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Concerned about the original factory clutch...

Old 6/1/14, 10:26 PM
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Concerned about the original factory clutch...

... and Awesome has 109,500 miles on her (or close enough as of this writing.)

I've personally had three cars I've owned and drive that had clutches. The first was the '78 Mustang II V6 4 speed. I never got the chance to wear it out, as the transmission died and that was the last straw. Dad got rid of the Orange Bomb at about 81K, and put me in a '66 Thunderbird, which I kept for the longest time. The things that poor car went through... Tough ol' tank.

The second was a 1986 SVO. That also, I didn't get the chance to kill the clutch, as the engine blew a head gasket between 1 and 2 (and warped the block and head combined by a total of 1/16"!) at 75K and soon thereafter, I sold it, 'cause too **** special needs parts on that thing for me.

And now, I have Awesome, the '06 5 speed 4.6L GT. And as far as I know, the PO did not change out the clutch on her, so her clutch has 109,500 miles on it.

Now, I'm a paranoid android, and it seems to me that, while I do the tests, and starting her from a 20mph roll in fourth, and she doesn't slip at all... and also I do the parking brake, run it up to 2000 or so, then let out the clutch in fourth... engine just dies... Just like it says to in the manual...

I'm still concerned it's going to just one day say "Whelp, I'm checkin' out" and immediately just stop working.

It's not like I baby this car. I like to shove the gas pedal down to the floor (especially lately, freakin' GTA exhaust cans sound GOOD) and I've been known on occasion to powershift here and there. Mostly, though, I'm not a terrible driver on the clutch, I'd guess, since it hasn't exploded or such yet.

Are there any other signs besides slippage I can be lookin' for? Doesn't smell either...

Hm. In typing this out, I am wondering if it's my right foot that's causing the gas mileage to be down... or is it the clutch?

I'll have to seriously concentrate on that.

Anyway... Just more hashin' this 'out loud' here, more than anything. But if you have any sage words, I am listening. Oh, and I know that it can be anywhere from 20K to 175+K, so it's not that mine's extreme or anything... just can't figure it should be as good as it seems since I do tend to stomp about like an excited Wookie more than I ought whilst drivin' her.

Thanks!

Last edited by houtex; 6/1/14 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 6/2/14, 06:32 AM
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I've always wondered about clutches and their 'shelf life' too. I honestly believe that if you know how to shift properly they last a really long time whether you run them hard or not. I had a junk box 1973 Fiat 128 coupe that lasted me for 6+ years when I was a college kid with no $$. There was a clutch cable (under $20 if I remember right) that would break but never the clutch itself. I bought my first new car, a 4 speed 1982 Mustang GT, and drove it 60,000 miles before trading it in. No clutch problems. Besides my present 5-speed in my '07 I have also owned a 6 speed Porsche 911 that still had the original clutch at 55,000 miles before I sold that a few years ago. Trust me, the 911 wasn't babied. I hope I didn't jinx myself but I think we worry about clutches too much. If you drive them right, they last.
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Old 6/2/14, 10:16 AM
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A brand new clutch setup in a car can fail suddenly also. Drive what you have any stop the worry....it only slows down the enjoyment.
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Old 6/2/14, 12:44 PM
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I am about 10k miles further down the road. Still shifts as sweetly as ever. No clutch issues at all.

She's a daily driver and I like the loud pedal too. I do a version of heel-toe downshifting routinely, so that also makes things easier for the clutch and drivetrain.

Really don't "need" to heel-toe, I just enjoy it as part of driving. It is a good feeling to match revs and drop the clutch right in without so much as a bump.
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Old 6/2/14, 08:26 PM
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My '69 Dodge Dart Swinger 340 4spd went through clutches in short order as did my next car, a '65 Pontiac GTO 4spd. My '74 Toyota Celica GT 5 speed never ...

.... and then in '78 I bought a '67 Chevelle SS 396 4spd with 3.31 or 3.42 rear .... it was a one owner car that had just about 100,000 miles on it. Engine ran OK, it had AC, AM/FM, was a well optioned '67.
I also joined the state police in '78, and by then my driving was "different" from the earlier years when I had the Dart and the GTO, no longer did I slam gears at WOT with just a tap of clutch. No more did I chirp all 4 just to do it leaving the "Burger Doodle". No more 2nd gear burnouts of soon to be replaced tires.

By then, I drove more responsibly. I still liked cars, still like modding them, even built a 454 in 1981 with closed chamber oval port heads and Crane cam, about 9.5:1 CR, '68 Corvette Tri Power aluminum intake with three Holley 2bbls, kept the AC, kept the iron manifolds. Lincoln 7 blade fan. When I swapped the 454 in one weekend I had a new clutch set there in a box. The car had then near 120,000 miles on it, but the factory original stock clutch still looked absolutely great once the dust was blown off. I returned the new aftermarket clutch set and just installed a new TO bearing and pilot bushing. I had the car 6 years and never once power shifted it or smoked the LR60-15 tires, it was just a neat ride and I got all the thrills I wanted on the job, no need to show off ..... I just liked the car.

In 1987 we bought a low miles Subaru GL hatchback 4 spd 4WD, sold it to a buddy in 2008 with near 187,000 miles on it and he and his wife used it for commuting, hunting, etc until the floor rotted out and she had well over 200,000 miles and original clutch still. I had used it once in the late '80s to pull a police car out of snow in my driveway using 4W-LO ....

I'ld say it's all in how you drive it.

Last edited by tbear853; 6/4/14 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 6/3/14, 07:01 PM
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Good enough, y'all. I'm assuaged regarding her clutch. Thanks much for the help on this!

So, here's to another 50K at least! *raises glass*
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Old 1/10/19, 10:22 PM
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Arise, long dead thread of past postings!

---

I was being vain and/or looking for information I'd posted, and decided to hit this thread and see what's in it.

So get this. See the above post, and the end... the toast to 50K more?

Amazingly enough that's exactly what happened! Clutch went 160K before replacement. Seein' how the start of the thread was at 109K, plus that 50K, tada.

Just wanted to endcap this thing with that lil' nugget of info. Pretty nifty right there, ya ask me.

Ok, shows over, carry on, y'all.
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Old 1/11/19, 04:19 AM
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I'm at 185K, still using the original clutch.
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Old 1/11/19, 07:38 PM
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How much of that is highway though?
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Old 2/3/19, 02:26 AM
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I'm at 123k right now, with the original clutch. Its replacement is sitting on my workbench. I have been too lazy to start the replacement process... houtex did you do it yourself? I read elsewhere that you need an engine crane to pull the engine off the mounts and tilt the whole mess backwards to access the upper bell housing bolts, is that true?
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Old 2/3/19, 03:41 PM
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https://themustangsource.com/forums/...545779/index2/

Yeppers, I somehow managed to not screw this up and got it done. 160K on the original, but I can now say that even though the thing seemed to think it was fine with all the testing? It wasn't. The MPG is a pretty much dead givaway, I was losing about 2-3 to the thing. I only afterwards started getting again in the 17-19 range per tank versus the 15-17. So all the tests? Yeah. I can say they're bunk with the OEM clutch.

Just change it out at 120-150K and that should be a rule.

I also don't know if I'd recommend it, and not sure I'll do it again, all these special tools I got notwithstanding. But knowing how things go, work, need to be aligned/spun/tilted/? may make it a one weekend job instead of the saga it wound up being.

That, and a lift would be *hella* awesome, but the garage isn't mine, isn't tall enough, and why make it easier?

Hope that helps ya in some way!

/And 10K miles later, she's not got any issues regarding that swap. Very happy camper about the whole affair really.
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