Clutch Weight

Discussion in 'Drivetrain' started by Box, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. Box

    Box New Member

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    Hi everyone, I've been on and off considering a SN95 but one thing is holding me back and that's the clutch. To make a long story short thanks to genetics I have bad knees that like to pop and give out at the most inconvenient of times. Cars that have hydraulic clutches I'm ok with though. I'm not sure if it's the ones I've tested but the clutch in the Mustang is a bit much. The first I tested was a sub 100K miles '96 Cobra at a dealer that was all original, pressing it in seemed ok enough but letting it back out in a smooth controlled manner took its toll only after a few times. The second I tested was a '01 GT I found on eBay that had a new clutch. When I showed up to test it out the first time I pushed it in my knee popped out and that was it, it was so stiff the seat actually moved. The only thing I can figure is it was some kind of competition clutch or the cable was catching? From everything I've read a new clutch and OE cable is important, and certain aftermarket quadrants can help. It's kind of discouraging as I don't want to buy one and then not be able to drive it most of the time. I had thought about getting a 4th gen F-body, but the rarity of the 6-speed and the engine access(or lack thereof) is annoying. Plus I have a tendency for liking smaller vehicles, as my '79 Firebird feels huge at times, and the Mustang is considerably smaller and easier to find. Not sure if I'm on a wild goose chase, but I was hoping maybe someone here had a similar predicament and could offer some insight on the matter. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 96blak54

    96blak54 Legend

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    Click onto American Muscle and order a hydraulic conversion kit....problem solved! BAM!
     
  3. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    Welcome to the site! As far clutch feel, a lot of it is respective to the clutch and indirectly how much power the car makes - the more power typically the firmer the clutch. You can find clutches that mess with the fulcrum to try to give you greater clamping force without unduly increasing pedal effort, but this depends on the brand of clutch and your subjective opinion. I can offer three ideas/approache


    1. A stock SN95, particularly the earlier years, don't really have that much power, so the clutch isn't really that hard in them. See if you can find a 94-97, somewhere in that range, with a stock clutch and give it a spin. For me, personally, I didn't think the clutch was hard. But I'm not in the same situation as you. My current clutch doesn't feel that hard to me either, but then again...
    2. McLeod makes a hydraulic conversion for the SN95. It's pricey, like in the $500 to $600 range - but if that means you get more enjoyment out of the car, that might be a worthwhile modification despite the cost
    3. You could always go with an auto! Not sure if autos are completely out of the question - you can do a couple things to them to still make them fun, and it will obviously save your knee.

    It also depends on what you are looking for out of the car - are you okay with stock power? Are you going to juice it up to 600 rwhp? Those types of answers will dictate the clutch you will need. The closer to stock power you stay, the easier the clutch pedal effort you will encounter. The newer cars that have more power stock will also most likely have a little stiffer clutch to clamp on that power.
     
  4. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    Ha, that's what I get for being so wordy - beat to it!
     
  5. 96blak54

    96blak54 Legend

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    Late model probably has it too!

    I was going to be descriptive in pedal pressure reduction by use of better products, but I was like....naaa! Hydraulic conversion!
     
  6. Box

    Box New Member

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    I had thought about retrofitting the setup from a S197, but it'd seem others have already done the footwork more or less. It'd be a lot to spend just for the clutch though, but if I ended up loving the car it'd be something I'd probably do. I was thinking a new O.E. Exedy clutch along with the Maximum Motorsports quadrant and Ford cable might be the ticket for the time being though. As far as years I'm primarily looking into the '94-95 GT and the '99-04 "New Edge" GT, though I wouldn't be averted to a Cobra of any year. Powerwise it'll be mostly stock with mild bolt-ons, as it'll be a daily maintaining streetability and efficiency is more of a priority and it's not like I'm looking to impress anyone. I would like to do track days and autocross etc... with it, but for myself and not trying to clear the field by any means. I've tried finding a mostly stock car with a new O.E. spec clutch to test out, but I haven't seen one and they'd be the only ones worth testing at this point.

    Automatics aren't an option. It's why I bought the '79 Firebird as I thought maybe a car I've always wanted and having 400+ hp on tap would make an automatic bearable, but I was wrong. Of course with the power its putting down my only options for conversion would be the T-56 or the like, which means lots of cost and fabrication.
     
