'83 Ford truck hydraulic clutch

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by HermitJohn, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I am finally getting around to putting that 6cyl in my '83 ford 3/4 ton 4wd pickup. Replacing a '72 460 out of a car that previous owner used to replace the original '83 diesel. The 460 needs an expensive rebuild and I dont need a 460.

    Anyway the 6 is out of a '77 and clutch housing doesnt have the nub that the '83 slave cylinder clips to. This is also that infamous Ford all plastic non-adjustable hydraulic clutch system that is biggest pain in rear I ever ran across. (worked on a couple for other people) Expensive to repair also (can buy parts individually at parts store, but Ford says replace everything as a pre-bled unit). It still works, but looks very old so no telling how much longer (its all plastic after all). To keep it, I would pretty much have to go buy another clutch housing that has the nub or get very creative with the welder.

    Alternatives are to design my own mechanical linkage, or go to junkyard and try to find factory mechanical linkage off an '80 or '81. Or I can go to an aftermarket Wilwood hydraulic setup. The Wilwood master and slave together would set me back around $100 (less than AutoZone replacements for existing Ford setup and I hate the existing setup, did I mention that?) and are made of aluminum.

    Apparently drag racers and 4wd engine swappers like this Wilwood setup from what I read on the web. Also even though I am pretty good at designing various mechanical linkages, its wet and cold outside and I am not really wanting to spend anymore time on this than necessary. The Wilwood setup looks fairly easy to adapt.

    Comments? Anybody here ever use this universal Wilwood setup?
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    With the Wilwood you still will have problems. You need either an older manual lever setup or an older hydraulic setup using an external slave cylinder to get the nub. I think it wourld be easier to fabricate a holder with the Wilwood from what I see. The Wilwood unit appears to be a fine product when compared to the Ford OEM junk. The newer Ford OEM stuff is even worse. Let me know how or what you work out as I too have a hydraulic clutch problem in a 98 FixOrRepairDaily.
     

  3. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    If I wasnt clear, my '83 pickup does have an external slave cylinder and clutch fork setup, not the newer internal combined slave/throwout bearing setup. The '77 6cyl bellhousing has clutch fork, but was intended for manual linkage so no nub for the '83 style external slave cylinder (it "clips" onto the nub).

    the Wilwood slave is a pull type, not a push. You give it an attachment point on tranny or frame back of clutch fork and voila. And its adjustable!!!!! Looks like a good simple design though I am oldschool and like castiron for hydraulic brake/clutch parts. The engineer who designed that half-assed and super expensive plastic ford OEM crap needs a big dope slap (preferably with a 2x4 followed by a pink slip, same with higher ups that ok'd it). Ford itself only sells this POS master cylinder-line-slave cylinder as a pre-bled unit for around $400. Parts stores sell separate pieces much cheaper but its a female dog to bleed and the little setscrew in plastic slave used to bleed is threaded into PLASTIC so very easy to strip the threads.
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    You were clear, I was just confused on the year models. Having the ability to adjust free play in the release bearing would be very important to me and I would want that feature in whatever method used to operate the clutch. Your easiest means using a full mechanical linkage would be to use a cable setup such as retrofitted to the performance mustangs. Cables have their problems also since eventually they break. The Wilwood system would give you the referenced adjustment and would be easier to install and you could use the existing master cylinder if you can get the plumbing compatible between the master and the Wilwood slave. Using the Wilwood master and their slave offers the most features and the greatest number of adjustments and at about the same costs as the cable. The Ford OEM stuff would not be a choice for me. The ground is cold and wet and it will take a number of trips under the vehicle to fabricate a full mechanical linkage setup. Obviously the choice remains yours but the Wilwood setup is beginning to look better as I type this. Keep us informed as to your decision. :)
     
  5. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...............John , here is a good source for older Ford truck Parts........
    ......... http://www.lmctruck.com
    ...............I have ordered different parts for my 77 from them and they have been quality replacement parts even though they are made in country's that don't have many fords . More Rick-ah-sha's than fords me thinks . You can order a catalogue (free) on their website I believe , fordy... :)
     
  6. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Had no idea there was an aftermarket cable setup for these, but just as soon have the Wilwood for same money. Cable systems work great until they break and leave you stranded. Usually hydraulic systems give warning by letting you pump them to get a pedal for a little while anyway. Now this plastic stuff can just crack and thats all she wrote.

