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EFV-8 Club Forum / General Ford Discussion / Clutch Replacement

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02-18-2020 @ 4:49 PM
New Member
Posts: 115
Joined: Oct 2009
Hello there,

My '39 Deluxe's clutch is in need of replacement. At times and sporadically the whole car will sort of shudder, usually when engaging the clutch to back up, but also a bit from a stop to rolling in 1st gear and 1st to 2nd gear. The problem first showed up only when backing up right after the rear brakes were replaced. I have had several mechanics and old timers confirm there is nothing binding or wrong with the rear brakes binding and that the clutch is the problem causing the shuddering. Had one guy go through and tighten or adjust everything in the chassis to make sure the shuddering wasn't anything else.

I've seen some good threads in this forum about clutches but they start off too advanced and too far into the job to where my understanding is at. I'm wondering if there is a good set of step by step instructions from the beginning, preferably with diagrams or even videos on How To do this clutch job? I'm not a mechanic, but I've changed all sorts of parts on this car and others. My tools are limited. Mostly hand tools. I don't have a lift. (Though its possible I could "borrow" one from a friend.) Just two stalls in a garage. Two floor jacks and jack stands.

I'm not sure what tools I need and how much help to get? Or if this is even feasible for me to do? To compound matters, there are a few things the transmission needs too. It slips out of 2nd gear under load at times and the gear that syncs with the Speedo turtle doesn't engage so the Speedo doesn't work. Also not sure what the Flywheel is going to look like and if that will need attention too?

Do I need special tools? And is there a brand or source or type of clutch that you like?

I have the '39 Ford book, but I'm thinking more of a Haynes Manual or video or How To Instructions like I got once here on how to change water pumps. I've searched YouTube but haven't found anything on this particular job. I don't know how much damage more driving will cause? I have a Mechanic friend who is a long ways from me who is capable of this job, but I'm afraid I'll have to just turn over my bank account or first born to him to get it done heehee. Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for offering your insight and input to any of them!

This message was edited by 39Fordfan on 2-18-20 @ 5:12 PM

02-19-2020 @ 3:23 AM
Posts: 44
Joined: Sep 2014
My recommendation would be to get a good shop manual (https://www.macsautoparts.com/ford_mercury_early/shop-manual-ford-and-mercury-passenger-and-pickup-also-lincoln-zephyr-8-1-2-x-11-soft-bound-book-233-pages.html). That should have the step-by-step instructions you're looking for.

If you don't have the proper tools, you can either buy them to add to your collection, and/or rent the larger equipment, like an engine hoist.

A word of caution, if you get in over your head with a repair, you may never get it back to being drive-able. It may be a better option to farm it out if it's beyond your abilities.

Good luck, and be safe.

1931 Flamingo
02-19-2020 @ 5:22 AM
Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2019
Have you checked the engine and trans rubber mounts??
Paul in CT

39 Ken
02-19-2020 @ 5:35 AM
Posts: 327
Joined: Oct 2009
You may or may not need new a clutch. A general rule of thumb is that shuddering in reverse indicates that transmission mounts are bad or loose. Oil leaking from the trans will eventually degrade the rubber in the transmission mounts causing them to go bad. Shuddering in first gear on start out may indicate bad or loose motor mounts. I don't know how old the motor/trans mounts have been in your car but you should consider replacing them either first or when you do the clutch. The motor/transmission mounts from Bob Drake are the best.
If you change out the clutch, first check to see if your clutch is an original Ford clutch. If so, have it rebuilt rather than replacing it with a Chinese replacement. They are inferior at best and don't compare at all with a good rebuild.

I have mine rebuilt at Fort. Wayne Clutch in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They have rebuilds on hand or at your request will rebuild yours and return it like new.

Let us know your general location. There may be a local EFV8 club near you that you should join. More than likely a member or members would be willing to help you out with tools, knowledge and advise to get the job done.
39 Ken
Looks like Paul and I were typing at the same time.

This message was edited by 39 Ken on 2-19-20 @ 5:37 AM

02-19-2020 @ 9:48 AM
Posts: 6111
Joined: Oct 2009
Replacing the clutch seldom fixes the shuddering. It is usually caused by the mounts as Paul and Ken have advised.

Popping out of second gear is usually worn synchronizers and the transmission will have to be rebuilt to fix the problem.

