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Should I Float My Gears or Use the Standard Double Clutch Method?

2 min read
Should I Float My Gears or Use the Standard Double Clutch Method?

If you’d like a quick and concise answer to the question, there really isn’t one. Both techniques work equally well depending on your transmission, shifter setup, and standard operating RPMs. There are minor positives to each method depending on your application.

For those of us that aren’t familiar with the trucker lingo, floating gears is the process of shifting without the use of the clutch. It is performed by carefully accelerating and simply “floating” the shifter into gear when RPMs reach a desired level. The RPM level required to float is relatively low, so floaters will move through their gears very quickly. Usually this is to best preserve fuel. The clutch is only engaged when starting the truck and for the initial roll forward. Some of the more recent trucks don’t require use of the gas pedal to start your initial roll either, so pedal usage can be at an all time minimum with skilled gear floating. Heavy duty trucks have unsynchronized transmissions, which allows you to float gears. If you tried this in your Civic you might need to get your transmission repaired.

The double clutch method is the by the book process for shifting through the gears on your transmission. It is done by simply pressing the clutch, popping your shifter into neutral, release the clutch, pushing the clutch back in, and shifting to the next appropriate gear. This method is usually employed when you are gaining too much speed going down hill or while climbing uphill. It is safer and will keep you from grinding your gears as you shift. The downside is you are going to have to be pushing in the clutch loads more, potentially wearing it out the bearings quicker. Also, in older vehicles, you won’t be able to smoothly drop the shifter into gear, so double clutching becomes more of a necessity.

The bottom line is you should do what is best for the truck. Every truck has its own feel and every driver is different. According the Environmental Protection Agency a skilled driver can make a thirty percent performance difference in fuel over an unskilled driver. I’m sure the number is similar for preserving transmissions and engine health. Most people don’t even have to think as they are shifting through their gears, especially those who have been in the business for many years. It will be an integral part of driving until automatic transmission can catch up to the fuel efficiency of a skilled driver.

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