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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

About 5 months ago, I got my hands on a 40th anniversary mustang GT. It has 115K miles on the clock, but it is in very good condition as it was never driven in winter and it was always garage kept (some older guy had it). Without other irrelevant details, my question is that, are these cars harder to launch smoothly than a lot of other cars?

I ask this because for as long as I have owned mine, I still have not gotten clutch engagement on launch smooth every time (usually bucks a very small amount when I let off completely if it isn't smooth). I have owned a couple manuals before, so I'm not new to the concept or technique or anything. I can get it smooth, but it seems its way more difficult than it needs to or should be.

I just wanted to get some others opinions as i don't know if its just because my transition to FWD close gear ratio hydraulic clutch manuals compared to a RWD longer ratio (3.27 currently) is messing with how long I usually have to hold the clutch at the engagement point. I also think it might be the fact that my rear brakes might be slightly dragging because of an improperly adjusted e-Brake, or (if this makes any sense) that the clutch in the car (most likely the factory clutch) might be close to its way out.

I know this is a weird question, I was just curious for any other opinions because when I don't drive my cars smooth, it irritates me, especially when I have passengers in the car.

Thanks for your insight!
 

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I only have two guesses here...

1) The car may have some sort of aftermarket clutch like a stage 2 or 3 in it; as you begin to go more performance oreiented there you begin to lose some of the more compliant aspects of a stock clutch like slipping it into gear and the clutch begins to act more like an on/off switch with little in between. This is generally more common with stage 3 type clutches, 2's tend to stay pretty streetable and daily driver friendly.

2) Maybe you just need more practice. In my experience though, aside from the increased pedal effort due to no hydraulic assistance you should have no issue engaging or disengaging the clutch as you would on any other car.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It might have a different (stage ...) clutch, but I'm unsure at the moment. I'm doing the rear main seal pretty soon, so I guess I will find out then. I'm also throwing in a set of 3.73's so that might help how long I have to slip the clutch before completely letting off too.

I am getting better as time goes on, but it just frustrates me a little that I'm not getting it as fast as my other cars. Even when I was new to manual, it only took me a few weeks to drive it smoothly. It could even be the fact that I am not driving it enough to really learn it, but that should change as the weather gets/stays warmer.
 

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How old is the cable? Be sure to inspect the Throw Out Bearing. My car shifted sooo much better after a new Throw Out Bearing, MM Clutch Cable kit, and MM clutch pedal height adjuster.
 

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If you are having the transmission pulled to replace the rear main seal, my advice - since you don't know what's in there or the condition of it, is that you have a new clutch setup sitting there waiting to go in at the same time. If it turns out that what's in there is in great shape and you opt to put it back together as it was, cool, just return the unused parts.

That scenario is better than your shop calling and telling you it's new clutch time when they get it all apart and being unexpectedly on the hook for another $300.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am going to assume everything down there, including clutch, TOB, cable, and quadrant are stock. I don't think the guy drove this thing hard at all, which is why the stock clutch might have possibly lasted this long.

Just in case though, as suggested, I do have a new clutch and pressure plate locally lined up to buy if mine is worn. I'll be doing all the work myself on a lift, so when I pull the trans, I'll immediately know if it needs the new one, along with the other common goodies that go along with a clutch change like a clutch fork, ball stud, and possibly a cable.
 

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When I bought my 98' GT a year and a half ago, I bucked and bounced all the way home. Not sure if my clutch setup is stock either. It does have 3.73 gears and the engine is not numbers matching so, who knows...
It took me a while but once you find the sweet spot, it starts to become second nature. The first gear on these cars is geared LOW. You have to feather the clutch and take your time with first.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So update, I let one of my friends drive it to see if he noticed it was more difficult to launch than an average manual, and he agreed with me. He also wanted to drive it because he plans on trading in his Foxbody one day soon for a 99-04. But this is the weird part.

He launched it quite a few times consecutively to try and get it smooth, and I figured that heated up the clutch a decent amount. After doing that for a little, I told him that we should give it a rest to conserve whatever material my clutch has. He had to go anyway. Now though, when launching, its much smoother at all points of engagement. The engagement point seems kinda higher up and less grabby (possibly why it feels smoother), but that could just be me imagining things.

From this, I figured 2 things, and I'm not sure if either even makes sense. One, there is actually a newer clutch in there, and my friend aided the break in by getting it as hot from launching it so many times repeatedly (I hardly do stop and go driving so I might have never broken it in) Or two, the clutch that is in there is about ready to go.

I can't wait to get this thing on a lift and finally put my wonders to rest.
 
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