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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently bought an 87 Quad (55,000 miles) and been driving it noting I need to work the clutch and shifter to engage 1st and reverse (probably somewhat common). Had another Spider owner driver it who says the clutch pedal feels a little weird. I just spent 2 weeks in Europe driving another manual trans car, and when I returned home, started to beleive the clutch pedal does feel weird.

Looking for ideas on where to start to correct this possible issue. The pedal sits about 3/8" lower than the break pedal, but does not feel spongey or soft, and it always retracts to the same position. If I pull up on the pedal, there is a maybe 1/8" play. When I press the pedal, its a little firmer than I think it should be, and doesn't seem to have a lot of travel, but can be pushed right to the floor. In fact, most often I need to put the pedal right to the floor to engage 1st gear, and 2nd if I go into 2nd at a stop before going into 1st. Then as soon as I release the pedal, the car starts rolling. I should emphasize that when I have to put the pedal to the floor, it seems like I'm almost needing to go through the floor board. Other than this, the car has the usual 2nd gear grind if the shift isn't timed right, other than that, it shifts fine. Should mention I've already changed the gearbox and differential fluid and the brake system fluid, but haven't done anything with the clutch fluid/system.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Sounds like your clutch shaft is beginning to fail. A common problem (if that's what it is) for the design. The clue is when the pedals don't line up.

See #15 in the FAQ at the top of the forum.

Here is my adventure in pivot repairs:

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spider-1966-up/181063-broken-clutch-pivot.html


That first link is broken. Here is the info from that page:

Replacing the Alfa Clutch Pedal Shaft
by Len Leeb
Santa Rosa, CA

[If you notice the clutch pedal in your Spider/GTV gradually dropping lower and lower with respect to the brake pedal, you may have a problem with your clutch pedal pivot shaft. If you're experiencing this, read on. RHH.]

The clutch pedal/brake pedal pivot shaft may be replaced with the pedal cluster in the car, and without opening the hydraulic lines. This is contrary to what the manual suggests, but it works!

Fig. 1. Pedal box hardware

Pull the cotter pin from the pin that holds the clutch lever arm to the master cylinder input shaft. Remove the pin and washer, and the arm, if the weld has broken, will come off. It will help to disconnect the battery as the brake lite will come on when the pedal is moved. It may help to tape down the brake lite switch to keep it out of the way of the pedal.
Remove the bolt and nut that holds the brake vacuum servo to the bodywork. It’s on the inside of the left fender well. Now remove the two nuts and washers securing the pedal cluster housing to the firewall.
From inside the car, remove the two nuts and washers (13mm socket) securing the bottom of the pedal cluster housing--see Figure 1.
Now, working under the hood, rock the master cylinder to loosen the housing from the firewall. There is a sticky gasket between the firewall and the casting. Once this is free, pull up on the casting to get it free of the mounting studs that held it to the firewall. Be careful not to pull too far back, since the brake and clutch lines are still attached.
Pull the cluster housing up until the bolt securing the clutch pedal to the shaft is visible--see Figure 2. Remove the nut part way, until the top of the nut and the end of the bolt are flush. Tap the end of the bolt until it drops down; it will still be held in place by the nut. Reach into the housing, and support the bolt with one hand, while removing the nut and washer with the other. Pull the bolt out.
Wiggle the clutch shaft out of the housing; it may help to use pliers or vise-grips on the end of the shaft. The clutch pedal will drop to the floor, the brake pedal will stay in place.
Installation of the new (or rewelded) shaft is a reverse of the above. First, grease the shaft with a thin film of chassis lube. The clutch pedal must be held in place until the shaft is thru it, the brake pedal will have to be wiggled back and forth to get it into place. Use a flexible-shaft pick-up tool to insert the bolt in the clutch pedal, thru the shaft. A little tricky, until the exact angle is achieved. The shaft must be rotated until the flat lines up with the hole in the pedal pivot.
If rewelding the shaft, be sure to correctly mark its location with respect to the lever arm before removing the shaft. Once out of the car, it is difficult to get the proper angle. Also, be sure to set the clutch master cylinder input shaft to the correct dimension. The book says 5.28" (134 mm) from the end of the cylinder to the end of the connecting pin hole, (nearest the fire wall). Do not measure to the center of the hole!
Note: prop the clutch pedal up to the correct height to be able to mark the lever arm location with respect to the shaft. Make sure the mark does not move between removing the shaft and welding it. (Ask me how I know!)

