Clutch Maintenance

Clutch Maintenance


When servicing the clutch, exercise the following precautions.

- Always wear eye protection when working underneath a vehicle.

- Remove asbestos dust only with a special, approved vacuum collection system or an approved liquid cleaning system.

- Never use compressed air or a brush to clean off asbestos dust.

- Follow all federal, state, and local laws when disposing of collected asbestos dust or liquid containing asbestos dust.

- Never work under a vehicle that is not raised on a hoist or supported by safety or jack stands.

- Use jack stands and special jacks to support the engine and transmission.

- Have a helper assist in removing the transmission.

- Be sure the work area is properly ventilated, or attach a ventilating hose to the vehicle's exhaust system when an engine is to be run indoors.

- Do not allow anyone to stand in front of or behind the automobile while the engine is running.

- Set the emergency brake securely and place the gearshift in neutral when running the engine of a stationary vehicle.

- Avoid touching hot engine and exhaust system parts. Whenever possible, let the vehicle cool down before beginning to work on it.


Clutch Linkage Adjustment

Except for systems with self-adjusting mechanisms, the release bearing should not touch the pressure plate release levers when the clutch is engaged (pedal up). Clearance between these parts prevents permature clutch plate, pressure plate, and release bearing wear. As the clutch disc wears and becomes thinner, this clearance changes.


Clearance can be ensured by adjusting the clutch linkage so the pedal has a specified amount of play, of free travel. Free travel is the distance a clutch pedal moves when depressed, before the clutch fork begins to move the release bearing.


To check pedal play, use a tape measure or ruler. Place the tape measure or ruler beside the clutch pedal and the end against the floor of the vehicle and note the reading. Then, depress the clutch pedal just enough to take up the pedal play and note the reading again. The difference between the two readings is the amount of pedal play.


Adjustment should be performed when pedal play is not correct or when the clutch does not engage or disengage properly. To adjust clutch pedal play, refer to the manufacturer's service manual for the correct procedure and adjustment point locations. Often pedal play can be increased or decreased by turning a threaded fastener located either under the dash at the clutch pedal or where the linkage attaches to the clutch fork.


Clean the linkage with a shop towel and solvent, if necessary, before checking it and replacing any damaged or missing parts or cables. Check hydraulic linkage systems for leaks at the clutch master cylinder, hydraulic hose, and slave cylinder. Then, adjust the linkage to provide the manufacturer's specified clutch pedal play.


External Clutch Linkage Lubrication

External clutch linkage should be lubricated at regular intervals, such as during a chassis lubrication. Refer to the vehicle's service manual to determine the proper lubricant. Many clutch linkages use the same chassis grease that is used for suspension parts and U-joints. Lubricate all the sliding surfaces and pivot points in the clutch linkage. The linkage should move freely after lubrication.

On Vehicles with hydraulic clutch linkage, check the clutch master cylinder reservoir fluid level. It should be approximately 1/4 inch from the top of the reservoir. If it must be refilled, use approved brake fluid. Also, since the clutch master cylinder does not consume fluid, check for leaks in the master cylinder, connecting flexible line, and slave cylinder, if the fluid is low.

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