Using a heavy clutch - for light-weights


#1

Grace from Los Angles might get hold of one of those orthopedic boots used temporarily to protect and stabilize the ankle or foot during walking. It has a rigid sole and no ankle flex that would transfer the force off the foot, ankle and calf up to the larger muscles of the upper leg. There are probably many used ones around. This item could be kept in the car and slipped on just for driving. An other difference would be that the control sense of clutch pressure is lost from the foot and calf, and is instead done by the upper leg.


#2

Her problem was foot pain,
There are several solutions to this. Better than an orthopedic boot would be cycling shoes. These are designed to clip onto a bike pedal, however she will not need to use that system.
The sole of the shoe is very stiff and will transfer the pressure to her entire foot. Remember she is an athlete and her problem was with her foot not with her ankle. Her problem could be exasperated by very stylish thin soled shoes.

She could also check with those who equip cars for handicapped people. They may be able to adapt some sort of servo assisted device that could be activated by a button on the shifter. This could be adjustable for the speed of the shift.

Can the pivot point of the clutch pedal be move up thereby creating a bigger lever effect? I don’t know if this is a hydraulic or cable clutch.

Most expensive “fix” might be a Centerforce Clutch. It uses a patented system of weights to increase clamping force. She should check but this may have less pressure in everyday shifting, but the pressure increases as the rpms go up.

One other item to check if she is going to go for clutch replacement. Is this engine mated to a different flywheel/clutch/pressure plate in another vehicle? For example if a larger diameter clutch will fit from a truck that has a clutch that is not as heavy you can make up for less clamping force with the greater surface area.


#3

I’ve driven a standard transmission Mustang, V6 for the past 7 years. Last week I had to drive home from work with my cycling shoes on. It was very difficult to feel the friction point in the clutch. The gas was also hard to feel. I suppose after some time I might get use to it, but initially it felt very cumbersome. I had to think a lot (consciously) about where the pedals actually were in the stroke.


#4

My wife broke her left foot and had to drive a manual transmission car. She couldn’t get enough leverage using one crutch, so she used both crutches on the clutch. The orthopedic surgeons call this technique “double crutching”.


#5

I’ve been driving a stick for 35 years and do not have a problem with cycling shoes when I drive up to the park. Maybe there are different cycling shoes? Mine look like an athletic shoe but have no flex at the ball of the foot. My clutch starts engaging 1" from the floor.

How about just removing the rubber from the clutch pedal, go to the junk yard and get a large gas pedal with a no slip surface. Drill holes in the clutch pedal and the junk yard gas pedal and bolt them together. She will now have a larger surface area under her foot. This will also increase the leverage. Make sure there is no way for the pedal to catch the floor mats.


#6

Funny… 3 points!. My friend bought his wife a manual crossfire convertible for her birthday and ended up having to sell it after 3 years of ownership. She had ankle problems 6 months after they bought the car and gave up waiting for her ankle to get better 2.5 years later. Time for an automatic?


#7

Maybe a ‘pedal extender’ for the clutch would get it into a position where Grace would have better leverage…


#8

I just Googled “clutch adapters for disabled drivers”. There are a number of sites with technology available.

As for the cycling shoe idea, I strongly recommend against diving with roadie shoes on. If Grace were to consider that option she should get mountainbiking shoes. They have a full boot-like hard rubber sole with traction tread for carrying mountainbikes when necessary…“portaging” is part of many great rides. They provide the traction of a work boot with the rigidity of a cycling shoe.


#9

Road bike shoes have a very hard sole. I would be concerned about the potential for slipping off the clutch, especially if they are wet, and if you have the cleats still on. Mtn. bike shoes are closer to sneakers, so would offer less in terms of leverage.


#10

Towards the end of the segment, one of the boyz mentioned Plantar fasciitis, more or less as a throw-away line. This is something not uncommon among overweight people and also athletes. The caller should consider this as a very real possibility since she said the pain was in the bottom of her foot. I had it once quite some time ago and can’t remember the remedy but it was definitely uncomfortable.

More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantar_fasciitis


#11

The greatest stress on the leg seems to occur while holding the clutch while waiting at red lights, etc. If the transmission is shifted to neutral and the pedal released a great deal of the problem might be avoided. And most clutches are diaphragm type with significantly lighter spring action than the finger type. What kind of car was it?


#12

I would look into a twin disc clutch with a softer diaphragm spring. Never wore orthopedic boots, but I’ve driven in boots before. After getting in my car from the rain, the last thing I want to do is spending time undoing my shoe lace and fogging up the window. For some reason, I feel I have greater control in boots than my sandals.