The most common problem with the speedometer is the cable followed by the speedometer itself being frozen. With the back wheels jacked up, remove the cable from the speedometer and start the engine, place the transmission in gear and watch the cable to see if it spins smoothly. If it is erratic the problem is probably a bad cable. If it is smooth, you can use a large cotter pin straightened out and installed in the chuck of a reversible drill to spin the speedometer input counter clockwise to see if the problem is in the head.

If you decide to rebuild the transmission, you should replace the pilot bearing, rebuild the clutch, and install a new throw out bearing.

To remove the transmission, you do not need a lift. Jack up the rear end of the car, support the car on jack stands placed by the running board frame mounts, disconnect the shock absorbers, emergency brake cable and brake hose.

Remove the transmission rear mounts and jack up the transmission enough to get at the lower U-Joint cover bolts. Then support the motor with a jack stand, with a board on top to spread the weight of the engine, under the oil pan.

Remove the U-joint cover, the clutch equalizer and the lower transmission to motor bolts. Remove the rear wheels and the spring mounting bolts, while the rear end is supported on a jack with wheels. Lower the jack to allow the spring to clear the frame and pull the rear end back to release the drive shaft from the universal. If it doesn't come back, one of us did not remember all of the things to disconnect.

You should be done underneath the car.

I like to remove the front seat to protect the upholstery from all of the dirty grease on the outside of the transmission. You must remove the transmission up through the passenger compartment.

Remove the floor mat and the floor boards. Remove all of the remaining transmission bolts and make sure that every thing is disconnected from the transmission. Pull the transmission back away from the motor, while keeping the back of the transmission high to clear the floor of the car.

Depress each clutch release finger enough to be able to insert a wedge about 1/2" thick between the finger and the pressure plate cover. Remove the pressure plate bolt by turning the engine to a spot where you can get a socket on the bolt. Remove the pressure plate and clutch.

If I have forgotten a step, one of the other guys will chip in and correct my post. Good Luck.


02-19-2020 @ 12:04 PM
New Member
Posts: 154
Joined: Oct 2015
As some of the guys suggested, check the motor and trans mounts. After I got my 46 the clutch started chattering so having had that happen in other cars, I and a friend changed out the whole clutch assembly. That helped a little bit. Then I joined the club and the first thing I learned was that on starting the car and engaging the clutch is different than on more modern cars. You have to feel the clutch engage and then give it gas, as opposed to slipping the clutch like we do in more modern cars. I retrained myself and that has helped. I also found that I have to replace the motor mounts.
I'll be checking the trans mounts as well, thanks to the guys who help on this forum. I probably could have saved some money and a lot of work if I had checked the mounts and relearned how to engage the clutch in an older car before diving into a clutch project.

02-19-2020 @ 1:06 PM
Posts: 1147
Joined: Oct 2013
As an alternate to pulling the transmission, if you've reason to not want to go through the interior, pulling the engine can be accomplished fairly easily to change the clutch. My '47 had the original floor mat still in it which was so brittle it would crack simply by touching it. Rather than damage it and possibly compromise originality by pulling the trans through the interior a neighbor and I removed the hood and radiator and pulled the engine. 1st time (pulled the engine 3 times on this car) took 4 hours total, 2nd 1 hour and 45 minutes and the last time a shade over 1 hour and 30 minutes. Had I studied the proper procedure the first go would easily have been 2 hours or so. Since that time I've helped 2 more colleagues change their flatheads' clutches by pulling the engines, turnkey, on a Saturday morning to afternoon. Beverages were involved.

Do a search on this Forum for motor mounts - lots of good data and experience here. The advice you've been given above is solid - check your motor mounts first and ensure if installing new ones they are PROPERLY installed and compressed.


02-19-2020 @ 7:15 PM
New Member
Posts: 178
Joined: Dec 2009
here's everything you need to know. and more.


02-20-2020 @ 5:32 AM
New Member
Posts: 154
Joined: Oct 2015
Thanks fenbach that was very helpful. I already printed it for my tips folder. It also has helped me with my research on my Ford. The document states that Ford quit using anti-chatter rods after 41. Research so far has determined my car which was possibly built Dec 45, has the anti chatter rods on it. These were the first things I adjusted a few years ago when I got the car and experienced the clutch chatter. Just an FYI for other owners and their cars.

02-20-2020 @ 7:10 AM
Posts: 6111
Joined: Oct 2009
I just remembered another cause for the transmission popping out of gear. The shifter detents may be worn or the springs weak. Mac VanPeltz has more information on popping out of gear on his website. I would consider replacing the springs before disassembling the transmission to rebuild it.



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