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MAX-2.8 4 spd muncie Fiero

Request : Advice/Help/Suggestions freeing seized clutch in Fiero

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Hi, I tell in My story about the issue I am facing with My 86 Fiero SE 2.8/4spd muncie. I am Hoping to get some advice , suggestions, on resolving this issue as I Need My Fiero back as My daily driver. I am disabled and on SSD and I can't afford to pay someone to resolve this for me, I can't even get the car to My new house until 'maybe' next month as I don't have the money to have it towed at the moment. If You read My story and post I put in ' Introduce Yourself ' where I added info You can see what I'm dealing with... I'm hoping for some advice or suggestions to get an idea if I'm thinking along the right direction of ' the...or a solution ' to My problem. Car Thinks it's in Neutral Always...all cables,connections,hydraulic lines, mounting brackets (clutch pedal  and slave bracket) are in good condition and working properly... I read online somewhere, don't remember where but a gentleman spoke of mounting bolts on clutch rusting and seizing over time if not used causing issue I believe I'm dealing with.... that to unseize clutch I simply need to separate motor and tranny and smack clutch with brass hammer to release and clean rusted bolt heads and put all back together...or completely remove rusted mounting bolts and clean and reassemble. I am Hoping someone on this site can tell Me if that info sounds good/correct since I had No issues with clutch performance prior to it seizing/not releasing? Oh yeah forgot to mention I rebuilt slave using Rodney Dickman kit upgrading seals as well..... All seems to be correct with clutch components and parts and operable with the exception of it Not releasing. I'd like to know if Others have dealt with this issue and how They resolved it and what caused the issue for Them in the 1st place. As far as bleeding the clutch I Know Fiero's are a KNOWN Freaking Nightmare to bleed....but I actually think I have it bled fine even with the issue I am facing, hell I've done it every way but with an actual helper and probably run close to 2 gallons of brake fluid through system thinking that was the issue at 1st.  I just don't wanna get My hopes up thinking I 'simply' (yeah right) need to separate motor and tranny to resolve My issue if there is actually something I've missed that could be causing the issue. I am by no means a certified mechanic but have been working on cars since I was a kid and Can outwork and out diagnose most of the local 'Certified ASE ' mechanics in My area and have done so.... NOT bragging...just appalled by the skill level of so called "Certified ASE ' mechanics in My area... even had to teach a few Current State Safety Rules when I pointed out Their errors when They tried to say My Fiero didn't pass inspection and pissed Them off when I proved it did and They Did put new/up to date yearly required Inspection sticker in My windshield. I'm hoping car sitting so long doesn't require complete or partial exhaust replacement to pass Inspection and that I can get away with simply unseizing clutch and pulling all 4 brake rotors to remove rust from faces of them and that's it.... no more $$ to spend other than the cost of the Inspection itself would be perfect. I Really Need to get My Fiero back as My daily driver and would Greatly Appreciate any help I can get, Thank You for reading this and Thank You in Advance for any replies....

