Sticking clutch

Q1. I have had problems with the clutch sticking to the flywheel after the car has sat for a while. Normally I have been able to unstick it by starting the car in second gear and hitting the gas a few times. This morning I circled the block a dozen times with no luck, finally stopping when the battery was about out of juice (from starting so many times). Is there going to be an easy fix for this or do I need to do surgery and pull the tranny off?

A 1

A. I have had the same problem with my Esprit, but never with the Europa. Of course the easiest answer is DRIVE IT MORE OFTEN. Naturally, this is easier said than done....or mine wouldn't have stuck either! The solution which was provided at the time by another Club member (was it you, Foster?), was to jack up the car, start it in 4th gear, then depress the clutch pedal and apply the brakes to stop the wheels. This is done in-situ to make it easier on all the other components; as opposed to, say, resting the nose against the front wall of the garage or a convenient tree...

Q2. I tried to unstick the clutch, again, this time riding the brake with the clutch in while on the gas. Two feet doing three things. Anyway, the only thing I was able to accomplish was leaving long black streaks on the road from locking up the front wheels. In other words the engine does not seem strong enough to break the clutch free. What next?

Q3. Today (the third trial) a put the back of the Europa on jack stands and started it in fourth gear. While depressing the clutch (it works fine up to the disc) I pressed the brake and gas at the same time with my right foot. Nothing but the smell of burning brakes. I am stumped. I have done everyting people have told me to do and nothing has worked. Is there anything else to do but pull the tranny?

A 2

What I did once I tried everything you have done, and it didn't work is: Adjust the clutch cable full tight, such that it is FULLY engaging the clutch. Through the timing access hole in the bell housing take a flat bladed screw driver and wedge it between the fly wheel and the clutch disk. The pressure plate will have to be in a position to get in one of the gaps also. Rotate the engine and do it again. There are 3 or 4 openings in the pressure plate to do this. Then, with the screw driver removed, try the earlier procedures of clutch and brake. If this doesn't work, it's time to separate the transaxle from the engine. As it is you should not have to remove the trans. but only loosen it enough to create a angle between the trans. and the engine. Since the clutch plate is attached to the trans. spline, the leverage of the trans. "flexing" in relationship to the engine should cause the plate to separate.

A 3

Have watched this thread with interest as I have had to drop the transmission in the seven twice in a month due to this very same problem. we had thought that it was caused by the humidity here in Auckland as there is slight evidence of rust on the flywheel when the clutch plate comes off. Another occasion I was lucky to crack the seizure by driving it downhill fast and with the clutch pedal down and lifting off the gas. The clutch plate needs a tap behind it even when it is stripped out to break the joint but no damage will occur. I have been told that there is a clutch plate material that will not stick but I need more advise on this. Can anyone help?

A 4

Remedy so that it does not happen again is to run the engine every week in the garage with the clutch down and in gear slipping it very slightly to clean the rust off the flywheel.Good luck with the strip out if thats what you end up doing

A 5

Once upon a time I too had a stuck clutch after a winters hibernation. The only thing that I discovered was that in trying to get it unstuck I caused more damage than I intended to do.

A 6

My clutch cable goes through the right engine mount and is anchored by a ferule housed against that engine mount. I managed to punch the ferule though the mount and have no clutch action at all. (how long this was weakening, I have no idea... the mount is fairly substantive)

A 7

Repaired the motor mount, dropped the tranny, the clutch unstuck and away we went. As a matter of fact the car shifted much better after that repair (or so it seems).

A 8

Remove tranny. It seems like that's where you're headed. Last time I pulled the transmission in my Europa, it took about 45 minutes. Jack the rear nice and high, slacken the engine mounts on the frame side, remove the transmission mountings, tilt the engine up in front (did I remove hoses to get travel??) with a scissors jack, remove bell housing bolts and remove transmission. It's pretty light (60lbs or so?).

A 9

... I finally got a chance to get back to my Europa with the stuck clutch. I got a can of brake (clutch) cleaner figuring it could not harm anything by spraying it onto the clutch through the small timing hole on the top of the bell housing. With the clutch fully depressed I slid a knife against the fly-wheel and pushed down gently. The clutch popped right off. Thank you all that have given me advice, especialy those that told me to use a knife (I would have never thought of it). Happy Lotusing to all.

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