The Stuck Clutch

Here is some advice on freeing a stuck clutch . . . . remember to use those wading plugs!

There are two ways to free up a sticking clutch. Mine has stuck twice: once when the engine was sitting for a prolonged period on my garage floor with the clutch bolted on, and the other was just after having the flywheel machined (the virginal steel is *very* suceptible to rust then). It can also happen after the Rover was "ridden hard and put away wet" (i.e., no bell housing plug.)

Point it in a safe direction and start the Rover in gear, working the clutch as you go. Choose sucessively higher gears until the lurching breaks it free...sounding for all the world like a snapping lay-shaft! :-0 (This is what Charlie Haig at RN does.) Took me to third one time to break it loose.

The other is to start your Rover in gear...chained to a tree! The weak link will part, and hopefully that is limited to the interface between clutch and flywheel. (This came from Mike McCaig who has used it successfully.)

Sandy Grice -

Looks like your clutch plate is rusted onto the flywheel; couldn't happen to me, always plenty of oil coming in through the rear crankshaft seal. That's what you get for having a 'dry' engine on a Rover, see?

Anyway, to get it off: Take off the interior front housing of the gearbox ("gearbox diaphragm panel" is the proper denomination) to gain access to the upper part of the bell housing. There you will find a small metal plate the form of a lying capital "D" fixed by two screws. Take it off and you will find a hole giving access to the interior of the bell housing. Press the clutch pedal and spray some light, thin rust solvent oil into the housing, aiming high and well to the front of the clutch. Try not to smother the clutch too much. *Don't* use MO-oil, as this will ruin your clutch plate and give you plenty of 'shudder' lateron. In the meantime put the car onto a straight and flat peace of road, preferably with a slight descent. After a few minutes, release the handbrake,put in 2nd gear *low ratio* and start the engine with the clutch released, i.e. don't have your foot on the clutch pedal. Someone pushing from behind would help. The starter will begin moving the car and start the engine at the same time. As soon an the engine is running, drive ahead at a moderate speed until the engines runs smooth. Now *press* the clutch all the way down and start playing with the trottle, making the car to jump and jerk (don't overdo it though!). The clutch should come loose with a loud *bang*. I must warn you that the clutch _might_ get damaged by this process, but if it does the gearbox will have to come off anyway. If it survives this treatment - and it usually does - you've saved yourself a lot of work. Afterwards, spray the inside of the bell housing (again through the little hole) liberally with brake cleaner to clear out as much of the rust solvent oil as possible. Reassemble.

Just a short bit of advice for the next time you head into unknown murky depths,

- plug the bottom opening of the bell housing with the appropriate screw before submersion (not forgetting to *un*plug it afterwards!), and/or

- 'burn' the clutch plate dry afterwards by deliberately riding it for a while (again, not overdoing it).

Take care,

Stefan R. Jacob <> LROC of Hessen