Pontiac's I've owned : 1967 Firebird 326/auto

                                    1980 Firebird 6cyl/auto

                                    1885 Fiero SE 2.8/all power auto

                                     1886 Fiero SE 2.8/4spd muncie

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Oh yeah..... just killing time here but for Those who don't know much about Fiero's other than the Fabled catching Fire by itself.... were some fire incidents at 1st but Resolved Quickly during 1st year of production in 1984. What I'm going to write here is about separating motor and tranny/motor swap in a Fiero...doesn't matter what year....Most do the job by way of the recommended by Pontiac procedure.... You just unbolt rear frame and cradle, strut mounts and then lift car body itself off with hoist and then roll out complete rear assembly for easiest and best access to separate/remove motor from car...basically same as GM front sub frames except it's in rear being mid engine rear wheel drive.  When I did My swap...85 2.8 w/127000 mi. into My 86 I pulled both motors from the top... didn't have space to do it as suggested... so I pulled rear deck lids and unbolted all that needed and pulled motors and dropped from top...like old school engine swaps where You just removed hood and motor. I guess a 2.8 6cyl motor being stuffed into the ass end of a Fiero with little room to work on it caused Pontiac to suggest removing the whole rear frame from car from underneath it to access it and do it easily and quickly. It Does suck to work on sometimes because of the cramped space under the deck lid but it's Always worth it in the end... I swear I've Loved every minute I've ever spent behind the wheel of My Fiero.... it's so much fun to drive...drive by the seat of Your pants fun... handles so well and is so well balanced...don't think I have Any body roll at all it's so tight....yet isn't as harsh a ride as You'd think, actually rides nice. Just re-read what I've written so far...guess I should say I'm speaking of 2.8 V6 removal ..... don't know if Pontiac recommends treating the 4cyl version of Fiero same way....guess I'll have to check My factory service manual to see how it suggests 4cyl removal. Thank You for reading this and Again...Thank You in advance for any replies about My clutch issue

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Hi, Eric, 

     "Car thinks i's in neutral always" , and "seizing/not releasing"  have me wondering if the clutch disc is actually stuck in the released position, that is, not contacting the flywheel. I haven't run into this, but maybe we can think it through - if you talk slowly and don't bustle me. Wouldn't it be, if the car thinks it's in neutral, that the clutch is not "engaging", rather than not releasing?  If I grasp the situation correctly, you can run the engine, shift into gear, let out the clutch pedal, and get nowhere - fast. Right?  (I'm a retired certified mechanic who hopes not to appall you with my shortcomings.)

Stephen

 

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1st and foremost I apologize if I offended you Stephen, not My intention when speaking about mech's in My area...was just trying to explain I do have some wrenching skills so I'm not totally mechanically dense even though I may seem to be at times....and Welcome Your help. I really don't like making excuses but the pain I deal with messes with my brain and I don't always think clearly, that is My reasoning behind seeking help here...hell I was stupidly getting ready to weld something recently when I realized JB Weld would do the job in about 5 minutes!!!! I was actually dumbfounded I hadn't realized the repair could be easily made and I was trying to turn it into more work than was required. So I Gratefully Welcome Your help...yes You being the 'real' mechanic are obviously correct...clutch isn't engaging. Yep even after all the work and bleeding I have done can fire it up put it in gear....feel it going in gear, and let out clutch and Nothing. I wish I could find/remember the site where I saw the post about clutch mounting bolts rusting and seizing from sitting too long without use causing clutch to 'not engage'. As I said, I have no where near the knowledge You have but from the little I do know what that gentleman described sounds plausible to Me...like that could be the issue, I'd like to know Your thoughts on that? Obviously it would be much easier to explain and even take pics to post here if I currently had the car in My garage downstairs, hopefully I will be able to afford to have it towed up here next month. Going broke on permanent disability so it's hard for Me to save any money....I never have extra... gotta do without something next month if possible to get it up here. I will apologize in advance if I ask You something You've already answered... I have brain damage from a head injury from a car wreck that causes me to have memory issues so I sometimes repeat Myself...or forget I've already asked something and it was answered. I will say now that I think about it....from the day the clutch quit engaging, the pedal didn't and hasn't felt right even through all the attempted bleeding efforts....it feels too soft..empty like it's not even connected almost...almost as if....if I remember correctly if there were no spring on pedal to properly put it back in place after releasing it...it almost feels like pedal wouldn't return from floor. Don't know if I described that right or not....obviously need to get the car here at my house to give You a better understanding of the situation. Again Thank You for Your reply

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Oh yeah sorry, 1st time clutch didn't engage and pedal felt funny I checked under decklid and discovered a cracked hydraulic line right at the fitting going into slave cylinder. That is when I repaired the line and rebuilt the slave with better upgraded seals and could find NO leaks in system when I was done and it 'seemed' properly bled.

