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Will shifting too slowly cause wear on the transmission?


wakeboarder3780

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I recently met a new third. He's a great third and comes out very regularly and pitches in well for gas. Problem is he owns his own boat and was very comfortable inviting himself to drive me boat. I need someone to drive for my set so whatever I taught him the lake and he drives for me.

Now he *really* likes driving and I notice he's driving more than me some nights. Not a big deal, but I noticed a habit he has that really bothers me and I want to know if it will cause harm like i think it might.

He has a tendency when we're putt putting along to constantly keep shifting in gear and out of gear over and over again only spending about 1 second in neutral and 1 second in gear. Also when he shifts back and forth he VERY slowly moves the throttle instead of putting it immediately into the position where the gear catches.

I want to have a talk with him that it worries me but want to have mechanical facts backing my decision. I saw my dad trash his transmission on his IO because of slow shifting like this. Any words of wisdom?

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Hey....it's your boat....just tell him whats bothering you and how you want him to operate it. Also, if he's in the driver seat and your in the passengers seat....tell him to get up and switch with you. It's your boat...and your the captain. :whistle:

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Ski school and tournament boats bump the throttle all day long. While maybe not ideal, I wouldn't be overly concerned. I would however, encourage him to fully engage the shifter. it's not a stick shift w a clutch.

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I'm gonna guess he's a good driver. I do the exact same thing, and have for over 30 years in these boats. I've NEVER had a tranny issue (knock on wood). I'm in and out of gear extremely frequently to exactly position the boat or towline. And in and out around idle allows the boat to go slower that it would if you just left it in gear.

I learned this driving control from national's rated drivers. Now, I'm not saying go almost instantaneously from forward to reverse. Dont do that, but one second between should be fine.

Steve B.

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Same here. I'm in and out of gear a lot if I'm trying to go slow or position around docks etc. When engaging or going back and forth I'm in no hurry but I don't waste any time either. Slow enough that it doesn't clunk or slam, any slower than that is pointless.

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I'm gonna guess he's a good driver. I do the exact same thing, and have for over 30 years in these boats. I've NEVER had a tranny issue (knock on wood). I'm in and out of gear extremely frequently to exactly position the boat or towline. And in and out around idle allows the boat to go slower that it would if you just left it in gear.

I learned this driving control from national's rated drivers. Now, I'm not saying go almost instantaneously from forward to reverse. Dont do that, but one second between should be fine.

Steve B.

:plus1:

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I would like to have a good mechanic answer to this too. I did however do this on my last boat for many years and it was never a problem but it was an I/O

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I hear your concern and have no answer for you, but I am at opposition to the last few remarks. I do not shift in and out of gear/reverse often like they say... although I used to when I first started driving an inboard. Now I am more deliberate with my shifting. I will stay in gear longer and then put it in neutral and leave it longer (instead of a second or two like i used to, its now more like 6-10 seconds). Obviously there are times around the dock with other boats, currents, winds that it may be necessary to be in and out of F-N-D rather quickly, but those are few and far between for me. Returning to riders to give them the line or to pick them up requires very few shifts to do it smoothly and slowly the more deliberate you are with your movements. Same as pulling up to the dock, the more you practice, the better you can get (a buddy can pull up to a dock and spin a 180 perfectly next to it without needing people to put hands out by idling then putting boat in neutral as he turns from 20 feet away and never touch the throttle or steering wheel... every time without fail. I am working on this)

So it may not be bad on the tranny to shift often and quickly, but it's definitely not better for it than shifting LESS.

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True. If I'm with my normal crew we usually don't take it out of gear when picking up riders. But if someone doesn't ride that much or at all then everything has to happen way slower. And personally even with my lower pitched prop idle is way to fast for them.

Around docks and trailers it is the same way. If no one is around then I can dock or trailer without much if any shifting. But it is summer time. I can't fall out of my boat and hit water if we're near a ramp or dock on the weekend.

Edited by jesutton3
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Why is he shifting so much? Is there a rider in the drink, or just cruising? If just cruising, seems dumb to do. Also, it's your boat. Just say, "hey bro, just cruise...no need to keep shifting in/out.".

As for driving too much: "hey bro, let's switch up. I'm gonna drive for a bit."

Both are matter of fact, non-chalant statements. Just don't sound like a whiner when you say it.

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I can add a couple comments, great advice from the crew you guys help me keep my anal self in check.

A few things.

1) The shifting he's doing is when we're literally going from point A to point B in between riders, it has nothing to do with precision driving.

2) I'm not sure how many picked up on this so I will try to explain more, this time I'll get my math hat on. Lets define two points N and D. N is the position when the shifter is in Neutral. D is the position where if you were to shift into drive, but back the throttle down to slowest throttle position while still being in gear (this should be at least an inch forward of N). The shifter is setup so that the points between N and D feel like no mans land. The shifter doesnt really engage into place until you get it to D. Any place in between N and D and the shifter feels not locked in for lack of better terminology. What he's doing is shifting from points "N" to "D" VERY slowly. On my dad's IO the engine would actually shut itself off while between N and D and if you shifted really slow you could grind gears in the tranny (he ruined the transmission box on his first lower unit when he let one of the kids drive by them doing this). I am worried about this same thing on my bu. Now that i've solidified this view, is there any harm that can occur from doing this?

Thanks for the suggested phrases, will help me to keep things relaxed instead of "Dude, you've been driving all day, let me drive my boat for a while" (Not that I'd start with that :))

Edited by wakeboarder3780
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I still don't know the answer to your question but, that explains it much better. I definitely do not go slowly between N & D. If I need to go slow for what ever reason I will go to D then to N or R but not necessarily slow in the middle of the gears..

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In response to your points:

1) There should be no need between point A --> B . Makes no sense to me. Sounds like he has ADHD for shifting. Either put the friggin' thing in gear, or just sit and float. Choose.

2) He idolizes Monk. :crazy: (It's almost in gear...oh, but not quite. How 'bout now? oh no, too fast!...but I don't want to stop. I just need 1.75 mph...so 5mph current - 3.25 mph should get me to how fast sticks float.)

Edited by DIE2SURF
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