Clutch Replacement?



Hi! I own a 1982 Chevy K-10, half-ton pickup, four wheel drive, with a 350 engine (the original engine was a 305). It’s been in the family since it was new, owned first by my dad and then by me. I’ve been working to restore it and in the process it’s become my main vehicle. The initial work to get it running was done by some mechanics who did a less than satisfactory job and I am not surprised to find yet another thing they supposedly fixed going bad.

I am not the most savvy in mechanics, but I can rebuild a rear axle and at least understand the majority of the basics. As one of the female persuasion, I’ve had my share of mechanics who thought they could take advantage of my lack of knowledge and I’ve done my best to educate myself.

It seems to me like my clutch is starting to go out and may need to be replaced, but I hope it is not that extreme - I’ve recently moved to San Angelo, TX, and do not have access to tools or my shade-tree mechanic of a grandfather, so I’m going to have to rely on a garage for repairs.

When we start out initially during the day, the truck does fine, but if I drive it longer than 10 minutes (usually takes me about that long to get to work), the break and the clutch seem to offer more resistance and following that, every time we stop at a light/sign, I need to give it more gas than usual or it shakes until we get going good. I don’t think anything has broke in the mechanism; nothing rattles or makes any strange noise when I use the clutch. I’m hoping that the entire clutch does not need to be replaced and that it may just be the flywheel or perhaps just an adjustment.

Can anyone give me a better idea of what it might be, if I’m close or far off, what I can expect to pay for repairs (I am in San Angelo, TX), and what I can do to avoid getting taken advantage of.


Sounds like a chattering clutch; glazed disc or flywheel either due to use or oil seepage.
I would suggest an attitude change and lose the “all mechanics are out to get me” feeling. Maybe the problem is not understanding the mechanical end of things and since what you’re being told does not match what you assume it to be you feel ripped off.

What I don’t understand is that you can “rebuild a rear axle” (a pretty technical job if done correctly) but could not get it running and can’t diagnose a clutch fault?


possibly her “shade-tree mechanic of a grandfather”?


Your truck may have a mechanical clutch instead of hydraulic. If the clutch engages with the pedal near the floor, you have to adjust it so it engages near the top of the pedal travel. If it is adjusted properly, you may need a new clutch. The job is more expensive than the value of the truck if you are only using it as a car. If it is a farm truck or serious work truck, you can justify the expense. Just make sure it isn’t a u-joint causing the problem.


Well, my attitude probably would be better if I hadn’t begun rebuilding this truck in Las Cruces, NM, where there are more disreputable mechanics than there should be. Check out the Better Business Bureau for the city and you’ll see what I mean. After going to 4 different mechanics when the speedometer failed, all of which would only replace the cord even after I pointed out it had been done before, I got a sour taste. I don’t think all mechanics are out to get me, but I understand how it appears so by the wording in my post. I know several good ones where I came from; I’m just distrustful because A) I’m in a new town as I pointed out and B) this is my only vehicle and I don’t want to have to deal with the same hard time.

Just because I can rebuild a rear axle doesn’t mean I can rebuild an engine - which, to me, is way more technical, and is WHAT was required to get my pickup running. I openly admitted my basic knowledge. I did diagnose this problem as far as I could tell, I was just hoping for confirmation/additional details so I could make a better call on whichever mechanic I did choose.

I appreciate the help - that’s all I asked for - but at the same time, it’d be more appreciated if you didn’t jump on me for whatever reason.


Thank you for the advice. The truck is a serious work truck, other than being my only vehicle, so replacing the clutch will have to be an option, as costly as it may be. Thanks again!


If the clutch or flywheel is glazed or warped you’re going to have to either machine the flywheel or replace it. The flywheel pilot bushing or bearing should be replaced also.

Maybe the reason the mechanics have suggested the cable is at fault is for the simple reason they are not going to take anyone’s word for it that a certain procedure has been performed; nor should they. Until the vehicle is in their hands and on the rack they do not know for sure.
The reason for this is that mechanics routinely see vehicles in which owners claim this or that and it often turns out not to be the case. I can’t even remember how many blown engines I’ve seen in which the owners state the vehicles were never run out of oil, although all the evidence in the world says they did.

I did as you suggested and checked the Las Cruces BBB. After randomly picking out about 15 shops from the list 14 of them came back as “no complaints” at all and only 1 had a number of complaints. Since details are not provided I have no idea if or how many of those complaints are justified. Sounds like a pretty clean town to me.


On a mechanical clutch release system be it cable or rods and bellcranks, the clutch should engage about half way up from the floor. As the clutch disc wears the engagement point will come up. You want a minimum of 1 inch of pedal movement before the pedal resistance becomes stiff that allows the throwout bearing to unload and allows the pressure plate to gain full clamping force. That adjustment should allow full disengagement when the pedal is all the way to the floor.


May I suggest what others have said? Check the adjustment first. After adjustment, if necessary, should your chattering persist, yank the tranny. Replace the pilot shaft bushing. Use an adequate amount of grease into the pilot bearing and on the shaft. Buy a plastic clutch plate alignment tool or use a cut-off pilot shaft from a junk yard tanny. Check the flywheel for abnormalities such as cracks, “blueing” showing abnormal heat. Have the flywheel cleaned up by a automotive machine shop. Since you’ve had to go this far, if you have had to go this far, why not price out a new clutch system? That’d be clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing, and a new (typically machine cast brass)pilot shaft bushing. Just do this as a matter of reference. If you’re trying to save the clutch plate, a thorough cleaning using brake cleaner will getcha. I’m thinking that you just might have a minor maintenance challenge here. Pilot bushing, out of alignment clutch plate, or faulty U-joints. Also check the motor and transmission mounts. A weak or broken one of these can cause chattering, also. You can do the visual inspections of the motor and transmission mounts and check the U-joints before you do anything else. My thinking above was just out of sequence. A strategically-placed pry bar (tire iron?) should help you with inspecting the rubber mounts. You can usually rock&roll the U-joints to check for waer. While you’re at the U-joints, if they seem o.k., shoot a couple of shots of grease into the grease zerts.


No one has apparently considered the complete set of symptoms: “but if I drive it longer than 10 minutes (usually takes me about that long to get to work), the break and the clutch seem to offer more resistance and following that, every time we stop at a light/sign, I need to give it more gas than usual or it shakes until we get going good”

Bad vacuum booster, leading to misfire, therfore requiring more gas pedal to get moving? What are we missing here?


thre is a search wondow on this site to fine a good mechanic .