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I need a little clutch advice.

1496 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  rosie9008
So I bought my 1980 280zx late Monday night. The guy I bought it from was very up front about the fact that it would need a new clutch in the near future. No sweat, I figured I'd be able to get the money together to change it in a few weeks. As it turns out I don't have a few weeks. :eek:

My roommate had to drive it the 90 miles home (before Monday night I had driven a manual once). He said it was a little sluggish (I honestly wasn't expecting to break land speed records or anything) and that the clutch was high but it was shifting smoothly and everything seemed to be in good working order. Then he put me behind the wheel and gave me a crash course on how to drive a stick and all was well.

I got up Tuesday morning and drove it around town for about five hours. After burning the clutch up all day I decided I'd let it sit for about an hour. After that I drove to Canton on back roads (about an hour and a half drive). I noticed that it was getting progressively slower the longer I drove. I mean once I got into fourth gear it would go alright, but taking off from a dead stop was awful. Pretty much zero acceleration. I thought it was running hot or something so I pulled into a shopping center and let it cool down for about an hour and a half and waited for my dad to come check it out. My dad couldn't find anything wrong with it and he followed me to his store about three miles up the road. It ran fine and accelerated as well as it did Tuesday morning when I first cranked it up. It sat for about five hours and when I got in it to go home it wouldn't move. It will crank just fine and rev just fine and go into gear just fine, it just won't move.

I downloaded the FSM as the newbie post instructed me to do and the roomie and I have diagnosed it as a dead clutch (RIP clutch). :'(

So, to my question!

Am I better off buying a brand new clutch or should I get someone to rebuild the one that's in the car now?

Sorry for the book, I just wanted to give as much background info as possible. This is the first car I've actually cared about and I want to make sure I'm doing the best I can by it.

Thank you for any advice and/or opinions! They're greatly appreciated. ;D
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Thanks in advance for getting the FSM.

Do the usual tune up stuff ie; plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel filter, ect....

Word of advise before you change out the oil/spark plugs run some seafoam through the car to break up old carbon deposits.

As far as the clutch goes it would be easier to just get a new clutch kit.
Thanks so much. I planned on getting a tune up next week. Unfortunately, with no clutch I have no way of getting it to my mechanic. He's about two and a half hours away from where my car is sitting right now. I have to fix the problem before I can do any maintenance. :( Any advice on where to get a good clutch kit for the least amount of money?
So you put it in gear...let out on the clutch ...and you go nowhere? Were you driving around town with your foot resting on the clutch? Good way to burn it up. IMO, you might as well get your hands dirty now. You have to pull the console (3 screws in the console and 2 screws under the "280ZX" placard near the radio. Then you pull the shifter.

Underneath the car, take out the 3 10mm bolts from the rear driveshaft, drop it and the shaft will slide out of the transmission...expect some fluid to leak out. About 7 bolts hold in the transmission. You'd have to disconnect the clutch line too. Remove the pressure plate to get the clutch. Inspect the flywheel in case it needs turned. You'll need a torque wrench to put it all back together (~$25 at Harbor freight)

You can get a nice set at O'reilly for $60ish or so last I checked. A mechanic will hit you up with close to 5 bills before it is all said and done.
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Awesome. This has been really, really helpful. I appreciate it so much. Hopefully I can get it back on the road by Monday. :D

And yes, I was pretty much driving around with the clutch in because no one taught me the wonders of downshifting and they failed to mention that I don't have to use the clutch everytime I hit the brake. *Oops*
Canton? where? If your in NC, Canton I'm within 20 min of you in Candler. I can work on these cars in my sleep. Actually I have been lately since we have a newborn, I'm pretty much a walking zombie. Let me know and I can help you out.

The entire process is easy, I also know a great clutch guy that will build you a much better clutch than those $100 chain store kits. He provides you with the whole kit as well.
It's actually Canton, Ga but I appreciate you looking out. I bought a clutch last night. It'll be here in a few days and my roommates are going to change it for me next weekend. I hope I got a decent clutch... Define $100 chain store kit. I didn't have anyone to bounce ideas off of and I got in a hurry and bought one of the first ones I came across... :-\ But one of my roomies says that everything's in great condition. I need to replace a few hoses and my serpentine belt needs to be changed soonish, but aside from that he was really impressed. Not bad for 1,200 bucks. :D
Zcars do not have serpentine belt. Don't have your roomates do it for you, have them supervise you doing it. Or else you will never learn.
First clutch Ive done was on a ZX. It was very easy. Lots of things worth replacing while you're in there... Fork boot, slave cylinder, throwout bearing, tranny fluid etc. Very rewarding project. You wont believe the difference!
He called it a serpentine belt but he said that was the wrong name for it. Anyway. I wanted to do it myself but I have to work. I just don't have time to do it myself. :(
101 reasons why you cannot do something...the formula for a successful career.
Today's trivia...Serpentine belts are all what is properly called a "Micro-V" belt. "Micro-V" belts are frequently used in non-serpentine configurations but people see the multiple grooves and errantty still refer to the belt as serpentine out of ignorance.
A successful career is the best way to pay to fix a car you just bought. :D

And thanks for the trivia Nick. Now I know.
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