Drivetrain Setting Up A New Clutch--Tips Please

ZephyrEFI

Member
Mar 9, 2019
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Shakopee, MN
Hey all.
So my old clutch was pretty heavy, so i thought i would try some nice new parts. Here's what I bought: Maximum Motorsports cable, quadrant, firewall adjuster, and pedal height adjuster, Summit (USA made) clutch fork, National throwout bearing, Valeo clutch kit, Astro bearing retainer, new pivot ball stud (can't recall brand), and SVE (McLeod) billet steel flywheel.

This is a 5.0L and T-5 for the record. I got everything put back together, and it isn't functioning right. For starters, the clutch fork doesn't sit at the rear of its opening in the bellhousing. It's like 1/3 to 1/2 way forward before it touches the pressure plate fingers. What could cause that? If I shim the pivot ball stud, will that help? How do I know how much to shim it?

Next, it's hard to put in gear unless it's rolling. Sounds like it's not disengaging all the way, right? But also, it slips out of 5th when cruising at speed. WTF?! It's not engaging all the way either?!

I'm planning on pulling the trans back out to try and remedy all this. What do you recommend I do?

On a side note, I've heard you don't want to change the bearing retainer without checking the internal thrust of the transmission. I did not. Could this be related to my problems putting it in gear?

Any advice would be much appreciated!
 
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ZephyrEFI

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Mar 9, 2019
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I don't have a manual, but I assembled the old clutch and it worked fine for years. Didn't have problems like I am with all these new parts! I even had the throwout bearing attached to the clutch fork wrong before!

The cable is pretty tight. I've fiddled with different settings, with and without the spacer they give you... I don't know. I can't seem to get it right.
 

ZephyrEFI

Member
Mar 9, 2019
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I didn't watch the video, did it show you how to adjust the pivot ball?

No, it didn't mention anything even about the possibility of having to shim the pivot ball. I thought you meant directions for how to install a clutch. That's what the video is.

I was hoping there would be someone here that could point me in the right direction getting things all lined up. I wasn't even aware of the possibility things could end up so out of whack using all new parts and putting it together like is shown in this video. There's no checking of tolerances or measuring or anything like that shown. I thought I was home free just because the parts were new.
 

ZephyrEFI

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Mar 9, 2019
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Argh, I just watched another video about it, and all it really said is your pivot ball stud could be at the wrong height, and you might need to shim it, but it gave absolutely no information about how you KNOW it's at the wrong height or how you'd know it's at the right height! All we know is having it at the wrong height is bad. Thanks guy. Very informative. Ugh.

Hell, at this point I don't even know if that's my issue and if changing the pivot ball height will do anything for me! It's just the only thing I know of that I could change! Everything else is where it's going to be, except maybe the flywheel could be shimmed, but again, it's brand new! And I've heard it's pretty hard for the flywheel manufacturers to screw up where the rear surface of that flywheel is supposed to be.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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Yeah the pivot ball thing is hardly ever changed, and clutch forks too for that matter, lets see if I can paint a picture......
Nope!!! Can't paint for :poo:.
Let me consult my magic book and maybe peek under my car, after all, it is on jack stands right now and NO I do not have a turbo nor am I using Harbor Freight stands.
be back in a few :runaway:
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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polk county florida
Ok, I'm back and still alive.
First off, I peeked under the car, crap, there is a cover over the hole where the clutch fork lives. And that is covered with oil and road dirt that looks really disgusting and I just washed my hands so no joy there.
And the magic book was of no help at all, did mention the pivot ball, nut and washer but nothing about it needing any adjustment so that must be an old mechanics tale. Come to think if it I have never had to 'adjust' a pivot ball on any of my clutch installs. Sooo.
Two things jump out at me after reading your first post over again.
Ok, three.
The first two are easy but requires the trans be removed, compare the pivot ball and the clutch fork to see if they are the same. Then there is the release bearing, you mentioned you had the old one in wrong? If that is possible it would not have functioned long if at all.
Now about that 'pedal height adjuster', never heard of one, so I looked it up, race car stuff, return it.
DISCLAIMER: this is my opinion and not based on any real mechanical experience.
Now where is my coffee cup.
 

Potomus Pete

Gretchen Whitmer is eating at me
Mar 7, 2019
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I didnt touch my pivot ball and it worked out fine. My new clutch made all kinds of noise in the beginning . First day I thought I had everything wrong , and then all noises went away.I went completely by the LMR video .
 

