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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am at the tail end of a budget restoration on my former "parts car" '86 GTV. It now starts and runs great and even looks halfway decent. Unfortunately, due to the fact that it sat in the elements for about 15 years, the clutch is solidly stuck. The hydraulics are all new, the clutch fork moves freely, pedal feels great, but the plate(s) appear(s) seized. I drove it yesterday for about 15 minutes with clutch pedal firmly pressed to the floor with not even a hint of it freeing up. So, I'm wondering if any of you guys could answer some questions or provide recommendations:
  • Should I drive it some more to try to free it up, or would that be a waste of time?
  • Is there a way to tell whether I have the original dual plate or the Milano single plate clutch from the outside?
  • If I take the clutch apart, do I have any chance of being able to put it back together without introducing major driveline vibrations due to the clutch assembly not being perfectly balanced?
  • If, as the last resort, I do decide to R/R the clutch assembly with a used unit, are there any differences between model years to be aware of?
 

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15 minutes may not have been enough time. I'd try it again and, while holding the clutch pedal down, keep alternating between accelerating/decelerating in the lower gears. The idea is to use the difference in torque between the engine and the drive wheels to shock the clutch plate(s) loose.

The really fun way is to jack up the rear wheels, hold the clutch down, rev up the engine and have your trusted assistant release the jack. If you try this be sure to post a video - I'd like to watch (from a safe distance...).
 

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That issue has been address in a few posts here. A search should lead you to those.

When I encountered that problem on one of my GTV6s, I rolled it out onto a slight down-hill grade in the street. Then started the car in 1st or 2nd gear to get it rolling. While circling the block, I repeatedly stomped on the gas pedal and let off on the gas quickly. Usually took a couple trips around the block to free it up. The repeated on/off shock to the clutch always unstuck things. Probably not the best thing you could do to the clutch plates or the rest of the drive train, but always fixed the problem... temporarily. If I left the car sitting for a few weeks, the problem returned. As your car had been sitting for 15 years, yours might be extra stuck by now. But worth trying vs your other options.

Good luck on that,
Peter
 

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15 minutes may not have been enough time. I'd try it again and, while holding the clutch pedal down, keep alternating between accelerating/decelerating in the lower gears. The idea is to use the difference in torque between the engine and the drive wheels to shock the clutch plate(s) loose.

The really fun way is to jack up the rear wheels, hold the clutch down, rev up the engine and have your trusted assistant release the jack. If you try this be sure to post a video - I'd like to watch (from a safe distance...).
:ROFLMAO:
That would be fun... You want me to do it? Lolololol got to sign a waiver before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alrightey then, I see more driving around the block in 1st gear in my future. Good thing the '86 box has tall 1st and my tires are oversized.
And no, I do not have any assistants trusting enough to do the jack drop trick :eek:. Wusses they are
 

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From your description it seems to me that you need to service the clutch. Shocking the driveline so violently is not a good idea in my opinion. It is likely to cause damage to Giubos and transaxle mounts (they can be fragile). You could try to free the clutch by idling the car on stands in say, 4th gear or so, and allowing the natural driveline vibrations to work through the system with the clutch pedal depressed with a fixture. You could try that with little risk to the rest of the driveline.

You could tell which clutch you have by removing the boot and fork looking through the window to see if you have the short TO bearing (twin disc) or tall TO bearing (single disc).

It's not difficult to remove the clutch. Once you do, mark the parts, disassemble to see what's going on. You'll probably see one or both discs bonded to the center plate. You'll need an alignment tool to reassemble properly. You'll probably also find your TO bearing has dried out grease.

You can use a twin disc or single disc unit as a replacement. If you can't find cores, I have several. I actually have a serviced twin disc clutch ready to install, serviced with modern linings on the discs and a NOS TO bearing.

I believe the friction materials used on the original, smaller diameter twin disc clutches had a concentration of metallic fibers that contributed to the tendency for them to seize onto the floater plate. Later single disc clutches seem to use more organic fibers and didn't seem to suffer the same frequency of failures. The twin disc clutch actually is a better performer in many ways if it's working right, but the problem is they're quite fussy.
 

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15 minutes may not have been enough time. I'd try it again and, while holding the clutch pedal down, keep alternating between accelerating/decelerating in the lower gears. The idea is to use the difference in torque between the engine and the drive wheels to shock the clutch plate(s) loose.

The really fun way is to jack up the rear wheels, hold the clutch down, rev up the engine and have your trusted assistant release the jack. If you try this be sure to post a video - I'd like to watch (from a safe distance...).
Ooh. This sounds so dangerous...
 

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This is the advice that was successful for me:

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you Rob for the extremely informative reply! I'll confirm what type of clutch it is and go from there. If it's a twin, it may not be possible to unseize it without some invasive surgery. Too many moving parts, IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is the advice that was successful for me:

I've tried that, engine dies.
 

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Make sure that your clutch hydralic system is actually working properly. I had a datsun 240z years back that had a stuck clutch and I depressed the pedal to the floor and then used the starter to walk the car and after about 15 seconds the disc broke free.
 

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The way I have freed a couple of clutches is to put the back of the car up on jack stands so the tires rotate easily. Start the car in forth gear, bring it up to 40-50 MPH then put the clutch in and stand on the brakes fast and hard. The brakes will stop the rear wheels and the rust holding the clutch disc is the weak link in the system. I've never had a problem from this method.
 

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Bear in mind that when the clutch is depressed the crankshaft bears against the thrust section of the crankcase via a plain bearing usually on the centre main cap area. Over a few seconds the oil is squeezed out to a degree and the wearing surfaces heat up - holding the clutch in for long periods can damage the crank and the bearing. Once seen a Cooper S shaft that was eroded by over 1/2 mm ... better I think to pulse the clutch than hold it there.
 

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Yes you need to use the brakes. Put the car up safely on jack stands (or if that worries you, roll down a hill). Start in gear and push clutch in, and brakes and accelerator at the same time. If you are lucky the clutch will happily let go, if not it will tear the linings off the disc (this happened to my 1750 when I bought it, but then just shrug your shoulders and replace the clutch disc(s))

Pete
 

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Bear in mind that when the clutch is depressed the crankshaft bears against the thrust section of the crankcase via a plain bearing usually on the centre main cap area. Over a few seconds the oil is squeezed out to a degree and the wearing surfaces heat up - holding the clutch in for long periods can damage the crank and the bearing. Once seen a Cooper S shaft that was eroded by over 1/2 mm ... better I think to pulse the clutch than hold it there.
While I love original Minis ... they are English crap, where cost cutting was unbelievable. Carbon clutch thrust bearings are another example!
Pete
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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Well, they sure were simple, except for the inside out clutch/flywheel set up. They held up ok in my experience of owning a couple of them, considering that they didn't use the highest quality materials. Still, they were ok. The crank of my 67 Cooper S was even nitrided and just didn't wear. With ~125 hp, that Downton prepared Mini went like stink. Would wear out the diff after a while though, requiring it's rebuild. Easy to do. No, the clutch wouldn't get stuck, just start to slip if the crankshaft seal started to leak.

Granted, not nearly as durable as the average Alfa, lol.

The local Mini Club Samoa (Seattle Area Mini Owners Assoc) started in 1964 has maybe 80-90 running Minis and Mokes yet, including the two that I owned back in the day.
 
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