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Discussion Starter #1
Out for a nice easy drive when this happened- As I depressed the clutch, the pedal hit the floor quickly, I hear a ping, and see part of the car bouncing down the road behind me. My lower clutch rod has snapped in two just behind the threads. It appears that the lower clutch rod that snapped had been modified by a PO. They welded a nut on the end where it would meet the clutch fork (image attached). According to one mechanic, it was probably because the fork was getting worn and this was an easier fix. Anyway, this mechanic, who was highly recommended by a fellow mustang owner, suggested that the fork, should be replaced, and that if I was doing that, then I might as well replace the clutch. One of his concerns was that the fork was worn which required the earlier nut welding fix. His recommendation was also based on my experience with how the car performed prior to the rod snapping. He asked if it was ever hard to shift. I told him that it shifted fine but that it required some muscle to shift, I just thought it was the way it should be- a firm clutch. All of my previous mustangs (a few 1966s,a 1970, and another 1969) were all automatic transmissions so I don’t have any idea how a manual transmission should feel. So, for those who might have stock clutches, does your pedal require some muscle to shift? Do you think that it’s worth having the clutch redone while the transmission is open? I would need to order all the parts ahead of time and commit to the repair before I bring it to the shop. I realize that each car is different with how it’s set up based on the different parts, modifications, etc. All I know about mine is that it is a 302 with manual 3 speed and that it should be stock. It runs really well and haven’t had any clutch issues until this week. I wish I had more information. Thank you in advance for your help and advice.
 

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I've never heard of the clutch fork wearing out, but I suppose it's possible. Can you post a picture of said fork?

If you must drop the trans for any reason, and you don't know how old the clutch is, I would say definitely install a new, high-quality clutch. Replace the throw out bearing pilot bearing as well and take a good look at the flywheel. If the flywheel is at all suspect, have it machined or replace it. Dropping a trans in a few months for a clutch problem would definitely fall into the "NO FUN!" category.

Or, shoot, if it's in your budget, swap the trans for a 5-speed. :smile2:
 

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Back in the day, when I installed a high pressure clutch in my small block GT, I broke many a rod. I ended up getting a big block rod and though I only had the car for 2 years, that resolved my problem. I think I also tied a string to the rod and to someplace on the car in case it fell out as many of the others did, it stayed with the car. Huskinhano's setup looks interesting though.
 

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Always get the flywheel surfaced before a new clutch. And I would go so far as to get the FW and new clutch balanced as a pair at a machine shop.
 

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I don't see that you specified a year model but your looks like this one for a '69. All of the lower pushrods have a point on the end that mates with the clutch release lever and it has a conical depression that the point fits into. Over a long period of time and use the conical seat in the release arm can begin to wear through and the pointed end of the pushrod begins to push through. That is probably what happened to yours and the PO welded the nut onto the pushrod to stop it from pushing through the release arm. So if your release arm has a hole worn in it it should be replaced. I don't know if the transmission must be pulled or if it can be replaced through the hole in the bellhousing.


https://www.cjponyparts.com/lower-clutch-rod-adjustable-302-351-1969-1970/p/CRL6/
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've never heard of the clutch fork wearing out, but I suppose it's possible. Can you post a picture of said fork?

If you must drop the trans for any reason, and you don't know how old the clutch is, I would say definitely install a new, high-quality clutch. Replace the throw out bearing pilot bearing as well and take a good look at the flywheel. If the flywheel is at all suspect, have it machined or replace it. Dropping a trans in a few months for a clutch problem would definitely fall into the "NO FUN!" category.

Or, shoot, if it's in your budget, swap the trans for a 5-speed. :smile2:
Thank you. The mechanic did say that the flywheel should be sent out to be machined if I choose to replace the clutch. Yesterday, I jacked up the car with a floor jack and jack stands trying to get a photo of the fork, at the request of the mechanic. I couldn’t get one. I am going to try again. I was unsure where the safest point was to place the jack and jack stands.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you. It may be that it’s not a clutch fork but the clutch release lever that awhtx references that needs to be replaced. I more than likely misunderstood what the mechanic was telling me.
 

