96-2001 Clutches, My Understanding Of Them

Discussion in '1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk-' started by 1987stangman, May 26, 2014.

  1. This is not question of a post, more like something I would like to share. Doing a Google search or even a search on the message boards of any Mustang related site brings up threads from owners that have clutch related issues, more specifically the "heavy pedal", or stiff pedal syndrome and never really get their questions fully answered. This is my 3rd Mustang, second 5 speed car and on both of those I ran into the same issues. I would like to point out to that mt thread is for stock clutches but could help really anyone.

    Last November the clutch pedal in my 5spd 2000 GT 'Vert started getting stiffer than normal. The clutch action in this car was always very pleasant to drive until then. The pedal started to get worse but I ignored it since I had not been using the car much until recently I started a new job that takes me through the worse traffic Jacksonville Florida has to offer in rush hour and my commute is 30 miles each way. I could deal with it for a quick drive but after a hard days works my leg was destroyed by the time I got where home. Not to mention it made shifting harder. It was time to put a end to this.

    In my case I had no TOB noise and the clutch itself was still good. I had installed a new OEM Ford clutch cable when all this first started with no improvements at all. I decided that I would get it in the garage and take it all apart to see what the culprit was. Most of the treads I searched in recommended to change the cable, which I agree is the first item to cause this issue. What I found in mine was the clutch fork pivot ball was worn pretty badly and had started to wear into the clutch fork. I have never personally seen a pivot ball look this bad. I bought this car from a 61 year old woman with not one single mod. It is possible she was a clutch rider though the clutch disc was so good I would have not hesitated to reuse it if I didn't suspect the pressure plate had the majority role in this problem. The TOB was is OK shape, about normal for a car with 117k that was never abused. Re installation was done using 1) new factory OEM clutch kit (pilot bearing, TOB, pressure plate and clutch friction disc) 2) New Mcloud clutch fork pivot ball 3) New FRPP clutch fork. 4)I also decided to buy another brand new clutch cable. I purchased one from Ford. I am still using the factory quadrant.

    Some quick tips. A lot of you are probably wondering about the TOB retainer sleeve as it was a big issue on the Fox body T5's. On the 99 to mid 01' T45's the retainer sleeve is cast into the bell housing. In my case I was lucky maybe but it was in perfect condition. I used some medium to fine grit emery cloth to clean it up and make it nice and smooth. Another thing I do is use some emery cloth on the end of the input shaft (for the pilot bearing) to clean it up. If your TOB retainer sleeve is trashed you can look for a T45 bell housing from a 96-98 GT and swap them as they have a sleeve that can be removed once the bell is off the trans. There is a guy on the internet that sells the sleeves for not too much money. Don't ever try and use a bad sleeve as you will regret it. Make sure you don't cheap out and get the flywheel resurfaced. Cost me 40.00 and I had it back in 2 hours from a local Transmission shop I deal with. I would almost always replace the clutch cable. Everything else is new, why not it too?

    Also, most of us know about the Mustangs auto adjust feature on the stock quadrant. Pull up the pedal and push it back down and it's supposed to adjust to the wearing clutch and over time cable stretch. I found that (and especially if you have just installed a NEW clutch) if you disconnect the cable at the trans and then pull up on the pedal by hand , hook up the cable and then press in the clutch it will do a better job. There are some sites and message board postings on the internet that better go into detail on this.

    After I was done I was rewarded with the best clutch I have ever fellt in a Mustang. It's even better than my old 98' Ranger (hyd clutch). It will at least save my knee and calf on the long trip to work and bring the fun back into driving it.

    I'm sure most of this is the same on the TR3550 and I'm sure most of you guys already know most of what I have typed out but it might help the newbies when they search the message boards.
  2. Good write-up and advise.
    trombonedemon likes this.