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Hi, Eric, No offense taken . Your clutch is a puzzler, and I'll be delighted if I can ask the right question to help you sort it out. To isolate the problem a bit, (by the way, I like the suggestion to run the engine for a while to warm things up), will the car start while in first gear? It would lurch forward as soon as you start to crank, if the clutch is engaged, and sit still if the clutch is stuck in the released position. Knowing the answer to this will suggest where to think next, whether inside or outside the bell housing.  (My cousin had a red 4 cylinder Fiero, 1984 I think, and it was pretty sharp. So the V6 must be a blast. Also, I worked on one (4 cyl) that had had an engine transplant that needed some tidying up, and wouldn't run right. Carbon plugging the MAP sensor vacuum source in the intake manifold was the culprit there. I looked like a genius to the customer, but I wasn't - someone told me to check there. My late uncle, a mechanic, told me that sometimes we look like idiots, and sometimes like geniuses, but most times the truth was somewhere in between!)

Did the clutch problem start right after the engine transplant? I'm wondering about the contact of the clutch lever with the release bearing, and remembering vaguely that that could be tricky. If it worked and you were able to drive the car after the transplant, it would be fine. Also wondering whether the release bearing is free to move on the transmission input shaft. I think the slave cylinder piston pushes a lever that clamps to (and turns ) a shaft that has (inside the bell housing) a fork that engages and operates the release bearing. Does that seem like your setup? Or does the slave cylinder piston push on a lever that pivots on a ball inside the bell housing and forks onto the release bearing?

Stephen

 

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Hi Stephan Thanks for the reply and not being offended. Yes the car/clutch worked as it should after the transplant and never gave any indications there was a problem with it. Mind You it was rarely run or moved after the transplant but it did work just fine after the engine swap, only left it sit to keep mileage down on it and I had another car as My daily driver at the time. That is why I was so puzzled when all of the sudden the pedal felt soft/funny when I went to start it as I normally did monthly one day, had no signs or warnings of clutch going out on Me before that day. I kept saying it wasn't releasing because the car acts as if the clutch is engaged but not releasing, I have to push in clutch to start it because of safety switch but can put it in gear and let out clutch and go no where. I never heard any noise at all from tranny giving Me a clue that something was wrong with clutch...it just quit working that day and I assumed it was My slave cylinder malfunctioning so I rebuilt it and replaced some of the hydraulic lines as well.  Being on disability as My only income I currently can't even afford to get it towed to My new house to fix it, but I Need to figure something out real soon. The state inspection is up on My current daily driver (1994 Acura Vigor GS) next month and it has a broken tail lamp lens and the driver door won't open because of a broken latch...not sure it will even pass inspection like that, door not opening...gotta check into that. They only made 36000 Vigors from 92-94 so parts are not even available for it anymore short of basic tune up or suspension parts, I have to get any replacement parts for it through a junk yard. My Vigor is rarer than My Fiero, albeit there still being Fiero's on the road and parts available for it..it is still a somewhat rare car. I need to dig out My factory service manual for My Fiero before I get it up here and study it some more...still having fun trying to unpack and find everything while some of My belongings are still in storage. Because I had no warnings of clutch going/not working for Me I had tunnel vision thinking it had everything to do with the hydraulics. Believing I solved all issues with hydraulic system after rebuilding slave and replacing bad lines I was at a loss as to why it stopped working. As I said the car ran and drove fine quite a few times after motor swap, only let it sit to keep mileage down on it so after the repairs I did make I was clueless when it wouldn't work again. I can't answer Your questions properly at the moment concerning the set up as far as working the release bearing goes but will try and find My FSM to get You the answer as to which set up it is. Thank You again for Your help Stephan

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Hi, Eric,

    The clutch not engaging suggests three possibilities to me : Clutch disc failure, pressure plate failure, and release bearing binding at its center, holding the pressure plate released. There may be others; I don't know it all. I like the third one best. But first, I'd verify, by removing the slave cylinder, that the clutch isn't being held in the released position by some weirdness with the slave cylinder. If the clutch isn't engaged, with the slave removed, I'd expect to find trouble in one of the components inside the bell housing. With the slave removed, can you momentarily connect the starter S terminal to the starter battery cable terminal, and see if, with the car in first gear, ignition off, and nothing fragile, like toes, in front of the car, the car tends to move?  That check should tell us if the issue is internal or external.

