Clutch gone after it was parked?

Good day all,

I recently inherited my Dad’s 1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6 and had it transported on a flatbed from Pennsylvania, where it was parked in a garage for the last 5 years, to my home in North Carolina. I went through the motor, new everything (except thermostat, duh!) and it runs nicely. When I got it running for the first time I put wheels on and took it out for a quick spin. The motor overheated and the rear brakes locked up but I made it home fine after it sat for about 2hrs in a parking lot. I have since changed the thermostat and started on the brakes. There was a bolt on the disk that was particularly difficult to get to so I turned on the car and put it in gear to rotate the axle. Much to my surprise, the wheels did not turn, it didn’t stall when I dropped the clutch out, the motor is no longer coupled to transaxle. Normally I would just go to the clutch but this vehicle is a little unique. The motor is front mount, but rear drive with a driveshaft running into a transaxle at the back of the car. The driveshaft has 3 rubber donuts that are intended to flex and I don’t know when, if ever, they have been looked at. So my question, do you think that one of these rubber donuts melted and busted when I went to move the wheels? Or did the clutch get burnt up and decide to show itself after it made it home? Or maybe I’m missing something. I think this would be a fun one for Tom and Ray to flesh out if they were able… Anyway, thanks for playing along.

Garrett in NC

Oh, I’ll probably finish rebuilding the brake calipers before I break into the drivetrain but will certainly update what I find as soon as any progress is made.

A car like an 84 Alpha Rameo will provide lot’s of topic conversations in the “what caused the problem” category. If we have lot’s of fun tossing around ideas on causes of mechanical problems, this car should drive us into hysterics.

Your thought that one of the rubber guibos may have failed is a good one. I would also suspect rust in the clutch on this vehicle, but that is more likely to cause the clutch to fail to disengage rather than fail to engage. Is the clutch cable actuated or hydraulic? How does it feel at the pedal?

Well, Ray is retired and Tom passed away, but we’ll try to help.

However this vehicle is probably going to require the advice of an Alfa Romeo specific forum. These vehicles were put together differently than most. You may even want to see if you can find on the internet a repair manual specific to this vehicle. It’d be worth every penny.

Just as an FYI, there are a number of vehicle that have used the engine in the front/transaxle in the rear to even out the weight distribution. I could be wrong, but I think 'Vettes still do.

OP, you are either in for a treat of learning a lot about wrenching on cars, or a nightmare of being forced to learn a bunch of vehicle-specific things that won’t apply to anything else, at least not from this planet. All depends on your attitude. :wink:

Your theory about the drive shaft flex discs, I don’t think is probably correct. I did some checking on the design and looked at pictures of your driveshaft. The flex discs are there to dampen vibrations. The bolts pass through the flex discs, but do not rely on them to be a structural component – the two ends of driveshaft are still bolted to each other, and even if the flex disc falls off (which it shouldn’t because the bolts pass through metal sleeves) the driveshaft will still be connected and will spin – but you’ll have one hell of a vibration should a flex disc fail, which won’t be much fun.

It’s also somewhat unlikely that a clutch would go from perfectly grabby to absolutely nothing instantly unless you blew it, but usually to blow it you have to do something dumb like driving 70 and slamming on the brakes to lock the wheels without pressing the clutch pedal.

I would probably start by checking to be sure the clutch pedal is still actually linked to the clutch.

I got a friend to look at it today now that both axles are unhooked and the outputs are spinning. So what may have happened is that I had taken the passenger side axle loose first and stuck my head out the door as I put the vehicle in gear to look at how much the driver rear tire turned and didn’t see anything, thus the post. But I obviously couldn’t see the passenger side output under the car which may have been turning. So with the drivers brake locked up the differential may have been slipping to allow the passenger side to turn and the drivers to do nothing. I assumed that both were doing nothing and called in the big guns (you fine people). Make sense? Crucial detail left out, I know. Please, those who know, verify I’m not making this up. I’ll keep you updated as more misadventures unfold.

Uh boyee…a fine example of Misdirection. You interested in Magic Tricks? LOL


Great diagnosis OP! I think you are spot on. Usually the kind of problems diy’ers run up against, broken studs, rust, stuck spark plugs are the norm. But sometimes, when things are looking murky at best, we get lucky. Good for you.