Manual Transmission for Dummies!

Okay so a friend of mine bought a Nissan Juke…I’m not a huge fan of it. I think the front end of it looks like an insect but it seems to suit her fine. One problem…The Gear Shifter on it! My friend couldn’t figure out how to put it in reverse so she calls me over and I sit in the car and I know how to drive a stick shift. And so I start the Juke up and I’m looking at the gear shifter, there’s a button on the shifter and I wonder what that was, and I try to put it in reverse (its a 6 speed so reverse is to the left of 1st gear, that much I know) and nothing happened. I was like “What in the world?” So I thought about it for second and decided to see what would happen when I push the button on the gear shifter as I was shifting the car into reverse again and ta da it goes backwards…figured it out. Why do manufacturers do this? Is it a precautionary thing? Design or what?

Yep, precautionary - different cars have different kinds of interlocks, or none at all. My '65 Mustang 4 sp had a ‘t’ shaped handle below the knob that I pulled up to get reverse.

I guess I was just used to driving a 5-Speed Standard H with Reverse being located beneath 5th gear and no buttons on the gear shifter lol…

This reminds me of how one shifted the Chevrolet and GMC trucks that had 4 speed transmissions and manufactured before mid 1947 into reverse. Low was on the top left; second was on the bottom left; third was on the top right; and fourth was on the bottom right. To shift into reverse, one put the lever in second gear position and pulled up on a lever on the gear shift.
As I remember, on the old VW Beetle, to shift into reverse, one pushed the shifter down and pulled it back toward the driver. I guess this is a modern day Nissan version of the old GM truck transmissions and the VW transmission.

Is this why we’re supposed to read the owner’s manual? :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah I was going to read the owners manual if I didn’t think of pushing the button while shifting into reverse. The reason I thought of it was it reminded of the time my stepdad owned a Volkswagon Cabrio and I borrowed it one day when my old car was in the shop and same situation…reverse was on the left of 1st gear on the gear shifter instead of below 5th Gear or on some 4-speed models, to the right side of 4th gear and I had to read the instruction manual as to how to put it in reverse…On volkswagons you have to push the gearshifter down in the center then shift to reverse. And the Juke kind of reminded me of that except you have to push a button instead of pushing the gear shifter down in the center. As for shifting gears in older cars…My Dad always called it “Three on the Tree!” Thank god I didn’t own anything like that lol…

I have a six- speed Nissan Versa and reverse is up to the left of first, but mine has a collar that you pull up with two fingers to get into the reverse gate.

"As for shifting gears in older cars…My Dad always called it "Three on the Tree!"
The column shifter, or “three on the tree” was introduced in 1938 as an option on a few cars–the 1938 Pontiac being one of these cars. By 1939, it was standard on most cars, although it was an option on the 1939 Chevrolet and I don’t think it was available on the Ford until 1940. At any rate, the column shift was considered a real improvement over the floor shift. Suddenly, in the 1970s, the manual transmissions went back to a floor shift. Yet, there are those that think the automobile industry has made prorgress.

I have a Nissan Versa too but opted to get the Automatic instead of the manual because at the time I was living in a city where you had a lot more stop and go traffic. Now I live out in the country and there’s very little traffic and either type would work for me.

Yes, this helps prevent shifting into reverse accidentally.

This is yet another interpretation likely from marketing people of how to do it. It’s intended for customer satisfaction but that does not always connect.

I like the way BMW does it. You simply strong arm the stick to the left and up. Fewer collars and lockout to fail.

I’ve always liked the way the old aircooled VWs (bugs, buses) do their reverse:
you push down on the stick, pull left and back.

That brings back memories of my '76 Volvo wagon, which had a donut shaped collar that had to be pulled up on the 4 speed manual to go into reverse.

I remember years ago when my mother had a '79 Pontiac Sunbird with an “Iron Duke” 4-banger and a 4-on-the-floor; reverse was located to the left and up from 1st, and there was a “T-handle” collar below the shifter knob, which had to be pulled up while shifting to reverse. My dad once had a '74 VW Westfalia camper (w/ pop-up top), and to get reverse you would have to push down on the gearshift, move it as far RIGHT as it would go, and pull straight back. My uncle’s 1970 Chevy C-10 pickup had a 3-on-the-tree (column); Reverse was pull back and up, 1st was straight down from reverse, 2nd was push forward and up, and 3rd was straight down from 2nd. And then, being a former long-distance trucker, I’ve operated manual transmissions ranging from a 5-speed w/ 2-speed rear axle combo (button next to the gear shift to work the 2-spd. rear) to 10-speed and 13-speed multi-range transmissions (plunger button and/or splitter switch on gearshift). I never worked with a twin-stick setup, though, but I’m sure some participants on this forum have.

“My uncle’s 1970 Chevy C-10 pickup had a 3-on-the-tree (column); Reverse was pull back and up, 1st was straight down from reverse, 2nd was push forward and up, and 3rd was straight down from 2nd”.

Drifter–this was the standard 3 speed pattern on cars for years. The column shift mimicked the floor shift which had reverse on the top left, first on the bottom left, second on the top right and high on the bottom right. This pattern transfered to the 3 speed column set up you described. This was the standard “3 on the tree” pattern The last car that I drove that had this set-up was a 1977 Chevelle I don’t think any domestic car had the “3 on the tree” after 1977. I believe that the lighter duty half ton trucks may have carried this into the early 1980s.
There was a period in the 1920s when the Dodge, before it was bought by Chrysler, had a different shift pattern. From my mother’s description, third gear (or high) was on the top right. The reason was that when one was traveling on the highway, the gearshift was up and out of the way of the passenger. However, by the 1930s, the pattern was standardized as I described above.

Hey, Triedaq, I KNOW that was the standard shift pattern for 3-spd. trannies; been driving sticks since I was 15; however, some of our younger folks may not know that, nor ever even heard of a “3-on-the-tree”, and therefore might like to know. Just sayin’.

I had a 4 on the tree once, a 1960 Borgward Isabella wagon.

I believe that the Hillman-Minx from the 1950s also had 4 on the tree.

why not just put a gated shifter (ala Lambos and older Vettes) in cars and make it easier for everyone involved. No boot to worry about keeping clean, just the handle and knob of the shifter and the gate designated where each gear was supposed to be; no guess work involved