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Projects Damn my knees, manual transmission is a killer

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 62rebel, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,490


    Something went wrong yesterday and by the time I got home from work I could hardly move my left knee. Doesn't bode well for driving a stick, if I can't flex my knees, especially in a full sized Ford Galaxie.... damn getting old. Not really wanting to swap the drive train out yet, just to get the automatic transmission.
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,479


    do you have something else to drive for a while, and let your knee get to feeling better? hopefully it's not permanent.
    Deuces likes this.
  3. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,612


    My 63 Chevy BelAir 2 door post car with a T-5 transmission just about wore out my left knee as it has a torn Meniscus. My latest a 60 Pontiac (avatar) with a 2004R is a pleasant change of pace. Not to mention the benefits of turning 1900 RPM's at 75 MPH. Goes down the road at 80 MPH plus all day long without breaking a sweat. Thought I needed at least a 4 speed but not any more. A 4 speed auto like the 2004R is defintely the way to go.
    rjones35, jim snow, wicarnut and 2 others like this.
  4. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,490


    It figured that, as soon as I was getting the Galaxie fit for road use, these knees as well as my hips would start acting up. I've been driving the pickup truck for so long that getting in or out of anything lower to the ground is a challenge. Seems like there's a finite window of ability to deal with this
    wicarnut, chryslerfan55 and deucemac like this.
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  5. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,221

    from oregon

    I'm with you, arthritis has been a real problem for me, most everything but my knees.
    If you do choose to go automatic you can at least pick a shifter that still looks like it has a four speed, just leave the clutch pedal and anchor it in the full out position.
    Deuces, deadbeat and 62rebel like this.
  6. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 2,346

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.

    I used to have the same problem. I had this whiney noise coming from someplace while driving and my head, back, and butt would always hurt.
    I could never figure it out until I divorced the wife and it all went away...
    FlynBrian, enloe, Jet96 and 20 others like this.
  7. Welcome to the club, I have a heck of a time due to a motorcycle accident back in '74, after driving the wagon with the 5 speed I enjoy getting back into the old man hot rod beater with the automatic transmission, it gives the gimpy leg a little time to recuperate.

    I still love a stick but I can see in the future the wagon may get a automatic or I'll just let the Boss lady haul me around. :D HRP
    ffr1222k, Chavezk21, enloe and 6 others like this.
  8. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,198

    dirty old man

    I'm turning 82 next month, and have a weak muscle in my left calf, giving me almost no strength in the ball of my left foot which you would normally use to depress a clutch pedal, have to use either my instep or my heel!
    My roadster has a 4 speed and my coupe has a 5 speed. Coupe has a fairly mild "cruiser" engine and doesn't require as strong a clutch as the more powerful and much more agressively cammed and carbureted roadster. The coupe I can handle OK as long as I don't get in a really bad traffic jam, with lots of pull up and stop driving. Then it gets tough to drive it!
    But the roadster needs a stronger clutch than I can handle with much success, especially at the drag strip with slicks, and not slip.
    So as a last ditch effort to keep the 4 speed, this Winter I'm installing a dual disc clutch assembly from McLeod, which utilizes increased friction surface area instead of increased spring pressure to hook up.
    I have friends using this setup with much more powerful engines in cars much heavier than my roadster with no slippage and much less pedal pressure required.
  9. My old black deuce 4 door had a strong running flatty with a 3 speed transmission, it had a Hayes clutch in it ( stupid idea for a street driven car) and like Dave when I got in traffic it got very difficult to te point my leg would shake trying to hold it on the floor, I finally learned to know it out of gear if I had to sit for long. HRP
  10. papajohn
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 793


    Bad knees, stiff ankles and neuropathy of the feet makes it hard to drive a stick. And I'm only 51!
    wicarnut, chryslerfan55 and JeffB2 like this.
  11. PacaRacer50
    Joined: Oct 3, 2010
    Posts: 139


    have been there with the knee issues since I was a teenager. I was diagnosed with arthritis at age 13 in both knees, left hip and both hands. Everyone in the family has had it. Mom died from the complications of Rheumatoid arthritis about 2-1/2 years ago. It sucks. I have owned many stick shift cars in my life time and drag raced just about all of them. My hero taught me how to shift right when I was 14 and not tear stuff up.
    I loved driving a stick but finally had to give it up or get into a wheelchair in 2004. Knee surgery is not an option for me due to size, weight and how much of my left knee is eroded. Besides I have had two reconstruction surgery's all ready and every doctor that looks at my knees run for cover.
    There is nothing wrong with driving a well built automatic. There I said it.
    These guys that say its a stick or nothing needs to pry their damn eyes open and look around. automatics have always
    been around in drag racing since the early to mid 50's. I know first hand. Dad drag raced a 1956 Chevy Belair 265 dual quad powerglide with 4:10 gears in Oklahoma the day after he drove it off the dealers lot when it was new. He could drive a stick with the best of them. Could make that shifter flow through the gears so smooth, sharp and precise and not tear anything up.
    He started drag racing automatics with the 56 Chevy because he knew the 3-speed would not hold up. Dad had a local guy modify the torque converter for higher stall and that was it. Never had one issue with the Glide in his 56.
    I have run many different autos and with the right converter, good bands and clutches along with shift improvements they all have been pretty much trouble free. My 50 Hudson had a 350 turbo behind the Hudson Hornet 308 for a long time until it finally wore out then I put a factory 4-speed hydromantic in it.
    Don't feel ashamed to go with a automatic. Converting it manual shift and using a really good ratcheting shifter for the bump up-down shifting will go a long ways to making it feel better.
    Just my 2 cents...
  12. BuckeyeBuicks
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 1,607

