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Does clutch go bad in car parked for over 30 years?


marcapra
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I was reading my 46-51 DeSoto shop manual about the clutch.  It was referring to steam cleaning the engine.  It said to be sure to engage and disengage the clutch under power after steam cleaning or the clutch plate will bond to the flywheel and have to be replaced if not driven soon.  If that can happen after a week or so, what would happed after 30 to 40 years?  I guess the new clutch I installed in 1985 is toast?  

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It's not uncommon for the resins used in the bonding process to leach out and adhere the clutch plate to the flywheel. Remember the pressure plate is keeping pressure on the clutch and squeezing it for the 30 years in storage. As mercer suggests by keeping pressure off the disc when in storage will prevent this from happening.

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One method that sometimes works is to jack the rear end up very securely (I have a scissors lift). Start the engine in third, idle until warmed up , get the wheels spinning pretty good , depress the clutch, then hit the brakes hard and fast. There are other more dangerous methods I've used (an old tire makes a good push bumper).

 

The safe way is to drop the tranny and replace the disk, it probably has issues by now.

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Another way to free a stuck clutch, if there is a removable access plate. Have someone push down the clutch pedal or prop it down with a stick. Slip a knife blade between the clutch plate and pressure plate, and between the clutch plate and flywheel. To be extra sure, turn the engine half a turn and do it again. And yes, it is recommended to prop down the clutch pedal if storing a car for more than a couple of months.

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I saw Wayne Carini free up a stuck clutch by putting the car in high gear and holding down the clutch pedal while a couple of big guys shove the car back and forth until the clutch comes loose.  It's worth a try.  It worked on TV s but I've never tried it myself.  I've also saw people completely remodel a house in 30 minutes on TV but I've not tried that either :)

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2 hours ago, Ronnie said:

I saw Wayne Carini free up a stuck clutch by putting the car in high gear and holding down the clutch pedal while a couple of big guys shove the car back and forth until the clutch comes loose.  It's worth a try.  It worked on TV s but I've never tried it myself.  I've also saw people completely remodel a house in 30 minutes on TV but I've not tried that either :)

 

I've used that rock the car in gear with the pedal all the way down method a number of times and it does work if the clutch disc is not badly rusted to the flywheel/pressure plate.

 

I have seen some discs that the rust grew into the fibers of the friction facings of the clutch disc. When the disc was removed, chunks of rust scale stayed imbedded in the friction facings. When that happens the clutch will always drag because it has become too thick with rust.

 

Paul 

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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A stuck clutch on a Fluid Drive Mopar usually requires removing the lower cover and using a thin blade to wedge the disc loose with the clutch pedal pushed down.

There is no shock load to break the clutch disc loose because of the fluid coupling.

I had replaced a clutch in a 1948 Chrysler 2 weeks prior to the customer parking the car over his new shop concrete slab.

A week later the clutch was stuck. I had to pry the disc loose... surface rusting from moisture coming up from the new concrete.

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I'm usually alone when I have to do things. Fortunately I usually drive the Judge every few months and it has a Centerforce clutch. Knife blade in access cover makes sense. Think I'd remove all the plugs so easy to turn first.

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It will be interesting to see if I can push down the clutch to the floor board and see if it's stuck.  First I have to install the master cylinder, and then install the clutch and brake pedals that attach to a bar on the master cylinder.  

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When this happens on my vintage Triumph motorcycle I ride it around the yard with the clutch pulled in and revving the throttle up and down.  It usually breaks free quickly.

 

I'm not sure about hitting the brakes while the wheels are spinning in the air.  When I was fifteen I was messing with my 64 Valiant convertible that was parked in the snowy yard for the winter.  I was trying to move it around and revved it up while the wheels were spinning in the snow.  It didn't budge and for some reason I hit the brakes while the wheels were still spinning fast.  Big noise and I had to replace the rear end.

 

Jim

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 On a side note, I have a 55 Ford F150 that was sitting for a long time that had a fresh brake job done.

 After many years of sitting the bonded brake shoes separated from the shoe.

 I imagine the same could happen to the clutch.

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5 hours ago, jimy said:

When this happens on my vintage Triumph motorcycle I ride it around the yard with the clutch pulled in and revving the throttle up and down.  It usually breaks free quickly.

