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Discussion Starter #1
I've had my R/T for less than a week, so I know it will take some getting used to, but what is the secret for shifting nice and smooth?

My old car was a VW GTI and I have no problem making slippery smooth shifts. The Challenger, however, is a lot harder to smooth out. I know there is a ton more torque there, but what is the secret? Or is it just something you get used to?

I can say one thing is the R/T is geared much shorter than the relatively tall geared GTI. That alone is taking some getting used to. It seems like in the Challenger, with that big engine, its a fine line between having your revs a little too low and running into a sudden engine breaking whiplash situation, or a little too high and chirping the wheels.

I'm sure I'll get used to it, but just wondering if I'm the only one having this trouble when first starting out! Maybe I just have to slow down my clutch foot and ease it in a little more. I was always told that dilly dallying with the clutch pedal causes them to wear out quicker, and quick shifts are better for making it last.
 

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It will come naturally over time -

Between the clutch take-up point and the lighter pedal effort, a few members have become accustomed to the feel of these hydraulic clutch systems.

Getting the feel of the throttle / torque and clutch will come with practice and you'll "get it" before too long.

I've had GM cars with hydraulic clutches over the years, so I'm used to the feel of that type of clutch system and how to drive them smoothly.
 

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practice, practice, practice..........it's gonna be tough but I think you'll be up to the task. Try to enjoy it. hehe!
 

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I believe that the riculously invasive electronic throttle on these new cars is your problem or should I say the "cars" problem. Drove me crazy, still does. Driven sticks for 30 years, this car and my subaru absolutely suck in comparison to every other manual I've owned. It's not me, (like I'm getting old or something-LOL), I know because I still own some of my older cars and when I get in after months of not driving them, it's like I just drove it yesterday...smooth as silk. I hate throttle by wire...hate it.
You will improve your smoothness over time, be patient, but I can tell you from experience, it will never be the same. It almost makes you consider getting an automatic and that's sad. I could go on and give specific details about all the little details that suck about this system, but the people here who know what I'm talking about already understand so I'll spare you. Good luck.
 

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Is the hydraulic clutch system what makes the clutch feel "long"? Personally I'd prefer something a little "shorter" and more aggressive. I thought about swapping, but wasn't sure what I needed to do.
 

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I believe that the riculously invasive electronic throttle on these new cars is your problem or should I say the "cars" problem. Drove me crazy, still does. Driven sticks for 30 years, this car and my subaru absolutely suck in comparison to every other manual I've owned. It's not me, (like I'm getting old or something-LOL), I know because I still own some of my older cars and when I get in after months of not driving them, it's like I just drove it yesterday...smooth as silk. I hate throttle by wire...hate it.
You will improve your smoothness over time, be patient, but I can tell you from experience, it will never be the same. It almost makes you consider getting an automatic and that's sad. I could go on and give specific details about all the little details that suck about this system, but the people here who know what I'm talking about already understand so I'll spare you. Good luck.
I'm not a fan of drive by wire either, but it's because of a control issue. I think my Challenger shifts well, and drives fine- - I would never consider an automatic in a car like this unless I was physically unable to either clutch or shift.

I was more amazed at the light clutch, so much so I had my dealer warrant the clutch in my car for 3 yr 36K miles. Turns out the light feel is normal. Don't get me wrong, the lighter clutch makes it easier for the ladies to drive, and that's a good thing.

Like someone else said, it's practice. Not a bad exercise. Enjoy.
 

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I think the Challenger clutch is a little too light. It engages fairly high as well. It just takes practice.

Get the skip shift eliminator for sure!
 

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I have 2 challengers. 1 auto and the other a 6 speed. I like both of them for different reasons. Yes the 6 speed kinda sucks compared to what it should be this day and age but I like it. It's challenging and keeps me on my toes to shift smoothly. The auto works perfectly and couldn't be better. I honestly can say I would be hard pressed to decide between both of them.
 

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I think the Challenger clutch is a little too light. It engages fairly high as well. It just takes practice.

Get the skip shift eliminator for sure!
Yeah, it's deceiving. Doesn't feel like a clutch that can grab ahold of nearly 400 HP without slipping- - - but it does!
 

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I have 2 challengers. 1 auto and the other a 6 speed. I like both of them for different reasons. Yes the 6 speed kinda sucks compared to what it should be this day and age but I like it. It's challenging and keeps me on my toes to shift smoothly. The auto works perfectly and couldn't be better. I honestly can say I would be hard pressed to decide between both of them.
I'm jealous! Good for you! Some days I love driving the car hard and aggressive and other days I just want to relax and enjoy the ride. Of course with the KB on the auto...you do more than just enjoy the ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What is this skip shift eliminator thing?

