To Engine Brake or Not To Engine Brake

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Daya, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. Daya

    Daya Guest

    I don't know if you guys out there use engine brake so often or not. I found
    it very useful in Winter.

    However, I'm afraid doing so may damage the clutch.
    Daya, Feb 7, 2004
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  2. Daya

    al gu Guest

    If you are really good you can upshift through all the gears and downshift
    through all the gears (after you get going) with NO clutch at all.
    I have done it in many cars and trucks.
    the clutch cable broke in my 1972 volvo and i drove all the way home in the
    al gu, Feb 7, 2004
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  3. Daya

    Rob Duncan Guest

    Arent brakes cheaper than clutches? Why would you want to destroy your
    clutch? Stop doing that my man, brakes are cheaper.

    Rob Duncan, Feb 7, 2004
  4. Daya

    Ron Ginter Guest

    I don't understand how engine braking destroys the clutch? In fact, maybe
    I don't understand what is meant by engine braking? Please elucidate.

    Ron Ginter, Feb 7, 2004
  5. Daya

    Cam Penner Guest

    It's cheaper to push the car than to use the engine.

    Besides, why would downshifting cause significant clutch
    wear? It wears a heck of a lot less than starting from a
    stop - and we don't even blink about doing that.
    Cam Penner, Feb 7, 2004
  6. Daya

    SkaredShtles Guest

    It doesn't. If the engine & transmission speeds are matched before
    releasing the gas pedal there will be virtually NO wear on the clutch.
    Engine braking is a great way to prolong brake life. Especially if you
    frequent the mountains.

    SkaredShtles, Feb 7, 2004
  7. Daya

    uglymoney Guest

    Some folks may wear their clutches when they downshift if they don't
    match their engine speed by blipping the throttle.

    So for folks incapable of doing that, I suppose they shouldn't engine
    brake. For the rest of us...

    uglymoney, Feb 7, 2004
  8. Daya

    David Betts Guest

    Modern advanced driving teaches 'brakes to slow, gears to go'. This is
    fine as far as it goes, but there are certainly instances when
    changing down through the gears will improve stability and increase
    safety....particularly when descending steep hills. I would also agree
    that it is a must on slippery surfaces, where you want to use the
    brakes as little as possible and only very gently.

    No question of clutch damage if done properly.

    David Betts
    David Betts, Feb 7, 2004
  9. Do you realize your post is just a couple of non-sequitors?

    IMHO there are no differences between applying the brakes and downshifting
    in an AWD car. Both apply stopping force to all four wheels - I would think
    the brake pedal allows more control to the amount of braking force.

    I think the misconception of the utility of engine braking for cars comes
    from people seeing truckers doing it. Truckers downshift on long hills with
    heavy loads because they have enough momentum to cause brake-fade by the
    time they get to the bottom of the hill.

    RWD cars get a bit of "stability" because downshifting only applies braking
    to the rear wheels. With big heavy V8 engines over the front wheels,
    applying the brakes can cause you to fish-tail.

    God help you if you downshift in a FWD going down a slippery hill - spin,
    spin, spin!
    Dominic Richens, Feb 7, 2004
  10. Daya

    Mohawk Jake Guest

    For those who know how to double clutch on the downshift, you get the
    smoothest connection of drive train and engine. On a snowy downgrade, with
    AWD you get smooth engine braking without pitching the vehicle forward, as
    happens when you use the brakes.

    Unfortunately, my spouse has warned me that my next car must be an
    automatic. Ugh!

    But even with an automatic, when downshifting, you can gently "feather" the
    throttle as you downshift.
    Mohawk Jake, Feb 7, 2004
  11. Daya

    Ron Ginter Guest

    Thanks. I have driven standard transmissions all my life, have used engine
    braking all my life, and have not had clutch problems. I figured that
    either the 'clutch damage' statement was wrong, or there was a new
    definition of engine braking.

    Ron Ginter, Feb 7, 2004
  12. Daya

    BoB Guest

    As a newly licensed driver in '52, I taught myself that trick
    in a Studebaker pickup. You had a practical purpose for doing
    it, whereas I was just entertaining myself while delivering
    items around town.

    BoB, Feb 7, 2004
  13. Daya

    J999w Guest

    IMHO there are no differences between applying the brakes and downshifting
    But brakes are biased to the front (60/40?).
    You'll tend to slide the front brakes on a slippery stop.

