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Learn How to Drive a 13-Speed Transmission in One Easy Step!

Alex Kierstein May 12, 2010 All Things Hoon 10 Comments

The zombies are shuffling down the dark country road towards the 24-hour diner you idiotically determined to hole up in. Now it’s up to you – do you want your brains to garnish a zombie Grand Slam breakfast, or are you going to get the hell out while your cerebellum is still undigested? If only you could escape in that big rig outside …

Don’t you feel better now? Oh, you’re still going to be zombie food, but you can at least go out in style … and satisfyingly splatter a few of them before they get you.

Thanks to the Hooniverse commenter, who I don’t recall offhand, who pointed this video out!

  • I'm just going to have to home that George Romero was right, and zombies can only shuffle along. I figure a big rig in 4th can still move faster than them, giving me time to figure everything out. If they're the modern zoombies, they may be able to run fast enough to chow down on me.

  • Yeah, but i will just wing it. I am reasonably intelligent, right guys? Sure, I will make it.

  • Wanna race? For brains.

  • I saw this a couple of weeks ago (and showed it to my dad, who at one point actually had this very transmission in his Kenworth decades ago), and we talked about it, and I still don't understand it. I have a feeling this explanation makes it sound orders of magnitude more complex than it actually is.

    I figure I could probably learn to drive a truck if you put me in the driver's seat, with a competent coach in the passenger seat (i.e., not my dad; I nearly gave up learning to drive as a teenager because of him), and say, "WE HAVE TO BE IN NEW MEXICO IN THE MORNING."

    P.S., Hooniverse and Chrome don't get along well. It's kind of a crapshoot as to whether I can log in to comment or not.

  • Ermott

    Written at Roger's Pass, Trans-Canada Highway, British Columbia Canada….

    Well, I have to say, I drive a "Big Rig" for a living, and …. We don't use the clutch except when stopping or starting. That's how you get a clutch disc, pedal mechanism and throwout bearing to last 650,000 miles instead of just 100,000. The video shows you the standard way of doing things, by "double clutching". Experienced drivers can and do shift up and down by doing the synchronization without touching that pedal. It takes a bit of practice, but after a while it's easier than the method shown here. You can try it in your car, but it's not the same, because automobile transmissions use synchronizers in the transmission, whereas our trucks do not. (In Europe they do.)

    In case you are interested, I drive a 2006 Volvo VN 670 with an Eaton Fuller Lightning 10speed, a Cummins 475 ISX six cylinder engine. My wife and I average 15,000 miles a month, and with just over 650,000 miles on the clock, I have never had any clutch related work done.

    • I never figured out how to use that thing either, I always called it the "stop-sign pedal". One huge advantage of not using the clutch (as I'm sure you know, but some of these guys may not), is that it allows your left foot to stay on the brake on grades while your right foot stays on the accelerator. It's the same concept as heel-toeing, but way easier as long as you know how to shift without the clutch. Heck, I seldom use the clutch in my cars anymore.

      Like you, I have never had a clutch-related problem in nearly 30 years of Driving, but here's an odd tid-bit you might find interesting.

      Several years ago I was promoted (somewhat against my will) to Fleet Manager of the small (7-9 Truck) company where I until recently worked. One of the first things I did was to eliminate slip-seating. This is the practice of rotating Drivers from truck to truck as occasion warrants, and Drivers hate this. I instituted a "one-truck, one-driver" policy, because as my Dad taught me, it's best that the one bad driver ruin one truck a lot (and then you can find them), than to have them rotate through the fleet and ruin every truck and never know who's doing it. Plus, the Drivers like it because they don't have to take out all their stuff after every shift, and they know the next time they get into it the truck is no worse than they left it.

      Three years ago, the company was sold, and against my most fervent requests, slip-seating was reinstated except for my truck. Within a year, the same truck exploded two drive-lines, once by a guy that double-clutched, the next time by a guy who doesn't use the clutch at all. Weird.

  • Slow Joe Crow

    This is a bit different than my one 18 wheeler experience, in a Kenworth with an 18 speed Spicer, but were just driving around the truck museum so I only got into second gear.

  • Mack made a "Qudraplex' (Spicer made the same thing, but it was called a "5 and 4") that was a five-speed transmission in front of a 4-speed compound box that was a hoot to drive simply for the "WTF! Who's idea was this?" factor. It had two sticks that came up out of the floor, one for each. The second lever had positions for reverse (that could be used in any of the other lever's 5 positions), Low, Direct, and Overdrive, and you split every shift.

    First was seldom used except off-road or under a really heavy load, so the gear progression went, 2-Low, 2-Direct, 2-Overdrive, and then it got nutty. You'd have to reach through the steering wheel with your left hand/arm to shift the compound lever back to Low while your right hand shifted the transmission to "3", then it was to 3-Direct, 3-Overdrive, and the whole contortionist rigamarole started all over again. Up-shifting while the road in front was clear was O.K., but down-shifting into a mess of traffic or a yellow light was gnarly.

    • 7Shades

      Oh dear… Flashbacks 🙂

      We called that a 'Joey box' down under. (obscure reference to a baby kangaroo in its mother's pouch I guess)

      I cut my teeth (pun intentional) learning to drive one of those old Macks around a quarry before I had my road licence.