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Old 10-02-2009, 05:02 AM   #21
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I agree with the Holycow... you CAN do most of your shifting without a clutch. I can drive either of my Civics (and all of my old ones as well) using the clutch only to take off from a stop. I use rev-matching, and it has not damaged the synchros at all.

Of course, with a prostetic limb, you may not even need to change the pedals. I cannot pretend to know very much about them, but I have seen videos of people driving automatics with them. I imagine that a manual shouldn't be too much more difficult.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:35 AM   #22
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eric,

I don't remember what his disease was but he never used his legs when driving. he learned how to drive with the sticks.

in college, he was 18 so it was the same truck he always had.
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Old 10-02-2009, 02:52 PM   #23
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I was thinking about my spring idea; what about an electric actuator that takes the spring pressure off the clutch when you've totally released it?

On that train of thought I considered variations of electric actuation and maybe you could come up with something electric instead of pneumatic...if you had a hydraulic clutch, you might be able to adapt an ABS actuator...
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:08 PM   #24
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I have a VW SuperBeetle with autostick; if you've never heard of it, it's a strange combination of manual and automatic transmission. Basically it's an automatic trans but you always have to do all the shifting BUT there is no clutch. There is a sensor on the stick shift that electro-vacuum actuates the clutch whenever the stick shift is grabbed. Complex system but it does work. Frankly I can't imagine trying to retrofit something like that.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:33 PM   #25
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The Autostick Beetle (73) that I had was a vacuum canister mounted to hit what appeared to be a clutch fork. I there werent any electronic to that system that I can remember. I like the twist throttle on the gear shifter idea, and that wouldnt put it much different than what your used to. You would still be able to stab the brakes and stop the car in an emergency situation with your left foot if need be.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:56 PM   #26
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There is a microswitch on the shift lever- electric- that activates the vacuum clutch servo hence "electro-vacuum".
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Old 10-02-2009, 10:37 PM   #27
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Ahem.
For what, most of a hundred years? There have been people who manufacture vehicles for the handicapped......
Ask your Physical Therapist.
Ask your vehicles manufacturer.
Ask other amputees.

Now, keep on living life. You are doing good.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:43 PM   #28
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I'm watching The Stand and Stu just bump-started a manual Chevy Citation and drove away, with only one leg...and I got to thinking about the logistics involved. I bet he used the handbrake to stop and did some really rough shifting...
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:50 PM   #29
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I appreciate all of the suggestions and comments (especially the twist grip throttle on shifter idea). I was pricing pneumatic cylinders and coming up with some really complex ideas, but then I remembered that it is best to first apply the the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid). I am also on a tight budget.

So I just went out and spent some time in the Civic's driver's seat today (parked) to mull it over.

The Civic is carbed so I had to pump the gas pedal to start it and then feather it for a few minutes until it warmed up (I keep my idle set really low to save gas). The left foot feathering the accelerator becomes very tiresome/awkward after awhile because of the odd angle of the ankle so I started leaning (pun intended) away from using the left foot to brake and accelerate.

I like the twist grip hand throttle on the gear shifter idea. And my right stump is plenty strong to press the brake pedal (power brakes). So- I will use the good left leg for the clutch and I will bolt a small box onto the brake pedal- say 6 inches deep. To my right leg stump (it was cut about 3 inches above the knee) I will attach a simple pipe-like rigid "peg leg" with a 45 degree fixed bend in the middle to mimic the knee's natural position while driving. I will slide this pipe-like "foot" down into the 6 inch box that is attached to the brake pedal (the 6" deep box will keep it from ever slipping off the pedal, even if I hit a big bump or sneeze). This leaves my left hand free to always have a grip on the steering wheel.

To attach my home-made "braking leg" to the stump, I'll simply bolt it to the liner that I started wearing 2 days ago. A liner is a tight fitting elastic sleeve that is coated with about 5 mm of silicone on the inside. It is so tight and and the silicone resists slipping on the skin so well that in order to put it on, it has to be turned inside out and rolled onto the stump (you also have to roll it off). It fits so snugly that I would guess that it would take at least 100lbs of force to slip it off my leg stump. It has a plastic end made into it and a large integrated metal washer that has about a 5/16" threaded hole (for attaching a factory made prosthesis and keeping it from falling off/flying off even if the person is running). So this threaded hole will allow me to literally bolt my driving leg to the liner which is very securely stuck to my stump.

So, any time I need to stop, I simply release the twist grip hand throttle on the shifter and push down with the right stump while also pressing the clutch with the good leg. In the event of a power brake failure, the left leg can help in pushing the brake pedal down (maybe I'll put a ledge on the outside of the box that the left foot can get a good emergency grip on). I may also need to mount a small brake light on the dash to show me if I am riding the brakes.

So- that is Plan A. I'll need to visit the hardware store and I'll need to rob the throttle cable off of another old motorcycle I have collecting dust in the barn.

Hopefully I'll have built something in the next couple of days- or I'll have found that I need to scrap it and try another idea. I'll post pics and an update later.
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:57 PM   #30
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Erik,
No artificial leg?
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