View Full Version : Rivergate Clutch Adjustment

08-31-2011, 07:40 AM
Hello Everyone!

It's been a very long time since I've posted. I've got the Rivergate conversion along with their clutch slave cylinder installed. I'm having a lot of grinding into 2nd & 3rd gears, and what I would consider clutch shudder. I can sit with the clutch pedal pressed fully in sitting still and in 1st gear at idle I get what feels like slight bucking, like power is still being delivered to the transmission.

The clutch pedal has a good bit of travel and is solid feeling, not mushy. Plenty of fluid in the hydraulic system, and no leaks.

Is this something I can adjust out with the slave cylinder push rod, or am I facing pulling the engine/transmission for a more serious look/repair?

08-31-2011, 12:54 PM
You may be able to adjust it away and maybe not! The Datsun uses a hairpin type spring to retract the throw-out bearing and the throw out bearing is not the constant contact bearing that BMC used. Therefore you need a little clearance when you adjust the slave push rod. I would think Rivergate has instuctions on this but guess 1/8 to 1/4 inch movement in the throw out lever before the contact of the throw out bearing and clutch pressure plate


08-31-2011, 01:07 PM

I've installed a lot of 5 speed kits but never using the Rivergate kit. I don't know how old you installation is, but there was a time when clutch issues were not uncommon. In recent years there have been changes and they now offer a billet slave cylinder.

Without knowing what specific components you have, I can only offer some general info. What you describe indicates you don't have complete disengagement. There is a section in the Rivergate instructions that require measuring the clutch finger distance from the rear plate. If the distance is too short (which can sometimes occur), your clutch fork may not have enough range to give complete release. If you have an adjustable slave push rod, you might try more length at the fork/less freeplay at the pedal. Check also that you are not losing travel through worn clevis pins and worn pivot points.

The kit I install uses a Datsun clutch setup. In the past, I've known a lot of people covert their Rivergates to this design to overcome clutch issues. If all else fails, this might be an option for you.


Link to Rivergate clutch installation pages.


08-31-2011, 02:41 PM
Rivergate is the one of the best kits on the market, especially the latest version with the newly design rear main seal. You appear to have an out of adjustment clutch. Your description that the “clutch has a slight bucking and a feeling that power is being delivered to the transmission” This is an indication that the release bearing is not pushing the diaphragm springs on the pressure plate far enough to allow disengagement of the friction disc, as well not allowing the transmission main shaft to slow down which is also why you’re experiencing gear grinding. You also should have a tight feel with the gear shifter because the main shaft is spinning too fast for smooth disengagement of the gears. I would say that you’re very close on your adjustment; however be careful not to over adjust the release bearing and cause the diaphragm to invert and collapse. The release bearing just needs to be far enough from the diaphragm springs to not touch, about 1/16 to 1/8 inch. If you have too much space/gap you’ll have to much free pedal travel before you have contact with the release bearing, which will give you a sloppy pedal.

Good Luck.

08-31-2011, 06:02 PM
I am thinking that the clutch is leaking down. I would replace the slave and do some work with the master before I even thought about pulling the engine. You push down on the pedal and have a good throw or it would grind trying to get it in gear but you are leaking by somewhere and the clutch starts to engage.
I don't know what kind of slave the rivergate kit uses but I used a circa 1978 Datsun truck slave for mine and it bolted right up and had the right angle to not hit anything like the original Datsun slave that came on 210.

09-06-2011, 08:55 AM
Thanks for the ideas guys. The Rivergate kit was purchased and installed in Fall 2009. It uses the Rivergate slave cylinder that is what I assume blue anodized aluminum, and adjustable push rod. Third gear has always been an issue with this transmission on either upshift or downshift, but first through third have been more challenging of late.

I adjusted the clutch pushrod over the weekend, and it did help first and second. No matter if I upshift or downshift 3rd gear gives me fits, although upshifting I can let the RPMs drop a bit and no grinding. I think if I can hold off until after fall I'll pull the transmission and have it rebuilt.

Speaking of rebuilding these Datsun transmissions...I know there are kits for synchro and some bearings, but are other parts like gears available if need be?

09-06-2011, 01:18 PM
I have a stock of most of the bits and pieces for the Datsun Transmissions-
Tell me what you need and I can probably help you.