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Discussion Starter #1
My clutch takes too long to engage.. e.g. when i let the clutch out it feels spongy & doesn't immediately snap back... I have a new master & slave clutch cylinder and new clutch...

My mechanic (regular, not alfa) checked for air in the line & found none.

The only other symptom is a slight noise from the pilot bearing when the clutch is engaged.

The guy that installed it was a regular transmission shop guy, not an alfa specialist. Can anyone think of anything special about alfa clutch's that might trip up the uninitiated?

Thanks
 

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It may be the flexible hose between the master & slave cylinder is failing. Mine did the same thing and replacing the hose eliminated the issue. The hose will fail from the inside making a visula inspection pretty difficult.

See here: http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/showthread.php?t=46235&highlight=clutch+HOSE

Also, make sure the bleed screw on the slave is at 12:00 when you bleed it.

-Rob
 

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My clutch takes too long to engage.. e.g. when i let the clutch out it feels spongy & doesn't immediately snap back... I have a new master & slave clutch cylinder and new clutch...

My mechanic (regular, not alfa) checked for air in the line & found none.

The only other symptom is a slight noise from the pilot bearing when the clutch is engaged.

The guy that installed it was a regular transmission shop guy, not an alfa specialist. Can anyone think of anything special about alfa clutch's that might trip up the uninitiated?

Thanks
I would think that air in the lines will not affect the clutch engaging, but rather affect the clutch disengaging. To what parameters did the machine shop machine your flywheel for your new clutch and also, new clutch, does that mean new pressure plate as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ddouglas, i honestly don't know the answer to those questions.

One other thing of note though: The clutch pedal is resting a good 4-5 inches below what the brake pedal is. After reading the link from favali i'm suspecting the pivot arm.
 

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Ddouglas, i honestly don't know the answer to those questions.

One other thing of note though: The clutch pedal is resting a good 4-5 inches below what the brake pedal is. After reading the link from favali i'm suspecting the pivot arm.
Favali was pointing you to the hose, I'm not thinking that is the problem, nor the pivot arm if your problem is the clutch engaging-that would cause your clutch not to disengage. I hope they gave you a new pressure plate with your new clutch and hope the flywheel was machined to alfa's spec, both those items deal with the clutch's ability to bite down on the flywheel. However, your pedal sitting lower indicates something different, not your pivot arm, but maybe where your release fork is sitting on it. It is very possible that the shift fork was incorrectly installed on the pivot arm. I pulled my tranny twice, it was difficult for me to install it remembering what a pain it was to keep the fork aligned up on the arm while installing it. I'd imagine yours slipped and is now forcing up against the release bearing. That too may be why you said you are hearing a noise of the bearing while the clutch is in, it may be that the clutch release fork is actually making the noise by rubbing up against the pressure plate springs. PM me your shops phone number, I can ask them what to check for on your car, if this is the problem, it is their responsibility to fix it as they did not install it correctly.
 

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I have to agree with David (ddouglas77), and what is most disturbing to me is the fact that the shop seems to have shrugged off their responsibility... If you paid for a clutch job, then the clutch should be functioning properly. A clutch job by a good mechanic is not cheap, but considering that even with regular city driving the new clutch should easily exceed 80k mi., it's well worth the price. You may want to re-evaluate who works on your Spider. Over three decades of owning Spiders I can tell you that in the wrong hands, a Spider can quickly become a "basket case". There are many such poorly maintained cars, and it's always assumed that there must be something wrong with the Alfa design, when in fact it's due to the service done by those who really don't know better...

Best regards,
 

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Sluggish movement to me is usually a failing hydraulic cylinder, usually the master. Not always, but that's where I'd start.
Andrew
 

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Sluggish movement to me is usually a failing hydraulic cylinder, usually the master. Not always, but that's where I'd start.
Andrew
That is what I thought, but he said he already replaced them. Too, the sluggishness he describes is releasing the clutch, a internally leaking master would be sluggish to disengage the clutch, not engaging it. Fortunately, though, if it is the clutch release lever, his trans won't have to come out to align it, it should be a fairly simple fix at the shop that put it all together. My concern is their machine work on the flywheel and the pressure plate itself.
 

