View Full Version : TR2/3/3A New member and newbie question on TR3 clutch

07-30-2011, 10:40 AM
Hello all,

I am a new owner of a 1959 TR3A which I inherited from a close friend that recently passed away. My friend was the original owner of the car (even gave me the original sales receipt) and he and his wife were alway full of great "TR" stories. The car has been sitting for the last 10 years as my freind battled cancer and the loss of his wife.

I am looking forward to getting it back on the road and just yesterday managed to get it started after replacing much of the ignition system. Once it was running I put the car in gear, let out the clutch, and nothing happened. In addition, the clutch pedal feels fine unless I pump it a couple of times. Then it goes about 1/4 of the way down and will not go any further. If I let up on it, I feel a sort of clicking or ratcheting feeling in the pedal, then it works fine again. Any ideas what is going on?

I am new to TRs so I apologize in advance for all the newbie questions. Also, if anyone knows a geood mechanic in the North of Seattle Washington area I am sure i could use some professional help. THANKS!

07-30-2011, 01:20 PM
I don't know, specifically, what's wrong with your clutch, but it sounds as though something is preventing the release of pressure in the hydraulics -- you can pump it up, but it doesn't return well.

What I DO know about Triumphs is that any TR that has sat for 10 years should have ALL the hydraulic cylinders inspected & rebuilt -- and the fluid flushed & replaced. Both master cylinders, the front calipers, rear slaves cylinders and the clutch slave. Your life depends on this. The odds that the hydraulic system is in good enough shape to drive, after a ten year nap, are "slim-to-none."

07-30-2011, 01:42 PM
What Moseso said. Not that hard to do yourself if you feel comfortable. Not that expensive even if you were to replace everything.

What a great way to be remembered, your buddy driving your car.

07-30-2011, 05:24 PM
I would go to a SLEEVE, release bearing carrier, phosphor-bronze upgrade moss number for a tr6 is 596-026.
I am not sure if you they have it for a TR3 but I am sure they do..
Looking at the TR2-4 it looks like part number moss 596-026.

Instead of metal to metal it is bronze to metal match up.
And do not forget to lube the output shaft..

Just my two cents worth.

I am running a eaglegate conversion to a toyota 5 speed.

07-30-2011, 06:41 PM
Get the hydraulics up and that may take care of the clutch, if it worked when parked ? then it still should.

07-31-2011, 05:09 PM
OK, thanks for the advice. Looks like going through the hydraulics is next on the list. I read a bit about rebuilding the master cylinders and having Apple Hydraulics resleeve them. My question is, why do this if replacing the mc is cheaper. From looking at the Moss catalog it appears I can get a new unit cheaper than resleeving the old one. Are the originals just that much better? Also, what is the best place to get new hoses?

Thanks for the advice. I am glad I found a place that can help me on my journey.

07-31-2011, 06:33 PM
Your master cylinders and slave cylinder could be ok with rebuild kits if they are not pitted. Have a close look. Repro stuff varies so in general reuse original parts where possible. That said my master cylinders are repros.
Moss will have most every part for the car. The Roadster Factory ditto. I use the Moss catalog for a visual all the time. The Roadster Factory Catalog lists most commonly used items but not everything they have. Their online is not as friendly and uses factory part #'s but a call is answered by someone who knows what you are talking about. Victoria British is the third of the “Big 3” plus many others, some very specialized.

08-01-2011, 01:29 PM

Congratulation on your TR3. I agree with everyone recommending a rebuild/renewal of the hydraulics. This is an fairly easy task on a car like yours. Don't forget to replace the rubber flex hoses in the brake and clutch lines. Over time these can swell interally, the master cylinders develop sufficient pressure to push fluid through the hose, but the swelling restricts flow in the other direction. I suspect this may be one cause of your clutch problem.

08-01-2011, 04:02 PM
Welcome to the forum!
Sounds like your TR3A will be a special car to you, with that history.
When I first owned my 3A its clutch did some of those strange things. I replaced the rubber hose and it worked more or less like a clutch after that.

08-01-2011, 09:19 PM
It sounds like what is happening is that your clutch master is not loading up until you pump it a couple times. Once it loads up you feel the pressure plate stuck to the flywheel. Possibly with a bit more force it will break the clutch free from the pressure plate and start working. What you are feeling as "working" is not really pressuring up but only the return spring pushing your pedal back.
Rebuilding the system is definitively called for but you may just get it working to move it if you apply a bit more force to activate the system.

08-01-2011, 11:33 PM
I will pull the master cylinder this week and take it apart to see what shape it is in. Then I guess I will either put a rebuild kit in it or send to for a sleeve. The resevoir is pretty well rusted. Should I get the replacement unit from Moss or is there a better option? Also what is the best replacement for the lines? Go original or the stainless lines from moss?

ctp - When I put the car in neutral (not running) I can push it and roll the car. When I put it in gear I can no longer push it. Would this be consistent with your theory?

Hope to get some recent pictures of it for you all to see. I also have some great pics of my friend and his wife when they first bought the car.

08-01-2011, 11:43 PM
Just for fun, and if you have the time, you might consider going through old posts on this list. I was where you are now, six or seven years ago, and found out what I didn't know by spending time reading old posts ..... Many questions were answered for me, and I got an insightful look at some of the personalities here on this great forum.

At the same time, ask away; someone will have a good answer for you. For me, part of the fun was bringing my '3 back from a 20 year- plus slumber!

