First Time Automatic Owner

Topics relating to Advanced Driving in cars
waremark
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Re: First Time Automatic Owner

Postby waremark » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:03 pm

Tell us what the car is, and someone here may have experience with the same type of gearbox.

It is obviously a double-clutch box as you say. Some would be fine with applying the handbrake in drive and taking your foot off the footbrake. Others would release the clutch when you take off the footbrake, and strain against the handbrake.

As to automatically releasing the parking brake, in some cars that works nicely, in others you feel the car trying to start to move off against the parking brake, then there is a little surge as the parking brake releases. In such cars I prefer to press the button to release the parking brake before pressing the accelerator to move off - though on a slope and again always depending on the particular type of car that may cause it to roll back.

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GTR1400MAN
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Re: First Time Automatic Owner

Postby GTR1400MAN » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:23 pm

It's been a few weeks since I got the car and thought I'd give an update on where I am with it, what I've found out about the gearbox, how I drive it and a new question for you all to answer.

I've still had conflicting replies on what happens when the handbrake is used, including from the techs at Renault. After some experimentation, this is my conclusion. When stopped and in 1st gear the clutch does not disengage if you apply the handbrake. It does if you apply the footbrake (the recommended way to drive in the handbook). I came to this conclusion by applying first the footbrake, where the revs drop to idle and the car isn't trying to pull. I then added the handbrake and after a few seconds released the footbrake. At this point the revs rose a little and the car tries to pull. I've been told that after a 'while' it will realise and disengage, but I'm not prepared to wait that long.

After that experimentation I now drive the car like a manual. Short stops are held on the footbrake, on longer stops I apply the handbrake AND select neutral. This is then complicated when driving the car as a manual (for gear changes) as you can not select neutral, so footbrake only. As I tend to use manual mode mostly out of town (with the engine/steering/suspension in sport mode), this isn't much of an issue.

I always use the handbrake for hill starts as I dislike the hill assist's abrupt release of the brakes and it's decision making on when it is needed.

Although the title of this topic says it is an Automatic, the truth is it is really a DCT which is an automated manual gearbox (well two really).

Having got to grips with it I'm really enjoying it. It is seriously fast accelerating and handles superbly. A quick car cross country on twisty B roads, while still a practical hatchback. I am still surprised at the lack of knowledge and driving advice for this mixed format of gearbox, given they have been around for a while now. I really do fear that there will be a lot of these types of cars with clutch issues in the future with the number of people you still see doing slow rolls up hills, almost to standstill, like you can safely do with a torque covertor auto.

QUESTION. The car has no way to lock it in a gear when in automatic mode. Despite living in Suffolk we do still have some hills and a lot of them seem to be 30mph areas. On the bike or in the 'normal' car these are easily dealt with by selecting a suitably low gear before descent (with a nice constant throttle rev match ;) I don't blip very often). In the DCT Renault the car just runs away and I have to use the brakes. You can over-ride the auto with the paddles, though this still seems to lack any retardation, switches off after a short while, and reverts back to the auto's choice of gear, which can be 'interesting'. How do other DCT drivers deal with this situation?
Mike Roberts

waremark
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Re: First Time Automatic Owner

Postby waremark » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:56 pm

Well done for getting it worked out and finding a method of using it which works well for you.

As you say these gearboxes have been around for a while and I have not heard many complaints about clutch issues. DCT boxes are not all the same. I understand that many of them have wet clutches, which presumably cope with the sort of abuse you mention. Earlier single clutch automated manuals on the other hand were known to get through clutches quickly.

As for going downhill, I am surprised that if you use the down paddle to select a suitably low gear and then descend the hill with your foot off the accelerator, the box changes back up after a short while. In other paddle-shift cars the box has remained in the low gear as long as I have been going downhill with no acceleration. The alternative to using the brakes would be to select manual mode.

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GTR1400MAN
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Re: First Time Automatic Owner

Postby GTR1400MAN » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:19 pm

The Renaultsport DCT is called EDC (Efficient dual-clutch) and is the dry version. Hence why I was so keen to understand how it works.

Hmm, I wonder if I am touching the accelerator causing it to go back to full auto. Perhaps I'm going one too low and (subconsciously) feel the need to speed up a little. Will have a play over the weekend.
Mike Roberts

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akirk
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Re: First Time Automatic Owner

Postby akirk » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:46 pm

it is not unusual for there to be a sport mode which is the closest to manual, non-sport mode simply allowing you to choose to go up or down the gears on the paddles but then reverting from there to automatic...

so if there is a sport mode try that, on a number of cars I have driven that will hang onto the gear and only change if otherwise the engine would be damaged...

Alasdair

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GTR1400MAN
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Re: First Time Automatic Owner

Postby GTR1400MAN » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:45 pm

Sport mode is great when in full manual mode (it changes down by itself (complete with heel/toe blips while you are braking) but will redline+ and not change ... there's a warning beep if all the noise hasn't alerted you!). In full auto mode it does indeed hold on to the gears for longer... when accelerating (sometimes too long for inconspicuous travel) BUT it too displays the same downhill traits.

PS. In sport mode it is programmed to spit and fart like a rally car. :) The noise is also channelled into the cabin via a resonator chamber. If that's not enough you can turn on an App that plays engine samples synced with your use of the engine through the deep bass stereo (fun for a few days, but turned off now).
Mike Roberts

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GTR1400MAN
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Re: First Time Automatic Owner

Postby GTR1400MAN » Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:17 am

Well I had a play today and selected a lower gear via the flappy paddle just before descending a hill. Kept my foot off the accelerator. All seemed fine then after 4-5 seconds it switched back to auto, changed up, and started to get faster due to the hill. This happened in both normal auto and Sport auto.

I've been back to the manual and found:

Renault Clio Manual wrote:Special circumstances – If the bends and road surface do not allow you to stay in automatic mode (e.g. in the mountains), we recommend that you change to manual mode. This will prevent the automatic gearbox from changing gear repeatedly when climbing, and permit engine braking on long descents.

So I have to move the gear lever to manual mode and then select a lower gear. Seems a bit silly given the auto mode has this over-ride facility via the paddles. I do use it to select a lower gear just before entering NSLs or to force it into 1st to join a RAB when it is hanging in 2nd.
Mike Roberts

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dvenman
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Re: First Time Automatic Owner

Postby dvenman » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:50 pm

GTR1400MAN wrote:Well I had a play today and selected a lower gear via the flappy paddle just before descending a hill. Kept my foot off the accelerator. All seemed fine then after 4-5 seconds it switched back to auto, changed up, and started to get faster due to the hill. This happened in both normal auto and Sport auto.

<snipped>

So I have to move the gear lever to manual mode and then select a lower gear. Seems a bit silly given the auto mode has this over-ride facility via the paddles. I do use it to select a lower gear just before entering NSLs or to force it into 1st to join a RAB when it is hanging in 2nd.


I've found that's common in the auto boxes I've driven recently (admittedly a small selection, and mostly DSG/PDK). You can leave the box in auto and the paddles temporarily override what the car thinks then the car takes back control. Manual lets you select gears as you think appropriate and leaves the selection alone.


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