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Clutch petal will not depress

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Clutch petal will not depress

I have had this unfathomable clutch problem with my ‘66 BJ8 for over six months. It’s become increasingly unsafe to the point it can be difficult to change gears quickly as needed. It began with the replacement of the clutch master and slave cylinders and slave cylinder flex line. It is important to note this problem didn’t exist prior to these recent replacements. And I have owned the car since 1967 and have never had this problem before.

On the road, I feel the clutch depression become increasingly heavy while shifting, until the petal will no longer depress. As I continue with more force, with my foot, to work the clutch petal to shift, suddenly I feel what ever is restricting the petal give way as if overcoming a resistance. Then I hear and “feel” a “clunk “ in the petal, with my foot, as the clutch petal returns to normal. The feeling, and sound comes from the direction of the clutch and brake petal box bracket.

My first thought was the replacement Lucas master cylinder was defective. A second replacement cylinder was installed. The problem remained.

The slave cylinder flex line was again replaced with a Classic Gold braided flex line. The problem continued.
I have been on the Online Austin Healey Blogtrotter for suggestions. While I received many ideas, none of them helped.

I have checked the clutch and brake petal shaft and bushings in the petal bracket. No problems there. Everything is free.

My next thought is the problem is inside the bell housing and clutch itself. Perhaps the release bearing is worn or the clutch fork to the throw-out bearing is binding? Or the pilot bushing is sticking? However, the “clunk” sound doesn’t come from that direction. And I have never heard of anything in the bell housing working intermittently, or fixing itself.

I have been able to go for long periods of driving time with the clutch as normal. Then, when least expected, the problem returns.

As an aside, I have already talked to Randy Zoller, Terry Cowan, and Erick Grunden. They are as mystified as I am. If you have any ideas or thoughts, let me know...

Warren Voth
Any chance there is air in

Any chance there is air in the system? That is, have you re-bled the clutch since these problems have surfaced? In the case where there is air in the system (i.e., a bubble), it may be possible that the bubble is circulating through the closed system and, when its in the "wrong" spot, you feel this resistance. Perhaps a guess on my part but might be worth re-bleeding to rule that out.
MY clutch problem

The system has been bled numerous times. When the clutch is working, as it should, there is no hint of air.

Thanks for your response,
Warren Voth
clutch pedal problem

I'm not a mechanic although I've restored quite a few cars and I never found someone who could answer every question until I did a MGA (have a couple Healeys also). This MGA wizard is named Barney Gaylord and I'll bet he can solve your problem as these are both hydraulic clutch cars made in the same area with a lot of the same components. His website is http//
It's worth a try if you can't solve it any other way.
Slim Wheatley
I have sent Barney Gaylord an

I have sent Barney Gaylord an Email.

Thanks for your response,

Hi all,

Hi all,

Here is the latest...I received an Email from a TR owner, who had a similar problem...

Hi Warren, I had a TR6 with a problem like this. The clutch fork lever
would not return all the way when I released the clutch peddle. It felt
like I was pumping more pressure into a already pressurized slave
cylinder. I added a spring to the lever at the point where the slave
cylinder push rod meets the clutch fork lever. Which returned the clutch
fork to its correct rest position. Hope this might work for you.

He solved his problem with an added spring to the TR's tranny release lever. This got me to thinking...again...

The other day, when I stopped for a red light, the clutch petal problem began again... I pushed the shift into neutral, and turned off the ignition. Then, I turned on the ignition. The petal was still heavy. I feel the problem could be the release bearing fork or the slave cylinder push rod, which have not been checked. I am planning on replacing the slave cylinder, again. (Why not?...We have replaced everything else twice...Right Randy?)...This time, I am going to check the slave cylinder push rod, (which does not come with a replacement slave cylinder). The push rod is fifty years old, could be worn and needs replacement. I am also going to check the release bearing fork for wear. The fork itself or the fork bushings could be worn and need to be replaced, Any of this could be the problem... I hope...

At this point, I still think the problem is something mechanical outside the bell housing. The replacement of the slave cylinder could have disturbed something not seen. This is based on the fact that 99.9% of the time the clutch works fine...If the problem is inside the bell housing, it would not go away 99.9% of the time...right?...

Warren Voth