Clutch Woes

by Jay Snavely

Last spring my 1974 TR6 began exhibiting clutch related problems that included reluctant disengaging and gear grinding. These problems grew steadily worse and were more apparent when the engine was hot. I did not want to pull the transmission during the driving season, so I looked at a variety of "fixes" that might ease the problem, if not cure it. These included bleeding the clutch system several times, replacing the clevis pins and slave rod, and putting the slave rod in the upper hole of the cross shaft arm. I tried an adjustable length slave rod, but then realized the design of the hydraulic system is self-adjusting so that having a longer rod really had no effect at all. The problem continued to worsen, with roughness in the pedal movement, and even failure to engage. Finally in October I pulled the transmission.

There were no apparent problems with the cross shaft or the throw out bearing. I turned my attention to the pressure plate and clutch disk. There were no obvious problems here either. I than checked the pressure plate more closely. It was made by Borg and Beck. Now I have read a lot from other owners in the past year, and a lot of people have complained about B&B pressure plates being the root of problems. The B&B apparently has much stiffer springs and does not engage slowly. I decided the B&B had to go, and ordered a new LUK pressure plate and clutch. After much mental anguish debating the merits of the heavy duty TOB from a Land Cruiser that is being heavily advertised, I decided to use the standard TOB. My theory is that most of the TOB bearing failures are a result of the B&B pressure plate putting excess force on the TOB. The heavy duty TOB has also been shown to cause premature wear on the pressure plate springs, and can also be noisy.

The mating of the transmission and engine proved to be more difficult than I had planned. The transmission must be in perfect alignment for the shaft splines to slide through the clutch splines. After the assembly was completed, I took it for a test drive and was pleasantly surprised that it worked perfectly and silently, with less force and smooth engagement.

This was the first time I attempted a project of this magnitude, but thanks to planning, websites, and other club members, all turned out well. I now have confidence for even larger projects. Anyone facing these problems and decisions should look at this website: They have an excellent website with a lot of technical articles about Triumph repairs and close-up photos.

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