Low clutch pedal, massive confusion - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Low clutch pedal, massive confusion

Finally got the 164's clutch M/C replaced, but the pedal is maybe 2 or 3 inches off the floor, and has to go all the way down to disengage. The mechanic one of the brothers who run Alfa Italia in Burbank just shrugged and said maybe it'll come back up after a while. Multiple pumps didn't seem to make any difference either. it seems odd to have no way to adjust pedal height in these things.

Adding to my confusion is the odd terminology employed in the manual. Every car I've had with a hydraulic clutch has a unit acted upon by the pedal linkage called a Master Cylinder, which then sends fluid under pressure to a Slave Cylinder, which operates the clutch. The 164 manual refers to the first device as the "pump" and the one at the clutch end as the Master Cylinder and the part I had replaced was called the Master Cylinder. And I recall being told by a very good amateur mechanic I trust that the 164's master cylinder was under the dash !
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 04:50 PM
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Hi Will. I've been there and the photos below show the cause. My pedal didn't break right away - in the early stages, the symptoms matched what you describe. Solution was to get a good, used pedal from APE.

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And I recall being told by a very good amateur mechanic I trust that the 164's master cylinder was under the dash
Yup, it's all a bear to get at. Actually, I think replacing the pedal will be easier than replacing the clutch master.

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The mechanic – one of the brothers who run Alfa Italia in Burbank – just shrugged and said maybe it'll come back up after a while.
Wow - that's kind of scary. If you ever need any brake work, have the other brother handle it!
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'67 Duetto
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 04:54 PM
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Most of us call the one under the dash the master and the one acting on the clutch arm the slave, no matter what the book says.
There is no adjustment that I'm aware of for the clutch pedal; however, sometimes the pedal arm fails up near the pivot point and the pedal goes closer to the floor before it fails completely.

That's it, Jay

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys! Calling APE first thing tomorrow. I've learned about Alfa's cast bits via a busted rear door handle already …
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 05:53 PM
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Not cast, but certainly understrength for fatigue cycling (I think I'll inspect the one in my 91S soon).

The door handles, yes. Alfa cast door handles, both inside and out, have always cracked. My Sprint GT had outside handles break, but I learned how to repair them without it showing. Alfa door handles ever since have always been suspect, cracking now and then, esp if manhandled.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nashwill View Post
Thanks, guys! Calling APE first thing tomorrow.
Well, I can't guarantee that a failing pedal is your problem, though it certainly seems that way. It might be worth looking up under the dash with a flashlight before spending $$$ on a new pedal.

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Originally Posted by Del
Not cast, but certainly understrength for fatigue cycling
Right, 164 clutch pedals aren't made from castings (like the door handles). Don't know what they were made from - perhaps Soviet steel, or recycled paper clips, or recycled Soviet paper clips. Irrespective of material, the design was poor, with that kink between the pedal and the lever arm.

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'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 09-24-2014 at 06:36 PM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 06:17 PM
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Another thing to inspect for.

John Stewart
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 06:23 PM
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Yes, it is a classically easy stress analysis design calculation to properly size this part for the loads AND material allowables. In general, the basic reliability problem Alfa has had through the years is their use of cheap and lousy understrength metals for components.

Del

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1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
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1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 09:40 PM
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Certainly good to check for a mechanical failure of the clutch pedal arm under the dash...I'd also check the basics, though.

1 - Verify clutch dampener/puck under the air filter is gone - this caused a lot of problems and the clutch works better without it.

2 - Did you replace the rubber hose to the slave? Probably not the problem, but old hoses can swell inside and cause problems. Now is the time to do it.

3 - Check that its bled properly. I've done a couple, and it takes a lot of work to get all the air bubbles out. Remove slave from trans, use a large C clamp to keep push rod in slave cylinder, and then have a helper push in clutch as you crack bleeder valve open. Repeat the "push clutch-open bleeder-close bleeder-release clutch (pull up)" process many, many times, while keeping an eye on the fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir. Keeping the slave as high as you can during the bleed process will help air bubbles make their way to the top and out of the system. My guess is that it hasn't been completely bled and you have some air in the lines still.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 12:08 PM
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well I had my slave replaced and she is working well except (always something right?) mechanic told me the clutch pedal pivot thingie (my terminology) was failing or worn... sigh.. is this part still available and is this a doable project or does she go back to the shop? thanks!!
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 12:45 PM
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well I had my slave replaced and she is working well except (always something right?) mechanic told me the clutch pedal pivot thingie (my terminology) was failing or worn... sigh.. is this part still available and is this a doable project or does she go back to the shop? thanks!!
So what is the problem? Do you have excessive play in pedal? Is spring cartridge working OK? Little more info needed.

Pivot clevis pin or hole in pedal or master cylinder yoke can be worn for the pin. Pedal lever arm can be cracked.

Report your findings.

Ciao, Alfisto Steve
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 02:43 PM
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Hi Steve,

the pedal goes to the floor before it disengages the clutch, just had the slave replaced.. clutch is now working well .. the pedal does not always return. The mechanic said the pivot pin is worn. The pedal is also noticeably not even with the brake pedal.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by AlfaAL View Post
Hi Steve,

the pedal goes to the floor before it disengages the clutch, just had the slave replaced.. clutch is now working well .. the pedal does not always return. The mechanic said the pivot pin is worn. The pedal is also noticeably not even with the brake pedal.
Yeah, I agree with the mechanic but also the spring might be causing the issue too. But could still be air in the system or a slightly leak somewhere still or puck still in system?


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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 03:56 PM
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If the pedal's not coming all the way back, that's not normal.

It's not sucking in a full complement of hydraulic fluid to push into the slave cylinder.

Sometimes things don't get translated well. Just think of it as the Master Cylinder ("Pump") and the Slave Cylinder.

The only thing I will say about the mechanic's excuse, is "that dog won't hunt."

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 04:28 PM
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The pedal pivot wears quite early on. There is no economically reasonable fix. It should not affect the clutch operation.

Failure of the pedal to return on its own may result from a broken or faulty internal spring in the MC which helps the piston and its seals return to resting position.

Why only replace the slave cylinder? How was that fault diagnosed as compared to faokure of the MC?

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