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Technical Clutch Setup - 4 speed conversion on 57 Chevy

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by TimCT, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. TimCT
    Joined: Jun 6, 2017
    Posts: 169

    TimCT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hey Guys,

    I've been searching exhaustively, but I haven't seen all the info I'm looking for in one place, and my head is starting to spin a little. Hoping someone can give me a little bit of a roadmap so that I'm doing things in the right order and not driving myself crazy.

    Working on a '57 Chevy 210. Originally a Powerglide car that I'm turning into a 4 speed. Just finished a small block that I'm going to put in it with side mounts, and will run a transmission crossmember.

    I think I have all the parts I need, now I need to put it all together. The side mounts are bolted in the frame, and I test fit the engine to make sure they were in the right spot, and they are. Pulled the engine back out yesterday because the next step in my mental plan was going to be bolt the transmission up to the bellhousing, (I got a Lakewood for a price I couldn't pass on) and put the whole shebang back in so I could get the transmission crossmember mocked in so I can figure out where to put the Z bar frame pivot ball.

    After realizing that I needed to take the bellhousing off the engine so I could put the clutch fork (stock type Pioneer CF-100) and throwout bearing on, I pulled that off and put it together on the bench, and made a total guess at the height of the adjustable pivot ball (Lakewood 15501). Bolted it back up to the engine, and then slid the trans in almost all the way in, but wouldn't go the last 1/2" in by hand, which tells me that the bellhousing needs some adjustment. I was able to draw it in the rest of the way with the bolts (carefully, I don't want to snap an ear) just so I could eyeball the throwout bearing clearance. There wasn't any. Because of where the transmission sits (super T10), it doesn't look like I can adjust the pivot ball with the trans in (maybe I can cut down an Allen key), so that will have to come out again. Frustration mixed with the 90 degree heat and I threw in the towel for the day. Maybe the bellhousing is lined up right, and the resistance was because of the angle of the TO bearing/clutch fork?

    Assuming I eventually get that right, once the engine is in the car I'll need to get the linkage set up. I've been reading various ways to adjust the clutch linkage, though everything I read seems to be based on stock vehicles, and this is sorta being built from scratch. The McGaughy's side mounts supposedly locate the engine in the stock position (not set forward). I'm wondering now if the way the linkage gets installed will affect things like clutch free play and TO bearing height.

    I guess what I'm asking of the experts is how would you do this, if this was your project? I feel like I'm muddling through this via trial and error, and as much as I like teaching figuring things out on my own, if I have any hope of driving this heap before the end of the summer, I need to get in gear, and in the right direction. Lets say you had a small block dangling from your cherry picker - what do you do first?
     
  2. xix32
    Joined: Jun 12, 2008
    Posts: 535

    xix32
    Member

    Why not take a look at a stock tri-five stick shift clutch cross shaft pivot ball location and duplicate that position.
    I would expect all that aftermarket stuff you mentioned to be made compatible with it. Then don't weld it on
    like the original, but bolt it on so there is some option for movement.
     
  3. Line up the pivot ball that attaches to the bellhousing in line with the Z bar and it should work fine. Many scattershield bellhousings are not as deep as the stock bellhousing because they are made to be used with a block plate which effectively places the bell farther from the block 3/8 of an inch. you need to dial indicate the bell to be certain its not off center. You need a short throwout bearing with a beehive diaphragm clutch or borg & beck. and possibly will need a flat diaphragm pressure plate and a short throwout bearing.
     
    Nailhead Jason and tb33anda3rd like this.
  4. I would get it all working "on the floor". what throw out bearing are you using? there are 3 sizes.
     
    56shoebox likes this.

  5. TimCT
    Joined: Jun 6, 2017
    Posts: 169

    TimCT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I hadn't thought about the scatter shield being shorter overall than a stock bellhousing, but I'll do some measuring and check it out.

    I'm using the throwout bearing that came with the clutch kit, Zoom 30006S, which is the same height as the old one that was still on the trans when I picked it up, but now I'm thinking I need a shorter one, if the bell I have is shorter than the stock bell that bearing would have been used with. I'll measure that one up too.

    Thanks guys!
     
  6. Jmountainjr
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,379

    Jmountainjr
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A 1/2" gap between the trans and the bell housing is about when the trans input shaft is entering the pilot bearing / bushing. I would pop the bell off and test fit the trans into the pilot. May have been damaged when installed. And please, stop drawing it in with the bolts because at some point you will break something. It's trying to tell you something.
     
    metlmunchr, 1934coupe, belair and 4 others like this.
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,298

    squirrel
    Member

    ditto on letting the transmission slide into place without force...

    I think some folks are confused about which pivot ball you're talking about. I think you mean you need to adjust the pivot ball that the release for sits on. they think you're talking about the pivot ball for the Z bar.

