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  • Clutch Problem?

    What's the likely culprit when you can start the car in neutral, with the clutch in, but when you attempt to put it into gear (any gear) the tranny just grinds? Also, the clutch pedal seems to have a lot less resistance than normal. The transmission is not locked up as I can push the car back and forth without a problem. Any and all comments will be appreciated. I won't be at the meeting & white elephant sale tomorrow (the 28th) as I'm getting ready to go to AZ on Sunday so the car will be sitting in the garage for about 5 weeks. But, it would be nice to know what I might be up against when I get back in early March. Thanks and have a fun meeting and sale.

    Bill Adams
    '79 Austin Mini 1000

  • #2
    So Bill, How's the fluid level? Any signs of leaks?

    Don

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    • #3
      Yup. Start with the hydraulics. Slave cylinder, master cylinder.
      The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.

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      • #4
        I agree with Don's starting on the fluid. Have someone push down on the clutch pedal while you carefully watch the throw of the "plunger" on the center of the wok.
        Perhaps the total "slop" of all of the tolerances is so much that the amount of throw is far less than it needs to be? Carefully inspect each component that makes up the slave cyl and it's "linkage". That's the most famous.
        Sometimes, it can even be the wallowed out area in the "wok" or hat/cover. Since it's fairly easy to remove it, and you might have to have it off to check further details, you might take it off. ( sometimes it helps to slightly jack up on the powertrain a little bit to allow you to get at the bolt that is at approx 6:30 or 7 oclock - viewed from the end farthest from the rad. - also consider the use of the ratcheting box end wrench which might be a 7/16". ) Once inside, the first check is the face of the release bearing and the center machined area of the wok where it and the "carrier" are sliding in and out all of the time.

        Do you have a manual for your car? I ask because they'll focus on much of this same stuff, and give you some good specs about the slop. Also, please read the excellent tech articles on MM for the clutch. They'll give a lot of more tech details than my writings above.

        Best of luck with it, and enjoy your time away!
        MSH
        All Together Now..... Everybody.......

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        • #5
          Clutch Problem?

          Originally posted by Dixminion View Post
          So Bill, How's the fluid level? Any signs of leaks?

          Don
          The fluid level is low as there is about 1" of fluid in the reservoir meaning the reservoir is only about 1/3rds full. Could this low level be my problem? Also, I used a short piece of wood dowel to check the level and the bottom of the dowel picked up what looked to me like sludge, i.e. thick, dark oil. Before I fill the reservoir should I try and get some of that sludge up and out? And, do Minis use a special type of clutch fluid or will the off-the-shelf stuff at my FLAPS do the job? Re. leaks, the bottom of the rubber dust cap at the end of what I think is the clutch slave cylinder was leaking a bit of oil but I wouldn't call it excessive. Notwithstanding, is this why my reservoir was low? TIA, Bill

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          • #6
            Bill,
            I once cleaned the sludge out of a master cylinder only to find that I was then able to see light through the bottom. The only thing keeping fluid in was the sludge!
            You could fill and bleed the system as a stop gap measure but I think you are due for new master and slave cylinders. If you don't mind the look the plastic resevoir type of master lets you see the fluid level at a glance.

            Don

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            • #7
              Clutch Problem?

              Originally posted by Dixminion View Post
              Bill,
              I once cleaned the sludge out of a master cylinder only to find that I was then able to see light through the bottom. The only thing keeping fluid in was the sludge!
              You could fill and bleed the system as a stop gap measure but I think you are due for new master and slave cylinders. If you don't mind the look the plastic resevoir type of master lets you see the fluid level at a glance.

              Don
              Since the reservoir is not completely empty (it's 1/3rds full) do I still need to bleed the system?

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              • #8
                I think that since you have sludge it is that much more important that you bleed. But do as is mentioned and get rid of sludge, dirt, leaks etc before you start.
                Good luck.
                MSH
                All Together Now..... Everybody.......

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                • #9
                  If you want to try removing the sludge without removing the master cylinder you need something to thin the sludge and something to remove it. This vacuum pump from Harbor Freight should work, these are available elsewhere too.

                  http://www.harborfreight.com/brake-b...kit-92474.html

                  Use denatured alcohol to thin the sludge and suck it out with the pump. Don't fill the reservoir just add small amounts of alcohol and pull out what you can. Once it's fairly clean fill it with fluid and bleed.

                  There's a good chance that the seals are shot but you never know.

                  No matter what the problem is, you will have to bleed the system since the fluid fell below the pickup point in the master cylinder.

                  Kelley
                  If you can afford the car, you can afford the manual...

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