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Projects Damn my knees, manual transmission is a killer

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 62rebel, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 17,701

    from Michigan

    I'll never give up on my manual trans.... Ford now made it easier with the dual disc clutch setup they installed in these new ummm...... cars... :)
  2. enigma57
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 220


    G'day, Mimi! That's a great idea. Much appreciated. I have a friend in the UK and will ask him to assist me with checking into this.

    My '57 Chevy is much like yours except it is a 210 model with less brightwork than the Bel Air. I already have a fuel filter with water separator for a diesel powered Land Rover here and will be fitting it to my '57 when the larger inline 6 and Weber carburettors go in. Am doing this to protect the Webers from as much of the ravages of ethanol fuel as possible.

    May as well add a Land Rover type vacuum assist to the hydraulic clutch actuation I am considering for my Chevy, as well. Was going to fit a master cylinder and external slave cylinder from a Jeep. If Land Rover clutch master cylinder piston bore size is compatible with Jeep slave cylinder, I reckon I can work out a way to make this work......

    Red Booster Servo Clutch Kit...... Booster Servo Clutch Kit

    Best regards,

  3. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,632


    “When we were young
    We were small, but we didn’t know it
    When you were hurt
    You would smile so you didn’t show it
    When we were young
    We were brave, we were wild warriors
    And you like to race
    So, we’d run to the distant shores…” Parenthood

    The key is when all things look bleak…don’t give up. It will get better.
    When we were young, ahhh memories… as rambunctious as we were, in high school, there was a left knee injury during football season. That was minor, but it was swollen and started a long trail of injuries, slight and major, over the years. It was difficult driving the 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery, but being young, it healed fast. By the time we were in college, football was behind us and a new sandlot football sport popped up with a bunch of friends from Belmont Shore, Rugby. That was the epitome of our old sandlot football with nothing for protection, but cleats for feet.
    upload_2019-10-20_4-16-20.png photo Vnak 35mm Pentax SLR F1.4 50mm Plus X
    This was the starting point of injuries, but as 20 somethings, that is how we all enjoyed activities.

    Over the years, we have all had swollen knees for some reason or another. Some serious, some just go away with ice. (Rugby= torn cartiledge) But as a recent orthopedic surgeon told me, it was probably a torn ligament, too. It was somehow, overlooked during cartilage surgery. Over time “it will go away.” But, for some it did not and hobbling was a way of life.

    After the after high school activity span, swollen knees were a thing that we could all rely on, either on a monthly basis or at least twice a year. Unless the ligament is torn away from the bone, no surgery is needed. In my rugby accident, a cartilage was removed, weakening that structure for future years. Sure, it healed and one on one basketball was resumed, but those Ace bandages, back then, were used to wrap the knee. Then as the technology improved, those neoprene sleeves took over for physical and moral support.


    Over the years of surfing, a neoprene sleeve for the knee with some internal side supports helped continue that activity for over 40 years in the water. The neoprene sleeve and the 3-4mm tight wetsuit kept the knee supported throughout that activity. Now the dry sleeve kept the left foot going in all stick shift cars we owned since our teenage years. It did make it feel like someone was holding the whole knee through all clutch maneuvers, while shifting and driving down the road, somewhat comfortably.
    upload_2019-10-20_4-18-42.png Not the exact one, but a similar one that could be bought at Thrifty Drugstore back in those days.

    So, after several 4, 5, and 6 speed cars over the last 35 years, those sleeves under our Levis helped. But after a more recent knee injury, the orthopedic surgeon said it will heal over time. Well, as an much older guy, these days, he pointed out that it might take a longer time to heal. But, to make walking and driving a stick shift car easier, this brace was purchased and it it wonderful. All range of movement is supported and the knee feels like brand new. (sort of…) It is taking time, but what else are we doing?

    For us West Coast, So Cal locals, it fits right in, as those tight Levis cannot slide over the knee brace, so all kinds of shorts are the clothing of choice. (Play shorts, work shorts, gardening shorts and yes, even dress shorts) As long as the winter weather stays nice, the new brace and shorts get along well. Even going up and down stairs at the Nutcracker Ballet evening performances are a snap with this sturdy brace and a dress shorts outfit. It is also a conversation starter. So, stories can be told for each question.