    The bellhousing height is the same, but a 57 clutch fork is a bit different than the one you got. At the linkage end, it's not the same height, or connection method. If you only have the fork in, that should not make a difference, but it might when you try to connect the linkage.

    Try backing the ball out all the way towards the transmission, so the back of it is almost flush with the outside surface of the bellhousing.
     
  8. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,969

    Fordors
    Member

    Your Zoom PP is most likely a bent finger, you do not want a flat finger diaphragm clutch. Under high RPM flat finger PP’s can cause the pedal to stay on the floor due to centrifugal force.
    Also, I don’t think your Lakewood bell will be 3/8” short to account for the block plate. My block plate is only 10 gage steel, that’s.138 thick. As mentioned above your pilot bushing is damaged, you shouldn’t have to replace it, it is most likely just mushroomed in at the very end.
    FWIW the ball on a ‘63 aluminum bell is 1 5/8” out from the transmission face.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  9. A flat diaphragm pressure plate only sticks if you over clutch it. You adjust it so it releases clean and has .010 clearance. been using them for decades on small journal engines that I wound to high RPM. never had one stick.
     
  10. Dennis D
    Joined: May 2, 2009
    Posts: 799

    Dennis D
    Member

    I have at times when putting a 4 speed in have had to depress the clutch fork and wiggle the trans a bit to get it to slide the rest of the way in. Usually this happens when I have had to use the plastic tool that is furnished with a clutch kit. If I have access to an input shaft from a trans the transmission seems to slide in easier. Do not, as was said before, use the bolts to pull the trans in. Good chance of breaking an ear or bending the clutch disc. D
     
    belair, Hombre and Old wolf like this.
  11. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,617

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    I don't recall any mention as to a splined disc alignment shaft (dummy) being included in the Zoom clutch kit, if not what did you use?

    Like this one or similar.

    20190715_151451.jpg
     
  12. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,720

    chevy57dude
    Member

    At this moment we're indicating my bell housing. Do you have this pivot bracket setup? Designed for Tri five Chevy. just making sure your pivot ball ends up in the right place. not all aftermarket ones have the bracket attachment point 1563233301707-2128635742.jpg
     
    Desoto291Hemi, lumpy 63 and Old wolf like this.
  13. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,414

    southcross2631
    Member

    I figured out a neat rick today while adjusting the clutch pivot ball on my Lakewood scattershield on my Ford powered gasser. I always use line up pins in the bottom bolt holes . which are just longer bolts with the heads cut off and screwdriver slots cut in them.
    I was fighting getting transmission back in so I grabbed a small ratchet strap and hooked it on my front axle and around the tailshaft and put a little tension on the transmission so I could put it on the alignment pins then I could wiggle the trans and turn the tailshaft to make sure I was in the clutch disc.
    Once everything lined up the tension went out of the ratchet strap and the trans slide right in.
    Since I had the trans out 3 times today before I got the pivot ball height right I got to use the ratchet strap trick 3 times today and it worked every time.
     
  14. Rick & Jan
    Joined: Apr 9, 2008
    Posts: 464

    Rick & Jan
    Member

    Not that anybody cares, but I pulled the 283 Power Pack/ Power Glide out of my '57 210 2 Dr. Ht., replaced that with a 301/ Saginaw 4 Spd. and used the same drive shaft. Front mounts and stock bell housing mounts. Easiest swap I've ever done. Worked for me!!
     
    lawman, 31hotrodguy, Raunchy and 3 others like this.
  15. There isn't a thing in the world wrong with the stock tri five 4 point mounting. I always drill a hole or two in the rear mounts horizontally and run a 3/8 bolt thru them with a esna nut just snug. It keeps them from separating. I also place a torque chain from the front of the drivers side cyl head to the frame. Always held up to high rpm & side step the clutch starts.
     
  16. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,720

    chevy57dude
    Member

    ^The stock rear axle is what won't hold up!
     
    mcsfabrication and Johnny Gee like this.
  17. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,720

    chevy57dude
    Member

    For the OP -
    [​IMG]
     
    lumpy 63 and loudbang like this.
  18. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,550

    Torkwrench
    Member


    This is how my 55 was changed over, except it was originally a 235 six and Power-Glide. It was first changed over to a V8 / stick shift, (350 / Muncie 4 speed), in about 1975. The same engine, and trans have been in the car since I first built it, in 1977......A 301 and Muncie 4 speed. It isn't the quickest car at the drag strip, but not the slowest, either. Best time is a 13.79 in the 1/4 mile.

    The only problem I've had with the stock motor mounts is tearing the rear bellhousing mounts. Drilled mine in the same way, but used two 3/8" fine thread bolts in each mount. Haven't ripped a rear mount since then.