    from ohio

    I retired from the USPS where I was a city mail carrier for more years than I like to count. I wore out both knees, my back and patience for putting up with all the BS the system threw at me. I had to have my left knee replaced in 2011, best thing I ever done. I can still bang gears with the heaviest clutch there is. Now I need to have to the other one done so I can keep the pedal to the metal.
  13. proartguy
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 358

    from Sparks, NV

    Yep, the old knee problem. Sold a couple of cars because they were manual trans. Still have my ‘64 Comet wagon - factory V8, stick, and have considered what to do with it as I don’t drive it much because it kills my knee.
    wicarnut and chryslerfan55 like this.
  14. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 18,765


    Get off my lawn!
    FlynBrian, enloe, Jet96 and 7 others like this.
  15. D type
    Joined: Jul 16, 2010
    Posts: 121

    D type

    Had knee and back problems for years I found when they start to bother me
    I just move the sear forward or back just one notch seam's to help If you can
    adjust the angle of the seat back a little .
    sidevalve8ba likes this.
  16. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,360

    from Berry, AL

    Been driving semi trucks nearly 35 years now. Learned how to float shift years ago, but still have to use the clutch to start and stop. Hate to get into rush hour traffic anymore, left leg sometimes gets to hurting. Only manual transmission vehicle other than the semi is my 94 Ranger 5 speed, and I'm bad to float shift it, too!

    And I know what you mean about getting in and out. I can crawl up into a vehicle easier than I can crawl out of one! When we had the C4 vette, I had to put both feet on the ground then stand up, weren't any of this standing up on one leg deal.
  17. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,302

    Jalopy Joker

    - know some guys that have had knee replacements - have not had a stick for a while but, last one was OT with 4 speed that ran a hydraulic clutch set up - worked much easier than the heavy duty clutches in other rides that I had
    classiccarjack and wicarnut like this.
  18. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,127

    from PNW

    I shattered my left ankle a while back, and that coupled with a hip replacement told me a 4 speed wasn't going to cut it any longer. Switched to race prepped powerglides and have never looked back. Still shift, but the left leg just gets to use the dimmer switch now.
  19. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,319

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    When I ride in the better halfs Miata, Getting in or out I feel like big bird trying to get back in the egg.
  20. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,144


    All this chatter only points to one thing.........this is an old crowd! Oh, what am I saying? I just built my latest Hot Rod and installed a 700R......where does that put me? :)
    wicarnut and 62rebel like this.
  21. Gotta have fun while you can. I'm the gene filter for the's all coming my way pretty soon :).
  22. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 774


    When "rowing-the-old-5-speed" in town I drop it into neutral at lights and bumper-to-bumper. Screw dat holding the clutch pedal to the floor if you don't need to. (my daily driver/parts chaser is a 4L-60.;)
    Chili Phil and chryslerfan55 like this.
  23. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 3,236

    from Oregon

    62rebel likes this.
  24. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,490


    Makes me consider "taller" cars.... no chops no channels no lowering
    1953naegle and chryslerfan55 like this.
  25. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,678

    stuart in mn

    Rather than just assuming it's old age and nothing can be done, go see your doctor.
    CrazyDaddy, Cosmo49 and B Bay Barn like this.
  26. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,490


    Yeah that's the VA
  27. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 1,372


    My coupe is a stick. It has a hydraulic clutch, probably the only reason I can still drive it. I intend to hold on to that 5 speed as long as I can, but everything from here on out will be an automatic.

    I never have liked car that I had to climb into or out of. My neck is pretty stiff these days, ducking under a chopped roof while I'm climbing in or out is never going to fly. The seat in the coupe is butt height, open the door, turn your butt towards the seat, and slide onto it. Getting out is the same deal in reverse. Open the door, turn and put you feet on the ground, stand up. It spoils a guy pretty quickly.
    I don't mind this old age thing too much, but I'm going to go at it understanding that hurting just because of some style or tradition is pretty crazy. Gene
    classiccarjack and 62rebel like this.
  28. Bamamav beat me to it but floating gears eliminates most clutching. I’ve floated gears in everything from Honda civics to Saginaws/Muncies/T10s. Now I drive food grade tankers and that will make you drive as smooth as you can- no baffles to slow that wave.
    Pretty sure if you want to you can come up with a good clutch setup and pair that with jamming gears- but there isn’t any shame in one of those new fangled transmissions. Uncle told me “those are for shiftless people”
    alanp561 and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  29. enigma57
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 221


    I am looking at this same situation with my '57 Chevy. Building a 292 inline 6 for it and really want to keep the stick shift.

    Both knees are shot. Back is worse and neck nearly as bad. Right shoulder...... Don't ask. Not a good candidate for knee replacement I am told. Refuse to use a walker. Get around with 2 canes.

    Looks like I will either need to retrofit a hydraulic clutch setup or go with a 700R4 automatic. Tough choice. I really don't like automatics but may have to go that way. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    That's just the way it is. Gotta do the best you can with what you got.

    Best regards to all,

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019

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