2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3, Page #39[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Quick Fix For Ford Hydraulic ClutchLauris Bailey fixed the hydraulic clutch in his 1987 Ford F350 when the local dealer couldn’t. Bad hydraulic clutches in that vintage Ford are so common that Ford puts out a repair kit. However, once repaired, it can’t be repaired again.
“The problem is Ford started building the firewall too thin, and over time it flexes when you push in the clutch,” explains Bailey. “The hydraulic reservoir on the other side of the firewall malfunctions. The repair kit is a flat plate that is installed between the reservoir and the firewall.”
The mechanic at the dealership saw that the plate was already in place. Over time the firewall had started to flex again.
“I could push the clutch most of the way down, but I couldn’t change gears,” says Bailey. “The tube from the reservoir was not delivering enough fluid to the slave cylinder. It didn’t have enough throw to release the clutch plate. Sometimes I could shift for awhile, and other times I would have to fool with it.”
Bailey figured that if the problem was firewall flex, he would give it some backbone. He bought a new reservoir and tube and measured from the firewall to the engine side of the radiator support bracket. It was just 3 ft.
To stiffen the firewall, he went to a salvage yard and bought a 3-ft. long, 3/4-in. rod and screwed 2 nuts on either end. He then installed the rod between the firewall next to the reservoir and the radiator support.
“I screwed the nuts on either end out half a turn at a time until the rod was secure and then locked them in place by screwing out the second set of nuts,” says Bailey. “Over time, the firewall flexed again, and I screwed the nuts out a little more.
Bailey says the first fix lasted for months, and the second allowed him to cut and haul firewood with the truck throughout the summer.
“Hydraulic clutches were the worst idea Ford ever had, and I’ve driven them all my life,” says Bailey. “This was just the best way to deal with a poor idea of a clutch.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lauris Bailey, 173 Bailey Hill Rd., New Sharon, Maine 04955 (ph 207-778-4005).
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