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broken clutch damper springs

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  • Clutch/Torque Converter: broken clutch damper springs

    Several damper springs on my 55 Champ's clutch disc have come out. It appears that the clutch was stuck and instead of breaking free it threw a couple of the springs. Why would this happen? The clutch had about 600 miles on it. The installation included a new clutch, pressure plate, resurfaced flywheel, new pilot bearing, and a new throw-out bearing. The clutch disc was installed properly. The car has sit for several months in a heated garage. Could the pilot bearing be out too far? All help is appreciated.

  • #2
    Do you have pictures?
    Did the springs break, or did they just come out of the pockets?

    My first hunches are the clutch disk parts were incorrect if the springs could escape without breaking, and properly heat treated springs would not break.


    • #3
      I do not think the pilot bearing is too far out, if it were the trans would not bolt up. I would guess it is a faulty disc.

      1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
      1961 Hawk 4-speed
      1967 Avanti
      1961 Lark 2 door
      1988 Avanti Convertible

      Member of SDC since 1973


      • #4
        springs popped out


        • #5
          disk installed backward?? I've heard of it...never seen it.
          As you walk down the fairway of life you must
          smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.

          Ben Hogan


          • #6
            Installed correctly. Disc has a stamp on flywheel side.


            • #7
              What has your rebuilder got to say?

              I believe in some designs some of the springs are compressed when torque is applied in the "drive" direction, and some are compressed when torque is reversed. If the breaking free process included giant torque in one direction I suppose some of the springs >might< >possibly< become unloaded so would need to be restrained fore and aft by some features in the hub components.
              Some disk designs only have lips on the outer pocket edges to cradle the spring from centrifugal force.

              others have inner support shelves/lips too

              or even cages to completely retain the springs.

              This clutch builder's first suspicion when springs is pop out aggressive clutch use either starting or down shifting


              • #8
                My clutch looks like the one in the classic truck link only worse. I'll post a picture soon. I have replaced the entire clutch with a Borg & Beck disc and pressure plate, new throwout bearing and clutch release bearing. The flywheel looked great, no cracks or burn marks. While doing the job I also replaced all of the clutch linkage and bearings. It feels much better than before. I have about an inch of free travel on the pedal. i will test drive next week.


                • #9
                  I failed to mention that I also replaced the bell housing with the one that originally came with the engine. I also researched the broken clutch tension springs and found on another website that transmission misalignment was the main cause for this problem. When the car was built, a 55 Champ motor was installed in the 51 Champ and the 51 bell housing was used. This apparently was the problem. I have made many engine swaps in the past and never had an alignment problem. The shop manual shows how to check this but I did not have the tools necessary to check it. It pays to keep the engine and the original bell housing together. This was an expensive and time consuming lesson.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the follow up, that's good info!!! I'll be putting this in my "Lessons Learned" database.
                    1961 Flamingo Studebaker Hawk