CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

1977 Datson 280Z Trans/Clutch

I own a 1977 280Z that I have been driving off and on for over 4 years. It was winter time so i decided not to drive it until the summer. Well here comes spring and my clutch will not engage. I will put my foot down on the clutch and try to pop it into gear but it just grinds. One person told me its the clutch cable. I have no clue. Any ideas?































Sorry, but how can you own a nice classic like that, but not know much about it? The car is very nice, but, at it’s age, will require a lot of attention. Good mechanical skills are a must. Otherwise, the mechanic bills and towing bills will eat a hole in your wallet. You may want to find some technical schools in your area, and find some local car clubs.

If the clutch is cable-actuated, you should be able to see the end of it where the cable attaches to the clutch fork on the bellhousing of the transmission where it connects to the engine, on the backside of the engine. You may have to crawl underneath to see it. Replacing it, if it is broken, will require pulling a new cable through the conduit from the pedal to the clutch fork connection.

Your clutch is hydraulic. No cable involved. If the clutch feels normal when you depress it, and the car has been sitting unattended for a few months, the clutch disk may have become stuck to the flywheel. One way of fixing this is to put the car in gear (engine off), hold the clutch pedal down, and start the car with the brakes on. Be certain nothing is in front of you!

If the clutch pedal feels soft, you probably have either a master or slave cylinder that is defective. If one is bad, I would replace both.

If neither technique works, no alternative but dropping the transmission. I would replace disk, throwout bearing, and pressure plate.

These are great cars if you can get it sorted out. I had a '76 which I got new and drove it over 200,000 miles with only routine maintenance. I would still have it but it became infected with the rust worm after a few years in New England.

Hi,

I have a 1983 280zx and had the same problem. I let is sit over winter, and when I went to run it in the spring, I depressed the clutch pedal, and it would just sit on the floor. So I popped it into neutral with engine off, turned on the car and let it run for about 15-20 minutes, went and had a cup of coffee, came back and the clutch was working just fine.