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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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clutch failure without warning

After six months of ownership and five thousand problem-free miles, my 1990 Graduate finally let me down last night. With no warning, the clutch stopped disengaging and I could not get the car into any gear. If I forced it into first, with the pedal in, the car would start grabbing and lurching forward, then die. Had to have it towed to my shop.

Interesting, possibly related tidbit... about a month ago, I had the clutch slave cylinder replaced and of course all fluid had to be bled and replaced. After my episode last night, I checked the fluid quickly, expecting it maybe to be all gone or something. But it was topped off.

This happened only a mile or so from home so the car was about up to normal operating temp. I drove the car last about five days ago and all was fine.

Any ideas how expensive this one might be, before I get the call from my shop?

Funny side note - after not seeing any other Spiders on the road here in Minneapolis since buying mine last fall, I finally saw another one as I was getting a lift from a friend, in his Audi, following my problem last night. So I couldn't honk and wave.

Cheers.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 08:09 AM
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Must be the season of clutch failure I am in the same boat.

67 duetto, 74 spider, 83 gtv6, audi 90
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 08:30 AM
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It might be that with the new fluid, and the bleeding, that the clutch master cylinder has failed. Sometimes this happens. It often pays to do both, if you're doing one, for this reason.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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Makes sense. But wouldn't that cause a loss of fluid?

What was weird was the suddenness of the failure. That leads me to believe it's not the clutch friction plate or TO bearing, which would have given me some symptoms I would have thought 9 shuddering, grabbing, noise....

I am hoping it is just some linkage piece that has fallen out and is easily fixed. Wishful thinking...
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
It might be that with the new fluid, and the bleeding, that the clutch master cylinder has failed. Sometimes this happens. It often pays to do both, if you're doing one, for this reason.

Andrew
This happened with the brakes on my '78. Although the brakes were functional I rebuilt the calipers to fix a sticking piston. The seals in the master cylinder then failed.

It's best to renew all seals at the same time.

Currently Owned:
1957 Giulietta Spider (Maria - Home from the painter!!)
1988 Quadrifoglio (Tony)
1987 BMW 653CSI (Gustav)
2002 VW Passat Wagon V6
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1966 Giulia Sprint GT
1994 164LS 5-Speed

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 09:48 AM
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did the clucth pivet arm fail? the one near the master cly.? the pedal attac. to it....some fail there.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 10:06 AM
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I'd verify the slave in operating correctly.

Loud pipes save lives.

1973 GTV - bought 3/06, intend to keep forever
1969 GTV, #AR1530021 - sold 10/72, guess didn't intend to keep forever
Current project: '69 Corvette bought in '73, DD '73 - '80, in storage 1989-2002, now apart
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 11:32 AM
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Clutch failure

This will be simple to troubleshoot - with two people - one in the car, and one underneath, watching the throw-out fork. Push down on the pedal, and see if the fork moves - if it doesn't (and it probably won't), then it's hydraulics OR the rod & arm assembly that connects the pedal to the clutch master. If it does, then you might consider taking out a second mortgage.

Bianchi1's suggestion that it could be that rod & arm assembly is a good one - that is a well known weak point on Alfas. Have your "watcher" move from underneath the car, to the seft front of the firewall, and observe whether the arm & lever that comes out of the aluminum casting behind the booster is pushing the clutch master when the pedal is depressed.

OR, the clutch master could have died - if it starts working again once things cool down, it might point to that (keep in mind that the master cylinders are right above the exhaust manifold, and it is summer).

Jay Mackro
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Last edited by Alfajay; 06-26-2007 at 11:34 AM.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 12:43 PM
 
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You can get a kevlar clutch, high pressure pressure plate and release bearing and clutch tool for $345, add $75 more and they will lighten the clutch too.
http://www.importperformanceparts.ne...utch-alfa.html
Don't forget to replace your rear crank seal while it is all apart!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 02:02 PM
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The term is "Clutch pivot arm" or "Clutch pivot shaft". This is the arm welded on the end of the shaft that rotates when you depress the clutch pedal. Complete failure usually means the clutch pedal remains on the floor. If the arm weld just slips, it rotates on the shaft, and the clutch can not be fully released. When this happens, the clutch pedal will not return to a position even with the brake pedal. Do a search on this topic. There's lots of information and diagrams.

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Originally Posted by bianchi1 View Post
did the clucth pivet arm fail? the one near the master cly.? the pedal attac. to it....some fail there.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suddha View Post
...Any ideas how expensive this one might be, before I get the call from my shop?...
If it's the clutch expect to pay between $800 - $1000 for parts an labor... You could save a little bit if you order the clutch yourself, since shops do charge "list price", but I don't know if your shop works this way...

Best regards,

Enrique
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 06:00 PM
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conedriver.....sorry about the spelling,,kind of tierd.....with this dammed parkinsons...hard to sleep sometimes....kind of fun going to work still
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-27-2007, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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update....

Got very good news from the shop this morning: the clutch failure was caused by a faulty hose from the clutch slave cylinder, which caused a sudden loss of fluid pressure. A couple of days wait and no charge! Bullet dodged....

Thanks for all the feedback.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-27-2007, 07:09 AM
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Got mine figured out as well. Unfortunately I had to drop tranny. The throwout bearing has worn a significant groove on the area where it makes contact with the fingers of the pressure plate. It may have even worn a couple of them off. The bearing still spins as it should , it could be the result of a poorly adjusted push rod. (the one item that is adjustable just before the master cylinder). So be careful when adjusting this for excessive free play. Will try and post some pictures of this one cause I have never seen this condition before. Cheers!

67 duetto, 74 spider, 83 gtv6, audi 90
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