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Flathead problems

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flathead okie, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. flathead okie
    Joined: May 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,480

    flathead okie

    My '53 truck flathead/49 merc trans combo is giving me headaches. Something is in a bind or out of place.It's making a metal rubbing noise, mainly when I push in the clutch. As I push in the clutch while ideling, the engine sounds like it's losing rpms. As I'm driving I can hear the sound. At first I thought it was the starter, because a friend pushed the rear of the starter towards the block and it quieted down. So I located a starter brace and put it on. It still does it. I took off the inspection plate on the upper bellhousing and reached in and turned the throw out bearing to make sure it was turning. I also bumped the starter to look at the pressure plate bolts, they look good. I had my wife mash the clutch as I watched to make sure the crank shaft didn't have any end to end play to check the thrust bushing.

    Any other ideas??

    Thanks. And please, no boat anchor - get a chevy remarks.
  2. Straightpipes
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,084


    Sounds like a throwout bearing to me.
  3. flathead okie
    Joined: May 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,480

    flathead okie

    The throw out bearing turns with one finger threw the inspect plate hole. Doesn't seem to be in a bind.
  4. AlbuqF-1
    Joined: Mar 2, 2006
    Posts: 909

    from NM

    How does it shift, i.e., is the clutch working? Even though the throwout is free, it may be toast. Or if one of the clutch fingers is low, it can cock.

  5. Jim Marlett
    Joined: Aug 12, 2003
    Posts: 867

    Jim Marlett

    I vote throwout bearing. It doesn't have to be seized to be worn out.
  6. Sticher1
    Joined: Nov 17, 2004
    Posts: 627

    from Ct

    Hey did ya look at the fork if the two tabs have any wear on them that will through off the throw out bearing and grind the center of the throw out bearing just went through the same problem....
  7. flathead okie
    Joined: May 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,480

    flathead okie

    I'll have to re-check the throw out bearing and fork by popular request. I'll take the starter and starter plate off so I can see it better. Thanks guys.
  8. Brian C
    Joined: Mar 25, 2005
    Posts: 494

    Brian C

    I vote for the throwout bearing as well. When you're inspecting it through the cover there's no load on it so it'll spin free. When you load it by stepping on the clutch pedal it binds and that would cause the drop in engine RPM.
  9. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    Flywheel might be in the way. Early trans had an inspection cover in the top of the bell - I think the Merc trans did for a while after Ford went to "normal" bellhousing in '49. If there's an inspection cover on the top, that's your best bet.
  10. 51 MERC-CT
    Joined: Apr 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,594

    51 MERC-CT

    Did you check to make sure the starter Bendix gear is not engaged full time:) :D on the ring gear?
  11. Dirty Dug
    Joined: Jan 11, 2003
    Posts: 3,678

    Dirty Dug

    I had that same problem with my coupe when I first had it on the road, most frustrasting thing. I never was able to figure it out. Luckily for me it went away. I think it just wore through a small obstruction, maybe a burr on a flywheel bolt? I wish I could be more help.
  12. rodrelic
    Joined: Mar 7, 2002
    Posts: 466


    fFrst thing, someone once indicated that the merc bellhousing is smaller and cause some interfearence issues with truck flywheel/clutch combos. If that is the case, maybe you are only a home-made gasket away from silence.
    I also pulled apart a flatty combo and the clutch arms were bent, the bearing had seized and spun loose, pushing the pressure plate arms sideways.
    Either way, the dreaded take-it-out-and-pull-it-apart-project may be the safest/least expensive route.
    I once had my dump truck clutch go bad, wouldn't let go, nearly went over a cliff. Good brakes, got it shut off.
  13. flathead okie
    Joined: May 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,480

    flathead okie

    Rodrelic, yes the merc bell housing is too small, I used the truck bell.

    51 Merc -CT, yes I checked the starter bendix, it is not turning all the time.

    Flat Ernie, this one is on top also, but I can't see anything wrong from that point. So the next step is take off the starter and plate to see if I can see more.

    Thanks for all your advice, I just finished mowing the lawn, so now I can try these suggestions on the flywheel bolts,and trowout bearing forks etc.
  14. flathead okie
    Joined: May 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,480

    flathead okie

    Just incase someone wants to know. The flywheel was rubbing on the starter plate.
    I checked everything I could, then pulled the starter plate off to see if I could see more of what was going on. There are more than one type of starter plate. The one I had on it has a step or flange towards the flywheel. It was rubbing on that. I happened to have another starter plate that was flat, so I traded them out. No more grinding., works smooth.
    Thanks for yall's help.

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