here is a tale for you young jalops about a time growing up; after the story I will pose a question that I think is worthy of a discussions:

Is Engine Braking better than Brake Pad Braking?

back in the halcyon days of my youth i had to commute two hours a day to a landscaping job where I learned the value of the dollar and a hard day's work. on that drive I was lucky enough to drive my Uncle's 1988 E30 325 5 speed. On those drives I learned the beauty of heel-toe downshifting. So, something I've realized while looking back on those days. There are two parts to learning to heel-toe downshift. First, the mechanical part, the blipping the throttle while braking thing. However, you also have to learn to get a feel for how much to blip the throttle. Which of course makes sense (duh) but it's something I hadn't thought about much before this fall.

On the off ramp I use to use to go to work, to really have a nice clean run of matched downshifts from 5 to 4 and 4 to 3, you need to blip the throttle differently at the 4-3 shift than you do at the first one.

I mean, sure you can just randomly blip the throttle; that's better than nothing, but I learned how to master getting the throttle right where it needs to be so it's nicely matched.


In two years I got 100,000 miles out of a set of brake pads.

Engine brake ALL THE THINGS...

What I did was simply become a heel toe every single time you stop. Commute 2 hours in traffic everyday. Become a heel toe ninja; real simple stuff.


The tricky part is making it all one smooth move. Thankfully my Uncle was a true Jalop and installed a super light flywheel on E30 (that's what we called it) so I could work both feet and my right hand all at once and make the downshift in less than a second.

Unfortunately, even though my brake pads had little to no wear, the transmission exploded one day going to work and my Uncle and I spent $3,000 on a rebuilt transmission, even lighter flywheel, and new clutch.


So - what is better? Engine braking all the time and eagerly heel toe down shifting like I did? Or, using your brakes to stop the car?

I prefer using the brakes as intended, since the cost of repairs on cars are very expensive. And since clutch and brake pads are both wear items I would prefer to spend money on the easier to repair, replace, and afford wear item that is the effervesecnt brake pad.


What do you guys and girls think?