I actually find that pulling out in 2nd and doing 4th then 6th is pretty smooth but definitely not great for hammering it hard off the line.

Its definitely hard to get the throttle right. I think that is the main problem. I can handle the clutch but the throttle is hard to not either chirp the wheels or have it bog down between shifts. I guess I will have to just practice more!
 

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I hadn't driven a clutch in years and it has taken me a while to get used to the SRT8 (1500 miles on it now).

It has a dual disc clutch, I believe I can feel two things going on at the top and bottom of the pedal throw. Dual-disc have a reputation for being more like "one-off" switches.

To get a feel for the clutch, practice getting it rolling in first without using the throttle. If you have never done this before it seems like a crazy idea, but once you get the hang of it everything gets easy. I can get the SRT8 rolling in third without using the throttle. Been caught out in the snow in Chicagoland a few times where I have had to get it rolling in fourth.

I should caveat the "get it rolling without the throttle" practice should be done where it is safe.

In traffic, I heal-toe blip the throttle up to around ~1200 rpm as I roll my foot off the gas and then take up the slack in the clutch as I ease back on to the throttle.

I've cut off some of the brake pedal rubber nobs to make the heal-toe easier.

Relative to a German manual tranny you've driven in the past, you have internal shift rails in the Challenger. Big improvement, but one does have to be deliberate.

For shifting, barely use the clutch at all. Tremec's can be shifted without the clutch, my shifts come out the smoothest if I use the clutch as little as possible. Back to the dual disc, I have a theory that all that is necessary is a little give between shifts. And, there is an aspect of getting used to what the drive by wire is doing that helps in this.
 

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I think the Challenger clutch is a little too light. It engages fairly high as well. It just takes practice.

Get the skip shift eliminator for sure!
I think so too, cause I have found my engine revs slightly as I shift as if I am not off the gas soon enough or into the clutch too early.

When driving slow and easy through town I use 1st, 3rd then 5th. The car will be way smoother.

Not sure why the 6 speeds are so close ratio, I mean, I can be in 6th at only 50 mph, seems a bit redundant. I think I was at 1500 RPM when in 6th gear at like 60MPH. I got small 18 tires maybe that is the issue.

I need to see if it is a big job moving the clutch grab a bit closer to the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The gearing seems to be EXTREMELY close from any car I've driven before. I mean, in my VW I can hit close to 80 mph in 2nd gear but in the Challenger I'm usually in 4th to putt around town in 25 mph zones. Its probably great for drag racing but I'm almost always skipping gears during normal driving.

One thing that throws me off is the hill holder. I can see the purpose of the hill holder, since the car doesn't have a regular hand brake, but its really difficult to pull out on a hill without either smoking the tires or almost stalling it. I guess the hill holder must just apply the brakes until you're moving forward, but its a little jerky the way it works. Still getting used to it. I guess one day I have to park on a hill somewhere and just keep practicing. I never had trouble on cars without the hill holder, but I can imagine that if you get stuck on a very steep hill with no hand brake you'd be screwed without it.

Gotta love those a-holes that pull right up on your bumper on a steep hill.
 

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yeah it's different but youll def prevail. I have learned not to completely stop to a standstill barely rolling you can go ahead let the clutch out in first and save the hunt, rpm meets clutch, an action that used to bring inexperience recognition totally unwanted. You can make the throttle response a bit more dependable with a ThrottleBodyCalib, seems to help with accelerator that at times doesn't respond when expected then takes off effecting a smooth start. (Engine off everything at rest, press ignition to run, not start, slowly depress accelerator to floor and slowly back to null,done, ignition off and G2G) TPS calibration, I do it every oil change on all newer and MC's
 

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What is this skip shift eliminator thing?

I actually find that pulling out in 2nd and doing 4th then 6th is pretty smooth but definitely not great for hammering it hard off the line.

Its definitely hard to get the throttle right. I think that is the main problem. I can handle the clutch but the throttle is hard to not either chirp the wheels or have it bog down between shifts. I guess I will have to just practice more!
I don't think anyone answered your question yet re: the Skip Shift Eliminator.

