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· Registered
1990 5.0 5 speed custom
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264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey folks! Cfoster1 back again coming in with a simple question: why did my clutch die?

I think like 4 years ago I put a new clutch in this 1990 5.0 m5od bronco. The old clutch was fine but the slave cylinder was leaking and didn't work so I tossed in a new clutch while I was in there. Ask me what I did to the flywheel, I didn't do anything. No resurface or nothin. Maybe 4 years prior to that, I had my shadetree mechanic put a new clutch and throw out bearing in it. I didn't really know how to wrench very well so I don't know if he put in a whole new slave cylinder or just did the throw out bearing. And I definitely don't know if he touched the flywheel. but yeah, that clutch outlived the slave cylinder for sure.

So yeah, 4 year old clutch.

Here's the things I did that I think could be the culprits...
1. Long story, but I NEEDED to move a 24 foot camper trailer about 60 miles. I'd say 30 miles on asphalt, 30 miles on dirt back roads. I only did the back roads because driving that thing in the highway wasn't safe at all.

2. I got "stuck" in the snow 2 times this winter (I live in a very rural area so snow plowing isn't excellent). A lot of power being sent through the clutch , lots of RPM s and back and forth got me out. Both times I smelled something weird, which I now recognize as the smell of burnt clutch.

3. So my neighbor asked me if I could come pull him out of his driveway because he dug himself into some ruts. I tried yanking him out and no dice. But his driveway wasn't plowed so it was a lot of snow out there. So I guess I got stuck in the snow 3 times this year because I had a hell of a time getting out of there. Same thing, lots of revving and forward and backwards motion and that clutch smell again. I let it cool off for like 45 minutes before I finished driving out of his super snowy driveway

Now transitioning away from its abuse, lemme tell ya what happened. When I fired up my truck after letting it cool off, the clutch pedal didn't really work. Just wouldn't disconnect the drivetrain completely. So I found I could kill the engine, and start it in first, and I could at least bash my way out of the snow to get home in first gear.

So I guess my question is, is driving in thick snow really that much wear on a clutch? Or could driving a trailer like that one time at low speed ( 40 mph max) do that much damage to the clutch? I know that transmission is rated for that weight, but it's not THAT much more weight than it's rated for, I think like 4000 pounds or something is the trailer weight. I figured I'd burn up the transmission, not the clutch.

But I only ever smelled clutch from getting stuck in the snow. The snow was deep, is it possible it was getting in there and messing up the clutch or something?



Bottom line, I'm replacing my clutch and flywheel and I'm really trying to figure out what to do to get it to last longer than 4 years. Plus I have to do this out in my snowy driveway after I get home from work so it really makes me want this to never happen again. It's a shame, if it weren't for that transmission cross member and skid plate, this would be a pretty easy job. Getting that clutch hose off the slave cylinder is kinda BS too lol

Oh yeah I forgot to mention . I haven't gotten the transmission off yet (multi-day after work project) but I saw shreds of clutch oozing out of the bottom of the bell housing and found a few more wheen I took that rubber cover thing off. Yeah, I'd say she's pretty well toasted. I broke it on Saturday, I'm writing this Monday night and it still reeks of clutch under the hood. Gross
 

· Registered
1984, 300 L6, smogless, manual 3speed with overdrive.
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2,851 Posts
If you got 4+ years out of a busted used AZZ clutch, what’s the issue ….. I’m failing to see what the issue is

….. just replace the OLDAZZCLUCH !
The components(just FYI) IM ON 6-7 years OLD! out of factory on my 300 L6 AND it is running off a 6 year old clutch and parts(Iz absafuckinglypetfect” !!!!!! So if it needs a clutch….., SUCK IT UP AND BUY ONE!!!! If not run what you get with, better engine parts!!! If I didn’t help SORRY….. I’f I did ……?SWEET! I’m typically not much help at anything but drinking so…. Cheers and good luck F’N help!!!
 

