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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, my alfa romeo spider 1990 recently started experiencing gearbox problems. When i start the car and try to put the car in either 1st or Reverse the gearbox will ”scream” and not engage (I am pressing the clutch all the way down). Does anyone know what the cause might be and how to solve it?

Help is much appreciated
 

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Sounds like the clutch is not disengaging from the flywheel. When you drive and shift, you're essentially power-shifting. I'd suggest checking the clutch hydraulics. Is the fluid level okay? Are there any leaks around the master cylinder (either in the engine bay or under the dash behind the clutch pedal)? Is there fluid around the clutch slave cylinder (peel back the rubber dust protector)? A less likely possibility is a damaged clutch fork (the part that engages the release bearing). A last possibility is a worn or broken pressure plate. The latter 2 require removal of the transmission and a clutch replacement.
 

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you say in "1st or reverse"...........you mean it happens only in 1st & reverse?
so for instance, can you easily engage 2nd and drive off....... or is the problem in all gears

what happens when you try the following?
engine off, engage 1st or 2nd gear and then press the clutch pedal to the floor and now try starting....(make sure it is clear in front of you in case it leaps forward!)
does the car jump forward? or can you now let out the clutch and drive off?

is the clutch pedal sitting much lower than the brake pedal?.............if so, can you pull it back up level?.....if so the infamous clutch pivot weld is failing
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
you say in "1st or reverse"...........you mean it happens only in 1st & reverse?
so for instance, can you easily engage 2nd and drive off....... or is the problem in all gears

(if all gears) is the clutch pedal sitting much lower than the brake pedal?
No the problem only occurs when i try to engage 1st or Reverse. I can engage all other gears
 

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1st has only part synchro (iirc) and reverse has none (whereas 2-3-4 all all synchronised)

if you are in 2nd gear at standstill, can you slip it into first like that?

could be hydraulics (has the clutch reservoir fluid gone down?)
could be a failing clutch pivot (sure sign of this is the clutch pedal is much lower than the brake pedal)
could even be the gear stick flopping around (it has a pinch bolt at the bottom that can loosen)

what exactly do you mean by screeching? grinding gears noise or something like a slipping fan belt 'screech'

has any work been done recently on the car?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
1st has only part synchro (iirc) and reverse has none (whereas 2-3-4 all all synchronised)

if you are in 2nd gear at standstill, can you slip it into first like that?

could be hydraulics (has the clutch reservoir fluid gone down?)
could be a failing clutch pivot (sure sign of this is the clutch pedal is much lower than the brake pedal)
could even be the gear stick flopping around (it has a pinch bolt at the bottom that can loosen)

what exactly do you mean by screeching? grinding gears noise or something like a slipping fan belt 'screech'

has any work been done recently on the car?
Hi, i haven’t tried shofting it from 2nd to 1st yet howerer im able to engage into 1st and reverse by turning of the car and placing it in. I checked the clutch fluid and it seemed to be at the right level.

I would explain the sound as a grinding and you can feel it in the gear knob as you try to push it into gear (it will not enter gear unless i turn the car off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
you say in "1st or reverse"...........you mean it happens only in 1st & reverse?
so for instance, can you easily engage 2nd and drive off....... or is the problem in all gears

what happens when you try the following?
engine off, engage 1st or 2nd gear and then press the clutch pedal to the floor and now try starting....(make sure it is clear in front of you in case it leaps forward!)
does the car jump forward? or can you now let out the clutch and drive off?

is the clutch pedal sitting much lower than the brake pedal?.............if so, can you pull it back up level?.....if so the infamous clutch pivot weld is failing
Thanks for the tip. Im going to check it out tomorrow and report back! Im not to good at engines so all the help is much appreciated👍🏼
 

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I would explain the sound as a grinding and you can feel it in the gear knob as you try to push it into gear
Okay, first of all, stop doing that :LOL:

Secondly, as noted above your clutch is likely not releasing. If the fluid is full and there are no leaks, the most likely cause is a failed clutch pedal lever. If your clutch pedal is sitting lower than your brake pedal and you can pull it up by hand, that's your problem.
 

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1st has only part synchro (iirc) and reverse has none (whereas 2-3-4 all all synchronised)

if you are in 2nd gear at standstill, can you slip it into first like that?

could be hydraulics (has the clutch reservoir fluid gone down?)
could be a failing clutch pivot (sure sign of this is the clutch pedal is much lower than the brake pedal)
could even be the gear stick flopping around (it has a pinch bolt at the bottom that can loosen)

what exactly do you mean by screeching? grinding gears noise or something like a slipping fan belt 'screech'

has any work been done recently on the car?
As a stopgap, you may want to try putting it into 2nd, while stationary and -keeping the clutch fully depressed- THEN engage 1st.
Need to repair anyway: Clutch not (fully) separating.
 

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Okay, if you start the car
and
try to take off in 2nd instead of first, can you do that with no issues? If you can do that and then let the clutch out and take off normally, it might not be the clutch.
 
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...Im not to good at engines so all the help is much appreciated👍🏼

just for clarification in case we're using terms you're not understanding
here is a typical 'low' clutch pedal. They should be level with one another
Tire Wheel Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting
this is the 'clutch pivot arm'. It fails at the circular weld.
Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Gas Auto part Fixture
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just took a picure of the clutch pedal and it seem like it’s a bit lower than the brake pedal. (Heres the photo)
1701061
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
...Im not to good at engines so all the help is much appreciated👍🏼

just for clarification in case we're using terms you're not understanding
here is a typical 'low' clutch pedal. They should be level with one another
View attachment 1701057
this is the 'clutch pivot arm'. It fails at the circular weld.
View attachment 1701056
Thank you so much! I just posted a photo of the pedals and it seems like the clutch pedal is lower than the break just like you said.
How do i go on to fix this?
 

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hard to tell how much lower your clutch pedal is to the brake in that photo........what would you estimate? only a few mm, or a few cms? ........it doesn't look that bad, but could be camera angle
if just a few mm I wouldn't worry just now.

if it is the clutch pivot shaft, the fix is not a simple job at all.
here's a long thread on this job, unfortunately the nice photos are all gone.
Broken Clutch Pivot

and a simpler pdf enclosed below

So you need to be certain that is actually the problem.

try pulling the pedal back up level...does it move and does it stay there?
If it does pull up level, can you now engage 1st? or does the pedal sink down again?

post a photo of the pivot.
 

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I've never liked those big thick rubber mats you have, that work their way up behind the pedals... if they get caught crumpled up under the clutch pedal, it won't allow full clutch travel.
(now that would be an easy solution;))
 
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