Q I have a Mini Mayfair with a rebuilt 1310 engine. Everything seemed well with the MoT test this week, but after driving the car around the drive the clutch pedal is now impossible to press. The clutch was working 10 seconds before, but I tried to press the clutch and the pedal had gone solid. It’s a Verto clutch we know the hydraulic system is fine as we have tested this. It’s the arm with two nuts that won’t move - it will move outwards and is not seized but when it gets to the 6.5mm it is rock solid. Any ideas of what it might be? Paul Dyke A The most typical reason for the pedal mechanism to go solid when the pedal and hydraulics are in perfect working order is the flywheel either coming off because the flywheel retaining bolt has come undone, or the end of the crankshaft has snapped off at the primary gear retaining C-clip groove. The latter is not that common, but we have certainly seen way more Verto-clutch equipped engines suffer this fate than any pre-Verto engines. The breakage tends to be caused by the former – the flywheel bolt coming undone. Maybe it is something to do with folks not getting the locating key plate correctly positioned, as this is much harder to do than on the pre-Verto setup because of the raised wall section around the bolt head that locates the thrust cup. That said, this failure has been evident on engines that that have not been touched since they left the factory. Checking this problem out is straightforward – simply remove the starter motor and observe the flywheel assembly. It should be obvious if there’s an issue.
There’s not too much else it could be by your description. It may be that the release bearing has collapsed, with the outer race falling down and being trapped between the plunger/ remains of the race and the thrust cup. It could also be the thrust ball on the end of the clutch arm has broken off. The reason the mechanism goes solid in this case is because
“The factory deemed to fit the clevis pin retaining split pin at the back of the casing, making access awkward”
the tapered section the ball is machined on to subsequently jams in the hole in the release bearing. To check this, remove the clutch arm by removing the clevis pin it pivots on in the casing, then pulling the arm free. This can be a bit of a pain to do as the factory, for some reason, deemed to fit the clevis pin retaining split pin at the back of the casing, making access and sight very awkward.
Verto clutch conversions are now widespread.