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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone with a manual transmission noticed any odd behavior with the upshift indicator?

Specifically, sometimes I see the upshift indicator turn on just as I depress the clutch while upshifting. It doesn't seem to be very useful if it tells me to upshift while I am upshifting anyway.
 

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just ignore the light, it is pointless. I have been driving manual transmission Fords for a long time, and the lights always come on at the oddest times. I normally just tape over the light or remove the bulb to get rid of it since I can't find a good use for it. For my Fiesta, I will have the PCM reflashed to move the shift light to just after peak hp is reached so I can shift at that point.
 

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That light should be ignored if you already know how to drive a clutch.
 

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Come to think of it, why haven't the lawyers shut down that stupid light? Can you imagine some idiot claiming in court that he/she got hit by that 18-wheeler while merging onto the Interstate because the light told them to shift up instead of accelerating? lol
 

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It likely states somewhere that it should be used as a guide, but that the driver is responsible for shifting appropriately. :)
 

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That light should be ignored if you already know how to drive a clutch.
My dad always called the shift light in my mom's minivan a "Dumb Dot" (yes it was a stick...horrifying), and when it went particularly wacky, he'd start talking back to it, suggesting all kinds of things about its motives and competence. I've never been able to take them seriously since. Best part of every family vacation was Dad Versus The Dumb Dot.
 

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Has anyone with a manual transmission noticed any odd behavior with the upshift indicator?

Specifically, sometimes I see the upshift indicator turn on just as I depress the clutch while upshifting. It doesn't seem to be very useful if it tells me to upshift while I am upshifting anyway.
It's because you nailed the perfect time when to shift!:)

I think it was for the EPA MPG test.

My 85 Ford Tempo had one. My wife would never shift soon enough, she was used to a 4 speed and a much less poweful car. 0-60 in 15 seconds was fast at one time. My Pontiac Astre was 21. :eek:

I shift when I want to shift. That why I got a manual. A lot of times I shift a little sooner. If I don't lug the engine, I'll shift if I'm not in a hurry.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Come to think of it, why haven't the lawyers shut down that stupid light? Can you imagine some idiot claiming in court that he/she got hit by that 18-wheeler while merging onto the Interstate because the light told them to shift up instead of accelerating? lol
The light exists for EPA fuel economy testing.

In general, the EPA tests manual transmissions with shift points of:

1->2: 15mph
2->3: 25mph
3->4: 40mph *
4->5: 45mph *
5->6: 50mph *

* = if there are that many gears.

This was because in the late 1970s, car companies would recommend absurdly low shift points that resulted in obvious lugging even in the rather slow rates of acceleration in the EPA tests (though such rates of acceleration were probably near the limit of many late 1970s cars).

Of course, the shift points listed above are quite a bit higher than one would normally shift in many cars if one were not accelerating quickly or doing sporty driving. In some such cars, one could beat the EPA numbers by a lot by upshifting at much lower speeds than the EPA does while still avoiding lugging and getting normal levels of acceleration (e.g. old Hondas). It also means that it is generally easier to beat the EPA numbers with a manual than an automatic transmission, since the automatic transmissions are presumably designed to shift optimally during the EPA test. Note that when Consumer Reports does its own fuel economy testing, they tend to get significantly better fuel economy with manual versions of a car than automatic versions of the same car, even when the difference in EPA fuel economy is minimal.

Car companies could add an upshift light which would cause the EPA to retest the manual transmission car following the light. However, the car company would also have to survey actual drivers to find out what percentage actually followed the upshift light. Then the two tests (one using the EPA's regular shift points and one using the upshift light) would be averaged in a weighted fashion based on the survey results.

In some cases, automated mechanisms in the manual transmission are used to force upshifts. The Chevrolet Corvette had such devices to avoid being labeled as a "gas guzzler" in EPA tests. In the 1980s, there was a "4+3" manual transmission that was a 4-speed with an automatic overdrive unit attached that engaged in the upper 3 gears under light acceleration (such as during the EPA test). More recently, the Corvette's 6-speed manual transmission has a slide to cause a 1->4 (instead of 1->2) upshift under light acceleration.
 

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from the Fiesta Owners Guide
Recommended upshifts (for best fuel economy) when
accelerating
5-speed manual transmission
Shift from:
1 - 2 14 mph (23 km/h)
2 - 3 24 mph (39 km/h)
3 - 4 32 mph (51 km/h)
4 - 5 44 mph (71 km/h)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You can actually upshift even earlier than that, if you have reached your cruising speed, or do not need (or cannot use due to traffic in front of you) much acceleration.
 

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Has anyone with a manual transmission noticed any odd behavior with the upshift indicator?

Specifically, sometimes I see the upshift indicator turn on just as I depress the clutch while upshifting. It doesn't seem to be very useful if it tells me to upshift while I am upshifting anyway.
I noticed the exact same thing, but I also noticed that the upshift light
doesn't appear to be a static light that always comes on at the same
mph.
It seems that the light is timed by an algorithym.
when you accelerate very conservatively, it comes on at just about the
mph the owner's manual tells you to shift at.
But, if you accelerate even a little more rapidly than Ford thinks you should
for maximum fuel economy, then, the shift light waits longer before it tells you
to upshift.
So, after reading your post, I got to thinking that maybe it is not
depressing the clutch pedal that is turning on the light, but rather
taking your foot off the gas pedal (which we all do before depressing
the clutch).
In other words, I think the car is holding off turning on the shift light in
order to give you smooth performance for the acceleration you are
requesting.
But, when you take your foot off the gas in order to shift, the car no
longer sees your request for additional acceleration and, because of this,
the algorithym decides it is a pretty good time to turn on the shift light
for maximum fuel economy.
In order to test this, when I was driving around tonight, I would accelerate
just mildly above what I would normally do for max. fuel economy.
Then (when I would normally upshift, but before the light came on) I
took my foot off the gas, but didn't depress the clutch!
Every time I did this the shift indicator light turned on as soon as I took
my foot off the gas.
So, my guess is, it is the intelligent nature of the upshift light algorithym
that is giving both of us this (not so intelligent) response.
 

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The light is a constant reminder to me that I am in a car that I bought to save on gas (and other things). I'd normally shift at far higher rpm's and when I drive and shift like I'd normally shift....I can watch my MPG meter go down. Then switching to shifting with the light, my MPG meter goes up.
Try it yourself if you haven't. Shift where you feel for best power/acceleration for about 10 miles and then shift strictly by the light for 10 miles.


Yes, I can figure out on my own to shift at lower rpm's, but I naturally shift at where I feel the engines powerband to be optimized for acceleration/power and honestly.....without the light reminding me why I got this car, I'd shift like normal and waste alot more gas.
 
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