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Old 12-29-2019, 10:58 AM   #1
Zephyr4
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Unhappy Clutch slipping.

The clutch in my '31 started slipping this weekend. Slipped a couple of times in traffic and then a whole bunch more coming up a long hill in 3rd - revs were going up, car was slowing down. Made it to the top and it seemed OK for the rest of the mostly flat journey.

Will adjusting the play on the clutch pedal make any difference to this? I have a good 2 inches of travel before the throw out bearing makes contact. I can adjust this down to the recommended 1 inch, but I can't picture how this would make the clutch slip unless it's not fully disengaging the clutch and the clutch plate is dragging and getting hot....I don't hear anything to make me think this is the case.

I'll adjust the clutch tomorrow and give it a test, but part of me thinks this is a waste of time and I should just get the parts ordered and pull the engine ready for a new clutch.

I've had the car up and running for about 9 months. The engine and gearbox were from another car that had been stored for many years. Never slipped before.

Any opinions welcome!
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Old 12-29-2019, 11:17 AM   #2
ryanheacox
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

I don’t think adjusting the clutch linkage will gain you anything given you already have free play. You might be able to adjust the pressure plate though to buy you some time. Where does the pedal grab currently?
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:36 PM   #3
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

I agree with Ryan

You could look thru the inspection cover to see if anything is amiss.
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Old 12-29-2019, 02:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Perhaps there has oil or grease got on the friction lining?

Then cleaning with 'brake cleaner' spray can help. It is important to keep the clutch depressed while spraying.
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Old 12-29-2019, 03:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

This happened to me years ago - I had to replace the clutch disk. Turns out the splined piece in the center of the disk was just spinning in the center of the disk. Somehow, it had broken free of the disk. I had to tow the car home.
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Old 12-30-2019, 06:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Thanks for the replies, guys.

The pedal travels 1.5" to 2" up from the floorboard before it starts to bite.

I've peered in through the inspection hole and can't make out much of any importance. There's some oil on the flywheel housing at the bottom, but I can't see if there's any on the flywheel or clutch.

I think I'll go straight to pulling the engine. I'll post photos of what I find as I go along.

Cheers.
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Old 12-30-2019, 07:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Try adjusting it first. Make that pedal engage a lot closer to the floor.
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Old 12-30-2019, 08:36 AM   #8
David R.
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

In my experience with other vehicles (not model A) once you get clutch slipping you may as well bight the bullet and pull it down, likely worn and glazed disc, weak PP springs etc,. I would go ahead and fix it so you have no worries.
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Old 12-30-2019, 08:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Friction plate or clamping surface damage and oil on the surfaces have been mentioned as well as hub fracture but broken springs can also be a cause. Clutch free play is at the top of the pedal travel. It should start to release just so far from full up pedal. It should be fully released with full down pedal if the free play is correct. If is still slips with proper adjustment then their is still a problem that needs to be addressed.
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Old 12-30-2019, 08:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Slipping that much should have caused some pretty serious stink. I would troubleshoot it first before pulling engine. Tie tow strap from a tree to the rear end, should kill the engine. No grinding or crunching noise?
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

No noise. Out of the ordinary. I was in an A with a worn out clutch this summer and it's quite a distinctive smell. There were a few whiffs of that smell, but nothing too significant.

I've started tearing it down already. In the morning I'll unbolt the engine and see what's going on.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:54 AM   #12
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

I find it easier to to pull the rear end, easier on the paint. But, thats just a personal choice.

There is always oil in the bell housing on an 'A', but it doesn't/shouldn't get anywhere it shouldn't be.
It seems like yours is engaging when/where it should and adjustment is fine.
Sounds like its time for a clutch.
If you are changing the pressure plate, I'd recommend assembling the clutch on the bench and checking/adjusting the finger height before sticking everything back in the car.
If there was no chatter and the flywheel looks good then I wouldn't worry about having it cut. Remember to mark the flywheel before its removed.
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Old 12-30-2019, 06:00 PM   #13
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Bw sure you get a GOOD clutch disc and not one from China.


There are a lot of very poor quality reproduction clutch discs out there that are very prone to failure.


Bratton's sells a very high quality disc which is what I would recommend.


My experience and opinion.


Chris W.
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:42 PM   #14
Chuck Sea/Tac
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Yes, make sure it has caged springs.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

With the trans strapped up I pulled the engine:
LI-20-01-02-019.jpg
LI-20-01-02-000.jpg

Not sure the pressure plate fingers are all the same height (I know it's the other end that counts):
LI-20-01-02-007.jpg

Pretty oily in there:
LI-20-01-02-010.jpg

Pressure plate surface is scored. Can these be resurfaced?
LI-20-01-02-013.jpg

Likewise the flywheel isn't so smooth. I guess this needs resurfacing.
LI-20-01-02-015.jpg

The clutch disc isn't particularly worn, but it is a little greasy.
LI-20-01-02-018.jpg

So what's advisable here?
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:33 PM   #16
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Have a look on this:
https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=272911
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:15 PM   #17
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Personally with it apart I would scotch brite the flywheel and replace BOTH the p/plate and disc, making sure the p/plate fingers were adj correctly. Also replace the t/out bearing and pilot bearing. JMO
Paul in CT
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:26 PM   #18
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

Need to go the whole route. Flywheel resurfaced, replace pressure plate, pilot/throw out bearings, clutch disk. That clutch disk is an oldie ! Need new style with shock springs. Need to determine source of all that oil in the housing. May be rear engine seal, front trans bearing housing leak, or oil pumping out the shift rod holes. Might consider the aftermarket kit for blocking the shift rod holes in the clutch housing. When assembling be sure to dial in the flywheel and flywheel housing and shim if necessary. Might also be a good time to change out the trans bearings and counter shaft- pretty simple job. Also check the U Joint - very likely worn since all seems to be original equipment. Finally be sure the clutch fingers are in spec. In pretty deep at this point, might do it all. Good Luck.
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:30 PM   #19
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

https://www.oneillvintageford.co.uk/..._A_Clutch.html


At ~$250 for a new pressure plate I'd probably try to refurbish the one I have. I will suggest getting a new disc though. Unless you know of someone that can reline the disc you have.
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Old 01-02-2020, 10:04 PM   #20
David R.
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Default Re: Clutch slipping.

I would definitely find out where oil is coming from. If it’s rear main I would go ahead and pull pan and replace seals and gaskets go ahead and check and or adjust bearing clearances while you’re this far. I would definitely replace or resurface and recondition all clutch parts.
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