Pedal Assembly restoration

While procrastinating about cutting my new front coil springs, I figured I could get some other sub-projects done just to keep moving. The brake & clutch pedal assembly needs some love, so I figured I'd get a quick one out of the way for an easy win. Probably should've chosen a different assembly if I was after quick and/or easy.

The pedal assembly contains the brake and, if you have one, clutch pedal mounted around their respective pivot points. Where it gets complicated is that the assembly has a lot of varieties it can come in to accommodate various vehicle options:

  • Pedal hanger bracket - different for manual or power brakes
  • Brake pedal - different depending on Auto or Standard transmission. The Standard transmission is further differentiated based on power or manual brakes.
All of this gets a little confusing, but I found a great site at Mustang Steve's that lays out all the options and pics to show the differences. I won't belabor the details here, let's just say that I found I have a brake pedal for a non-power brake car on a power brake hanger bracket. Others may want to verify what they have before, say, ordering parts (cough, cough).

A mug shot of the pedal assembly as it came out of the car. The hanger bracket was unpainted at the factory, as were the upper half of each pedal, so naturally they're covered in a nasty layer of surface rust after nearly 50 years. Well, we can't have that, can we?

The other mug shot view. Notice the clutch and brake pedals are on the same pivot (manual brake setup).

Here's a nice shot of the clutch return spring that tried to eat my face when we took it out of the car.

Time to take stuff apart! It's similar to a hand grenade - all you have to do is to pull that little pin...

...count to three and throw it across the room! (Not really, but it's quite easy to get apart). Parts laid out in order of installation for those who care.

The first nasty surprise - at the top of the rod, you can see it's got a notch worn away by from use when the stupid little bushings gave up. 

But first, let's indulge in a little OCD exercise - blasting the rusty parts clean at Ted's. These get repainted with Rustoleum Satin Black.

Since the JB-Weld fix worked so well on my power steering center link, I thought I'd give it a go here as well. A new clutch pedal is expensive. It took several layers of application and sanding it with a fine emery tape to get it smooth, but the finished product is smooooth. Eyes closed, you can't feel any hint of a worn spot. My only concern is longevity of the JB-Weld; I'll be using it as a load bearing surface every time the clutch is used. Anyone know the load bearing limit on JB-Weld?

Here's a nice comparison of the new power brake pedal that came in my CSRP brake kit (left) and my old brake pedal (right). The power brake pedal mounts in it's own hole at the top of the hanger bracket instead of sharing the same one as the clutch.

New plastic bushing and some grease. This is likely fine for the abuse the brake pedal gets.

I'm also going to take the liberty of upgrading the pivot for the clutch pedal while I'm here. Unlike the pivot on a power brake car, which sees much less force applied on average, the clutch pedal is working a mechanical, spring-loaded linkage and it needs more force each and every time it's used. 

The factory solution was the same little plastic bushings (shown above in the brake pedal) between the clutch pedal rod and the fixed pot metal "bearings" in the hanger bracket. This, of course, fails over time - the plastic bushings aren't up to the abuse, so they break or wear out, and then the clutch pivot rod starts grinding itself and the hanger bearing surface away into oblivion. It's not unusual to see oblong holes where the clutch mounts if it's been bad for a long time.

There's a couple fixes out there. Mustang Steve will sell or install a full roller bearing kit that requires welding, but is robust enough to make it a permanent fix. The other, cheaper, option is a "half-roller-bearing" kit from Scott Drake (via NPD and other part houses) that mounts a real roller bearing in the hanger bracket and uses the clutch pivot rod for the other half of the bearing. There's some heated debate on the interwebs about this, but in the end I went with the half-roller option - cheaper, less involved installation, and still "Better Than Before" ;)  I mention the Mustang Steve option because I have not heard of anyone that was unhappy with that kit.

"Half-roller" clutch bearing kit - the needle bearings are in the top piece. Install was easy on one side, and a bear on the other. 

Other (must have!) new parts - clutch return spring bushings and a clutch pedal stop pad. 

Blamo! Installation is the reverse of removal. Pedal Assembly is done and ready to go back in the car.

The work itself didn't take long here, total of about 6 hours (teardown, strip, paint, fix, replace, assemble). But it took much longer to figure out all the options, what parts I really had in my hand, and what I needed to replace, etc. These pedal assemblies are a little bit of a rabbit hole, especially if it's a mishmash of parts like mine was.

I have no idea what I'm working on next. Probably the coil springs. Yeah. Springs. That's the logical answer. I really need to figure those out so I can get this car off jack stands someday.

Bummer. I hate messing with coil springs.