test you recommended: the clutch passes.