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Just a thought if you do choose to replace the clutch and pressure plate with one with more pressure than stock. As GT350H said above, even new stock mechanical clutch linkage can be insufficient to handle the added strain of aftermarket pressure plate pressure. Besides the lower clutch rod, a lot of people (me included) experienced bending or flexing the stock Z-bar. There are stronger aftermarket versions available or some people fabricate their own. If your car is mostly stock you probably want a good quality stock replacement clutch and pressure plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I replaced the broken lower clutch rod today. It fit fine and shifted once or twice before the pedal sank to the floor again. I looked underneath to see if the rod was still in position. It was ok, but there was a lot of play where it attaches. Then, I saw that there was another part located nearby which should move that was very loose. I think that this loose part may have caused the previous lower clutch rod to snap and the new one to move out of position. I don’t know what this part is. I am attaching a photo . Can someone help me identify it?
 

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I see the Z bar, and the Z bar pivot. I believe there is a plastic doughnut that slides into the end of the Z bar, and if that is worn it will cause excessive movement.

Sometimes, I do not miss my manual trans. Sometimes.
 

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Assuming that your linkage is set up the same way as a '66, then look on the other side of that bar and you will see that it is held in on the other side with a bracket that bolts to the frame rail. The bracket has slotted holes in it so you just loosen the bolts, slide the bracket towards the motor, and tighten the bolts again to adjust it. That should take the slack out of the Z bar.

My lower clutch rod has pretty much the same setup as yours, with the mushroomed PO-modified rod mating up to a fork with a hogged-out hole. I just left it alone because it's not bothering me and I'll know if it starts to really wear through anyways (will be more slack in the clutch). 55,000 miles and it is still fine :)
 
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Discussion Starter #14
I see the Z bar, and the Z bar pivot. I believe there is a plastic doughnut that slides into the end of the Z bar, and if that is worn it will cause excessive movement.

Sometimes, I do not miss my manual trans. Sometimes.
Thank you very much!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Assuming that your linkage is set up the same way as a '66, then look on the other side of that bar and you will see that it is held in on the other side with a bracket that bolts to the frame rail. The bracket has slotted holes in it so you just loosen the bolts, slide the bracket towards the motor, and tighten the bolts again to adjust it. That should take the slack out of the Z bar.

My lower clutch rod has pretty much the same setup as yours, with the mushroomed PO-modified rod mating up to a fork with a hogged-out hole. I just left it alone because it's not bothering me and I'll know if it starts to really wear through anyways (will be more slack in the clutch). 55,000 miles and it is still fine :)
Thank you. I appreciate your help.
 

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As the clutch system is mechanical, every moving point can wear and eventually cause issues. The first main upgrade includes roller bearings for the clutch/brake pedal. See first picture from @Huskinhano. Not as much of a problem with your 6 cyl, but bigger clutches put lots of force on the mounting sleeve and the rod on the clutch pedal will eventually wear right through the plastic and soft medal “bearing.” See: https://www.mustangsteve.com/clutchbearings.html/ The second upgrade is to the entire Z-bar system with rod-ends. See second picture from @Huskinhano. OpenTracker Racing has a full replacement set with reinforced Z-bar. https://opentrackerracing.com/product-category/products-all/clutch/

I’ve done both in my big block, with diaphragm clutch plate, and removed the “assist” spring under the dash, and it is smooth and easy. Perfect.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
As the clutch system is mechanical, every moving point can wear and eventually cause issues. The first main upgrade includes roller bearings for the clutch/brake pedal. See first picture from @Huskinhano. Not as much of a problem with your 6 cyl, but bigger clutches put lots of force on the mounting sleeve and the rod on the clutch pedal will eventually wear right through the plastic and soft medal “bearing.” See: https://www.mustangsteve.com/clutchbearings.html/ The second upgrade is to the entire Z-bar system with rod-ends. See second picture from @Huskinhano. OpenTracker Racing has a full replacement set with reinforced Z-bar. https://opentrackerracing.com/product-category/products-all/clutch/

I’ve done both in my big block, with diaphragm clutch plate, and removed the “assist” spring under the dash, and it is smooth and easy. Perfect.
Thank you for the information. My car is actually an 8 cylinder 302. I will look into the OpenTracker racing site. I really appreciate your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have been shopping for parts to fix up my clutch linkage. I have found a few NOS clutch forks, a clutch equalizer bar mount (engine side), and a zbar (equalizer bar). Should I put in NOS when I can find them or does it really matter? The rest of the parts will be reproductions. Also, what do you all think of the Centerforce dual friction clutch? Thank you in advance for your help. The car is a 69 convertible with a 302 manual 3 transmission. No AC or power steering.
 
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