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Want To Make Smooooth Downshifts On A Manual 'box?

heel and toe smooth downshift mondeo mk 4 accessory throttle pedal accelerator pedal pedal kit

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#1 nigelphoto

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:24 AM

You don't have to be driving a Fiesta RS WRC on the RAC Rally to use a technique called 'heel and toe' to make smoother downshifts and increase safety by having better control of the car. A small 'blip' of the throttle between the gears helps to synchronise engine speed to the revs needed for the lower gear to engage more smoothly, and your passengers won't even realise you've gone down a cog as you approach the corner. With the toe of the right foot firmly on the brake, the clutch disengaged (important!) a touch on the accelerator with the heel of the foot brings the revs up and the lower gear slides in nicely. The problem on the Mondeo Mk 4 is that the accelerator pedal is too far away from the brake to be able to 'heel and toe' effectively. Ford can supply a nice set of 'race pedals', a snip at a mere £155 + VAT, but search the internet and one can buy a kit with all three pedals for £9.80 including P&P. You don't need the brake and clutch pedals, they can go in the recycle bin but the accelerator pedal which fits over the original does the job nicely, reducing the gap to the brake pedal, increasing the overall size and raising it towards the height of the brake pedal by 8mm so that one can now 'heel and toe' very effectively. The accessory pedal comes with two brackets which give a firm fit over the original accelerator pedal, but for added security I put in a 5mm No 4 self tapper which holds everything in place. Be sure to position the accessory pedal carefully so that at full travel it does not hit the carpet (ie make sure the accelerator can still hit the stop) and the gap between the brake and new, larger accelerator pedal is at least 40mm. 

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#2 jamesm182

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:29 AM

You don't have to be driving a Fiesta RS WRC on the RAC Rally to use a technique called 'heel and toe' to make smoother downshifts and increase safety by having better control of the car. A small 'blip' of the throttle between the gears helps to synchronise engine speed to the revs needed for the lower gear to engage more smoothly, and your passengers won't even realise you've gone down a cog as you approach the corner. With the toe of the right foot firmly on the brake, the clutch disengaged (important!) a touch on the accelerator with the heel of the foot brings the revs up and the lower gear slides in nicely. The problem on the Mondeo Mk 4 is that the accelerator pedal is too far away from the brake to be able to 'heel and toe' effectively. Ford can supply a nice set of 'race pedals', a snip at a mere £155 + VAT, but search the internet and one can buy a kit with all three pedals for £9.80 including P&P. You don't need the brake and clutch pedals, they can go in the recycle bin but the accelerator pedal which fits over the original does the job nicely, reducing the gap to the brake pedal, increasing the overall size and raising it towards the height of the brake pedal by 8mm so that one can now 'heel and toe' very effectively. The accessory pedal comes with two brackets which give a firm fit over the original accelerator pedal, but for added security I put in a 5mm No 4 self tapper which holds everything in place. Be sure to position the accessory pedal carefully so that at full travel it does not hit the carpet (ie make sure the accelerator can still hit the stop) and the gap between the brake and new, larger accelerator pedal is at least 40mm. 

 

A nice little modification there Nigel.



#3 stooge75

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:05 PM

have you tried this on a mk3 mondeo 6 speed?(say going from 3rd to 2nd)?



#4 FOCA

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:20 PM

have you tried this on a mk3 mondeo 6 speed?(say going from 3rd to 2nd)?

Yes, i spun the car into a ditch and had to walk back to get the bits of the gearbox and DMF! (just kidding)

 

Seriously, many racers don't actually use their heel and toe, but the left and right sides of their right foot

 

It takes a bit of skill, and practice, get it wrong and you can lock up the driven wheels, loose control of the car, or over- rev the engine, it can cause premature clutch wear, and gearbox syncromesh cone wear if miss- timed (has to be timed perfectly)

 

And most modern race and rally cars have sequential gearboxes, you don't need to heel-and-toe, F1 cars have a hand clutch/ button, a left-foot brake and a right-foot throttle (F1 drivers use their right foot for the throttle, and their left foot for the brake - they do not use their right foot for braking - so no heel-and-toe-ing) this enebles them to get on the brakes sooner, and onto the throttle quicker - they have been this way for years

 

So mostly, that leaves heel-and-toe-ing for classic rally / racing, or club racing/  running on a low budget

 

On a cautionary note - do you really want inexperienced "boy racers" experimentiing with this on the road, with potential damage to their transmission, cars, themselves or other road users?     

 

Probably best left to the track/ off the road in my opinion - and those that know what they are doing  

 

The OP would be better doing guides on oversteer, understeer etc  



#5 stooge75

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:09 PM

I second that, it would probably,nae,definitely have a bit o cause&affect on sychros.(unless you're very very smooth & precise. I can see no need whatsoever for this modification on a car such as a mk3 tdci. Maybe on a track car/rally car as you said foca,it'd be better off.
Makes me wonder though,& i could be wrong,why anyone would need this mod,unless they were tearing about as quick as their wee engine could get em. honestly though,why would you 'need' or want this done?