    Existing master cylinder is PLASTIC housing with sheetmetal sleeve for piston and uses a funky clear plastic hose to slave. I dont know if one could thread a brakeline fitting where the hose goes or not. Even the parts places sell an aluminum replacement for these plastic master cylinders as the plastic ones tend to crack. And the replacement master cylinder is at least if not more pricey new than the Wilwood master cylinder. Unless I just wanted a project dont think making my own mechanical linkage is really worth the effort this time of year.

    Yep, confusing on the Ford trucks. Ford went back to hydraulic clutch linkage in '82 I think. Not completely sure on 1/2 tons, they may have had internal slaves from get go in '82, but external on 3/4 and 1 tons for a while, then I think even 3/4 tons went to the internal setup although dont really remember anymore. Why all this messing I dont know. The car companies got the hydraulic linkages done right with adjustable all cast iron parts way back. Why reinvent something that works and lasts? You arent going to save much weight (my '83 still has cast iron brake master cylinder so weight cant have been much of an issue) and just create lot hassle for everybody with this non-adjustable plastic POS setup. And for sure no cost savings on parts at least for the consumer.

    Fordy, thanks for catalog link, have to send for one. Parts catalogs are always interesting to have around.
     
  7. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    Fords better idea was, and still is, to cheapen to the point of immenent failure, to keep people buying parts. And to keep changing things to make it so people have to go back to Ford for replacement parts until the aftermarket parts manufacturers can play catchup.

    Bob
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    All the major car companies have had some good ideas and some really bad ideas. I have no real loyalty to any make. Ford's 240/300cu in six was one of the all time bulletproof engine families of the 60's, 70's, and 80's. (Chrysler's slant six and Oldsmobiles gasoline "rocket" V8 and Volvo's OHV 4 /6 were the other three). I mainly bought this old ford pickup sometime back as the 4wd setup worked great (apparently it was driven mostly in 2wd during its life). Otherwise it was just an old worn out pickup. And I wasnt super excited about the 4wd as I'd prefer a solid front axle rather than this odd hybrid Ford came up with, but the 70's 3/4 ton 4wd Fords (with solid front axle) in good shape bring more money. I am really shy of Chevy trucks newer than '72 ('71 and '72 Chevies were some of best trucks made depending on drivetrain picked) what with my horrible experiences with a particular '73 3/4 ton I had (worst truck and worst engine ever made in my opinion). 4wd older Dodges just dont show up much around here and old Jeep J20s are rare as hens teeth and bring terrible price when you find one in good shape (I really wanted a J20 or one of the ultra rare J30s).
     
  9. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..........John , what makes the J20 and J30 jeep trucks so worthwhile? I , vaguely remember riding in one in highschool . As I remember they had a 6 cylinder engine that ran fairly well . There are afew around here in my area of texas . I don't see where they could be any more useful than my partially restored 77 , f250 , 4x4 truck , thanks , fordy.. :)
     
  10. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Just a personal preference for body style, I have owned three Wagoneers over the years (J10/20/30 pickup cab is just front half of the Wagoneer body on a truck frame) and really liked their compact design very unlike the bloated feel of Chevy, Ford, and Dodge of same era yet the Jeeps were indeed full size pickups. I would much rather have a Ford 300 6cyl engine over the AMC 6 or 8's. Functionally there is nothing the Jeep would do that a '70s era Ford 3/4 ton 4wd wouldnt do. Jeep truck beds also had a rust problem.

    By the way I got to playing with my '83 Ford and ended up building a mechanical clutch linkage (works but still needs tweaking). Had an inspired idea how to do it and wanted to see if it would work. Timewise its not super practical. Have spent 3 partial days on designing and building it out of stuff from my scrap pile. Would have taken less time to earn the $100 for the Wilwood parts. But I have gotten some entertainment value out of doing it and maybe learned something. And if I ever tire of it or it doesnt holdup somehow, I designed it so a hydraulic linkage could easily be substituted.
     
