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Come with me on a journey through pain and suffering largely brought on by my own actions...

About two months ago I decided that I was going to replace the clutch on my beloved r53 daily. I decided that since it needed a few other bits of maintenance I would do those as well at the same time. Nothing too serious, just replace the leaking engine mount on the PS, the upper strut mounts, and the control arm bushings. Outside of the clutch, I wasn't planning on doing anything too serious.

I decided that I preferred to remove the engine from the car rather than take the transmission out by itself. To make a long story short, I was successful in removing the engine and trans in about two days, and about 150 hours of labor later I still do not have this car in drive-able condition again. Part of this is my own doing. I ended up replacing every bushing, ball joint, and tie rod on the car. I replaced the head studs and the head gasket after deciding that I hated how dirty the valves looked and wanted to clean and reseat them. I replaced the slave cylinder, the belt tensioner and idler, and nearly every gasket or seal on the engine. Among other things.

For some odd reason I didn't fail at doing this, and when I put the engine back in it ran perfectly. Of course it wasn't until I put the engine back in and put fluids in that I discovered that releasing the clutch slightly while the engine was running caused an awful grinding sound. So I drained all the fluids and removed the engine and trans for the second time. The backward facing clutch had created a few points of wear. The first was on the clutch itself. The metal part of the clutch that is not covered with clutch material had come into contact with the flywheel bolts. This sheared the bolts slightly and put a ring of wear on the metal. It was fairly minor so I just cleaned it up and put it back on the RIGHT way. I also discovered that the sleeve that the throwout bearing rides on was a bit damaged on the end. Again, it was very minor, maybe 1mm got sheared a bit, so I just filed it smooth and reinstalled everything.So now I have zero response from the clutch. Putting the trans in any gear and releasing the clutch does nothing. The linkages are hooked up, the axles are in, the transmission is bolted properly to the car. The flywheel bolts are torqued correctly. The pressure plate bolts are torqued correctly. The release fork is clipped behind the throwout bearing and rides smoothly. The clutch is completely and properly bled and actuates perfectly.

I am able to put the car in gear without depressing the clutch for gears 1-4. Putting it in any gear does not cause any power to be transmitted to the wheels. However, the clutch must be depressed for me to be able to put the transmission into 5th or 6th. If my logic is correct this means that there's something broken inside the transmission since I cannot put the transmission in 5th or 6th without depressing the clutch even though this causes no response from the wheels or the engine.

Here's a video:


Premium Member
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it drove before?

does it drive with third selected, as in it will try to pull away? Or 5th/6th etc?

that whistling noise from the engine isn't right

just to eliminate the lever and cables I'd pull the airbox, reconnect the ECU, manually select all gears and in each, return to the car, put your foot on the clutch, start it and test drive to be 100% it's box related. It is possible, and it could be something like the selector shaft or something but unless there was something awry prior to the clutch renewal I'd think it unlikely something on one of the shafts would break. If the car tries to move in 3rd, 5th, or 6th it isn't the input shaft, but the two others maybe, although 3rd, 4th, and reverse are on one shaft while 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th are on the other so that kind of makes that more unlikely.

the small pin on the box is the neutral gate and the large is gear selection, move the small one away from the cable so the shaft moves down, this is the gate for 5/6, in the centre is 3/4, move it nearer the cable so the shaft comes out for 1/2, then move it harder so you defeat the spring for rev.

generally if there is a clutch drag scenario, the higher gears are the one that select easier, 1,2,R, are the typical crunchers.
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