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T-plane wet clutch advice


Dan Hiebert
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Greetings and salutations.  I've been working on getting our '37 Terraplane back on the road.  Alas, the clutch is stuck.  It has a wet, cork-faced clutch, running in "Hudsonite" clutch fluid.  The clutch disc is new, albeit replaced 17 years ago.  It's in neutral, and I've read that running the car for a while, with the clutch pedal engaged, may free it up (apparently not an uncommon problem?).  The car hasn't run in five years, although there's no reason it shouldn't.  That's on the schedule in the next week or so.

 

So, any ideas to free up a wet clutch without ruining it would be welcome. 

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I had a '37 Terraplane. After it had been sitting for months it would be jerky when engaging clutch for a short while. As long as you have the correct amount of oil I imagine it will lube up after running it for a while.

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   My wife had a 36 Terraplane. I'd start it and warm it up, shut it off and start it in high gear with the clutch in. Some Hudson owners prop the pedal when stored. Like I do with my 8N tractor. You might need to flush and change fluid. Then you can figure out what replacement fluid to use. Hudsonite clutch compound? I see others use dexron and type f, some use oil and kerosene. I'd run ATF4 after a flush with an ounce of acetone added.  And try to remove the glaze that's  making it  stick. Then just atf4. Just my opinion.

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That's new info to me, 9 foot.  I had not thought of propping the clutch open when not in use.  We've moved so much it's hard to keep in touch with other Hudson/Terraplane folks, good info, awesome - THANKS!

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I'd be extremely cautious about starting and running it in high gear with the clutch engaged and the rear wheels on the ground when the disc is still hung up.  It could easily be the beginnings of an unpleasant adventure.  Haven't seen the video but I'd try rocking the car back and forth in high gear with the clutch pedal depressed and engine off first.

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Right now, I've got the clutch engaged and propped so.  Gonna rotate the drive train every day for a few days by hand (via the handy-dandy hand crank so conveniently provided by Hudson) to circulate the "Hudsonite" (I have a supply on hand).  Luckily (?), I've always stored the car in neutral.  If I had kept in in any gear, it would currently be stuck in that gear, and starting it would be even more of an adventure than it needs to be...especially since the Missus has taken to videoing almost every "questionable" thing I venture.

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  • 3 weeks later...

    We are having a failure to communicate. If I tell someone to put the clutch in, it's disengaged. If I said, let the clutch out, it would be engaged. Put the clutch in, meaning pedal to the floor, with the tranny in any gear you want. Bump the starter and it will free up your stuck clutch plate from the flywheel. It only takes a bump, but open the garage door if you think it's going to lunge forward and take you for a joy ride. I mentioned pre-starting in neutral, to lube what you can of the assembly, and try and prevent damage to the cork buttons when it comes free. Propping the pedal might free it after a few starts to lube the plate.  PM me if you want a verbal explanation of what I'm trying to tell you. Every time I started my wifes' car I had to go though that ritual. It had new cork from a place in Florida, I think. But, I could not shift into any gear without grind till I started it in gear, with the clutch depressed and the plate came loose from the flywheel. Then we could drive it with no problem. 

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Nope, no commo failure.  Got my clutch terminology backwards, and got the transmission to go into gear whether the clutch is disengaged or not, so I can give this break-loose procedure a go.  Had to readjust the shift rail latches due to the clutch getting squished for a few years, to get the tranny working.  Happened to get the grandkids the beginning of this week, so my schedule for getting the car started is delayed a couple weeks.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's alive!  Took some patience, since the fuel system has been dry since before we moved from NY, but it runs.  There's a couple items to tend to, but this is a start.  I flushed the clutch out with kerosene (per a Motors manual I finally found), refilled with fresh clutch fluid, and propped it disengaged while the G-kids were here, rotating with the crank-handle every couple of days.  Can't say just when, but at some point it came free without having to bump the starter.  I'll certainly remember your procedure, 9 foot, although I now have a "special" 2x4 cut to length to keep the clutch disengaged when the car is in storage.  Thanks, guys, for entertaining my query!   

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