Robs Stupid '68 Cougar Land


This is Robs Stupid Clutch Page. It is Stupid.

After I swapped out the C6 automatic tranny in my car, I really didnt want to search all over and try to figure a way to shenangle a stock type Z-bar to release the clutch. I have heard stories of them bending and generally not being reliable because of the goofy angles and stuff, so I figured there has to be a better way.

Since I have full length headers, I was not convinced that a stock type Z-bar would even fit around them or wouldnt create problems with the crowded area by the headers.

I thought (briefly) about making a cable operated clutch, but I have had enough troubles with clutch cables on motorcycles and cars in the past as they always seem to break at the worst time. Also, a cable operated clutch didnt seem to be a good idea since the pedal end and the tranny end are both set up for pushing which isnt a good match for a cable, since both ends would have to have a goofy adapter to convert the push action to pull the cable.

I finally decided that a hydraulic clutch would be perfect. The master cylinder for a clutch is setup for pushing action and the slave cylinder does pushing too, so it will just be a matter of hooking the pedal to the master cylinder and hooking the slave cylinder to the throwout arm on the tranny. Piece of cake.

I just happened to have a 85 Toyota truck in my driveway that has a hydraulic clutch. It is a pretty compact setup so I decided to recreate it in my car. I went to the local auto parts store and bought a new master cylinder and slave cylinder for about $60

Maybe something else wouldve worked better, but this looked cool and is pretty close to perfect, and the guy at the auto parts place always gets freaked out when I come in there cuz I got bizarre problems that he doesnt have a clue about. Like when I came in and asked for blinker fluid because my blinker motor cam was drying out and starting to wear out, or when I asked for a new headlight switch because mine was leaking. Even though both questions were valid, I figure he is expecting me to come in and ask for a muffler belt or something equally goofy.

The master cylinder half of the hydraulic circuit was easy. A couple of 3/8" holes drilled in the firewall and the master cylinder is happy. I removed one of the brake lines from the brake master cylinder to make installing the clutch master cylinder easier, but probably not necessary.

Here is the clutch master cylinder, next to the brake master cylinder

Inside the car, connecting the brake pedal to the master cylinder was pretty easy as well. A 3" long piece of 3/8" rod bent into a L shape 1" x 2" welded to the bolt on flange thing supplied with the master cylinder.

The inside view of the brake pedal arm mounted to the master cylinder input rod.

The only hard part was mounting the slave cylinder. I made a bracket real quick with a piece of 2" square 3/8" steel plate that bolts to a tranny to bellhousing bolt with a length of 1/2" bar welded to it and bent just right so the end of the bar can bolt to a bellhousing to tranny bolt.

The slave cylinder mounted on a plate with a rod that mounts to the tranny.

Unlike the master cylinder, the slave cylinder didnt come with a piece to go between the slave cylinder and the throwout arm. The slave cylinder has a piston with an indent in the end for a pushrod to fit into to actuate the clutch throwout. I made my own pushrod by cutting the head off a 3/8" x 2" bolt and grinding the ends nice and round. The pushrod fits into the hole in the end of the slave cylinder shown in the pic above.

The slave cylinder for the throwout arm all mounted up. It has to sit kinda at an angle to fit between the headers, but it releases the clutch completely.

Below is a pic from underneath the car of the slave cylinder.

Notice the angle of the actuating rod.

July 1, 2001. The clutch worked great for several hundred miles of mostly in town driving, but because of the angle of the slave cylinder, it wants to push the throwout arm down, and has worn the throwout arm pivot inside the bellhousing, causing it to not release completely in an intermittent kind of way. Back to the drawing board.

July 14, 2001. Saw something on the TV about a hydraulic throwout bearing shaped like a donut that mounts on the tranny input shaft. Sounds like a great idea.

August 4, 2001. I bought a hydraulic throwout bearing not not specifically for my car and found it was too small to fit over the tranny input shaft. I returned it and got a full credit. I searched everywhere I could think of and couldnt find one for less than $350. I decided to go a different route. Apparently I took the tranny out for no reason. I decided to change all the tranny seals while I had it out.

After laying under the car for a while, I realized that since it is the goofy angle that is making it unreliable and the headers are what is requiring the goofy angle, if I move the slave cylinder away from the headers and get the angle straight it should work great.

The only way to move the slave cylinder away from the headers is to turn it around, but that would require mounting the slave to the throwout arm and having the actuator push on the motor or tranny. Kinda unconventional, but if it works, me and my car will be happy again.

The slave cylinder and the modified throwout arm ready to be bolted together.

The slave cylinder and the modified throwout arm bolted together and ready to be mounted.

August 13, 2001. I dont have pics of it mounted up in the car, but it has been working great for a week and a half. Tomorrow I will get it up in the air to get some pics. Try to get them posted then.

Tell me how stupid my Cougar is