Lotus Elan

Clutch standing seized

PostPost by: greg40green » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:43 am

Morning all.
Anyone got a good idea of un-seizing the clutch on my Elan as its been stood for a couple of years, master cylinder etc is good and working.
I have tried starting it in gear , leaving it running then trying to start it in gear , rocking it etc .
At this point I do not want to take the engine and gearbox out if I can help it .
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:55 am

To free the Clutch i have bump started in gear then depressed the Clutch Pedal and accelerated hard. :shock:
You need a clear road and it's brutal but It's always freed the Clutch
Alan.b Brittany 1972 elan sprint fhc Lagoon Blue 0460E
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:07 am

After a couple of years you're going to have a fairly good level of 'stick'. I've always found that heat cycling the engine a few times helps - that is not just running it up to temperature but keeping it hot for long enough for the heat to soak through to the clutch area.

Alan's suggestion of taking it along the road with the clutch pedal down has always done it for me - with a hot engine I've never had to go more than a few hundred yards before its popped loose, but you may not live on a quiet enough road to be able to do this without traffic issues. Driving a car with no clutch on a busy road could well end up causing more problems than you're trying to solve. When its been slightly less stuck trying to start it in gear with the handbrake on has sometimes released it. You have to have the clutch area hot though.
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PostPost by: Elanman99 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:38 am

Definitely the best way is to get the engine warmed up and push the car to the road. Either bump start, or use the starter motor in 1st gear, then drive at a few mph with the clutch depressed and press and release the accelerator pedal a few times. The alternate shock loading of the stuck surfaces has never failed to release for me.

The first time I experienced a stuck clutch I knew no better than to remove the engine, take off the pressure plate and refit it all, that was another day (well most of anyway) of my life that I wasted.

68 Elan S4 DHC. Built in a weekend from a kit (just like the advert said)
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PostPost by: billwill » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:21 pm

I seem to recall drilling a hole (about 1/2" dia) in the clutch housing, inserting a screwdriver in though a gap in the clutch cover, catching it between the flywheel and clutch plate and then twisting to lever the plate from the flywheel.

But it was long long ago and I don't really remember any details. (I would think that the clutch pedal would also need to be down, but I don't remember how I did that}.
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PostPost by: David1953 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:01 pm

The advice I was given many years ago, and worked for me, was to warm the engine. Then in neutral with the clutch down hold the engine revs at 6,000 for at least 1min. Which feels like a long time.
If this does not free it immediately, it loosens it enough so one of the above methods is less violent.
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PostPost by: 10kph » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:46 am

30 years ago I had a serious stuck clutch plate. Tried all the usual starting in gear and kangaroo hops down the road but what I still remember is raising the back end on a trolley jack,with the revs at 4000, clutch pedal down and a friend then dropped the jack.All it did was to prove that the LSD worked and left two black tyre tracks for 20feet.
My final answer was to cut an elongated hole 2inch long in the bellhousing to correspond with the clutch cover bolts and slackened each one enough to release pressure, tap the edge of the plate and low and behold it was free.
PS. I still have the roadster and the clutch has never stuck since even though it is seldom used. Do you want to buy it?
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PostPost by: AussieJohn » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:14 pm

Billwill had it right, a 1/2" hole through the bottom of the bellhousing in line with the back edge of the flywheel. Wedge the clutch pedal down with a piece of wood back to the seat frame then using a 1/4" wood chisel I poke it up to the clutchplate where it meets the flywheel. A light twist will free it off, I have used this method many times. I did try all the warming engine and driving methods but it didn't work for me. cheers, John. ps you may have to turn the engine to get to the gaps between the pressure plate and flywheel.
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PostPost by: cobraboy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:03 pm

For many years my +2 was stored in a building that promoted clutch seizure, even in summer. I got around it by wedging the clutch pedal down with a wooden pole off the seat frame.
It never seized using this method.
Now it is in a dryer building and it does not stick.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:57 pm

I've just had this problem on a car stored in dehumidified garage since autumn.
Because my drive is a bit steep and uphill I couldn't get the sprint onto the road to do the transmission abuse method.
Some stuttering in first and reverse outside the garage didn't clear it.
Plugs out and starter against brakes didn't do it.
Followed Brian Buckland's infallible method using brakes with rear wheels off and wishbones supported - still no joy!
Finally drilled 1/2" hole in bell housing and used small wood chisel to ease it free.
Had to rotate the the engine and do it in three places before it cleared - success at last!!
The final solution only took an hour from start to finish and I've now got ready access should need it.
I expect Murphy's law in reverse will now mean I should never get another seized clutch!

For setting out the flywheel face is 55mm back from bellhousing for standard 1" thick flywheel.

20200212_164321.jpg and
Hole in bellhousing to release seized clutch

20200413_142847.jpg and
Seized clutch release hole
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