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Technical Side -Stepping the Clutch

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mark Yac, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. I hear about it on the internet and at cruise nights, but never seen it actually done.
    Do you start wiggling your foot on the first yellow, then a little more on the second one, then time the third wiggle just right to get a good reaction time?
    Maybe slippery shoes and no rubber on the pedal would help?
  2. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 1,780


    When ever I was ready to go, I slid my foot to the left. The pedal comes up pretty fast. Breaks lot of parts. If you have a motor that winds up pretty fast, you need to be ready to power shift as well, or side stepping the clutch was pretty much a waste of time. That breaks the parts that survived the side stepped clutch. I don't do much of either any more, the broken parts pile is big enough. Gene
  3. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    from SW Wyoming

    The pedal leaves a nice bruise on my leg every time I try this.
  4. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 4,095

    64 DODGE 440
    from so cal

    Keep a dust pan and broom in the trunk...Helps when picking up the transmission parts. o_O
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  5. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,201

    jimmy six

    Don't do that kinda s--t no more....
  6. If you got slippery tires :D

    I was trying to teach a girl how to drive a manual transmission & it wasn't going well. Jack rabbit hops and stalling. After about 5 or 6 tries I said to her let's try this a different way.

    Go ahead and start the car again, see that dial with the the numbers next to the speedometer?
    She said yes
    Tap the gas pedal - see how it goes up when the engine goes faster ?
    She said yes
    Ok push the clutch in and put it in first gear.
    Now just push the gas pedal till the needle is between the 3 &4 -
    She says ok now what?
    Don't let the pedal up, Just slide your foot off to the left.

    All hell breaks loose, hands come off the steering wheel my GTO is headed for a pole. I reached over and shut the key off and laughed my ass off. About 5 seconds later I'm getting beat up in the passenger seat. Funny now :p
  7. RidgeRunner
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 848

    from Western MA

    Shredded a bunch of tranny gear teeth in my shoebox leaving the first stop sign after HS one afternoon. Some time later guy behind me in class is describing his tranny "failure" to the guy beside him, about the same %'s of teeth shed off the same gears as mine. I turned around and asked him "what did you do, forget to ease the slack out of everything before you side stepped the clutch?" He just looked at me and grinned...........

    graveyardsledder, loudbang and tubman like this.
  8. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,942


    I guess I lucked out. When I tried it on my shoebox in high school, all I did was break an axle. Much cheaper and easier to fix than a transmission. I learned my lesson that night and have never done it since!
    sidevalve8ba and loudbang like this.
  9. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,642


    Dropped the engine out of my Corvair.......twice................ doing this !
  10. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 3,537


    Remember the line-lock, you would stage, step on brake, hold button in (had button on shifter) locks front brakes, brings RPM up and let clutch pedal out a little to tighten up drive line, light comes on, release button, clutch out, on gas all at same time. I only put this on one car back in 68or69, think I'm remembering sequence correctly ?. Do they still use this today on manual trans ?, I know the auto trans racers have the trans brake or just foot brake against convertor. I had this on a big old heavy 64 Impala SS, 327 cam, headers, different carb setups, scatter shield, 4 speed, 4:88 gears, street slicks, would launch at 4000RPM, shift at 6200RPM, fairly fast street racer, would beat stock muscle cars, 1/8 mile every time, had lots of fun with this car, won many $20/25 street races, (spent night in pokey and ended my career as a street racer) AND agree with everyone on parts breakage, LOTS and LOTS of breakage, like any form of racing, money won did not cover the cost of fun.
    loudbang and bowie like this.
  11. Kind of the same thing as a neutral drop with an automatic. Rev the engine in neutral and pull the shifter into drive. Had a friend try it with his dads 64 Plymouth wagon when in High School. Loaded with other friends in the back for traction. twisted the driveshaft and broke it like a pretzel. Timeless.
    loudbang and Doctorterry like this.
  12. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 3,537


    My kids taught me about reverse drops, used to see the different looking tire stripes on roads where we lived. one day one of my sons (high school age) calls and asked me to bring trailer as he thinks tranny broke in his car. OK, hook up trailer and go to meet him and could not help noticing 4 sets of reverse drop marks and magic, there's his car with puddle of tranny oil under it, FIRST thing he says to me," Honest, those marks are not mine" In my head I'm laughing and remembering all the times my Dad or somebody towed me home from stupid kid fun, so I didn't say a word, loaded it up, we get home and all I said was "Did you learn anything today" his answer was no answer, just looked at his shoes. All my kids worked, payed their own way with cars and they are good people, very proud of all of them. I sometimes wonder, Did they turn out so well because of me OR in spite of me. LOL
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  13. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,287


    Don't side step it much anymore, but I've found it to work better with a juice clutch. On my '32 the built in slippage of the slave, seems to relieve some of the shock. I agree don't do it with sticky tires ! Would never do it to my Vette, for fear of seeing a rear wheel and a half shaft going by my window.
    loudbang likes this.
  14. jeepsterhemi
    Joined: Dec 5, 2009
    Posts: 2,100


    Big cubes engine run at idle....side-step cluch pedal....pump gas pedal 4/5 times and press hard against carpet.....then wait till engine inhale some takes some practice to be successful.....
    loudbang likes this.
  15. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,328

    from oregon

    You know this guy had a "handle" on it!