  11. Hermit_John

    Hermit_John Guest

    Engine runs pretty good, but clutch still giving problems. For linkage I used 5/8 inch sucker rod turning in what appears to be 1/2 water pipe (greased of course) all centered and welded in 2inch pipe welded and braced to truck frame. Pushrod from clutch pedal in cab that used to go to hydraulic mastercylinder goes to a lever welded to top of the sucker rod shaft. Another lever at bottom goes to throw out arm for clutch via an adjustable threaded rod. Worked a bit then the 5/8 sucker rod twisted enough that pushing on clutch pedal no longer moved throwout arm enough. I adjusted and just watched it twist some more while adjusting it. I really thought it would be heavy enough as I had played with it using couple big pipe wrenches and couldnt get sucker rod to twist significantly. More force involved than I thought.

    I hooked comealong to throwout arm and pulled it back and started truck. Throwout arm does its job, I could easily change gears with engine running. So I am back to redesigning my mechanical setup with heavier rod that can withstand the torsional twisting or the Wilwood hydraulic setup. Yea, I know the Wilwood setup is probably the best way to go, but my mechanical linkage design is pretty simple and eligant (and cheap) if I can modify it to use a shaft that can take the tortional stress. And if I can do it without buying anything significant. Looks like I already am going to have to go track down a radiator shop that still rods out radiators. Radiator was bubbling and gurgling and acting rather clogged. I do remember now that the old 460 that used to be in this truck would run rather hot under load.

    Any opinions on how heavy of a shaft I would have to use to withstand the torsional forces? I used the 5/8 sucker rod cause I had it and it was nice almost snug fit in the 1/2 inch pipe. If I used something heavier, might have to go to bearings to hold the shaft. Want to avoid any significant slop. Would 1 inch cold rolled steel shaft be heavy enough?
     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Have you considered modifying the linkage to where it will pull rather than push? Use a piece of roller chain over an old sprocket.
    I would have thought the 5/8 " would have held. It must be very difficult to push the clutch since it is bending the linkage. As best as I can recall the original 70's Fords only had about a 1/2" or less diameter rod.
     
  13. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    agmantoo, he's using it as a torsion rod, not a push rod. It's twisting instead of bending.

    HermitJohn, I would think that a piece of 1/2" or 3/4" black iron or galvanized pipe would resist twist much better than an untempered 5/8" iron rod. If you were to temper that 5/8" rod, it would probably work ok.

    The strength of the metal used is more important than it's size. Soft metals will twist while harder metals will resist twisting better. The heat of welding will soften the cold rolled as well unless you put temper back into it after welding.

    One homebrew method of tempering is to heat the entire piece good and hot and drop it in a pan of old oil or transmission fluid.

    Using water instead of oil cools too fast and will make the metal real hard but brittle.

    Bob
     
  14. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I remember the tempering thing from back in jr. high shop class. Never could get my chisel tempered right.

    I thought this sucker rod was a little higher quality than regular mild steel or I would have went with thicker shaft. Apparently not. Now I have this thing welded to frame of pickup and braced. I'll cut it out once and modify it and reweld it, but not wanting to repeat this more than once so tempering experiment is out.

    I dont have any spring steel this long, this straight. I do have an old one inch diameter solid cart axle out in my scrap pile. Its mild steel of some sort, but if it twists any significant amount in a two foot section then I'd just go to hydraulic setup. I'll have to check how straight axle is. New 1 inch mild steel shaft would be around $20. Could stop at scrap yard but dont know if they let individuals go out looking for bits and pieces in yard anymore. Everybody is so worried about law suits.
     
  15. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Ok, found a 1.25 inch solid shaft out in scrap pile that is straight and not pitted and undamaged part of it is just long enough. That thing aint going to do the twist. burdens has 1.25 inch flange bearings from $6 to $16 each. The $6 ones are sealed in 2 bolt stamped steel housing with locking collar. The $16 are greasable in 4 bolt heavy cast iron housing with locking collar. Love to get out of this for $12 but those cast iron housings with zerks do look nice and probably last forever in this application.

    This is not a keyed shaft so thinking about way to attach the levers without welding near the bearings. Apparently could weld one lever before putting bearings on shaft, but top one has to be removable so shaft can easily be removed and bearings can be replaced if necessary. Plus I dont want to weld near bearings.
     
  16. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    Weld a sleeve to the lever that will slip on the end of the shaft. Cross-drill the sleeve and shaft for a good quality through-bolt.

    Bob