July 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm #57894
I have owned my 1965 Tiger for about 20 years, but have enjoyed it only as a toy, and have made no serious attempts to restore it, except for a few cosmetics. Last year I only had it out a few times, and since late last summer, haven’t used it at all. Because of this neglect, the car is now in need of some serious maintenance and TLC. This is totally my own fault, but I would now like to get it running again; however, I am not a mechanic, and most of the discussion links I’ve seen on this website are (at least in my opinion) useful only to owners who know a great deal more than I about cars in general, and specifically, the Tiger.
My major issue right now is the clutch – the master cylinder reservoir went dry over the winter, and now the clutch doesn’t function. I’ve added fresh DOT 4 fluid to it, and tried to bleed the system by pulling a vacuum on the bleeder valve (which I’ve loosened significantly), without success (gauge acts as if the system is blocked) – pumping the clutch pedal has no effect on this. I bought speed bleeders (brakes and clutch) advertised for the Tiger on eBay, but have not as yet installed them. I’m leery of removing and/or disassembling either the master or slave without getting some advice first – as a real novice, I’m worried this could be a bad choice on my part.
Bottom line, I would like to chat with someone about this issue, and other general questions too numerous to mention. I can do it via email/forum, but would also welcome the opportunity to have a telephone conversation or (better yet) a visit from a local Tiger owner – some things are just better handled by direct communication….
The Tiger is located very close to Valley Forge Park in Southeastern PA – I would really appreciate any suggestions on both the clutch issue, and the more general issue of how to establish direct contact with a knowledgeable Tiger person. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide – this has become a source of much frustration….
July 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm #64655Eric and Bonnie and Bonnie GibeautParticipant
Hi Jim. Don’t give up! Chances are the seals in the master cylinder or the slave cylinder are worn out. Did you take the bleeder screw out of the slave cylinder to see if fluid comes out when you pump the clutch pedal? It may be that the bleeder screw is plugged up or the passageway leading to it if no fluid came out of those. Was there brake fluid on your floorboard under the clutch pedal? If not it all leaked out the slave cylinder over time again pointing to a bad seal. Do you know Tiger Tom? He lives fairly close to you as does his mechanically gifted son in law. Hopefully they will chime in and contact you or another member living near you. Or send me a PM and I will send you my phone number.
July 14, 2012 at 1:37 am #64656
Hydraulics that sit idle are prone to such maladies. The DOT3 and 4 fluids become corrosive to the metals in the cylinders because they are hygroscopic (they absorb water out of the air). Your brake and clutch components are essential for safety and it sounds as if an overhaul may be in order at least to the clutch (The brakes probably won’t be far behind.)
The suggestion to look for where the fluid has leaked out of is a good starting point. If its on the floor of the car its leaking out of the master cylinder (where the pedal attaches), it will be absorbed into the carpet, but you will be able to feel it and smell it when it gets on your hands from handling the carpet. If its out on the ground, then its leaking out of the slave cylinder (where it attaches underneath to the transmission). The other leak possibility is the clutch line itself. It could have rusted / worn through. That should be an obvious leak.
Tiger Tom does still rebuild hydraulic components, although he is really busy with lots of projects. (We did a break booster not long ago.)
Its just a matter of wrenching and elbow grease to get the parts off your car to be cleaned up and restored to working order. Log into the Members Only section and review Section K of the Sunbeam Survivor Manual. https://www.teae.org/member-login/
Nothing to be afraid of, just don’t round off any fasteners, and use the right spanner for the application. No real damage can be done other than those pitfalls. Once they’re off the car (clutch line included), they can be dis-assembled and flushed out (by a pro if needed). Then the inspection can be done to see if its a failed seal, corroded cylinder bore, etc. Something is obviously blocked, or it would flow freely out of the bleeder screws.
This would be a good opportunity to switch to a DOT 5 silicone fluid in the clutch. (Throw your tomatoes now, I still love DOT 5.) It won’t strip paint, and won’t corrode especially if the car sits in storage a lot. You just can’t use the vacuum bleeder with DOT 5.
British cars have been making mechanics out of ordinary men for years 🙂
July 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm #64658
Thanks to both of my Eric repliers! I am onto something else right now, but will get back to the Tiger mid-week. I will start by removing the bleeder and the metal tube from the master to the slave, primarily because I can get to both fairly easily, and if either is the (only) problem, it should be easy to handle, even for me… I can’t tell for sure where the the fluid went – the garage floor has lots of old stains, and I couldn’t detect any fluid inside the car. Because the problem is likely to be in either the master or the slave, I looked at several online catalogs for Sunbeam parts, and it looks like several suppliers carry clutch masters and slaves, as well as rebuild/repair kits and lines – any suggestions/recommendations as to which suppliers are preferred would be appreciated. More later, stay tuned…
July 16, 2012 at 5:52 am #64659
If you decide to have a go at rebuilding your clutch master and slave cylinders, or brake master cylinder, I just wanted to pass along a thought or two.
First an apology if this is already covered in the Survivor Manual, section K. I took a quick look anyway and did not see it. Or perhaps it is already stuff you know.
The standard issue masters and slave cylinder bores do not have any sort of special wear resistant or separately serviceable liners. The bores are the same soft aluminum as the rest of the part. When you get one of these apart and the seals out, likely you will see that the bores have a shiny glaze to them. This is from the plunger seals polishing the soft aluminum as they have moved back and forth over time. Unfortunately, that slick shiny surface makes it harder to seal the fluid inside the bores as the plunger moves, and seals deteriorate over time. The result is leaks. When doing a seal replacement you want to break-up that glaze.
Unfortunately that soft aluminum will just tear up if you use a regular stone honing device. Assuming you could get one small enough to fit. The solution I have used is to find a wooden dowel rod a little smaller than the bore. Then roll a bit of very fine emery cloth around the tip and gently work it into and around the bore. Do not use sandpaper. Emery cloth grit will break down as you use it. Sand paper grit will not, and thus you run the risk of leaving particles of abrasive grit embedded in the soft aluminum bore. Not good. Obviously you want to flush and clean diligently multiple times after doing this de-glazing.
If the bores are scored badly you are looking at either having them sleeved with brass or stainless steel (good idea for the future) or getting new parts entirely.
For what any of that may be worth, in case any of it is news to you.
November 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm #64750
Late reply here but I had my clutch and brake master sleeved in stainless by Brake and Equipment Warehouse in Minneapolis. It cost me $231.26, all in, including the components and tax. Very happy with the results, so far. Good luck.
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