Fig. 2. Pedal securing bolts

This procedure eliminates the need to bleed the hydraulic system, since it is never opened up. There is enough play in the hydraulic lines to be able to move the assembly a few inches. The whole procedure should take no more than an hour for removal, and a like amount to reinstall.

[This is a good time to peel back the rubber boots on the clutch MC and brake MC and grease the balls at the end of the actuator rods. This makes their operation smoother and quieter. RHH.]

A few Band-Aids for skinned knuckles might help, and some proper Italian automotive words are occasionally in order. I had to use English ones, remembered from my days of owning/working on British sports cars. Maybe my Alfa was over-awed by my command of English colloquialisms!

The hardest part of this procedure is to reinsert the clutch pedal to shaft pin. If the pin drops, it may fall below the car, into the car, or between the firewall and the carpet. In other words, don’t drop it unless you have a spare. [If you do drop the pin, a magnetic pick-up tool can help retrieve it. RHH.] The hood release cable constantly gets in the way, I think if I were to repeat this job, I’d recommend disconnecting it, but don’t drop the hood before before it’s reconnected! When raising the housing from the firewall, the pedals will tend to find their own way up into the under-dash area, binding occasionally on the bodywork sheetmetal. (You’ll never see the scratches.)

While I worked alone, it would help to have a second person in the car, moving the pedals for you when you insert the pedal shaft.

[For a second article describing clutch pedal shaft replacement, see Droopy Clutch Pedal, RHH.]





Droopy Clutch Pedal?
by Ed Komzelman

Fig. 1. Pedal box hardware
A pair of phone calls concerning unresponsive clutch pedals prompts a review of Alfa Romeo's suspended clutch and brake pedal engineering. Since 1969/ 1970 the late 105 and 115 series cars (Berlinas, GTVs, and Spiders) have shared the same firewall mounted pedestal arrangement. These cars have the clutch master cylinder mounted on a bracket integral to the power brake booster assembly. The power brake booster is mounted on an alloy pedestal and the clutch master cylinder is mounted on the outboard side of the power brake booster. The brake and clutch pedals are suspended from a shaft mounted inside the alloy pedestal. The shaft then has an arm welded to the outboard end to actuate the clutch master cylinder.

The brake pedal is simply suspended from the shaft, however, the clutch pedal is cinched to the shaft with a taper pin and keeper nut. Depressing the clutch pedal rotates the shaft in the pedestal thus actuating the clutch.

The steel shaft is notched through approximately half its diameter to accept the taper pin. This notch is the weak point in the pedestal set up. Eventually the shaft begins to bind causing it to twist and shear. There are various causes for this problem, mileage, number of shifts, and corrosion enter into the equation, but the other culprits are the springs in the clutch pressure plate. They become rusty and it takes more force at the pedal to engage the clutch hence the shaft eventually fatigues and shears at its weakest point.

Fig. 2. Pedal securing bolts

There are a couple of hints at the impending failure of the shaft. First, the clutch pedal appears lower than the brake pedal. The clutch pedal should be level with if not slightly higher than the brake pedal. Second, engaging 1st and reverse gears seem a tad bit more challenging than usual. When the shaft does shear, the clutch pedal goes to the floor and will not return to its normal height. Shifting becomes a grinding affair. You decide to "help" and when you pull up on the clutch pedal it becomes slack. Now, moving the clutch pedal by hand, you will see no corresponding movement of the clutch master cylinder lever under the hood.

You must remove the entire assembly to include clutch master cylinder, brake master cylinder, power booster and pedestal to effect the repair. Once the entire assembly is removed, the shaft can be welded and put back into the car. The alternative is to let your friendly neighborhood Alfa Repair Shop pull the shaft and recondition it for you.
 

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Alfa clutches tend to be quick to engage although you should have complete disengagement when the pedal is fully depressed. When you say "work the clutch" to engage 1st or reverse, does this mean you need to pump or depress the clutch pedal multiple times to before you can engage either gear?

I would bleed the clutch hydraulic system, check the travel of the clutch slave cylinder, check the clutch control rod length at the MC is set to 5.28 inches, and then, if there is no change in feel and operation, check for a broken pivot arm. Note that a clutch pedal that sits slightly below the brake pedal at rest does not conclusively and independently indicate that your pivot arm is broken. Here's a link that might be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm hoping its not the pivot arm, as it seems like a lot of finicky work. However I did notice there looks to be somekind of felt looking washer/gasket on the arm that is starting to come apart.

I will attempt to take the measurements that have been suggested and will bleed the system also. I'm cautiously optimistic.

