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2003 MR2 with the SMT. Front: 205/45/16, Rear 215/40/17. Sport Tuning T9-2 Black Mach Lip Wheels
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got my 2003 MR2 with the SMT back from DD Performance Research a few days ago. My car now has a manual tranny. I will never talk crap about people who drive a manual tranny! I know how hard it is to find parts for the SMT, so I decided to go with the manual tranny. I'm 57 years old and I had a crash course on driving a manual 19 years ago when I started selling cars. The old guy that taught me gave me 10 mins to figure it out or walk back to the dealership. I got the jest of it, so I didn't have to walk.

In those 19 years, I could count the times I drove a manual car. Other salespeople would ask who could drive a manual car and I would jump at the opportunity to do so. Driving around a parking lot is NOT the same as driving on the street. I've watched several YouTube videos on driving a manual car like 100 times to refresh my memory. Took my car out for a late-night drive, I missed the last few inns of the Astros game, hoping the traffic would be light. I forgot I live in Houston, home of the 2022 World Series Champions, where there is always traffic. I didn't stall but several short-tempered people blew at me and gave me the finger for taking too long to pull away at the light. I really need to work on the pulling away from a stop and 2nd to 3rd shifting. Not smooth at all. Down shifting at the right time needs work too.

It was a little overwhelming at first. There's a lot going on all at once and my simple brain was overloaded. Overtime I will get the hang of it or blow something up on the car. If you see an old man in a 2003 Silver MR2 driving like a noob, it's me. Be gentle and this is why I will never talk crap about people who drive a manual tranny!
 

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I got my 2003 MR2 with the SMT back from DD Performance Research a few days ago. My car now has a manual tranny. I will never talk crap about people who drive a manual tranny! I know how hard it is to find parts for the SMT, so I decided to go with the manual tranny. I'm 57 years old and I had a crash course on driving a manual 19 years ago when I started selling cars. The old guy that taught me gave me 10 mins to figure it out or walk back to the dealership. I got the jest of it, so I didn't have to walk.

In those 19 years, I could count the times I drove a manual car. Other salespeople would ask who could drive a manual car and I would jump at the opportunity to do so. Driving around a parking lot is NOT the same as driving on the street. I've watched several YouTube videos on driving a manual car like 100 times to refresh my memory. Took my car out for a late-night drive, I missed the last few inns of the Astros game, hoping the traffic would be light. I forgot I live in Houston, home of the 2022 World Series Champions, where there is always traffic. I didn't stall but several short-tempered people blew at me and gave me the finger for taking too long to pull away at the light. I really need to work on the pulling away from a stop and 2nd to 3rd shifting. Not smooth at all. Down shifting at the right time needs work too.

It was a little overwhelming at first. There's a lot going on all at once and my simple brain was overloaded. Overtime I will get the hang of it or blow something up on the car. If you see an old man in a 2003 Silver MR2 driving like a noob, it's me. Be gentle and this is why I will never talk crap about people who drive a manual tranny!
Lol my MR2 is what I learned manual on. The first few days were the worst and I won't miss the anxiety of being the first car at a stoplight trying not to stall the car 😅. I am going to be really curious if you like it better manual after you get used to the manual.
 

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... I really need to work on the pulling away from a stop...

... and 2nd to 3rd shifting...
Remember that you are using the clutch to control thrust, not the throttle.

When ever you are going to the center fork, let the centering springs find it. Push the lever forward without directing it, just open palm. 2nd to 3rd is one of the fastest and smoothest shifts in the gate. Same thing for 5th to 4th. Pull the lever back without directing it. To shift to one of the side forks, just apply pressure to that side. All Toyota manuals are set up this way, and it is the easiest shifting system that I have encountered.
 

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I got my 2003 MR2 with the SMT back from DD Performance Research a few days ago. My car now has a manual tranny. I will never talk crap about people who drive a manual tranny! I know how hard it is to find parts for the SMT, so I decided to go with the manual tranny. I'm 57 years old and I had a crash course on driving a manual 19 years ago when I started selling cars. The old guy that taught me gave me 10 mins to figure it out or walk back to the dealership. I got the jest of it, so I didn't have to walk.

In those 19 years, I could count the times I drove a manual car. Other salespeople would ask who could drive a manual car and I would jump at the opportunity to do so. Driving around a parking lot is NOT the same as driving on the street. I've watched several YouTube videos on driving a manual car like 100 times to refresh my memory. Took my car out for a late-night drive, I missed the last few inns of the Astros game, hoping the traffic would be light. I forgot I live in Houston, home of the 2022 World Series Champions, where there is always traffic. I didn't stall but several short-tempered people blew at me and gave me the finger for taking too long to pull away at the light. I really need to work on the pulling away from a stop and 2nd to 3rd shifting. Not smooth at all. Down shifting at the right time needs work too.

