Unique Cars - - CONTENTS -

WE’RE ALL fa­mil­iar with the stan­dard three­part ‘clutch kit’ com­pris­ing a re­lease bear­ing, a fric­tion disc and a pres­sure plate. But there’s another equally vi­tal com­po­nent in the clutch mech­a­nism that’s of­ten over­looked.

The spigot (or ‘pi­lot’) bush or bear­ing lives in the end of the en­gine’s crankshaft.

It sup­ports the end of the gear­box in­put shaft and al­lows the en­gine to spin while the gear­box re­mains sta­tion­ary.

This wears over time and it’s worth re­plac­ing when­ever you change the clutch. It may also start to bind or seize due to wear or the dry­ing out of its lu­bri­cant.

This means you’ll have to force the car into first gear and en­gag­ing re­verse will sound like an ex­er­cise in me­dieval tor­ture.

In ex­treme cases, the car will creep for­ward in first gear with the clutch fully de­pressed.

If you’re suf­fer­ing these prob­lems, be­gin by mak­ing ab­so­lutely sure the clutch is dis­en­gag­ing fully. Try al­ter­ing the ad­just­ment, which may be at the pedal or gear­box end. If it’s a hy­draulic sys­tem, make sure the reser­voir is full and that the pedal doesn’t feel soft or spongy – the seals may be worn out. Lastly, don’t over­look a thick floor mat or new sound­proof­ing that’s re­strict­ing pedal travel.

Spigot bushes and bear­ings are likely to be stan­dard en­gi­neer­ing sizes but the former could be man­u­fac­turer-spe­cific. Al­ways buy a rub­ber-sealed bear­ing (de­noted 2RS), which is lu­bri­cated and sealed for life. Go for a qual­ity item – the has­sle of pre­ma­ture re­place­ment isn’t worth the sav­ing of a few pounds.

You’ll have to re­move the clutch to ac­cess the spigot bush or bear­ing. Check the rest of the com­po­nents closely and re­place any that aren’t per­fect. If a fric­tion disc for your clas­sic is cheaply and read­ily avail­able, it makes sense to re­place this as a mat­ter of course. (From Prac­ti­cal Clas­sics, UK .)

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