If you start off in 1st and are driving conservatively (low throttle) and try to shift to 2nd at around 19-20 MPH the solenoid will activate and you'll notice a 1--4 indicator in the driver information area. 2nd gear will be blocked in an attempt to have you to shift to 4th instead, presumably saving fuel while potentially putting you in a dangerous situation. It does save us the Gas Guzzler Tax on the R/Ts and probably leads to a lower tax on the SRTs so I'm OK with it as long as I can disable it.

The Skip Shift Eliminator (SSE) does this. It's a socket, wire and plug assembly with a built-in resistor which keeps the computer from activating the 2nd shift block solenoid while providing enough of an electrical load to prevent an error code. Once installed, the solenoid is electrically disconnected from the computer. The plug on the tranny side just provides a place to hang the device and keeps debris out of the socket on your transmission. Just unplugging the solenoid has the same effect but will cause a trouble code since the computer will fail to sense the electrical load.

With the SSE installed between the original plug and the socket near the top left of the transmission, the 1--4 indicator will become only a suggestion - and probably a bad one - shifting to 3rd at this point makes more sense than 4th.

A Diablo Predator tune will get rid of the skip shift and the indicator, but if you remove the tune for some reason, like going into the dealer, you're back to skip shift, so I use both.

The Skip Shift Eliminator is easy to install (though you will have to put the car on ramps) and inexpensive (~$30 with shipping). Just Google it or check threads here for links. Be sure to get the one for Dodge. GM uses a similar setup in the same transmission (Tremec 6060) but a different solenoid and the resistance required to prevent a trouble code is also different. If you get the wrong one, you'll still end up with a trouble code.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ahhh, thanks for the info. I have yet to run into this 1-4 thing so maybe I've been driving more aggressive than I realize. Of course, now I'm going to have to see if I can make it happen.

I'm not a fan of having the car make too many decisions for me. I mean, that is half the fun of driving a manual. So, by default does the predator eliminate this behavior or is there some custom setting for it? I just got my Predator yesterday and have not had a chance to play much with it yet.
 

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Ahhh, thanks for the info. I have yet to run into this 1-4 thing so maybe I've been driving more aggressive than I realize. Of course, now I'm going to have to see if I can make it happen.

I'm not a fan of having the car make too many decisions for me. I mean, that is half the fun of driving a manual. So, by default does the predator eliminate this behavior or is there some custom setting for it? I just got my Predator yesterday and have not had a chance to play much with it yet.
From what I've read, early on, the Predator did not have this capability for the Challenger. I've had mine for over a year and I updated it to the latest code before installing any tunes. Any of the canned tunes I install disable the Skip Shift by default. So, if you bought yours new or update it to the most recent code level, I think skip shift will be gone by default.

One note though. I think the Predator offers some pretty good improvements for automatics due to changes in shift points. For the 6-speed, it does not. It's great for adding a custom tune or changing things like the fan activation temps for a 180 degree thermostat, but the canned tunes are no improvement in performance IMO. The 93 octane CAI tune actually seemed to reduce performance in my car, moving the torque curve higher in the RPM range, which is the opposite of what I'd want (I run only 93 octane fuel - Airaid installed). The 91 octane CAI seems to be about the same as the factory tune except for the elimination of the skip shift and that the fan(s) stay on most of the time.
 

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Getting a little off topic here... deezlman's experience with the Predator tunes is different than mine.

Based on my track experiences I've seen an improvement in mph through the traps when running the 91 octane tune (93 tune ran no better than the 91 tune).

With the stock tune I was running 77-78 mph in the 1/8 mile, with the 91 octane tune it moved up to 80-83 (83-85 with the seats out and trunk empty) under similar density altitude numbers. That shows there was some more power in the 91 octane tune relative to stock. I also tried gasoline from different stations and found little consistent difference in knock between brands.
 

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Stricnine, Thanks for the perspective. My impressions were "seat-of-the-pants" so yours are certainly a more realiable comparison. I do wonder though if the canned tune moves the torque to the upper end while increasing overall HP? This is what it felt like to me. If I had been on a track instead of the street, you may also have noticed a difference due to being at the upper end of the RPM range. Wondering if this is where the canned tunes pay off.

Were you also using the 91 Octane with CAI tune or just the 91 Octane?

The two CAI tunes were all I tried since I assumed they would be more aggressive than the ones without CAI and since I do have an aftermarket intake - Airaid. Maybe a bad assumption on my part.

Sorry for continuing the off-topic. I'll shut up and listen now. :)
 
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