What I meant by work the clutch, is simply that I can't shift into 1st or 2nd from a standstill effortlessly. If I'm talking to a passenger, I need to break concentration to make sure I'm putting the clutch to the floor, and gently working the shifter into gear. I don't need to double pump or anything like that.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So is it as simple as looking to see if there is a crack(s) on the outer side of the lever and shaft weld, and/or look to see if there is anymore or less rotation of the lever in relation to the shaft?

If I don't see anything, I'll proceed to take the recommended measurements and adjust anything needs to be, and also bleed the clutch slave.

Thanks.
 

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Actually it is usually hard to see the break (if that's the problem). The end of the shaft breaks under the weld. Usually one can reach down and pull up on the pedal & it'll move into the proper postion (but it won't hold...). Even if it doesn't move that might not rule out a failed pivot shaft weld. A PO may have had it re-welded in the wrong positon.

Whatever the issue, the Spider's clutch is light & smooth. As far as shifting into first gear - there is no synchro for the 'up-shift' from neutral into 1st. Try this - while stopped move the lever partly into 3rd gear then shift into first. That manuever uses the 3rd gear synchro to stop the moving gears making the shift into first easy & quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I will try that maneuvre tonight.
Quite often I go into 2nd then first, and second can be a bit of a struggle to go into.
As for my clutch feel, its firm and smooth.
Thanks.
 

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Really sounds like the pivot. You can inspect it easily, as it breaks off outside of the pedal box. Grab a flashlight and have someone work the pedal. you might see what's going on. Order a new one and get ready to replace it
Really, really, really sounds like the pivot to me. I can't picture how defective hydraulics would produce the symptoms you describe.

Previous owners seem to always destroy the pivot pins - I guess they think they're still driving their pick-up truck, and need to stomp on the clutch with every shift.
 

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Pivot Pins

Maybe I had better reword this . . .

On at least two occasions I found that my clutch PIVOT PIN had a groove worn in it such that the clutch was very difficult to get full compression and a smooth shift. BUT, the pins did not fail. Guess I caught them in time. But easy to check and easy to fix. BTW, the pins were in the clevis.

Also, every Alfa I have had (about 6 or so) you had to depress the clutch ALL THE WAY to the floor. My current 87 Quad is exactly the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, I had a look at a few things and found the following.

The don't see any cracks in the pivot arm or any odd movements to think the pivot arm is broken or breaking. What I did find is there is a felt like gasket/washer on the shaft against the lever that is breaking apart. The entire lever is also lightly coated in what I suspect to be brake fluid. The paint in the entire area on the firewall behind the lever and under the clutch master is all bubbled. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the pivot arm actuates, but the rubber below doesn't retract. In fact the end of the bellow is loose and partly shredding. I can see what looks to be an o-ring or two under the bellow. I suppose this all means the clutch master needs replacing. Is it possible the clutch master fluid sometimes sprays back and that why the pivot arm is coated, because I don't think there is fluid inside the pedal housing that can come out and drip down the arm... correct?

I checked the operation of the slave cylinder from what I see, it appears to be working fine - moves about 1/2" when the clutch pedal is pressed.

Now whether related or not, when the clutch pedal is pressed, I hear what sounds like a frog croaking coming from inside the transmission right by the slave cylinder???

Lastly, regarding that felt like washer on the pivot arm... if it isn't cracked, is it really worth/necessary to remove it just to change it.

I should mention that I noticed all the bubbling paint earlier, but I thought that explained the brand new brake master cylinder in the car - but maybe that too failed causing part of that mess.

Here are a few pics that hopefully show what I'm describing.
 

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...don't see any cracks in the pivot arm or any odd movements to think the pivot arm is broken or breaking.
As previously mentioned, a simple visual inspection cannot rule out a broken pivot shaft weld. They typically break under the visible weld. See this picture from John Ortakales.



I am not saying this is your problem. Just making it clear one cannot simply look at the weld and pronounce it good.

What I did find is there is a felt like gasket/washer on the shaft against the lever that is breaking apart. The entire lever is also lightly coated in what I suspect to be brake fluid.
There should not be brake fluid leaking. If it is not an old leak since repaired then I assume a rebuild/replacement is in order.

I checked the operation of the slave cylinder from what I see, it appears to be working fine - moves about 1/2" when the clutch pedal is pressed.
Sounds good.

Now whether related or not, when the clutch pedal is pressed, I hear what sounds like a frog croaking coming from inside the transmission right by the slave cylinder???
Does not sound good...