08-02-2011, 07:52 AM
Putting the car into gear would stop it from rolling whether the clutch is working or not. I just had a similar situation with my TR3 which sat for 48 years idle! The clutch master would pump up then stop moving after about 1/4 pump. after thinking about it for a while, i realized that I could do no further damage by applying excessive force on the pedal to try and break it loose. Remember that your pedal is really actuating multiple components when you push on it. Any failure or stickiness in either the clutch master, slave, release arm, clutch disc to flywheel will all translate back to the pedal. If your car is solid with no severe rust in the bulkhead/ firewall or pedal area than I see no harm in this. We know you will rebuild the hydraulics anyway, right? So, this worked for me. Sure enough, with extra force the clutch pedal moved, thus activating the slave cylinder, and releasing the disc. I then bled all of the old fluid out and refreshed with new DOT3 fluid. Sure I will need to rebuild but now I can start, run and move my car around and drive it a bit. I'd say try this.

08-02-2011, 09:19 AM
After a long layoff sometimes the clutch assembly siezes up.

If it won't free itself with firm pedal pressure, try getting the engine really hot - allowing time for the heat to soak into the flywheel. Then give the clutch pedal a workout. Leave the car in neutral so it can't suddenly leap forward if the clutch releases.

If the gearbox has to be removed to free the clutch, it's worth replacing the pin that holds the clutch fork to the shaft, as the originals were weak. High tensile pins have been available from the main suppliers for some years.


08-02-2011, 10:03 AM
After I redid the hydraulics the clutch plate was stuck to the flywheel as it would not disengage. Started it in first gear and took off down the street. Lurched the car a few times with the clutch depressed and it released.

08-02-2011, 10:42 AM
Welcome I live just West of Tacoma and have been driving a tr3 since 72. There are a couple of shops around your area that clam to be experts, but I do not know for sure about their skills. There is a Triumph club close by, I think it is tyee or something and their members have some really nice tr3s. I would probably purchase new stuff, and redo everything, BUT never through anything away. You can always have the old cylinders sleeved. Does the present system leak fluid and what kind of shape is the general hydraulic system in? Again if the system is flaky, I would do a total rebuild and go with dot 5 it does not eat paint.

08-02-2011, 05:40 PM
Well, I tried as hard as I could, but once I pumped th clutch a couple of times it was like hitting a wall and I could not depress the pedal at all. Question. If the clutch was stuck to the fly wheel wouldn;t that prevent me from being able to put it into gear? Again, I am new to this so maybe I am missing something. I am working to pull the clutch hydraulics apart. I guess I have to do the brakes as well before I put everything back together. What is the recommendation on rubber versus stainless steel lines? Thanks again for all the replies.

08-02-2011, 05:56 PM
If you are able to put it in gear while running then yes you have something else going on.

08-03-2011, 02:38 PM
Well, I got everything apart yesterday. I won't mention the embarrassingly long time it took me trying to get the bottom bolt of the master cylinder off before I noticed the little access hatch in the firewall. Doh! Both the master and slave cylinder walls look great. No pitting or scratches or anything so I think I will go for the rebuild kit. I will also be replacing all the hoses. I was thinking about going to DOT 5 fluid but since I share the same reservoir with the brakes I guess I need to do brakes first. is that crazy? Should I just get the lcutch back together and see if things work first? Any good leads on overhauling the breaks? Maybe I will start a new thread on this one. Thanks for all the help.

08-03-2011, 03:23 PM
For where you are with the car right now I would just go with something like Castrol GT LMA fluid and hold off on the silicone. I'm not yet in the silicone fluid camp, I just flush the fluids every year or two and so far, so good. If I had a costly paint job to protect after a restoration, however, I'd do the silicone.

08-04-2011, 03:11 AM
I don't have an expensive paint job to protect, but I still love DOT 5 brake fluid. Just not having to replace it every few years is worth the price of admission IMO, but it also makes the seals & cylinders last much longer. And you'll never see this with DOT 5:


But I suppose it does depend on how much you like working on the brakes :smile:

I also like the stainless lines, if you get good quality ones. I didn't much like the Stag ones from Rimmers, but the TR3 ones from TSi seemed very nice and have worked perfectly for many years now.

08-05-2011, 12:12 AM
Can you give me more detail on the lines you use? TSI? Did a goodle search but couldn't find them. Which ones does Moss sell? Thanks.

08-05-2011, 07:28 AM
TSI would be a good source, I use Goodridge on mine - not sure if that is what Moss sells here, but they do sell them in UK.

08-05-2011, 10:50 AM
TS Imported Automotive - British Car and Parts Sales Pandora, Ohio

www.tsimportedautomotive.com (https://www.tsimportedautomotive.com)

MOSS does supply the Goodridge lines.....

08-05-2011, 10:55 AM
What lines are you looking for?

08-05-2011, 11:03 AM
I remember a vehicle that had a similar problem to what you are having and it was a long time ago. The problem was that the clutch dick was put in backwards. I think it was a spitfire however. Anyway, the peddle would hit rock hard about an inch from the floor. I cannot remember if the car would go into gear or not, or if the springs rubbed on the flywheel.

08-06-2011, 06:56 AM
I also have Goodridge (had to look) stainless brake and clutch hoses which I probably got from Moss. Castrol is currently in the system. Silicone will be going in when something gets redone. From what I read it sounds like it can be a little more difficult to bleed, but it has a longer life and does not eat stuff. And I am not crazy about working on brakes even though that was the first thing I did when I got the car. But, the first day I started it I also drove it even though the stuck clutch plate made it a little more exciting than I had hoped for.