    March 2019 Hello,
    One of the most recent quotes pointed out to me (by someone I know…) was:

    “Don’t Let The Old Man In…” The days of “on the go” activity for the last 70 years has taken its toll. Rough, sand lot, tackle football, cut and fake basketball moves, real varsity HS football, 2 on 2 basketball, years of running in college, surfing, hiking, desert motorcycle racing, and the killer of all: Rugby. Knee injuries, after knee injuries, makes quite an effect on the old bones. But, at the time, it was …"it will heal." And, heal it did in a few short weeks."

    "But, the older one gets, the tired old bones have worn away and we have all become shorter than we once were. It just takes longer to heal and get back. It is a sad part of life that as we enjoy all activity when we were young. It does take its toll on the bone structure and grinds away at being old. So, when we old active people hobble across the room and wonder what the h#$% is making all of the commotion, it is our body talking back… “Thanks for the journey, now it is my turn.”

    “Some days, it feels like the end of a “bashing each other”, rugby game that was very close. It is all aches and pains. But, that is how we treat our bodies. Whatever we used to do in our younger years, football, basketball, rugby, surfing, desert motorcycle racing, all beat up our bodies, to our heart’s content. We had fun doing it, enjoyed every minute of it and look back at all of the good times that keep the memories going these days. Now, we pay the piper…”

    Elcohaulic likes this.
  4. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,931


    I have a Spec diaphragm pressure plate in my Morris Gasser with a Mustang cable clutch setup
    I can push the clutch in with 2 fingers and it holds strong enough to twist the input shaft on my top loader. Stay away from the 3 finger clutches and to a hydraulic or cable set up and you old guys can still drive your stick shift cars longer.
    I am 70 with arthritis in both knees and a knee that has been messed up since my brother tipped a 55 gallon barrel over on it when I was 12.
  5. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 726


    Yeah buddy. You kick with your right leg and watch your knee fold backward at the bottom when the crank falls through. After a lot of cussing, you try it with your left leg and cry like a baby when it kicks back and your knee folds back. When you're able to walk again, you find a grade to roll down or have someone push you to get started. Been there, done that, got the T shirt.
  6. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,196

    from oregon

    Neat idea but isn't that mounted on the wrong side of the car!;)
  7. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,606


    J. Naki, I wish your doctor who told you a torn cartilage in a knee will heal over time was right. Time has done nothing to heal the Meniscus tear in my left knee. My Orthopedic surgeon says repairing the Meniscus may not solve the problem and a subsequent knee replacement may be necessary. As I've had problems with anesthesia in the past I'm not scheduling surgery anytime soon. You've got to be tough to get old. Who ever said getting old is the golden years is full of shit.
    jnaki likes this.
  8. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,196

    from oregon

  9. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,632


    Hey G,
    Hope you do well, knees are the first or second thing that goes out besides the ankle. So, take care. I hate surgery of any kind, dental work or anything that I get off kilter for a while. So, the Ortho doctor told me to let nature take its time. Don't be in a hurry. We can't all play 1 hour of 1 on 1 basketball and still stay well at this age. (He mentioned that his famous surgery on a young pro football player went smoothly and the QB was back playing in less than a month. )

    Now, as far as his recommendation. I did see him for a swollen knee on my right side...the good one. It took 6 months for me to get full function and walking normally. Now, this knee was always healthy and never had any injuries from the high school days or the 20 something days. I injured it jumping off the side of a sailboat slowly coming into a docking position. The doctor chuckled and said something to the effect of... take it easy...You are NOT a spring chicken anymore... you deserve the time off.

    One thing I disagree with is his no nonsense way of saying that those compression sleeves or braces do nothing for the healing process. (copper?...not proven to do anything) To me, the brace keeps one from going all out and re-injuring the knee. So, his recommendation was to not wear any brace and let the knee heal itself. I tried for a week and it was painful at first. It felt as if it would collapse inward during the clutch maneuver. So, I have been wearing a brace for support of some kind, a moral one, I suppose. Doctors are funny people, at least this one has the background to go with his funny attitude toward injuries and healing.

    An old friend that I used to go surfing with, back in the 70s, had both knees replaced and his rehab was going he says. But, he told me that the hobbling will eventually go away with time.

