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Newbie questions; clutch feel, power steering feel, 1st gear.

Joined
31 August 2014
Messages
187
Location
Stevens Point, WI
Hey guys, I've got some simple questions just from not being particularly familiar with the NSX. I bought a nice '95 about a month ago and have noticed some things about it that are different that other manual trans cars I've driven.

First off is the clutch. It's certainly not a newbie driver clutch. It has a very tiny window between disengaged and full grab it seems. Taking off unless you're very good, you get a little take-off lurch. You can avoid that by raising the RPMs a bit, but from what I've gathered the less clutch slip you can get the better. The clutch is an OEM one with IIRC about 20k on it. I was giving a friend a ride and he said 'boy you need to let off that clutch smoother!' so it got me thinking. Driving other manuals.. DSMs, Corollas, etc it's much easier to get a smooth launch. Basically I want to make sure this is OK, or if I need to adjust my driving to not destroy my trans, etc.

Next up is first gear. Is there a speed-related lockout for it? Sitting and idling it slides into first like butter, but anywhere above 10mph or so it takes a little force to sneak it in. It stands to reason this is so some dope doesn't put it in 1st going 30 or something, I'd say. Or is this technically an issue and I have some adjustments that I need to look into?

Finally is the power steering feel. I've heard a lot of NSXs lose the electric rack. I can decide if mine is working or not, lol. I know that sounds stupid. I can drive through a parking lot with no discomfort using the steering (vs. a friend's DSM that has none and you need to manhandle it to turn the wheel at all), but I do notice that at medium speed corners it feels a lot like a car with no power steering; you need to be engaged with the wheel and there's great feedback. In no way does the steering ever feel like a luxury 'turn it with 1 finger' sort of setup. So I'm curious if this is consistent with a non-power steering NSX since the front is so light, or if the power steering is just heavier than a normal passenger car since it's meant for performance.

Thanks guys!
 
I believe that '95 was the first year that manual NSXs got power steering as well as automatics. For non-PS, effort is highest at low speed like parallel parking .. or when cornering hard.
My OEM clutch has a fairly narrow engagement range but you get used to it. Also not that easy to get into first at low speed .. but then at 200k miles, maybe my synchros are badly worn too.
 
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the eps is only active at slow speeds so at regular driving pace you essentially have a unassisted rack.
 
Clutch 1 (very apropos for the post subject)

The NSX clutch in my experience does seem to engage higher in the travel than ordinary clutches which can make smooth starts a little tricky. When it engages it does bite solidly though and in a pretty narrow range so it takes some getting used to. Also remember in first gear with the revs up there's probably between 500 and 600ft lbs of torque available at the wheel so its pretty easy to break the tires loose when the clutch bites.

My car won't let me downshift to 1st till I'm down around 12-15 mph. When the engines cold I can't downshift to 1st until its well under 10mph. The 95-96 does have a bit lower geared 2nd than earlier cars and I find it will pull just fine down at very slow speeds so I rarely if ever need to downshift to first till I'm basically stopped.

Your perception is correct. Somewhere around 30-35mph the NSX PS cuts out and and becomes basically a manual rack and is unassisted and gives the feedback these cars are famous for.
 
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Ditto on all the other comments on the OEM clutch. Relatively narrow engagement point. When I first took my 2000 for a test ride, I stalled the car in the lot twice in a row. Spinning the engine up to 1500 - 2000 RPM and slipping the clutch is the easy way to avoid the take off lurch; however, its also the fast way to a new clutch! With a little practise, you can release the clutch pedal and as the clutch is starting to engage smoothly add some throttle. You can get a smooth take off without revving the engine or slipping the clutch ; but, does require some concentration. Every one in a while I will get caught day dreaming at a red light and then end up doing the lurch, rev, lurch when the light turns.

Your car is 20 years old and the synchros are no longer new. I don't think it is too unusual for it to be a bit of a shove to get it from second into first while the car is moving. You could try switching the transmission fluid to the GM synchromesh cocktail mix to improve the shifting. Do a search on Prime to get the favourite blend of modified and non modified GM synchromesh. I know for sure that the 6 speed on my 2000 is a balky shifter when the transmission is cold. Don't try anything fast shifting up or down when its cold. Once it gets hot (seems the hotter the better) everything is tea and biscuits!
 
With a little practise, you can release the clutch pedal and as the clutch is starting to engage smoothly add some throttle. You can get a smooth take off without revving the engine or slipping the clutch

Considering I'm still learning the feel on this car, it's such an awesome feeling when you get that perfect launch without slip, lurch, or huge RPM dip. I'm working on getting that down and it's great!
 
Regarding the clutch: Unless it has bee swapped out for a 97+ clutch (which also requires an adapter kit of some kind), your 95 has a dual disc clutch which has two friction plates sandwiching a center plate that is connected to the flywheel. Dual disc clutches have a different feel and can take some getting used to. The advantages of the two disc clutch include better heat dissipation and (supposedly) more clamping force without higher pedal effort (allegedly). A dual disc clutch will have a smaller diameter compared to a single disc clutch of equal torque capacity so it offers packaging advantages.

A dual disc clutch does have a bit of a strange feel. And of course dual disc clutches are more expensive than comparable single disc units, and are probably overkill on the NSX with its relatively low torque. Probably why Father Honda switched to a single disc type clutch in 97. Google "single vs dual disc clutches" and you will read all kinds of speculation from road racers and quarter milers about the (alleged) advantages and drawbacks of the dual disc design. Only thing I know for sure is they do feel different.
 
Thanks for the tidbit of info. I thought I'd been doing a lot of research but I hadn't run into the fact that the earlier ones had dual disc (only that they were a relatively small clutch disc footprint). Been finding out cool stuff daily with these cars!
 
The twin disk clutches in the nsx are extremely hard to "feel" engagement. It is well known for being spongy and unresponsive for a clutch. It does grab and hold yes, but the point in which it does this is very hard to feel.
 
The twin disk clutches in the nsx are extremely hard to "feel" engagement. It is well known for being spongy and unresponsive for a clutch. It does grab and hold yes, but the point in which it does this is very hard to feel.

I agree, compared to a stock Civic. It took me a while to get used to the clutch and I still occasionally am less smooth in my engagement than I would like to be. My son, on the other hand, finds the clutch very forgiving. But he has a beast of an EVO-8 with a six-puck.
 
I just put a new oem clutch in my 91 and now having to get used to a new feel again.
The dual plate clutches are not as smooth as single plate from my experience.

Getting it into first at 10 mph or so takes some effort as it normal.

Have manual steering so can't comment there.
 
I was doing some test runs the other day. My stock clutch definitely did not like being dumped into gear hard with 7 pounds of boost as it smelled something awful. I sure do miss my ct clutch. Don't miss the pedal weighing 100 pounds though. But I'm still less then 5k miles on the Oem. I heard about the clutch damper delete kit from SOS to give a more direct feel. Anyone here using this? Comments or concerns?
 
I have damper delete. Love it. Regards heavy clutch - nothing leg day twice a week can't fix ;)
 
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