· Joisey don't smell funny
78 Bronco Custom, 460/ZF5, Sniper upgrade, 3G, dual batt
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1,684 Posts
1. My assumption from reading your post, and no insult intended here... you are hard on a clutch.
1a. To try and get unstuck from snow, or mud, in a manual for more than a minute or two is a sure-fire route to clutch heaven. That's not what clutches are made for. "Riding" or "feathering" a clutch means you are not allowing it to engage fully and bring the transmission up to engine speed, which causes prolonged friction which in turn creates excessive heat. A lot of heat on the clutch and you will be gifted with what you have now.
1b. The clutch you put in 4 years ago may or may not have been low grade parts, but I bet they would have lasted longer sans 1a.
1c. I have 5 years on a new clutch behind a 460. I live in an urban area and shift a lot. I downshift to assist in braking also. The clutch acts like the day I put it in.

All I can say is lesson learned hopefully. And yes, replace the works. Pilot bearing included.

Oh, and buy a winch.
 

· Premium Member
1986 Bronco Eddie Bauer 5.0 mostly stock
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2,641 Posts
1. My assumption from reading your post, and no insult intended here... you are hard on a clutch.

All I can say is lesson learned hopefully. And yes, replace the works. Pilot bearing included.

Oh, and buy a winch.
I concur with this....but at least he wasnt this guy:


I love how that mechanic don't say a word...watching his 1 hour job turn into a 10 hour job $$$ lol...also how him or none of his friends seem to recognize that it's roasted clutch.
 

· Registered
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241 Posts
If pushing in the clutch doesn’t disconnect and you see clutch pieces, the disc is probably shattered and pieces are jammed in it holding it tight.

Most frequent reason I’ve seen for clutch shatter is not attempting to rev match downshifts and just letting the clutch fly on downshifts.
 

· Registered
1986 Eddie Bauer 5.0EFI AOD Full length headers Y pipe into single 3" Magnaflow 3" factory exit
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1,835 Posts
Just like not resurfacing or replacing your rotors or drums will make for a shit brake job, similarly, not re-surfacing or replacing your flywheel will have the exact same effect on your clutch performance & longevity.

So that was self inflicted mistake #1, and I believe the mistakes made after the installation of the clutch were already covered above.

Reminds me of an old saying:
Do it right, or do it again.
 

· Driving Stuff Henry Built
*90xlt,351w,e4od,1356m*79,400,C6,205,19donors*73,400,np435,d20j twin
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12,111 Posts
Agree with the above, too much riding of the clutch. By the time you smell it, damage has been done.

What size are your tires? What is the axle gear ratio? Were you in 4low when this happened?
 

· Registered
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1,603 Posts
I have a 1996 with the same set up. I replaced my clutch and flywheel about two years ago with the LUK.

I'm a real ass while cruising around in her. I constantly drop the clutch and smoke the tires .... gets more attention than a horn. I have yanked multiple roots out with her ...... and just plain old drive it like a big truck with a stick.

Sometimes I feel like this guy .... and I seem to love the smell of burnt clutch. Secretly I'm trying to blow it up ... so I can install a ZF ... but that is on the down low.

With that being said.... she still has plenty of pedal.... and has taken all I can dish out. Just make sure you use new ARP bolts and torque everything to SPEC...... but so far the M5OD has impressed the hell out of me. 192,000 miles and still strong as hell.


The Smell of Napalm In the Morning - Apocalypse Now (4/8) Movie CLIP (1979) HD - YouTube
 

· Registered
1990 5.0 5 speed custom
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264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies folks. Every time I got stuck in the snow is because I was being an idiot, and I won't need to tow a big trailer again, so hopefully the new one I put in today doesn't tear itself to shreds too. I put on a new flywheel this time too! It's just about back together, just need to put the starter and shifter back on and a handful of other odds and ends and should be back on the road. What a major pain in the ass that was. I did get a fun momento out of the whole ordeal.

And to the guy who asked - 33" tires, not sure what gear ratio I have but I know it's too high, and yeah I was in 4 low trying to yank my neighbor out.

Now that I think about it, I think 4 years was a good life for that clutch lol

If doing a clutch job in the snow in 25 degrees has taught me anything, it's that I'd much rather my clutch fail in the summer time.

But I took it for a test drive today, the new clutch feels great. As crummy of a job as that was, I now have a strong sense of satisfaction from doing it in such crummy circumstances.
 

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