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Topic review (newest first)

2018-12-16 14:09:45

An age old problem not restricted to Austins nor to old cars, any car that has a clutch can suffer.

The fibre clutch becomes damp and as it is firmly held by the clutch springs against a soft iron surface it can rust and lock the clutch in the engaged position.

There are a number of solutions.

I have never managed to free a clutch by rocking the car in gear but if you have a clear run forward, starting the car in first gear with the hand brake on can free it off.

Alternatively jacking the rear wheels off the floor and starting the car in gear then operating the clutch and brakes alternately, using fairly high revs can also free it off.

Thirdly if you have a clear run just starting the car and driving it forward stabbing the brakes and clutch pedal down can work.

Worst case is to take the gearbox out as has been said but I have never had to resort to that,yet.

If you join the club and use search you could have found the answer to your problem, which has appeared on hear many times.

2018-12-16 00:06:09

I had to leave my Light 12/4 in the garage for eight months whilst I recovered from an operation, then a further eight weeks due to snow and inclement weather. When I tried to drive the car it had exactly the same problem. The gears would engage when the engine was not running but refuse when the engine was running, Fortunately the car had been reversed into my garage. I sent a week operating the clutch for as many as 100 times a day and could feel no difference. So I started the engine and tried to engage first gear which would not go until suddenly with lots of revs there was a loud bang and it engaged and the car shot forward. Fortunately the garage door was open as I shot across the forecourt narrowly coming to a halt just before we hit a garden wall 40 feet away. The lesson was: Be Careful with the go pedal when you have a seized clutch.

2018-11-01 15:12:41

Julien sounds like you have a clutch lining rusted to the flywheel or clutch plate. Either way it is not at all uncommon and there are several ways to break it loose.

I always reverse my classics into the garage for that reason and run the engine and operate the clutch every few weeks in the winter.

I have sorted this in the past by warming the engine then switch it off. Put the car into first, (reverse if the car is front first in the garage), make sure the way forward is clear, push in the clutch then the starter. If you are lucky it will break the bond, if not and the engines has started you will be rolling forward (or back) if you can, get up some speed then stand on the brakes at the same time as pushing down the clutch. You might have to do it several times.   

Always worked for me in  the past, good luck.

2018-11-01 11:25:16

Hi Julien,

This looks like the symptoms of a sticking clutch.
With the engine running and the clutch pedal fully depressed, does any attempt to engage gear produce a grating noise?
It used to be commonly advised, if a car was to be laid up for a long period, that the clutch pedal should be 'jacked' out, to preserve a clearance between the pressure plate and the driven plate.
If the place of storage was damp and condensation had formed within the bell housing, adhesion between the plates could be the cause of your problem. You could try jacking the pedal in the fully down position and leaving it like that for about a week - it may free itself.
In the end, the alternative may be removing the gearbox to get access to the clutch, but it may be that you could get the assistance of an experienced mechanic who will have seen this problem before. Perhaps even a member of the club in your vicinity might help.
If you are seriously interested in these cars you could join the club and get advice from our technical guru.


Peter C. [6515]

julien whelan
2018-11-01 10:41:22

I have an Austin 10 Cambridge 1939 model..  it has sat in its garage for the last 6 months..  when I recently decided to `tinker` with the car..( check oil, water levels,  cleaned plugs, re set points added a new coil etc..   The car starts and runs ok.. but the gears will not select with the engine running.. but will do when the engine is not running.. I assume this may be a clutch / pressure plate problem ?

any suggestions as to what I can expect to be causing the problem ?..   I recall years ago with older cars, we used to put the car in gear and rock the car forward and backwards to `awaken` the selector..

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