It was a little overwhelming at first. There's a lot going on all at once and my simple brain was overloaded. Overtime I will get the hang of it or blow something up on the car. If you see an old man in a 2003 Silver MR2 driving like a noob, it's me. Be gentle and this is why I will never talk crap about people who drive a manual tranny!
I also remember my first time putting on my big boy pants & driving

Seriously though when you're learning something new the traffic, hills, pedestrians, ppl honking, etc all take a simple bit of knowledge & can make it impossible for your brain to access at times...good for you for not saying away from it after being so used to automatic/SMT.
 

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I learned on a Stick.. So it's Second Nature..

HOWEVER, 15 Years ago, I learned to Drive a Model T.. Hand Throttle on the Right Side of the Steering Column, Ignition Advance on the Left Side.. Left Floor Peddle is Low/High Trans Shift, Center Peddle is the Reverse Peddle, and the Right Peddle is the Brake.. Hand Brake and ' Transmission Neutral' is the Left Hand Pull Lever.

TOTALLY Wrong..

Took me 4 Months of Practicing to get brave enough to drive in Heavy Traffic, and took a Year to get 'Comfortable' to drive in Highway Traffic and at Night..

You will get the hang of it, but it is a challenge till then.. Makes me appreciate those that learned this stuff before me when it was the 'Standard'

Cap
 
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2003 MR2 with the SMT. Front: 205/45/16, Rear 215/40/17. Sport Tuning T9-2 Black Mach Lip Wheels
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lol my MR2 is what I learned manual on. The first few days were the worst and I won't miss the anxiety of being the first car at a stoplight trying not to stall the car 😅. I am going to be really curious if you like it better manual after you get used to the manual.
With the SMT, I could focus on driving and enjoying the sights. I'm a line dancer, move to the left, move to the right, crisscross, type of guy. The manual transmission has me doing the latest TikTok dance with hips, arms, feet and legs. I will get better so watch out.
 

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Just so you know it's a common thing. MANY noobies go through the clutch of their first manual trainer car that you rack up lots of miles on. Some get away with not using the friction disc up but if you're trying to learn semi speedy launches, rev matching downshift and the like, the disc goes quick. It gets much better with practice and more fun too.
 

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Remember that you are using the clutch to control thrust, not the throttle.
Oh my..... So I´ve been doing it wrong for décades of racing. I thought it was a balance of feathering bóth! Maybe you lot are exclusively on about straight line from standstill. But the the ZZW30 is nót for that.

I daily drive a 4x4 with stick and for spirited twisty chasing adóre the SMT as it allows you to naíl it with optimal balance. Not a detail is that the ECU will refuse to overrev on the downshift. Me being a mere mortal has been known to make a mistake.

Anyway, a tip for the stop light heroes: For that taking off maltreatment the SMT has an apparently little known ´launch control´. The ECU will do the clutch art for you if you rev it in neutral and then push it to the right.
 

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My launches are only at autocross. Kind of a necessary evil there. But the last clutch I had was still good when I took the trans and engine apart after 2 seasons of full autocross scheduling. I could somewhat see some spots on the flywheel where some clutch drops had been made but the clutch assembly and flywheel had plenty of life left in them after my abuse and daily driving
 

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I drove a manual trans shortly after getting my driver license in 2005 up until 2015. From then on I owed torque converter AT, CVT, and DCT. I just picked up a spyder with a MT a few months ago and I must say I I think manual trans are overrated. There are cars that sell for 1.5X more than their "automatic" counterpart and the experience just doesn't seem worth it to me.
 

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... I think manual trans are overrated. There are cars that sell for 1.5X more than their "automatic" counterpart and the experience just doesn't seem worth it to me.
I don't think that it was ever about the experience. There was a time when the manual was the only option for performance and efficiency. The automatics got the advantage through two angles. The mechanical efficiency improved to the point where the torque converter could give a better combined torque curve than a typical manual, and with the faster shifting time, an automatic could provide comparable performance. Where the autos really beat out the manuals was in overall efficiency. With the advent of electronic controllers and electronic throttles, it is possible to fit an automatic with a set of super overdrive gears that a human driver would never use. That is why we have pretty much ordinary cars that get 40+ MPG. They do this by cruising at 1000 RPM when conditions are right.
 

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My buddy Mike gave me the best advice on clutch control when I was first learning to drive manual transmissions. He told me to:

Find a street with parking that's mostly flat but also has a mild incline
Pull up to the curb right before the incline, stop, and put it in first gear
Slowly let out the clutch until it starts to grab and moves the car forward (no gas!)
Immediately put in the clutch, and let the car roll back to the starting position
Repeat until the engagement point is muscle memory
 

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Rather striking (and telling) the comments about automatics. The SMT is nót an automatic. It is a manual with an automatic clutch. Same gearbox, same clutch so technically the same as the MT. It even has a stick to shift up and down with. It is but a detail.
 
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