 

I'm not sure about hitting the brakes while the wheels are spinning in the air.  When I was fifteen I was messing with my 64 Valiant convertible that was parked in the snowy yard for the winter.  I was trying to move it around and revved it up while the wheels were spinning in the snow.  It didn't budge and for some reason I hit the brakes while the wheels were still spinning fast.  Big noise and I had to replace the rear end.

 

Jim

I had this trouble on Triumph and other British motorcycles until I started filling the primary chaincase with automatic transmission fluid. The ATF is good for the clutches and good for the chains and never harmed the alternator or anything else. After that, I would pull in the clutch and kick the starter just to make sure the clutch was free before starting the engine.

This will not work on some late 70s Triumphs that had a common oil supply for engine and chaincase.

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I just had my clutch fixed because of that problem.  I store my car on blocks in the winter and start it about once a month.  I was told by the restorer that in addition to that I need to work the clutch a few times and let the wheels spin.
He is really smart so I'll be doing that from now on.

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I have the same problem with my 65 Corvette, been stuck for 2 years. Tried jacking it up and running in second gear, could never get it in 4th. Close ratio tranny. Could not get it loose. No access plate at the bottom of the flywheel housing, so that doesn't work. Might try the 3 big guy, roll in 4 gear deal. I have already set a shop up to pull the transmission out. Bummer!!!

 

Wayne

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21 minutes ago, R W Burgess said:

Might try the 3 big guy, roll in 4 gear deal.

Let us know how that works out for you.  Shove the car back and forth like you were trying to rock it out of a mud hole. The shock on the clutch plate from the drivetrain changing directions is what breaks it loose.

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I really like the Centerforce clutch in the Judge. I have a lot of stock GM clutches, especially ones with small blocks crack the disk so that one of the springs cocks lock up. Clutch usually feels heavier than normal but does not release. Probably a good time to pull the tranny and check the clutch for mechanical problems. Is really one of the simpler jobs and an aluminum case Muncie is not very heavy (until it is sitting on your chest after the umpteenth try to get it to slide in failed again).

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2 hours ago, padgett said:

(until it is sitting on your chest after the umpteenth try to get it to slide in failed again)

I have done that aged 18 with a 1953 Buick transmission, working outside on a crushed rock driveway.  Then I discovered pilot shafts.

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5 hours ago, plymouthcranbrook said:

Had another friend who took the main shaft out of a Chrysler transmission and used it as a clutch alignment tool

Main drive gear maybe, not main shaft unless WPC uses different nomenclature.

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4 hours ago, Tinindian said:

Main drive gear maybe, not main shaft unless WPC uses different nomenclature.

Probably me using the wrong term. The Spline shaft that goes through the clutch disc on one end and had a single gear on the other. About a foot long if I remember right. This was 50 years ago so the memory is dim.  Used for a 225 slant six in a 61 Valiant and a three speed trans with a floor shift.

Edited by plymouthcranbrook (see edit history)
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Before acquiring a couple of plastic ones (10 spline, 26 spline) I used the input shaft from a Corvair, about 2 feet long, to align the disk. Have used the input shaft/gear from a Muncie before (about 10" long).

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As some old mechanics taught me, I always made all my clutch pilot tools out of wood. Lathe turn, or whittle down some wooden clothes closet pole. Even cut  flats to clamp a dial indicator onto the pilot tool for when I need to check or center up a bell housing by the transmission opening. A common way that's done on early cars.

 

Paul  

Wooden Clutch pilot tools..JPG

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I have had the same problem before, inside storage, but not climate controlled.  I jacked up the rear end, started the car, with the clutch in but wheels spinning, repeatedly revved the engine.  Broke loose in a couple iterations.

 

I would think you could pull the car with a tractor and do the same thing (operating the clutch)?  My tractor I park outside, seizes up all the time, I just drive in the ditch with the clutch depressed and it breaks free.

 

I like the idea for splitting the clutch from underneath, I do have an access cover.

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You can jack up 1 rear wheel and  put the clutch peddle in the disengage area and take that  wheel and rock it back and forth til it comes unstuck

We have a 800 Ford tractor and that Clutch stuck  so we wired the peddle down and left it  for a while  then then I put part of a drive shaft on the pto and put the pto to the in position and gave it a good tug and it came loose.

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