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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 1979 1500 Can't get it into gear.

Hi, I am having problems with my 1979 1500. Everything was fine 2 months ago last time I used it. But at the weekend I went to drive it started fine but I can't get it into any of the gears. Had a quick look today the clutch pedal is moving the clutch master cylinder and can't see any fluid leaking any where. Any ideas where to look first. Many thanks
Neil Allen

It sounds like your clutch is not disengaging. Maybe the slave cylinder has given up the ghost (get an assistant to press the clutch pedal while you watch the slave under the car - it should push the arm around half an inch), or after the period of inactivity the clutch plate could be stuck to the flywheel. Maybe someone can tell you the best way to clear that - it's not something that has ever happened to me.
Mike Howlett

clutch plate stuck with all the damp & cold weather. Push car to an open space (i.e. not in garage!), put it in first gear, hold clutch down then turn the key to start it, the shock loading usually cracks it free.
David Smith

As you have already established that the slave piston is operating, then the likely cause is that the clutch plate has stuck to the flywheel. A common fault for cars left standing in our damp climate.

You will need to shock it free. Or may manage it by pressing the pedal down and wedging it in that position with a piece of wood against the seat. Leave it for a day or so and it may well just free itself.

. . . . as David says!
Guy W

Just reading your note - you say the clutch pedal is moving the master cylinder - - I presume you mean the master - the slave is the one that counts really. You need to get underneath to see this move - even then its possible the plate is stuck as described - however It may be worth checking your slave is moving also - you need someone to push the pdeal whilst you get down and dirty as it were ...

I presume it will go into gear once the engine is stopped right?

In which case another tack is to put it in gear release handbrake and rock the car back and forth with clutch pressed - sometimes this will free it up. However first be sure the slave is moving to release the clutch spring forces....

Good luck !
John Barber

hope you get it sorted: then "use it or lose it"
David Cox

Thanks for your replies. At the weekend I will have to get my boy to help me and press the clutch pedal while I am under the car looking at the Slave see if it is moving. What movement will I see if it is working?
Yes the car will go into gear once the engine has stopped.
David Cox - Don't worry I will get it sorted and then I will use it. Last year I did 8000 miles in it. But for the last 2 months I have been away alot and just not had the time to drive it. Hopefully this year we will be moving and I will then have a garage then the fun will begin.
Thanks again everyone for your advise.
Neil Allen

1500? - Maybe the fulcrum pin has dropped out?
Guy W

this winter there seems to have been more damp/condensation than other years - if you keep it in a garage and have carpet or matting on the floor this can hold the damp making things worst, whether in a garage or outside under some sort of cover plenty of fresh air normally helps pity it's been so damp recently
Nigel Atkins

If you are on your own and the plate is stuck, hold down clutch with wood stick, in gear, rock car (hard).
Mine was stuck after 2 years standing, had time to leave stick on clutch for months. It did release it on its own. Works OK now but I am using the car nearly every day.
As David says; use it regularly or the occasional use will kill it if its not in a warm dry environment.
Dave Squire

I have found the best way for me to free a stuck clutch.
Start and warm up the engine.
With the car outside and pointed in a way so that you can drive it forward,shut off the engine and put it in first gear. with your foot depressing the clutch start the car and drive while accelerating and decelerating. This normally will free the stuck clutch in a few feet.

As a UK citizen and embracing all of our societies enhancements and developments over my lifetime and considering all the legislation and such alternatives ........

I would have written that. But hey I didn't.

P.S make sure that NOTHING is in the way for a long way if you do try it. You might even have to stop by using the brake and it might then come free. Expect a bit of a bang if it does and remember if the rest of the car is not in good condition it may cause a mounting or something else to go.

Like I said I couldn't recommend it and I don't! Ha Haa.
Dave Squire

I said that in post #3 and not afraid to recommend it. H&S? up yours!
David Smith

If you can't free it off with the starter motor, its unlikely you can start it up and drive off in Ist (other than bump starting !)

Another way (H&S excluded) is to ensure alls clear ahead - put axle on stands very securly - block well front wheels.

Start engine in say second and whilst depressing the clutch, gently apply the brakes - a little heal and toe helps - braking against the clutch disk should free it off.

richard boobier

>>> get an assistant to press the clutch pedal while you watch the slave under the car - it should push the arm around half an inch... <<<

You can't do this with a 1500, as the slave pushrod and clutch release arm are internal, unlike the A-series clutch.

Gryf Ketcherside

I went under the car today to check the slave for movement while my boy was pressing the clutch pedal but as Gryf has said you can't see any thing, all movement parts are hidden. So now I have wedged a piece of wood on the clutch pedal pressing the pedal down and will leave it for a few days now. Fingers cross this will free it. If this is the problem, other than that I will have to buy a new slave cylinder.
Neil Allen

Hi Neil
The thing to remember is that the slave cylinder does not push the clutch plate clear of the flywheel, it only releases the clamping force. have had this problem several times and I have always been able to release it by warming the engine up and then starting the car in gear with the clutch depressed. You need a good well charged battery and plenty of room in front of the car, on one occasion I ended up driving around a local car park with the front wheels locked up using the brakes,heel on the throttle and clutch depressed, there was a bang and lo and behold normal service was resumed. Normally it is much easier than this!!
C Bintcliffe

As already said

It's probably the friction plate sticking to the flywheel or pressure plate, mine was the same every time I started it (two or three times a year over the last three years !)

I think someone already said, make sure it's clear in front of the car, select first or second gear and with the clutch depressed, flick the key, it works with mine every time!!

The last time I started it a few months ago, it was stuck again, when it started I travelled a short way up the drive then braked- no brakes though!!

The master cylinder was empty, new slave cylinders I think!! (the n/s rear was damp last time I had the drum off!)..

Good luck with getting her going :)

John :)
j b biggs

Thanks everyone. I did what people told me to do put it in first gear, hold clutch down then turn the key to start it and I now can get it into gear. Took quite a few goes at doing though but all fine now. Thanks again.
Neil Allen

Thats great news Neil.

I must admit I had to be persuaded to not be so soft with my car when fixing stuff like that.
Dave Squire

excellent Neil, a cheap fix is a good fix :-)
David Smith

This thread was discussed between 28/01/2013 and 04/02/2013

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