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Whoa, whoa - before we "hang" the shop that worked on the pressure plate & disk, I think it would be worthwhile to check the simple stuff: the flex hose and the pedal shaft - arm. The symptom that the clutch pedal comes to rest well below the brake pedal suggests something is definitely wrong, and it could well be that weld between the arm and the shaft has fatigued and broken. Alternatively, the basic symptom - that the pedal is slow to return when you lift your foot - could be a swollen hose. Neither of these problems would involve parts that were touched in a normal clutch job (OK, a good shop might have checked everything, or replaced all the clutch-related parts like the hose as a preventative measure, but then we'd be accusing them of overcharging).

There is nothing unusual about the Alfa clutch system. Parts are made by the usual European suppliers (is it Fitchel & Sachs?), and go together like any BMW/Audi/Porsche. Any competent shop that works on European cars should be able to handle an Alfa clutch.

Antiacus - one thing you didn't tell us: Did the clutch release OK right after the job was done, and then this slow pedal problem cropped up later? Or did the symptom arise as soon as the car came home from the pressure plate & disk job? If it worked OK for a time after the clutch job, then I would focus my attention on parts beyond those that the "non Alfa specialist" had worked on.
 

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I also had poor function on my Berlina due to a ****ing TO bearing arm; it was getting progressively more sideways, digging into the TO bearing shell, and not pushing straight but at an angle.

Hard to diagnose this kind of thing remotely.

Andrew
 

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I also had poor function on my Berlina due to a ****ing TO bearing arm; it was getting progressively more sideways, digging into the TO bearing shell, and not pushing straight but at an angle.

Hard to diagnose this kind of thing remotely.

Andrew
That is exactly what I'm thinking. Removing the slave cylinder to get access at to the release fork and wiggle her around still she sits just right. The first time I put my trans in, that is exactly what I had to do.
 

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i agree a bit alfajay, but lets not suggest that a 'all imports' mechanic will get it right on these machines (however a clutch is pretty universally the same, except for the missing teeth alignment in the flywheel on these guys.)

first-off, make sure that the master-cylinder was correctly filled with DOT3 and not DOT4 if its lower than a series4

the clutch hose is part of the replacement of the mastercylinder. if any of that was going to go-out soon, its usually during work on the car that something will get shaken up and finally go. especially in hydraulics where sediment can loosen and finally clog, but undistiburbed will allow flow.
 

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DOT3 vs DOT4

DOT4 fluid is backwards compatible with DOT3. Although they are made of different stuff, they can be mixed together without problems. The difference is that DOT4 has a higher boiling point. DOT4 in a system designed for DOT3 will thus perform better than DOT3, but NEVER put DOT3 into a system designed for DOT4 due to the boiling point. Also, never use DOT5 (silicone based). It can not be mixed with 3 or 4, it can cause seals to fail in systems not designed for it, and its compressibility will give a spongy, weak pedal. The higher number doesn't mean better, just different.

-Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi guys

Here's the whole story:

I was driving home from work one day last year and pulled up to a red light and tried hit first gear. It was as if the linkage suddenly broke and i had a floppy shifter in my hand. I tried second and it went in with no problems. At the time we had 2 cars and my wife needed the other, and lacking a proper alfa mechanic in town i started calling around... Only one shop would even look at it. It was some generic A-1 Transmission type shop. I was desperate.

So i drop it off and he calls me later and says it's not any external linkage part, he needs to crack the transmission. I ask for a quote, he says, well, we'll just have to get inside and look and then i'll get back to you. I say, well, since you're in there, i've been getting a tiny bit of clutch slippage so let's change the clutch, and while you're at it, i have a new slave cylinder here i haven't gotten around to installing so let's do that.

