Clutch or Gearbox Problems

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JonHutch
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Clutch or Gearbox Problems

Post by JonHutch »

Hi

Struggling to work out what’s wrong and if it’s a quick fix, major problem, what to try first and whether to continue the holiday!  It’s a 1989 T3 1.9 Petrol water cooled with 5 speed manual box.

Gear selection always tricky compared to a modern car and so I’ve learned to live with it.  Gear linkage parts replaced several years ago as was the gearbox oil. Slave cylinder replaced 4 years ago when that failed.  Normally I can get every gear with just 2nd tricky (double de clutch works as does doing it slowly) and just the occasional crashing of gears and gear stick vagueness.
 [font]On last trip 4 weeks ago the gears seemed harder to get so it was bled again before this trip (no air noted).

On this trip gears as normal but clutch bite point near the floor.  So bled it again, no air noted, but then unable to engage any gear when engine running.  Spent most of the day reading up and checking items to work out what it is but I’m going around in circles.
[/font]
 [font]The clutch could be failing.  But I’ve not noticed any slipping and the bite point is at the floor.  With clutch pedal fully down the clutch is not engaged, lift it up half an inch and it is.  If it was a worn clutch would the bite not be near the top of travel and not the bottom?[/font] [font]No fluid leaks at master or slave clutch cylinders.  No noticeable loss of fluid from reservoir.[/font] [font]The master or slave cylinder could be failing but the clutch lever is moving.  Not sure on exact movement but looks like 15 to 20mm.  It starts to move when the pedal is partially pressed down.  Once the clutch pedal is released the lever and slave rod move up but can be pushed up a little bit, about 3-5mm.  The cylinders do not seem to be passing, with the clutch pressed down in stationary traffic did not start to bite or creep after a while.  Repeated pressing does not make it any better (or worse).[/font] Late PM today and it would not go into any gear if the engine was running, but it would if the engine was off.  I could put it into gear and with clutch pedal at the floor start it and when lifting up the clutch move the van, but not change gear.  Not even into neutral. [font]Just in case the clutch cylinder movement was not quite enough I’ve put a temporary shim in between the slave push rod cup and clutch lever arm to give an extra 1.5mm of movement but no noticeable difference.[/font] So I bled it slightly again this evening, this time using what I think is the Simon Baxter recommended way.  As in open the slave bleed and let gravity make it flow with no pushing down of the pedal but side to side jiggling.  Previous bleeds have been the two person peddle push, open, down close, back up and repeat.  Can now just get it into gear with engine running again.  Clutch bite point is still just above the floor.  I only let it bleed for 5 mins as catching the fluid tricky with no suitable hose to hand on and on Mother In Laws drive! So; I’m now confused.  I still suspect the master clutch cylinder is starting to fail but the lever moves a lot.  I’m guessing it may be the clutch release bearing but not sure why and struggling to understand the clutch anyway.  Hoping it’s not the gearbox. I’d normally work on the replace any item that looks failed, and then every item in turn starting with the easiest till it works (and anything sensible that is removed or accessible).  The slave cylinder is easy, but the master tricky as dash out with pedal assembly and more chance to break other items and other sensible to do items accessible (so easyish but takes a lot of time).  Clutch looks doable but I think I’d like a garage to do this but good ones busy so I may have to. So any ideas as what is the cause, and what to try first? And as we are only at a stop over in Cardiff en-route to holiday in Pembrokeshire before going home (Manchester) do we continue and hope for best, abort the holiday and try to drive home now or call the recovery service and get lifted home?
I’ll give it another bleed tomorrow and can keep bleeding it if it is just a small internal leak at the master cylinder but don’t want to get stuck on the roadside if it’s an obvious other issue.

 Jon
 
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Aidan
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Re: Clutch or Gearbox Problems

Post by Aidan »

it sounds to me like a combination of worn clutch fork tips, maybe bushes too and/or worn release bearing and or worn or broken clutch cover lever tips (the bit the release bearing presses against) as you appear to have plenty of travel at the lever arm the slave cylinder is pressing against. The front of the release bearing wears, especially the LUK type ones, the back contact points wear, the fork tips wear and the brass bush especially wears but so to does the fork shaft if the poly grease in the nylon bush has turned to grinding paste

Just one thing have you replaced the fluid ? You probably have especially if gravity bleeding which is preferable method.

You may also have a worn grabby spigot bearing so even if clutch is disengaged there is some drive to input shaft of gearbox so replace that while the box is out anyway

jas915
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Re: Clutch or Gearbox Problems

Post by jas915 »

Year ago my van was difficult to change gear especially when stationary. Turned out the be the spigot bearing had fallen to bits. This was on a deisel van though so not sure do petrol have this?
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jrt
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Re: Clutch or Gearbox Problems

Post by jrt »

Clutch master cylinder easy to do. You just need to be slightly horizontal to do it.
When mine gave me problems it didn’t leak but was drawing in air from knackered seals.
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JonHutch
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Re: Clutch or Gearbox Problems

Post by JonHutch »

Thanks all, advice much appreciated.  Relieved I’m not missing anything obvious, but annoyed it has occurred.  Looks like it’s bringing forward the gearbox and engine refurb.

Yes, fluid is lovely, clean and fresh.  Not able to get any gears with engine running today so awaiting recovery to home.

Aidan.  Is what you suspect easy for a competent local garage to do.  I’ve got our local to have a look and I’d trust them to do a clutch swap.  Are the other items relatively easy to do or is this part of the inevitable gearbox refurbishment?  And would a clutch and/or release bearing alone allow the gearbox refurb to be put back say another 6 months (3,000 miles)?

Jas915 / JRT - Hopefully simple but probably not.  I can feel the master cylinder and see parts of it.  I’ll swap the master soonish and do the clevis pin bearing at some point so I’m already resigned to removing the dash.  Sounds like the immediate issue is at the back rather than the front so this not urgent.

And thanks for the advice.  Jon.
 
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Aidan
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Re: Clutch or Gearbox Problems

Post by Aidan »

it's all pretty straightforward stuff, you wouldn't be going into the box itself, if it's the spigot bearing it is a simple, flywheel off job, slide hammer with internal bearing puller to remove the old one, socket to fit a new one, new felt seal and new o ring in the back of the flywheel and easy enough to do the engine crank flywheel seal if it's weeping whilst you are there. Release bearing is straight forward just put some lube where the fork and the bearing mate, not on the guide tube, and a wipe on the face of the bearing where it touches the clutch cover forks; clutch fork refurbishment is a bit of an art but not beyond wit of man, if the old forks are really badly worn then the shaft can be cut through with angle grinder to aid stripping it down, RJES sells the best clutch fork, and usually has bushes in stock too. Brickie usually has stuff in stock, if you aren't having success I can supply parts if needed

colinthefox
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Re: Clutch or Gearbox Problems

Post by colinthefox »

jas915 wrote: 01 Jun 2021, 09:19 Year ago my van was difficult to change gear especially when stationary. Turned out the be the spigot bearing had fallen to bits. This was on a deisel van though so not sure do petrol have this?
I've had exactly this too on a diesel van, so I'll put in another vote for failed spigot bearing. You might want to check the gearbox clutch shaft for end float while you're in there. This may have caused my spigot bearing failure.
 
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