Blown88GT

Founding Member
Nov 13, 1999
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Ok, I'm back and still alive.
First off, I peeked under the car, crap, there is a cover over the hole where the clutch fork lives. And that is covered with oil and road dirt that looks really disgusting and I just washed my hands so no joy there.
And the magic book was of no help at all, did mention the pivot ball, nut and washer but nothing about it needing any adjustment so that must be an old mechanics tale. Come to think if it I have never had to 'adjust' a pivot ball on any of my clutch installs. Sooo.
Two things jump out at me after reading your first post over again.
Ok, three.
The first two are easy but requires the trans be removed, compare the pivot ball and the clutch fork to see if they are the same. Then there is the release bearing, you mentioned you had the old one in wrong? If that is possible it would not have functioned long if at all.
Now about that 'pedal height adjuster', never heard of one, so I looked it up, race car stuff, return it.
DISCLAIMER: this is my opinion and not based on any real mechanical experience.
Now where is my coffee cup.
The adjustment stud was hitting the cover on mine. Drilled a hole to allow more clearance. The gasket was shot but was told many cars don't even have the cover. I probably should try to find the gasket or make one & make a protruding plug for the drilled hole.
 

ZephyrEFI

Member
Mar 9, 2019
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Shakopee, MN
Is the pivot ball stud that you installed the same length as the one removed?

Yes, it's exactly the same, except not all messed up.

I bought a new clutch fork hole cover from LMR. The "gasket" is nothing more than sticky foam, so I don't think it matters that much.

Your "all the noises went away" story made me laugh. Sounds like something I would say.

The pedal height adjuster is from Maximum Motorsports if you're curious. I bought it because the square hole in my pedal lever was kind of messed up and the adjuster replaces it on the square spot on the shaft, and you put the pedal outboard of that and then bolt them together. I thought it would help with my slop in the pedal problem. It did not. That's the only reason why I bought it. I don't care about perfect heel and toe shifting. It reduces the travel of the pedal, and that's actually the opposite of what I want, with the problems i'm having. I may still take it out, but I think my problem is inside the bellhousing, so I'm going to try that first.
 

jrichker

StangNet's favorite TOOL
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Clutch Adjustment for stock and aftermarket setups
Revised 28-Apr-2016 to include need for longer cable with single hook quadrant

Clutch adjustment with stock cable and quadrant
There is a self-adjusting mechanism for the clutch cable. As the clutch wears the cable tension changes, that is why there is a self-adjusting mechanism built into the clutch pedal. On the clutch pedal there is a toothed plastic quadrant with a ratchet pawl that engages the quadrant. As you pull up on the clutch pedal, it ratchets and takes any slack out of the clutch cable. Mess around with the pedal or even bump it while the end that fits in the clutch fork is loose, and it tries to take up the slack in the cable. That has the effect of shortening the cable.

Do the clutch adjustment first before considering any other problems. With the stock plastic quadrant and cable, pull up on the clutch pedal until it comes upward toward you. It will make a ratcheting sound as the self-adjuster works. To release to tension of the stock quadrant, use a screwdriver to lift the ratchet paw up and out of engagement with the quadrant teeth.

You can use a screwdriver to lift the ratchet pawl off the quadrant teeth. That will allow you to move the quadrant to allow more slack in the cable. If the cable is too loose, pull up on the pedal. The ratchet pawl will allow the quadrant to take up the slack in the cable and lock the adjustment.

The following applies to aftermarket clutch cables and quadrants.
Adjustable cables are used when the plastic quadrant is replaced with an aftermarket metal quadrant. The downside to this setup is that you have to get under the car to adjust the clutch. Add a firewall adjuster to an adjustable cable setup and you can spare yourself from getting back under the car to make any fine adjustment that you desire.

The fancy 2 and 3 hook quadrants are for use with stock length cable and a firewall adjuster. Use the firewall adjuster and screw in and out to take the slack out of the cable and get the clutch engagement point just where you want it.

Binding clutch cable
A binding clutch cable will make the clutch very stiff. If the cable is misrouted or has gotten too close to the exhaust, it will definitely bind. The binding common to adjustable cables is often due to misplacement of the adjusting nuts on the fork end of the cable. This will also cause the cable to wear and fray. Both nuts should be on the back side of the fork so that the domed nut faces the fork and the other nut serves as jam or locknut to the domed nut.

Clutch pedal adjustment
Clutch pedal adjustment with aftermarket quadrant and cable: I like to have the clutch completely disengaged and still have about 1.5” travel left before the pedal hits the floor. This means that I have only about 1” of free play at the top before the pedal starts to disengage the clutch. Keep in mind that these figures are all approximate. When properly adjusted, there will not be any slack in the clutch cable. You will have 4-15 lbs. preload on the clutch cable. With a non-adjustable cable and a firewall adjuster, the cable needs to go in the second hook of the quadrant. Single hook quadrants used with a firewall adjuster may make the clutch too tight, causing it to slip. The possible exception to this is the Maximum Motorsports cable which is a bit longer to make it work with a single hook quadrant.

Adjustable clutch cable tips:
Loosening the cable adjustment nut (throwout bearing arm moves to the rear of the car) moves the disengagement point towards the floor.

Tightening the cable adjustment nut (throwout bearing arm moves to the front of the car) moves the disengagement point towards the top of the pedal.