    An old Chambers Brothers song says it nicely:
    "Time has come today
    Young hearts can go their way
    Can't put it off another day
    I don't care what others say
    They think we don't listen anyway
    Time has come today
  10. Fitnessguy
    Joined: Sep 28, 2015
    Posts: 1,227


    Can’t believe no one asked me to chime in here! Ha ha We literally have multiple “baby boomers” and older walk into our store pre knee surgery, post knee surgery, hip replacement etc. We work with all the surgeons and physios in town. As we get older whether you’ve had an injury to those joints or not you will experience general issues as it’s just mileage like a car part. Here is the best thing to do. Ride an exercise bike on a regular basis. It is the only exercise that is not “weight bearing” and non impact that puts that flexion on the knee and hip. Keep resistance low and do at least 20 minutes. That exercise keep those joints strong and the regular movement promotes circulation to the joint which is regenerative and also promotes fluid to the joint which lubricates. The knee sleeves one of the other guys posted help for sure but there is no replacement for exercise.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    Tri-power37 likes this.
  11. They will have Hot rods in heaven, but till then you can’t get one in the nursing home.
    alanp561 likes this.
  12. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,193

    dirty old man

    The clutch mentioned in post 61 for some OT Ford built cars will work in my roadster, even with a Chev. engine as I have a McLeod safety bell housing in it with a Ford top loader 4 spd. The bell hsg. has several bolt patterns, one of which fits a Ford toploader. All I had to do is machine up a spacer ring, a pilot brg, adapter, and use a 1&1/16X 10 spline disc:)
    The dual disc McLeod I plan to install this Winter is designed to replace the the other dual disc Ford unit in post #61 of this thread.
    The roadster has a P&J built pedal assembly similar to a '39 Ford unit, and while I have the car down, I'm planning a look at that assy. to possibly put needle bearings in where the pedals pivot on a shaft using well lubed brass bushings at present. Hoping all this will keep things easy enough to use for the years I can realistically hope to drive a hot rod:cool: If that isn't enough, then I'll look more closely at the cable linkage from the same OT car in post 61. Another HAMBER has kindly supplied me with info and pics of his setup of those cables in a Deuce:cool:
    Those power assisted units I'm sure help a lot, but since my pedals are mounted old style under the floor pivot, I think I would have a tough time getting stuff moved around enough for room to mount the diaphram.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  13. Mimilan
    Joined: Jun 13, 2019
    Posts: 191


    Great idea............. switch the gas pedal to the left and clutch to the right [​IMG] :D
  14. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,816

    from So Cal

    I enjoy shifting gears, but I've done so much of it over the years I no longer feel a need to have to do it any more and am quite content with the auto trans in both my hot rods. And both knees and everything still work fine. OK, I admit there's a connection to the vehicle with a manual shift trans that you lose with an auto. Eh, that's OK. As cramped as the 30 pickup is, I'm glad to not have the 3rd pedal in there. We all know an automatic is faster anyway. LOL!
  15. RHRH3P
    Joined: Mar 7, 2007
    Posts: 136


    I’m 43 now but I had my left hip replaced at 34 due to Perthes disease. Having it early in life means I’ll need the wear parts replaced every 15-20 years. My 56 has a 5 speed in it that I like up until I’m in a traffic jam or idling through a car event then it sucks and my leg will start hurting. It’s not so much the pressure to actuate it but the long travel of the clutch pedal. I’ll drive it like this as long as I can but my 36 build is getting a C4...
  16. Mimilan
    Joined: Jun 13, 2019
    Posts: 191


    Hi Harry,

    Those Red Rooster clutch kits are 90% offset mounting brackets and levers to the pedal [to clear existing brake boosters]

    On a Tri-5 's ...... If you convert it to Hydraulic clutch with a master cylinder and external slave cylinder from a Jeep [as you suggested], you have most of the battle won.

    Then fit a remote servo PBR VH44 up between the grille and radiator support where there is plenty of room.
    They are about USD $60 from Australia

    With the remote servo you will only need some plumbing from the master cyl to the servo, and from the servo back to the slave.[edit: plus a vacuum hose]
    You will still have normal clutch operation with no vacuum .

    Here is a schematic of how they work.

    We had looked at fitting a normal small diameter "booster only" inline, as a mechanical linkage. Mounting the pedal bracket to the bellcrank with a fabricated M/C pushrod to the clutch fork but on a Tri-5 there is no room [but this is a viable option for other vehicles]
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  17. If you live long enough and played hard enough your body is going to suffer, broken bones,pins & screws, replacement parts and just plain age makes things a little harder than it was when we were in our teens but hard headed hot rodders learn how to adapt and overcome.

    Can't ride that clutch anymore? use a automatic transmission, can't wedge your oversized neandertal body in that chopped & channeled Model A anymore? get one that's not chopped.

