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2006 Mazda3 here. What is the expected smoothness in a manual transmission when letting on and off throttle. Here are my observatons.

  1. When releasing + pressing throttle car bounces/rocks forward like the car is lurching in a low gear, followed by a kick (engine brake on/off?). This is the worst in 1st and 2nd, and gradually gets better after 3rd and not really felt in 5th, yet still there. It seems a little alleviated from slowly lifting off gas over the course of 3 seconds or so, although the kick is always there, and doing this just changes the overall feel of the bounce. I have noticed the needle drops a little right as I release the pedal.

  2. The clutch does not seem to be slipping at all, although sometimes while coasting or driving at a constant RPM there is a mild kick felt. If it is clutch related maybe it could be that it disengages and then catch itself quickly?

  3. No check engine light.

If there is any information I can provide or test I can do for you all to provide a better idea of the problem, let me know. This all could be normal and I'm paranoid and fixating too much, but this on/off throttle bounce has bothered me enough to seek some opinions.

  • All of my manual tranny cars have done that in 1st which is why I use the clutch at the same time I use the accelerator pedal, but none had the problem in 5th, so perhaps you just have a more severe form of that problem. Would love to see what the cause of the problem is. – juhist Jul 19 '17 at 14:35
  • @juhist I use a see-saw motion when playing in the lower gears. For me 1st gear is a PITA, if I take it slow (enough to get beeped at) and ride the clutch longer, then it's smooth, but if I try and take off normally (not launching) at a light, I can get it smooth but the car always rocks as I start fully releasing the clutch and pressing the gas. It's no where close to being able to stall (1.7-2.2k RPM) – cmcdaniels Jul 19 '17 at 14:40
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    I would suggest that you check the engine / transmission mountings either one is weak or broken allowing rotation as you add and subtract power. – Solar Mike Jul 19 '17 at 15:13

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