Stephen

P.S.  With the slave cylinder removed, I'd try moving the lever it contacts in both directions - I'm imagining using a vise grip advisedly. Maybe just a little nudge would free up a stuck or binding release bearing. S

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Eric,

     I looked up your clutch on Rock Auto, and the first listing referred to GM bulletin 87-7-55, which I "Googled". If you haven't seen it, you could have a look.

Stephen

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Thank You Again Stephen .. no I hadn't seen that bulletin. I often shop Rock Auto but typically it's for My Vigor, Only thing Fiero needs is clutch to work so when I read Your reply I went to RA and signed in...had planned to in order to price release bearing. I greatly appreciate the info/help You have given Me and apologize for not being able to answer Your questions properly...right now $ is the issue for Me so until I can get the car here to see it to work on it I'm unable to give You good answers.. At the moment I have to try and fix the Vigor for next months PA safety inspection as it is the cheapest route for Me to ensure I have a working car. Oh yeah... I also apologize for the late reply...just a bit embarrassed to admit I asked for Help before I should have not being able to have car here at My house to work on....sickens Me to think I used to make over 40,000 before I became disabled....now I can't do a damn thing but go broke fast on disability. Again, Thank You Stephen 

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Hi, Eric,

You're far from alone, I think,  in having to wait for enough funds to get on with a project. I'm among those with some considerable experience of that. So you don't have anything to be embarrassed about or to apologize for, as far as I'm concerned. We can't all be Jay Leno. Reminds me of the saying, "You can't have everything - where would you put it?" I'm hoping and expecting that you'll get the ol' Fiero on the go before too long, and the world will be a better place with it back on the road. Hang in there. There seemed to me to be a lot of pertinent stuff in that tech bulletin. You'll git 'er sorted.

Stephen

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Hi Stephen,

I may have the Fiero up here to My new house sooner rather than later. Was at friends shop and a friend/customer of his that used to be a neighbor of Mine years ago stopped by to pick up a finished job and offered to trailer My Fiero up to My house as soon as He has some spare time. Can't wait, so curious to tear into it and see what's up, after I run it and let it heat up 1st...not being the trained tech... it does sound plausible to Me that for it to just all of the sudden quit working that heating up the trans fluid may release a sticking bearing. I have a Love hate relationship with the car so I doubt I'll get that lucky but gotta try it 1st and maybe I'll just get away with resurfacing rotor faces and maybe exhaust replacement. Wish I had some of Jay leno's $$ as well as some of his cars... I'd like to put original stainless steel exhaust back on it. Oh well I'll settle for just getting it working again if nothing else... Thanks again Stephen

Edited by MAX-2.8 4 spd muncie Fiero

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Hi, Eric,

     How did you make out with the Fiero?

Stephen

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Hi Stephen, haven't gotten it up to My house yet as I have to wait till My friend has time to trailer it up here, he's typically very busy so I have to wait until it is convenient for him. I am excited knowing that one day soon (hopefully) I'll be able to wrench on it and get it back on the road and park My Acura until winter arrives....where I now live is at the bottom of a large hill so I'll park Fiero again for winter but indoors this time at least. My Fiero was My daily driver for quite a few years but now that I have a 2nd car I don't see the sense in running it anytime other than spring and summer no matter how much I Prefer it. I did get My Acura's driver door fixed and believe all else is good on it for state insp. so poor Fiero could end up on back burner if much money is required to make it road legal as well. Hell it's not even on the stove at the moment lol I gotta get it up here 1st, but I do have hope at least

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