26 Apr 2013

First, the good news. The spherical bearings were installed without drama. On public streets it’s impossible to say whether the handling is better, but I’m confident it will be on-track.

The big brakes are in and the combination of larger master cylinders and more aggressive brake pads made a huge difference, never mind the disc size. Even thought the cylinders are larger the overall ratio isn’t much different, with braking effort being very reasonable. Due to having finished the installation yesterday, the “test drives” amounted to driving between red lights along with all the other commuter traffic 🙁

Now the bad news; the clutch issue is back – or it never left. It had been working fine for the last 200 miles or so and I guess I thought it was gone. After yesterday’s test drive the car was parked in the driveway while the garage was cleaned, then pulled in; the clutch worked perfectly well at that time. Several hours later I wanted to drive to the gas station but trying to back the car out showed that “it” is back; the clutch doesn’t fully disengage the transmission. That is, if I push in the clutch and slowly push it into gear, the gears are still spinning and grind. However, it’s right on the edge of being fully-disengaged because the gears aren’t spinning very fast and it’s not hard to put it in gear anyway.

I don’t understand… how can it be working when the car’s shut off then not after several hours of sitting? It’s already been bled several times, and pumping the pedal made no difference. I’m going to call the clutch manufacturer and talk to them about it, about how much disengagement (at the clutch slave cylinder) is needed for full disengagement. There’s something that keeps bugging me – I don’t know if there’s a pilot bearing in the crankshaft… would a lack of one cause this? The engine builder installed the clutch but couldn’t remember whether he installed a bearing, though getting the clutch discs lined up would be near impossible without a bearing being there. Still, it was ultimately my responsibility to confirm whether there was a bearing in-place and I didn’t check. That said, when the transmission was installed, the splines lined up fine so who knows.

The concern – in addition to facing the potential huge job of pulling the engine – is that I don’t know where the problem is. If the engine’s pulled out and the transaxle separated, there’s a very good chance that I’ll look at all the parts, shrug my shoulders, and think, “it all looks fine, now what?” Now what indeed – taking it apart when I know what’s wrong is one thing, but taking it apart and not knowing what to look for is something different. I’ve got a couple questions posted on the Honda forum but so far there have been no replies.