#6 nigelphoto

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 07:58 AM

Yes, i spun the car into a ditch and had to walk back to get the bits of the gearbox and DMF! (just kidding)

 

Seriously, many racers don't actually use their heel and toe, but the left and right sides of their right foot

 

It takes a bit of skill, and practice, get it wrong and you can lock up the driven wheels, loose control of the car, or over- rev the engine, it can cause premature clutch wear, and gearbox syncromesh cone wear if miss- timed (has to be timed perfectly)

 

And most modern race and rally cars have sequential gearboxes, you don't need to heel-and-toe, F1 cars have a hand clutch/ button, a left-foot brake and a right-foot throttle (F1 drivers use their right foot for the throttle, and their left foot for the brake - they do not use their right foot for braking - so no heel-and-toe-ing) this enebles them to get on the brakes sooner, and onto the throttle quicker - they have been this way for years

 

So mostly, that leaves heel-and-toe-ing for classic rally / racing, or club racing/  running on a low budget

 

On a cautionary note - do you really want inexperienced "boy racers" experimentiing with this on the road, with potential damage to their transmission, cars, themselves or other road users?     

 

Probably best left to the track/ off the road in my opinion - and those that know what they are doing  

 

The OP would be better doing guides on oversteer, understeer etc  

 

The last bit first, front wheel drive = understeer, rear wheel drive = oversteer, thats that one out of the way! Heel and toe is actually kinder to the vehicle if done properly, reducing strain and wear on the transmission train especially on the drop from 3rd to 2nd. I do agree on two points: firstly it has to be done with precision and mechanical sensitivity which only comes with practice and secondly, its quite correct to say the action of the foot is one of 'rolling' from left to right, rather than using the heel and toe (on early F1 cars like the Maser 250F the accelerator was below and between the brake and clutch pedal which is where the 'heel and toe' bit came from). Its not a question of going b*lls out everywhere, it makes for smoother downshifts in all circumstances even driving at granny speeds.The part which I omitted in my first post, not wanting to complicate matters, is that the 'blip' on the throttle should ideally be done when the gearbox is in neutral with the clutch engaged in order for the main- and lay-shafts to be rotating at the same speeds: in other words what was known as 'double de-clutching' in the days of non-synchromesh gearboxes. However, this is not strictly necessary with today's synchro 'boxes and is therefore why I wrote in my original post that the clutch should be disengaged. I am afraid I have to admit to being old enough to remember driving 'crash' gearboxes, I took my PSV on a Leyland Tiger in 1966. Apart from a total absence of judgement when I bought a Toyota with a truly horrid flappy paddle gear change, I have driven manual gearboxes and have always used the rolling-foot heel and toe method of downshifting because I find it makes for a smoother drive. Its no big deal, I put up the original post about a £9.80 add-on for those who might be interested and have the skills to be able to use it! 



#7 jeebowhite

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:14 AM

a good recommendation never the less, I struggle to apply the logic to it, but driving an auto, I dont think I should worry too much of the schematics, might consider it if I go back to the manual



#8 cuke

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:46 AM

I really can't see how this method of driving makes it anymore safer and useful in today's driving conditions and seems to me something that 'boyracers' might want to do in their little underpowered Corsa'a. Plus, if you have a decent enough DSG gearbox, you are very unlikely to be able to change gear quicker than they can...



#9 stooge75

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 05:31 PM

I really can't see how this method of driving makes it anymore safer and useful in today's driving conditions and seems to me something that 'boyracers' might want to do in their little underpowered Corsa'a. Plus, if you have a decent enough DSG gearbox, you are very unlikely to be able to change gear quicker than they can...

it doesnt make it any more safer.and how can you compare a F1 driver with us lot or yourself? Or a F1 car,with ours?lol

I just dont get how anyone would wanna do this to their car. There's no need,to improve gearshifts etc,its a mondeo.the gears arent smooth to begin with,so why would anyone wanna be driving a mondeo at the sort of speeds that would require quick downshifts? Having personally taken 2 mk3 6speed gear-boxes apart,& read about the getrag for weeks trying to learn about synchros,torque&pre-load values etc,I can honestly say that this particular gearbox would not like to be driven with really quick shifts,especially since the ratio's werent designed for it in the 1st place. And I definitely wouldnt gamble with the transmission of my car if it meant anything to me,since a gearbox is £2200 new,to replace if you make a mess of gear box/synchros,thru hashing gears etc.

mind you,everyone's different & wants their own 'car'. 



#10 jeebowhite

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:38 PM

I think that the point here is more so towards an auto downshift smooth performance, as opposed to a racing reason.

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