Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Clutching at straws

The Bank Holiday weekend saw me take the TR over to the annual Isle of Wight Triumph Weekend. It's a family type event, not hard core driving but getting there and back can be fun in holiday traffic, especially when loaded up with camping gear!

I'd spent some time (with help - thanks Tim and Carl) getting the new exhaust system on the car, what a nightmare that was and it's still not right but it worked OK (ish). I'd raised the rear end with some poly spacers and the TR was no longer dragging its arse over every bump in the road - which was fortunate as there were a lot on the island.

It ran OK and apart from the windows rattling terribly (must install those new seals) I was quite pleased with it - no overheating issues despite some pretty hot ambient temps and a lot of sitting in traffic.

No the issue this time was one of the clutch or perhaps more accurately the clutch pedal I think. I had noticed a slight stickiness to the pedal a few days before and found a rather weak return spring on the pedal. I lubricated the pivots and ordered a new spring and thought that would cure it - the spring didn't arrive until the day we left so I just threw it in the glove box and thought I'd fit it later if the problem persisted. It persisted.

Here are the symptoms - clutch engages and disengages OK, no funny sounds, it's a bit heavy but not bad. Occasionally (more so that I'd like) it feels like the clutch pedal won't come up properly and it feels like it sticks just after the biting point. It kind of goes light and as you lower the pressure of your foot on the pedal it  comes up a bit sharp, bites harder and you get a little jolt, almost a kangaroo moment. I've stalled it a couple of times but as the clutch has bitten before it goes light I can usually get the car moving and then the engine is spinning enough to take a sharp engage.

I thought it was doing it more when hot but I'm not so sure. It felt like the pedal was binding so I investigated the mechanism, no play but a rather tired looking spring on the pedal. I replaced that and over the weekends driving around the Isle of Wight I tried several other springs I had, including the correct one from the glove box - this improved things but it's still a pig to drive in traffic.

I'm suspicious of the hydraulics now and having taken a look at the fluid it's pretty crappy but plenty there and no signs of leakage.

So I think I will replace or at least service the hydraulics with a rebuild of master and slave with new fluid. I will try and see if the pedal bush could be worn but is there anything else I should check?
What are the symptoms of cross shaft failure? Is it obvious or is there a gradual deterioration then failure?

As I write this I wonder if there's a correlation with the heat of the exhaust getting to the slave? I can't picture it so will have to go have a look next time I'm in the garage.

Thoughts welcome :-)