3 Secrets For Truckers For Floating Gears Successfully

Gear Shifter in Tractor Trailer

Truck driver with right hand on shifter knowbFloating gears vs double clutching.

It’s an age old controversy among professional truck drivers.

  1. Double Clutching – Some drivers are of the belief that a semi truck should be shifted the majority of the time, engaging the clutch when changing gears. These drivers believe that this is the correct way to shift as it is best for the longevity of the transmission.
  2. Floating Gears – Other drivers prefer to shift gears without the use of the clutch, other than when starting out or upon occasion. This group is of the belief that overuse of the clutch will lead to problems with the clutch. Many professional drivers who prefer to float gears, complain of knee problems, so sometimes this preference is chosen to avoid knee strain.

3 Secrets to Floating Gears Successfully

  1. Slight Pressure. One of the secrets to floating gears smoothly, is to apply or release a little pressure on the fuel pedal when pulling it in or out of a gear.  The purpose of this is to help it ease into the next hole.
  2. Timing. The timing between shifts is also very important.  Bring the revs up to where the transmission wants to pick up another gear. Then remove your foot from the fuel pedal, wait a second, then slip it into the next hole (gear). Then apply the fuel pedal again.
  3. Don’t Force the Shifter. Remember, there is no need to force the shifter when changing gears with you aren’t using the clutch. Only finger tip pressure is required when pushing and pulling the shifter. This way, the driver can feel when the transmission wants to accept the gear. There is never a need to force a gear if you are shifting properly.

Related > The Ultimate Trucker’s Guide to Double Clutching

Tips For New CDL Drivers

It’s a good idea for the new CDL driver to use the clutch (double clutch) for each and every shift. This is a good idea in order to be comfortable with the use of the clutch.

Once you are comfortable with double clutching, then experiment shifting without using the clutch.

Floating Gears Vs. Double Clutching May Be Obsolete Some Time Soon

With the increasing number of the big trucking fleets spec’ing their trucks with automatic transmissions, there may no longer be a need to learn to double clutch or float gears.

I personally prefer a truck with a manual transmission rather than an automatic transmission.

I much prefer to control when the truck needs the next gear. I don’t like the idea of the automatic transmission choosing the gear, when I’m driving.

I also prefer the standard transmission on slippery roads, as I can feather the clutch, in order to regain traction, in the even of a skid/slide. It can also be used to rock the truck if the truck is stuck in the snow.

I feel the standard transmission gives me more control over the truck and it’s drive line.

But most of all, I enjoy driving a truck with a standard transmission. It’s just part of  trucking.

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Gear Shifter in Tractor Trailer

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