    I might not have the fastest hot rod or the prettiest but it is as confortable as I can make it, I just can't imaging my age or infirimitys to stop me from driving and enjoying my hot rod. HRP
  18. Got 4 vertebre in my neck fused in march 2018 due to a roll over. Got both knees replaced in sept 2018 due to running my ass off at work. In Dec 2018 they wanted to operate on my lower back. Told them no. Got 2 C3 vettes for sale because I cant bend my neck to get in and cant stand up to get out. Going to build a truck next. I can still get in and out of them. Getting old aint for sissys

    Sent from my LG-LS777 using Tapatalk
    ConradK and dirty old man like this.
  19. Truckdoctor Andy
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 861

    Truckdoctor Andy

    The Milwaukee Crippler! I had one of those too, the reason my right knee hurts at odd times.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  20. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,543


    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
    enigma57 likes this.
  21. ^^^^^ Has anyone mentioned over center helper spring? They work rather well.
  22. All this tech stuff, just rpm shift like a big rig with out the clutch, that will cut it down to fewer pedals, per left knee. This page looks like the prosthetic closet at the old age home. Probably time for automatics all around. Laugh! you gota laugh just to keep from crying.
    Get a Ford their clutches are easy GM 55-57 have been horrible since day one
  23. ^^^^^ Los Angeles traffic is sometimes enough for me to ditch the 4 speed. Sometime (@ just 57) when my back or leg bothers me I say it's time to go automatic. I feel what's talked about here.
  24. enigma57
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 220


    Thanks Mimi! The remote servo seems the way to go, as with my LHD Chevy, both intake and exhaust manifolding are on drivers side and clearance is very tight with steering column and brake master cylinder. The wider Weber intake setup in addition to the Langdon split exhaust manifolds dumping right into the area now occupied by the OEM mechanical clutch linkage don't help, either.

    One question regarding the Holden remote servo setup...... My choices for Jeep clutch master cylinder and external slave cylinder are either 3/4" or 7/8" piston diameter (both being same size depending upon choice). The Holden piston diameter is stated to be smaller at 5/16" diameter. Will this work with the larger master and slave cylinder sizes I will be using...... Or will I need to locate a remote servo having same piston diameter?


  25. enigma57
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 220


    Thanks! Will check the Toyota clutch boosters as well.

    Best regards,

  26. I'm beat up too, had a left knee reconstruction at age 27 that has held up pretty well. I have pain in it especially in the morning navigating the stairs, off and on. I set the car up with a hydraulic clutch which works quite well and the pedal effort is not that much. In my case, the motion itself is the problem. I have pain off and on. I have used a knee-wrap in the past and will give that a try.
  27. I read back through the thread lol we are a pathetic bunch. But we will be out there driving and complaining til we die.
    Right Men............

    Sent from my LG-LS777 using Tapatalk
  28. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,272

    Jalopy Joker

  29. That’s the mousetrap principal
    Yeah it works well
    enigma57 likes this.
  30. Mimilan
    Joined: Jun 13, 2019
    Posts: 191


    Hi Harry,
    Firstly that particular "Kit" was marketed as a Holden kit. I only showed that because it came with brackets.
    In Aussie they were fitted OEM on 318 Valiants because the normal style would not clear the rocker covers on RHD cars.
    They were fitted on a lot of British cars [Hillman Hunters, MG's, Ford Zephyrs Etc] and I also have been told some USA Chrysler's .
    These were designed for when manufacturers were changing over to disc brakes on the front wheels only [they were used on the front circuits only]

    With the Master/Slave cylinder sizes it doesn't really matter at all with this servo. [just get them matched to each other as if it was normal.]
    These servo's are a "flow through" design. So every cc that gets pumped into it, the equivalent gets pumped out. [Imagine a cylinder with a floating piston inline]
    If the M/C pushes too much volume [or there is not enough vacuum assist], it pushes the little piston off the pushrod/seat allowing fluid to flow past. Effectively only having partial assistance.

    But in reality that doesn't happen
    , because the extra volume will open the Air Valve Piston before it starts pushing the slave piston down the bore.
    When you release pressure ,the air valve piston will pull the "air-valve-diaphram" back and the engine vacuum will equalize on both sides of the main diaphram.[so it can return]
    They all work on the principles of equalibrium [or balance]

    here is a Schematic to help you understand.
    Edit: You will notice the piston travel is greater than the Diaphram/ Pushrod travel. This is a safety feature that allows flow through the slave piston if the diaphram has bottomed out.
    So if the clutch slave requires more volume than the servo cylinder can supply, the last bit of travel would be unassisted.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
    enigma57 and 31Vicky with a hemi like this.

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