I rush order a new clutch and pilot bearing from IAP. He does the work and a day or two later he calls me up and says it was the "tang" on the first gear shift fork and he easily made a new one... i also had him check the 2nd gear synchro's and he said the entire tranny looks fantastic, not sure why i'm getting 2nd gear grind. Hmmm.

So he does the work and calls me up and says it now shifts wonderfully. I get there and drive it and it shifts like crap... The 2nd gear crunch is worse than ever, the clutch pedal rides way lower than it used to (i suspected he adjusted the master cylinder linkage but when i checked it was all the way to the firewall), the clutch was spongy, and i was hearing a metallic rattle when the clutch was engaged. I mentioned this to him and he seemed befuddled and then said it just needed to "wear in" and it would be fine.

$1,200 please.

:eek:

I talk to the manager, i complain about the problems with the car and the fact that i asked several times for a quote before doing the job and never could get one... I end up paying $1,100 and leaving. At that time i was working 60 hour weeks at work, i simply didn't have the time or energy to go any further.

So as it sits now the car has a new master cylinder, slave cylinder, flex hose, clutch, and pilot bearing... I have no idea about flywheel surfacing etc...

The pedal rides 4-5 inches lower than the brake pedal. It's spongy going in and out, and slow in coming out.

Since the work was done 8-9 months ago i've probably lost my window of opportunity and frankly, i'd rather gargle brake fluid than have to deal with those guys anymore.

There is a real Alfa mechanic with a good reputation up in Portland. It's an hour up the freeway. I would rather try to sort it out myself since i'm on vacation now and i'm off until the 31st.

My next step was to order a pivot arm after reading this article: http://www.geocities.com/motorcity/downs/3837/droopy.html

However, after reading this thread it sounds like maybe i need to check the release fork first. I'm no mechanic but i'm reasonably intelligent and i've done things that i never thought i could (swapped a rear diff last summer) just by jumping in and asking you guys for help :)

So unless you guys suggest differently i'm going to pull the slave cylinder and check for wobblyness in the release fork... if all seems good there, i'll order a new pivot arm.

Thanks!
 

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Christopher,

I think there is no need to comment any further on who to use or not to use for work on your car... And yes, you can do all this work yourself... You may also see if there are any AROC members close to you, as they are typically very helpful, and sometimes just having someone to bounce things off from or lending a quick hand can make these tasks a lot more enjoyable.

Best regards,
 

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...(i suspected he adjusted the master cylinder linkage but when i checked it was all the way to the firewall),
Couple this with the clutch pedal being much lower than the brakepedal is very strong evidence that the pivot shaft has gone.

...and i was hearing a metallic rattle when the clutch was engaged.
Possible that the rubber shift boots are now broken or were not installed.
 

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There is a real Alfa mechanic with a good reputation up in Portland. It's an hour up the freeway. I would rather try to sort it out myself since i'm on vacation now and i'm off until the 31st.
Christopher -
Dan Sommers is closer to you than Portland. I think his "new" shop is in Gervais or nearby. He's on the bb - you might check on the AROO section.
 

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Now that I have heard the detailed story, I'm changing my position on the generic tranmission shop. Sue the *&^%$'s !

Yea, if the tranny & clutch worked significantly worse immediately after they worked on it, then they sure seem like the cause.

I wouldn't order ANY more parts until I had it apart and/or figured what the problem is. It sounds like you have two problems: clutch and transmission. The low pedal is just odd - a broken pivot shaft could be the cause of that, but it would be very coincidental for that to happen at the exact time that the car was at the transmission shop. Still, the gorillas there may have stomped on the clutch pedal and sheared the arm off the shaft. A throw-out fork that is not properly attached to the pivot could result in a low pedal.

I'm not picking on you - I've been there myself - but the manager's statement that "... it just needed to 'wear in' and it would be fine" is kind of laughable.
 
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