Firewall adjuster tips
Turning the firewall adjuster IN makes the engagement point closer to the floor since it loosens the cable. You have to push the pedal to the floor to disengage the clutch. Too loose a cable and the clutch won't completely disengage and shifting will be difficult. Gears will grind and you may have difficulty getting the transmission in first gear when stopped.

Turning the firewall adjuster OUT makes the engagement point farther from the floor since it tightens the cable. You push a short distance to disengage the clutch. Too tight a cable will cause clutch slippage.

Aftermarket solutions to the problem:
The quadrant needs to be replaced if you use any type of aftermarket cable or adjuster. My preference is a Ford Racing quadrant, adjustable cable and Steeda firewall adjuster. The adjustable Ford Racing cable is just as good as the stock OEM cable. It allows a greater range of adjustment than a stock cable with a aftermarket quadrant and firewall adjuster. Combined with the Steeda adjuster, it lets you set the initial cable preload and then fine tune the clutch engagement point to your liking without getting under the car.

Using a stock OEM cable, firewall adjuster and a single hook quadrant may result in not having any free pedal travel before the clutch starts to disengage. I found this out the hard way.

See Summit Racing - High Performance Car and Truck Parts l 800-230-3030 for the following parts.

Ford Racing M-7553-B302 - Ford Racing V-8 Mustang Adjustable Clutch Linkage Kits - Overview - SummitRacing.com Cable and quadrant assembly $90
fms-m-7553-b302_w.jpg


The Ford Racing Adjustable cable is available as a separate part:
Clutch Cable, Adjustable, Ford, Mercury, 5.0L, Kit FMS-M-7553-C302_HE_xl.jpg

[url=http://www.summitracing.com/parts/SDA-555-7021/]Steeda Autosports 555-7021 - Steeda Autosports Firewall Cable Adjusters - Overview - SummitRacing.com
Steeda firewall adjuster. $40

575166.jpg


Fix for the quadrant end of the cable popping out of the quadrant when installing a replacement cable courtesy of Grabbin' Asphalt




Help for those who have replaced the clutch assembly and are still having problems with adjustment:
The next step doesn't make much sense it you already have the transmission installed, but just for sake of discussion, here it is:
The throwout bearing sits in the clutch fork arm with the wave springs pressing on the rear flange of the throwout bearing.
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Major differences between the distance between the flywheel surface and the clutch fingers may require tinkering with the clutch fork pivot ball. Stack your old pressure plate, clutch disc and flywheel up like they were when installed in the car. Tighten down all the pressure plate bolts and measure the distance between the clutch fingertips and the flywheel face.
Too much thickness will cause the clutch fork arm to sit too far back to get the clutch cable on the quadrant. It may even sit against the rear or the bell housing hole for the clutch fork arm. In that case, reduce the pivot ball height.
Too little thickness will cause the clutch fork arm to sit too far forward and bottom out against the front side of the bell housing hole for the clutch fork arm.. This will prevent the clutch from fully disengaging.
In other words, the clutch fork arm should sit positioned midway or a little towards the rear in the bell housing hole for the clutch fork arm when the cable is properly tensioned.
 

Boostedpimp

15 Year Member
May 8, 2003
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Did you compair size of the old clutch cable and the new mm cable?

I've never had to shim a pivot ball ever and i've owned a few cars


*edit*

found this thread which is interesting

 

ZephyrEFI

Member
Mar 9, 2019
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Shakopee, MN
It's hard to tell if it has the problem from the Centerforce sheet since the clutch fork is kind of shaped like a wave. As far as I can tell it's aimed in the right direction. I think I'm still going to shim the pivot ball stud though.
 

ZephyrEFI

Member
Mar 9, 2019
82
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Shakopee, MN
Got the stupid transmission out, but now I'm stuck. I went to take the top cover off, and then remembered that the tailshaft housing has to come off in order to do THAT, which means the damn fluid has to be drained. I HATE taking the tailshaft housing off because it's so ****ing impossible to get everything to line back up as your stupid sealant is drying. One false move and your tiny ball and spring go flying (like happened last year) never to be seen again, and you're out of business for a good week or more until you can get new ones. Ugh.

Where am I stuck? Well, I drove the roll pin down into its opening on the shifter block thingy, put the trans in 4th, and moved the block back a little bit, and it won't budge another inch. I can't get that to move, nor can i get the tailshaft housing to split from the main case. No idea what do do now. And yes, i tried the trick where you put your punch in the roll pin hold and tap on that. No dice.

Haven't even gotten to any of the clutch stuff yet. I just wanted to check the internal thrust on the trans first. I installed a new bearing retainer last year and failed to check the thrust. I've heard you need to or you'll have problems.

I ran it through the gears before I started taking it apart, and it spins nice and free in every gear including reverse. So, it's not jammed up internally or anything.