    J999w, Feb 7, 2004
  14. Daya

    JonnieBlue Guest

    In my own opinion, i live in a town where it is either rainy, or snowy /
    icy, so engine breaking has been very useful. for instance, i was driving
    home last night, and rarely had to use the brake pedal. i control my speed
    mostly with the accelerator and gear im in. there is a stretch at the end of
    the highway where you go from 55 to 40 to 35, over a bridge, and back to 40,
    and it just came natural to use engine braking and gear shifting to get
    through that area than use the brakes going through that area and over the
    bridge twice a day.. i have always been told that there is no problem
    'letting the engine do some work'..

    just my opinion
    JonnieBlue, Feb 7, 2004
  15. The pressure on the disks is even, but the front has more stopping force
    because of the weight shift. This happens with engine braking too.
    Dominic Richens, Feb 7, 2004
  16. Brakes are biased because weight shift under braking puts
    more weight on the front wheels even in a car with 50/50
    static distribution and because locking only the rear wheels
    causes an uncontrollable situation for many drivers.
    Making sure the front wheels lock before the rears
    is a basic form of stability control.

    As for the comment someone made about brakes pitching
    the car forward where engine braking doesn't, that
    doesn't hold water. The pitching, or weight shift,
    happens with either. The only difference may be that
    using the brakes creates more stopping force which
    will obviously produce more weight shift.

    Brakes are alot cheaper than a clutch. For those who do
    their own work, very much cheaper. Engine braking is
    completely unnecesary in modern cars. Their capacity
    to perform is much greater than cars of thirty years
    Downshifting to put the car into the best gear after braking is
    a better reason.
    Dave Null Sr., Feb 7, 2004
  17. Daya

    Daya Guest

    The Forester manual suggested using engine brake more often.
    Daya, Feb 8, 2004
  18. Daya

    Greg Reed Guest

    Actually, you can downshift to engine brake - using the clutch - without
    overtaxing it. Just match engine revs before releasing the clutch, so that
    the engine is already going the correct speed for your new gear and road
    speed. Wait until the clutch is fully released before lifting the throttle
    to provide engine braking and spare your brakes. (Though I'm not sure that
    sparing the brakes is a good reason to employ engine braking. I prefer to
    use a lower gear in traffic because it gives me better control over my speed
    with only the throttle. The trade-off, of course, is increased fuel
    consumption. But with gasoline cheaper than bottled water here in the

    What destroys a clutch is excessive and prolonged speed differential between
    the two plates. Raising engine RPM with the throttle to what it will be
    with the clutch released *then* releasing the clutch doesn't cause any
    additional wear. OTOH, shifting into a lower gear then letting the clutch
    force the engine up to the appropriate revs for the new gear will definitely
    increase clutch wear. As long as the speed differential between the engine
    and the tranny is minimal, so will be the wear on the clutch.

    Actually, one should *always* rev match when downshifting, if only to make
    your driving smoother and thereby reduce neck strain in your passengers :).
    And I always try to double-clutch my downshifts to save the synchros as
    well, but that's probably a bit over-the-top in a modern manual-transmission
    car. Old habits, you know. I never got very good at using the heel and toe
    of my right foot to operate the gas and brake pedals at once, so I don't
    bother with the double-clutching if I'm on the brakes while downshifting.
    The only time I do the heel-and-toe thing is accelerating from a stop on an
    incline when some dork pulls right up on my bumper. Though I understand I
    won't have to do that with my new Subie, since they all have that neat "hill
    holder" feature.

    And the only time I've ever shifted sans clutch is on a motorcycle. I've
    never been brave enough to try it in a car. I can match revs pretty well,
    but I don't get it perfect every time -- which is what would be required to
    shift without the clutch. I suppose if I was in a pinch -- like with a
    broken clutch cable -- I might give it a whirl. But I've fortunately never
    been in such a pinch.

    - Greg Reed

    1976 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 9-Pass sedan
    1989 Audi 200 Turbo Quattro 5-Speed sedan
    2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue
    2001 Chevy Astro AWD (wife's)
    2005 Subaru Legacy GT Wagon (when available in U.S.)
    Greg Reed, Feb 8, 2004
  19. Daya

    Greg Reed Guest

    .... or drive a stick ...

    - Greg Reed

    1976 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 9-Pass sedan
    1989 Audi 200 Turbo Quattro 5-Speed sedan
    2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue
    2001 Chevy Astro AWD (wife's)
    2005 Subaru Legacy GT Wagon (when available in U.S.)
    Greg Reed, Feb 8, 2004
  20. Daya

    David Betts Guest

    Do you even know what you mean?

    David Betts
    David Betts, Feb 8, 2004
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