    2015 Meltdown.jpg 2018 Meltdown Drags Night Racing..jpg
     
  19. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    56sedandelivery
    Member Emeritus

    I would advice AGAINST using the reproduction clutch pedal assemblies, unless that's all you can find. They're not made of the same, quality materials; I've seen the splines round right off, pedals actually bend, and we all know where they're made based on that. Find some stock, used Chevrolet parts for the conversion. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
    31hotrodguy likes this.
  20. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,414

    southcross2631
    Member

    Somewhere in my parts collection I have some OEM clutch linkage parts that I would sell real cheap.
    I will dig them out and post what I have . The last 57 I converted had dimples on the frame where the Z bar pivot went.
     
  21. The engine is on the cherry picker..........

    I would used the stock bellhousing and mounts to install the engine. Then slip in the tranny, to make things easier, leave the pressure plate off the flywheel. Now that everything is mounted as it would have been stock, fab the rear crossmember. Once that is done, swap in the blowproof bell. Search the old web for info on how to center the bellhousing to the crankshaft and do that. Then put it all back together. The original clutch fork, Z bar and pedal will work, you just need to have the correct mounting bracket for the bellhousing. My bellhousing bracket looks just like chevy57dude. Now the fine tuning can begin, throwout bearing clearance, freeplay, etc.

    The weak link, IMO, in the original pedal assembly is the pedal cross shaft (passes through the brake pedal) to the crankarm. The splines are made to grip a smooth clamp and the bolt to prevent twisting. This can fail, not as in break, but slip.
     
    Old wolf likes this.
  22. The 57Pedals and clutch linkage is different than the 55 and 56 componets. You will need 57 parts for a 57.
     
  23. I just posted a picture heavy thread showing the mod on the rear bell mounts.
     
  24. TimCT
    Joined: Jun 6, 2017
    Posts: 169

    TimCT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Guys, thanks so much for all the replies. I'll try to answer as best I can:

    First, to everyone who cringed when I said I drew the trans in with the bolts, you're all absolutely right. Dumb thing to do, and it won't happen again.

    @squirrel , you're correct. I'm talking about the pivot ball the fork sits on. I'll adjust it like you recommend and see what that looks like. Also, I didn't know that there was a 57 only fork, so you're right, that will probably make a difference when I try to hook up the linkage. I'll look into that too.

    @DDDenny , I did use the pictured plastic alignment tool when I installed the clutch. Pulled it out just before trying to slide the trans in. It didn't feel like I boogered the pilot bushing when I installed it, but I'll take a look when I pull it apart.

    @chevy57dude , the scattershield I have doesn't have that bracket on it, I picked up one of these:

    08-21.jpg

    @57 HEAP - If I had the original stuff I probably would have put it back together like it was in 57, but I don't, so I'm sorta piecing it together as I go along. The car came with the original block and trans, but they were in the trunk. Block was bored 50 over and rusty, and missing the main caps. I ended up building a later small block with side mounts, so that's the direction I ended up going in. I've been reading up on how to line up the scattershield, so I think thats next on my to-do list.

    @56sedandelivery - I've got mostly old Chevy parts that I'm using, but had to pick up a couple new repro pieces to complete the parts list.

    @southcross2631 - interested to know what you've got, I'll probably take it off your hands. I'd prefer to use all old Chevy stuff, instead of the repro pieces.

    Thanks for all the advice - I'm going to go back out there tonight and eyeball everything one more time before I pull it apart again and measure the TO bearing, and then get my dial indicator out to see how far off the bell is.
     
    chevy57dude likes this.
  25. The posi rears held up a bit better. I would blow the spyder gears out. If found a fix that worked and did not cost much. Weld the spyder gears. then get a extra axle. have all the splines turned off the end so it turned freely in the side gear. You now have a streetable one wheel drive. When it was race time you install the axle with splines and you had a locked rear. My current 55 has a 9 inch ford rear.
     
    chevy57dude likes this.
  26. TimCT
    Joined: Jun 6, 2017
    Posts: 169

    TimCT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Its currently got an open diff, but I did pick up a 'lightly used' posi chunk for it, I think its an Auburn. Swapping it in was initially on the grand list of things I had to do before it got on the road, but that list has been whittled waaaaaay down.
     
    chevy57dude likes this.
  27. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,055

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    I kinda' remember there being a long & a short throwout bearing, you might want to do some checking .
     
  28. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,298

    squirrel
    Member

    generally when you get a clutch kit, which includes the disc, pressure plate and throwout bearing, they are matched. The difference is the long bearing is used with flat finger diaphragm pressure plates, while the short one is used with 3 finger or bent finger diaphragm pressure plates.
     
  29. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 9,579

    Johnny Gee
    Member
    from Downey, Ca

    I wouldn't know anything about that. :)
     
    chevy57dude likes this.
  30. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,720

    chevy57dude
    Member

    This dude wasn't clear on the concept
    [​IMG]
     

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