Europa stuck clutch - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Europa stuck clutch

The Europa's clutch disc is stuck to the flywheel (again.) This is a recurring problem in Elan's and Twin Cam Europa's. I start the car and work the clutch regularly when it's in storage but it has stuck again since the last time I used it (one month ago.) It usually pops free by push starting the car and working the clutch a few times while driving, but I just drove it for 2 miles with no luck. I hate to pull the drivetrain and pry it apart although I did have to do this once in the past after prolonged storage. Anyone have any other thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 02:27 PM
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I remember several further suggestions on LotusElan.net. Can't remember what they were but search over there.

1969 Elan Plus 2
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 02:52 PM
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I'm going to go move ours around tomorrow!

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 09:41 AM
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Warming the engine up thoroughly and letting it cool again, over a few days may cause it to release.

Years ago we used to free them with a few (un)healthy squirts of fire extinguisher fluid, back in the days when that was carbon tetrachloride. It penetrated and dissolved the bond without compromising the ability of the clutch to grip. It may have ruined a liver or two in the process, though! Today's equivalent might be brake cleaner or something similar.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 10:23 AM
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I used to have a 73 TC that did this all the time. The first suggestions were to drive the car with clutch depressed (foot full in on the clutch). 2nd gear, accelerate, decelerate, over and over. This would usually work, but not always.

When this did not work I took a table knife out of the kitchen drawer (and it became a tool in my toolbox) and with the engine off, clutch depressed (block the peddle to the floor or have a helper hold it) I remember being able to slide the knife into the timing hole on the bell housing and pry between the flywheel and the clutch disc. Worked every time. There must have also been a hole on the pressure plate to get to the disc. Much easier than dis-assembly.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 10:31 AM
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Are you storing it in doors?

When the New Orleans Lotus distributor was selling new Europas, it was common for the clutch to stick. The cars could sit out in the hot, humid New Orleans weather for a year or more. Usually it broke loose starting the car and driving it around the block with the clutch pedal pressed while occasionally goosing the throttle. Sometimes it would take two times around. I had always assumed that it was the length of time the clutch spent in the weather, but I wonder if it isn't the particular lining on the clutch is prone to sticking (I would assume that the material of the lining has changed since the mid '70s though) or possibly rust forming on the friction face may be involved. I never needed to inspect either if they got stuck.

On the other hand, my engine was built in 1980 but wasn't installed and fired up till 1999 and the clutch didn't stick (obviously, the engine was stored indoors).

All that is the long way of saying that I think storing the car indoors and regularly driving it should keep the clutch from sticking. I wouldn't think that prying the clutch disk off the flywheel would be necessary if you are a little persistent and have a good starter.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2014, 05:36 AM Thread Starter
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Sucess!!

I finally got a morning to try and release the stuck clutch. I decided to try the heat cycling suggestion and did it a couple of times, then jacked up one side and put it in gear. Revved the engine up and braked and it popped loose immediately. Thanks all for the suggestions as I had previously driven it for 2 miles without it breaking free. I'm wondering if there isn't a different clutch disc available that doesn't do this. Moderator: you might consider making this a sticky under other models as all TwinCams seem to have this recurring problem and you might save someone pulling an engine needlessly...Dave
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2014, 05:44 AM Thread Starter
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Clutch release tricks

I found the suggestions on the Elan website and just realized they are not on this thread. The number one suggestion was to heat cycle the engine multiple times, that is to bring it to full operating temperature then let it cool completely. One poster suggested doing this up to 10 times and that it worked 90+% of the time. It did seem to work for me. 2nd suggestion was to put jackstands under the rear of the car and rev the engine then brake multiple times. This, in combination with #! worked for me. Third was to push start the car and drive it while working the clutch. This has always worked for me in the past but is dangerous, hard on the car, and didn't work this time. i keep my car indoors in heated dehumidified storage,,,it still freezes up.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 11:25 AM
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What clutch disk do you have? Is it just a normal organic friction material? I have never heard of this happening on a regular basis for any other car. I have a Europa project. It has common components, organic clutch, steel flywheel, standard pressure plate. I got the parts from Dave Bean or the like, recently. I hope I don't have this problem in the future. That sounds annoying!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05 Elise Freak View Post
What clutch disk do you have? Is it just a normal organic friction material? I have never heard of this happening on a regular basis for any other car. I have a Europa project. It has common components, organic clutch, steel flywheel, standard pressure plate. I got the parts from Dave Bean or the like, recently. I hope I don't have this problem in the future. That sounds annoying!
It's not an uncommon issue with these cars. I just made sure I drove my car a mile or two every week or so last winter.

Owned, loved, enjoyed, and now gone:
1969 Europa S2 Blue
1970 Europa S2 White
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1984 Turbo Esprit Calypso Red
2005 Elise Starlight Black
2005 Elise Saffron Yellow
2005 Elise Ardent Red
2006 Exige Graphite Grey
2007 Exige Canyon Red

Other:
1970 MGB GT
1970 Datsun 510
1984 Honda CRX Si
1984 Pontiac Fiero
2004 Chrysler Crossfire
2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
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