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TR4/4A Early TR4 Clutch



Since the barn find went back on the road last fall I have always had to have a smooth motion with the clutch when pulling away from a stop, otherwise very occasionally it would shudder a little bit, but nothing serious. Tonight I let someone else drive the car and their clutch technique was not good. High revs and clutch slip to get the car moving on a hill start. When I finally drove the car home I noticed that it now shudders when pulling away from a stop and also a little bit through the second gear change as well. The original clutch condition is unknown as I didn't have to pull the gearbox when I was putting the car back on the road.

What causes the shudder?

Are there any instances where it will settle down again or am I going to have to pull the gearbox for a look see, in which case I might just as well change the clutch?

What damage can occur by trying to drive through this for the rest of the summer and fall?


A shutter can be caused by long storage when a lot of corrosion builds up on the flywheel. Was the clutch disc frozen to the flywheel when you found it?
Are you feeling a shutter or slippage? My father's TR6 had a shutter that would come and go. It would go after it was driven more frequently.


Jedi Trainee
Ian, You're just likely at the razor's edge of needing a new clutch. It could be that the previous owner liked to slip it a lot on starts and polished the flywheel and pressure plate surfaces too much. You might bring it back to life by being kind to it for awhile (no autocrossing!!!) and forestall the inevitable till this winter. Unless the driven plate center is showing problems, I usually just get my rebuilt locally. Be sure to get the flywheel resurfaced it looks suspect. Shudder is just the result of highly polished surfaces trying to grab and transmit energy unevenly and usually does so over a very small movement at the top of the clutch pedal throw.


Much to my surprise, after 28 years in the barn, it didn't appear to be stuck to the flywheel when I first ran it. I have been driving it quite a bit and have put about 1400 miles on it. It was fine before this other person drove it tonight and immediately afterwards the shuddering, not slipping, was much more noticeable.

Interesting point about the transmission mount. I had previously looked at it and thought that it was OK, perhaps it isn't.

I will be interested in hearing other experiences as well, although I would prefer not to be pulling the gearbox during driving season.


Howdy Ian;

I would suspect you`ve done the obvious; Check fluid in the Master? Check for leaks at the Slave Cyl?

Strangly enough; One day I found My Reservoir was virtually bone dry? Obviously, No Clutch: No leaks etc etc? Where it went; To this day I still don`t know? Filled the reservoir months ago & she`s just fine! This even baffled my Brit Mech:

Anyways; It does sound like your a Stones throw from a Clutch replacement; In My Opinion:

Hopefully not; So, Keep on Motoring till It goes! Worse case scenario is; You`ll loose your forward, reverse motion: I don`t believe there would any adverse affect on the Flywheel:

Regards, Russ /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/driving.gif


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
I'd keep driving it, until something gets obviously much worse. It already likely needs a clutch job, so the worst that could happen is you get stranded and need a tow.

Oil on the friction plate can sometimes cause judder, so it might just be that your friend managed to get some extra oil into the clutch. If that's the problem, it may get beter on it's own.

Checking motor mounts, and U-joints, is a good idea too.


I took it for a good run today and it immediately felt a little better and by the end it felt a lot better. Maybe it was just sulking about being abused by a stranger yesterday. I am sure that I have a clutch job ahead, but I want to defer it until I can afford to convert it to overdrive or a Herman 5-speed.

It did get its own back on me though, as it decided to just die on me at about 4500 RPM in top gear: really officer, that fast in this little old car, are you sure? First time up at that speed since it came out of the barn.

This was my first failure since I had one back in the 70's and it brought back "happy" memories of many roadside repairs. My first thoughts were that a computer has fried, or one of the many sensors has gone bad and it will take forever to troubleshoot. Then I remembered that I wasn't in my modern bland-mobile, popped the hood and immediately found that a coil low tension wire had broken away from its connector; quick fix, lovely jubbly (for you Only Fools and Horses fans - otherwise ignore).
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