    For those of you who don't know it, the name should read:
    Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins.

    wheeldog57, scott27, Flop and 7 others like this.
  16. Yup, Denny. Saw his knee come up too. No "side -step " there.

    So, that was something people used to do to break parts, shred tires, show off to their friends in high school etc. ?
    Not necessarily to cut a light?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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  17. Latigo
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 632


    Been there, done that! After a several trashed u-joints and a tranny or two I learned to keep my heel on the brake and toe on the gas. Take the slack out of clutch and build the RPM. Heel up, toe down and away ya go.
    rjones35 and loudbang like this.
  18. Yes, they do, but the low side rev limiter is hooked up to the same circuit. Gas pedal goes to the mat against a pre-selected rpm chip. That comes off with the line lock, and goes to the default high setting.
    loudbang and wicarnut like this.
  19. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,666

    from California

    had a GTO when I was in High School and a couple years after. probably never drove it without spinning the tires in some fashion. I never saw any good reason to side step the clutch, I'd say I never even thought about it. burned rubber just fine the normal way.

    I just realized I haven't had a V8 4-speed car in over 35 years:( how sad is that?
    czuch, Bubba1955, HEMI32 and 2 others like this.
  20. I did it just once in my old Ford, and left more transmission parts on the ground than were left in the car. It even broke the case. As kid going to school with only a part time job, it was a big hurt for me. I decided to learn a better way of releasing the clutch and feel I did just as well getting off the line.
    loudbang likes this.
  21. Chavezk21
    Joined: Jan 3, 2013
    Posts: 611


    I think mine turned out so well in spite of me sometimes!
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  22. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,680


    Quite a few people ran a heavy magnet on the floor and turned it on to hold the clutch pedal down after staging. When the light turned the switch to the juice on the magnet was killed and the pedal was released. Sort of a side step without the motion, more like letting go of a trans brake button. The thumb being closer to the brain than the foot, it was quicker.
    loudbang likes this.
  23. Yup. Some even hooked a delay box to it and left off the first light. Most tracks banned the practice after they figured out what was going on.
    loudbang likes this.
  24. Kinda what I thought then...More urban legend than anything else:D:D:D
  25. the way i was taught was, heel of right foot on brake, toe brings rpm up, on yellow, left foot brings the clutch up till the friction "winds" up the drivetrain, then slide foot off pedal. never did it i always thought i could lift my foot as fast as the return spring.
  26. I still have a "trophy" from my O/T full size Pontiac with a Muncie four speed, a mainshaft with twisted output splines. And only a photo of another "memorable" night when as engineers say "stressed beyond design" and exploded the bellhousing, cracked the main case and broke the extension housing into two large parts and several smaller ones, circa 1970. All fun and games until it's time to buy the parts to fix it.
    czuch likes this.
  27. Probably a good thing too. Good way to smoke a disc.
    When I started racing, I used a hand brake, connected to the brake pedal. They used to sell them in the magazines.
    That was before stationary burnouts.
    When on the line, you could actually take the slack out of the driveline because the rear brakes were on, too.
    The clutch then comes off the floor or a stop, and not in between.
    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  28. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 1,780


    I can assure you my experiences were real life. I can also tell you I did a lot of side stepping before I broke the first parts, the late 60s Mopars were pretty tough. After a while I understood I could do pretty well just lifting my foot rather the sliding it to the side. There were still broken parts after that as well.

    For the record, I was years past the side stepping the clutch before I ever went down a drag strip, there was a lot of street racing before the drag strip adventure. You couldn't win street races by side stepping the clutch. You could put on a hell of a smoke show though. Gene
  29. I was pretty tough on parts when I was a kid. I left a wake of broken trans and rear end parts behind me. I replaced 37 rear ends in a 55 ford I had, I guess I should have put a 9 inch in it but ... The only time I ever side stepped a clutch was in my Dad's 59 VW van he used for work. I held the gas to the floor and side stepped the clutch. There was a loud bang and it just died. I thought I was in a world of trouble, but it restarted and worked fine. I guess I got by with one. I did eventually kill that van. Who knew that VW used a governor for any good reason?
    czuch likes this.
  30. Gene, I was always sure it could be done, but for what purpose? So far we haven't heard from anyone who won any races doing it.
    Seems like whenever I go to a cruise night , I hear some guy saying how he side stepped the clutch at_____ (fill in the blank) and put a five car holeshot on the other guy, etc, etc, blah, blah.
    That's what I meant by urban legend

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