There is an adjustment for the clutch master push rod. But it is not meant to be adjusted - rather set to the specified dimension on assembly and left alone thereafter. Perhaps an unknowing PO/mechanic fiddled with the adjustment...
 

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As has been said, this job is really not all that bad, if one is even a little handy with tools. You do not have to break the hydraulic lines if you carefully pull the master cylinders forward a bit to get the pedal box out. The toughest part of the job is reinstalling the shaft/tapered pin and pedals. But just go by the instructions given, and you'll do fine. I've done a couple of them. Make sure you reseal along the edge of the pedal box where it meets the firewall (water leaks).

This weld failure has nothing to do with how the car is driven. If you examine the failed parts, you'll see in every instance a lack of weld penetration and inadequate weld area to withstand the shearing forces. I had mine wire-welded on both the inside and outside of the crank arm a loooooong time back, and it's been fine since.

The symptoms quoted here are word for word a description of the failure mode of this pivot arm. Replace it with a reinforced piece, and it will last longer than you want to keep the car. BTW- regarding the frog in your clutch, use a long pry bar, easily pry back the clutch actuator arm so you can get a little dab of grease between the ball on the slave cylinder rod, and the socket in the arm. Personally, I would bet your hydraulics are ok for now. I wouldn't spin my wheels on that aspect until I repaired the pedal shaft/pivot arm problem. Then check your results.

alfaloco
Lexington, KY
 

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Since you just bought it I'm going to throw another possibiltiy out there. If the clutch had been replaced and the flywheel was resurfaced and the upper edge, the part the clutch plate bolts to was not cut the same amout as the clutch surface you would have the clutch engaging right off the floor. Even to the extent you would have to make sure no floor mat slid under the pedal. There is a spec on that and it really does make a difference.
 

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+1 to ghnl. It looks like the broken pivot shaft brigade has arrived... and they may well be correct.:) The point is to systematically check all the related variables and avoid spending time and money fixing things that aren't broken. I have a serviceable original pivot shaft if anyone wants it.

If you push the clutch pedal to the floor and hold it, does the slave push rod retract at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey All, time to resurrect this post as I want to do more to address this problem.
Today I ordered a new and improved clutch pivot arm from John Ortakales, even though my current one hasn't failed.

Just want to review my main concern is my ability to easily shift from a stand still in neutral into almost any gear easily. Quite often I need to repeatedly try going into different gears like 3rd or 4th before lining up 1st or 2nd. Sometimes I get the shifter about 1/2 way into gear and it gets hung up, and I either need to try again or get a little forceful. I know my 2nd gear synchro is worn, but not sure why even going into 3rd I can only get 1/2 way in easily sometimes before it hangs up. Then sometimes I can go straight in any gear from neutral on the first attempt.

Back when I first started investigating this issue, I have since went to Redline (NS), no change, changed the clutch master because the accordion boot was mangled and I believe I was loosing some fluid from its poor operation - no change, confirmed the 5.28" dimension on the master, and confirmed the clutch slave travels around the 1/2" it should, and bled the system. Nothing has improved. As I mentioned I have the clutch pivot on order, and will have a closer look at the clutch slave hose.

Is there anything I'm missing?

Is it possible its a gearbox issue that can only be resolved by a rebuild (that I am not capable of performing).

Thanks.
 

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looks like you've tried everything else.
 

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Where does the clutch pedal sit relative to the brake pedal? It should be equal or slightly higher when at rest. If it is lower that again points to a failed pivot shaft weld.

You shouldn't have difficulty shifting into 2-3-4-5 from neutral (engine running, clutch pedal down). 1st does not have a synchronizer for the "up-shift" from N to 1. To make the shift into first you either need to push the clutch pedal down & wait for a few seconds to allow the gears to stop spinning -or- you need to use the synchronizer from another gear to stop the spinning gears and then shift into first. To do the latter you move the shift lever ~ 1/2 way into another gear then out & into 1st.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Eric, the clutch pedal does sit a little lower, and I think some say it sitting a little lower isn't always a sure indicator of a failing pivot arm. But I'm just going to change it anyway and see what happens. At a minimum, it'll be done and can be ruled out.

As for getting into gear, if the pivot arm is going, could it explain why sometimes I can only go 1/2 way into gear some times. If not, what do you think it could be.

I hate sitting at a stop light, and fiddling with the gears before it turns green so I'm ready to go. It really takes the enjoyment out of city driving.
 
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