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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I bought myself a Mazda 3 2.0 Hatchback a few months ago and the shifting still isn't smooth as butter. Before this I did drive AT for about 9-10 years and maybe this car isn't the most ideal one to start driving MT again, but I don't know. It's not like I'm having trouble with it, it's just that sometimes the car still seems to "stutter" a bit when I'm shifting gears. It's worst from 1 to 2, but I've read that's common with this car, sometimes it happens in other gears too tho'. So if there is like a video or any "guide" with some tips on how to best shift on this car, I'm open to everything. For the most part it's probably still me getting used to MT again, but it's been a few months now so..


Also, the transmission doesn't always seem to shift very smoothly from gear to gear, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, it kinda feels like it's "stuck" behind something and then it continues into gear, I don't really know how else to explain it..Like, sometimes I can almost shift gears just with a gentle touch and on other occasions I feel like I have to force it into the gear..I don't know if this is normal or if I should see my dealer.


Thanks for the help.
 

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About the smooth shifting... the notchiness will sort itself out over the course of a few months. If there's lateral G force being exerted onto car due to cornering, obviously shifting will feel 'sticky'. Depending on how much you have clutch depressed, sometimes 2nd->3rd is notchy.

As for difficulty using it... I think you will just get used to it.

This car isn't forgiving about badly timed shifts.

There is no clutch delay valve to soften out abrupt clutch operation.

Clutch initial engagement point is pretty low to the floor, and majority of engagement happens in the lower half.

Also, you will get grinding sensation more than in other cars, especially when pulling away from stop. This goes away as mileage accumulates.

Not the most forgiving manual box. I feel like there's less 'slack' built into this than others.
 

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Very true. This isn't a forgiving transmission but I personally like it once I got used to it.

I still have some harsh engagements after owning this car for about a year and a half. And I've been driving nothing but stick for about 8 years now!

Unlike other engines, our throttles are entirely based on engine load, the electronics are a little odd. Rev hang can happen, press the clutch and if you're quick like I am the engine rpms probably spike up a bit.

I found that timing is everything with these cars. Generally, I get better results shifting quick and smooth - I try not to shift hard.

Hate to say it, I think it's just practice :p it's different from most cars so takes time if you're got old habits that it doesn't like.
 

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I have had mine for less than a month and 5th and 6th seem the most difficult for me. It's really smooth in the others but I seem to have to use considerably more force for those. A few times I have hit 4th trying to go into 6th.
 

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This is my first manual transmission car, but I've never had any of the problems that you're describing. The gearbox will wear in over time, and hopefully the shifts will get smoother for you. If not, I would suggest bringing it up to your dealer, and maybe having them replace the gear oil (you could also do it yourself, it's not difficult.) Keep us updated on whatever happens.
 

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I have had mine for less than a month and 5th and 6th seem the most difficult for me. It's really smooth in the others but I seem to have to use considerably more force for those. A few times I have hit 4th trying to go into 6th.
Try not closing your hand on the shifter. Use an open palm and just push it into 6th.

Sent from a Samsung that doesn't explode.
 

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Yeah, I struggle with 1->2 as well. I've been driving stick all my life (11 years) and the Mazda for 16 months. It seems, when setting off, there's a "dead spot" in either the accelerator or the clutch. I can feel the clutch engaging as I release the pedal, then halfway out suddenly the car decelerates as if the clutch is slipping or it's not getting gas, before engaging and accelerating again. Very strange. Any other gear is smooth as silk. Even when shifting down and rev-matching I seem to magically hit the sweet spot, but 1->2 is damn impossible.
 

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I just bought a new 2016 hatch and I noticed 5th gear is very notchy, hard to shift. Is this a common issue? Is it an adjustment to the cable that needs to be made? Bad fluid in the trans? 1-4 are very smooth, 5th is hard to shift, 6th isn't as bad as 5th but not as good as 1-4. What can I do with this? Will the dealership even listen to a concern like this?
 

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I've driven nothing but manual vehicles until my most recent nissan truck: this is a very precise, unforgiving clutch/shifter. Certainly a very good one, but I still get frustrated that I'm not "perfect" as I have been in the past.

I found that, to get the smoothest shifts from 2nd through 6th, I need to barely (and I do mean barely) remove pressure from the accelerator during a shift with the clutch disengaged. It's not inducing rev hang, instead keeping the RPMs closer to the desired gear.

I typically shift into 2nd around 3k, which affords enough time to be fairly smooth, and from 2nd through 6th circa 1800-2100 RPM.

The harder you drive the thing the better it responds, as others have hinted at.

While I am proficient at heel/to and rev marched downshifts, all of that isn't necessary in daily driver grinds. Just keep paying attention to your RPM, and be patient. I'm nowhere near perfect at it, but much more consistent than I was a couple months ago.
 

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I don`t have much to add here, other than...practice. Be very intentional with your shifts for a few days and muscle memory will have you shifting like a pro. Despite the sloppy slushbox that is our shifting system, the cable operated shifter isn`t very forgiving. Rev matching is mostly a waste of time (but fun to do) simply because the car just doesn`t have the throttle response to make it worth it. By the time you`ve revved it up everything in the tranny has slowed down on it`s own anyway.

An often overlooked aspect of shifting is seat position. If you run the seat far back for roomy luxury, you`ll have a hard time shifting. Of course set your car up to be as comfortable as you like, but if you want it to drive sporty, set it up sporty. You should not be pushing the clutch in and having your leg fully extended. I can rest my elbow on the arm rest and shift through every gear without moving it. I`m 5`10" and had a 5`6" friend want to move the seat back when I let her drive it.

FWIW, this car (and I have the JBR short shift plate, making it even less forgiving) is like having autopilot compared to a 1985 Ferrari 308 with a gated shifter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've driven nothing but manual vehicles until my most recent nissan truck: this is a very precise, unforgiving clutch/shifter. Certainly a very good one, but I still get frustrated that I'm not "perfect" as I have been in the past.

I found that, to get the smoothest shifts from 2nd through 6th, I need to barely (and I do mean barely) remove pressure from the accelerator during a shift with the clutch disengaged. It's not inducing rev hang, instead keeping the RPMs closer to the desired gear.

I typically shift into 2nd around 3k, which affords enough time to be fairly smooth, and from 2nd through 6th circa 1800-2100 RPM.

The harder you drive the thing the better it responds, as others have hinted at.

While I am proficient at heel/to and rev marched downshifts, all of that isn't necessary in daily driver grinds. Just keep paying attention to your RPM, and be patient. I'm nowhere near perfect at it, but much more consistent than I was a couple months ago.
Do you mean you are still pressing down the gas whilst shifting?
 

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I understand what youre getting at. This is my third MT vehicle and it definitely has a uniqueness like the others. ive had my 3i for about a month and the notchiness is quite salient. Consistantly smooth shifting is possible if you are okay with missing the timing by a little. Rev matching requires so much finesse with this motor i usually shove it where it belongs. I guess we will find out the transmission's durability in due time lol.
 
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