Rover V8 sectionSo the engine was running, the car was ready - now it was time for the moment of truth - would it go? Gingerly feathering the throttle, I started the Eclat, waited for it to warm up a bit, depressed the clutch and released it. I fully expected some kind of expensive 'snapping' noise, or a grate, or a shudder that would serve to depress me immensely, but none came. The yellow beast just cruised forward (well, O.K., lunged) and stalled as I was not used to the power of the V8 or the clutch pedal position.
Second time around we went up the road VERY gently, turned around and did it again. (What my neighbours thought I'll never know - I was going slower than a milk float and I'd left the bonnet off the car in case of emergencies so I probably looked very odd!) After 15 minutes of this I got a bit braver and put my foot down a bit harder...and the clutch slipped. Badly. Better late than never - the foul up fairy had come to play.
Frantic E-Mails and 'phone calls blasted off across various parts of the World as I desperately tried to discover why the clutch had failed. Dark premonitions of forgetting to tighten bolts, failed output shaft bearings and oil-smeared cluches filled my mind as I wondered whether I could cope with removing the engine again. I thought I had been so careful and, while I waited for respones to my enquiries, I crawled around under the car and tried loosening the clutch cable until it was nearly touching the ground (no impact); tightened it until it was like a guitar string (no impact); stuck screwdrivers inside the clutch housing and wiggled them (no impact); hit the clutch arm with hammers (no impact). The only suspicious thing was that the release bearing was not very free and it was possible that the clutch cover 'fingers' were being slightly depressed (not half as depressed as I was though!) It was just possible that something was out by about 1/4". I felt a bit sick.
Mike Carrick was my saviour. I told him all I knew (which took a few seconds!) and he diagnosed the fact that the release bearing was jammed against the gearbox. His fix was simple - I only needed 1/4" to free up the release bearing so put spacers of that thickness between the engine and the bellhousing - effectively moving them apart (if you want a full transcript, it's here). Hey presto - the bearing was free, the clutch worked and I went and drank a beer.
The car was finished - all I had to do now was run it in!
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