  7. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    For what it's worth, the clutch quadrant and new cable themselves don't make the clutch easier to operate (unless the old cable is rusted inside the housing or binding in some way). They are just "you should also do this" type things when replacing a clutch and/or cable. If you are replacing them, then I recommend the MM quadrant, MM firewall adjuster, and a Ford OEM cable.

    The pedal weight itself is typically dictated by the clutch pressure plate. The clutch fork/fulcrum is pretty set since it's part of the transmission bell housing - it's all about the pressure plate on the clutch and how it interacts with the throwout bearing. This is a brand specific behavior. I would spend a lot of time seeing what other clutches people run, their respective power levels, and how hard it is to operate the pedal. This last one will be hard since it's a subjective thing, so if you have a lot of friends around with Mustangs then try as many as you can.

    Also shop for a clutch that will hold your expected torque and advertises an easier pedal. Things like "OEM pedal feel" or "OEM pedal effort" are what you are looking for. And, if worse comes to worse, and you just can't live with the pedal effort, then throw down a wad of cash and get yourself the hydraulic conversion and call it a day.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Box

    Box New Member

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    Alright thanks. I had read something about reduced friction with certain quadrants and cables and how adjusters could help too, but I wasn't entirely sure. I'll have to keep an eye out for a stock '94-95 nearby to try, as I rather have the 5.0 anyway due to being OHV and OBDI. OBD I or II doesn't matter per se since I'm in Alabama, but I just don't like how OBDII can be such a royal pain at times.
     
  9. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    Sure thing. Yah, some *might* reduce friction and stuff - but will you really notice? I doubt it. Whatever it might do will easily be overwhelmed by the clutch pressure plate. Lol, if you are ever in Orlando let me know and I'll let you try out the clutch pedal! :D
     
  10. Box

    Box New Member

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    What's kind of funny is I've been in 4-cylinder cars with cable clutches and they weren't any heavier than a hydraulic equipped car, ironically enough the clutch in my Celica was one of the heavier clutches I've used and it was hydraulic. So in theory, and at least in my mind, the Mustang shouldn't be that much worse if everything is optimal. I prefer a stiffish and consistent clutch, I hate when there's absolutely no feel and they're just springy. A happy medium if you will.
     
  11. 96blak54

    96blak54 Legend

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    I agree ^^ my pedal effort is easy, but I dont have feeble legs like some people do. Not saying OP has flamingo legs, I have driven a few stangs with impossible pedal effort. The stock feel when correct isnt much different from hydraulic. ...to me.
     
  12. Box

    Box New Member

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    I have plenty of leg muscle, it's just the fact the pivot point is blown out now. Before I started having knee problems I'd drive my grandfather's old 1500 that had a Muncie behind the 350, and it was a direct linkage so it was as heavy as all get out. Now even something with a light clutch can give fits on bad days, it's more so the motion than it is the weight per se but the weight has an effect. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

    For now I'm on the lookout for a 5.0 car with a new clutch. Also would I be safe in assuming a Fox body more or less would have the same clutch weight and feel? It'd be easier to find one of those over the SN95 5.0 and since the SN95 was just a 700M overhauled Fox body anyway...
     
  13. 96blak54

    96blak54 Legend

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    Alot of times on the older mustangs the bushings at the pedal hinge depleat. Metal to metal grinding wont improve pedal effort at all regardless of any modifications.
     
  14. Box

    Box New Member

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    Good to know, I suppose that should be easy enough to double check visually or by hand? I just know the '01 I tested was ridiculous, it only had bolt-ons so there would've been no need for the clutch to be much stronger than stock. My brother had ended up coming along for that one and even he was like what the Hell, and he doesn't have knee problems. I want to see if anyone has found an O.E. master cylinder and slave that'd work easily enough, as then it wouldn't cost any more than a new cable and quadrant.
     
  15. Sinned83

    Sinned83 Well-Known Member

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    As the others have stated hydraulic clutch. Mcleod makes amazing things.
     
  16. slow90coupe

    slow90coupe Well-Known Member

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    An OEM clutch and an OEM clutch cable is what I have in my car and it's about the same weight as a Honda civic clutch. My hydraulic wrx pedal is heavier. The OEM cable has a lot to do with the pedal feel.
     
  17. Box

    Box New Member

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    I've heard others say similar things before, but for whatever reason it seems 95% of Mustangs aren't that way anymore. Every video review I've ever seen the first thing they say is how heavy the clutch is. Good to hear though. So far no '94-95 models remotely nearby yet, at least with a manual anyway.