Bell crank fix?

Bell crank fix?


1972 CJ5 - 258, T18, D20
As I progress through rebuilding the 5 I had an idea to fix the poor design of the clutch/bell crank issue. Short of converting it to hydraulics, Well I did it Sunday. I took a concrete form stake which at first glance was just a little smaller (ID) than the bell crank (perfect), however there is a bushing that is inside the BC so the stake was a little to big. I proceeded to grind some off the stake, this process took an hour or so as I paid close attention in keeping it round, last step I used an 36 grit wheel and it polished up decent. I then drilled a 3/8" hole in both ends, cut off two bolts about 1" in length, then welded the bolts in place, heavily coated the new rod with grease and reassembled. The clutch action now feels like a quality design, all motion is true and I'm confident it will not fail like the phony plastic bushings that are OEM.
I had expected some comments, interesting that 36 people read it but had nothing to say?
The CJ clutch linkage is a pretty poor design. The bellcrank pivots can break when the motor mounts go bad and those plastic bushings make for poor bearings. I have seen the linkages fall apart when the bushings wear out. I replaced those plastic bushings by cutting up some white propane can lids.
I've been looking for a fix for my bell crank for a while. Yours looks pretty good but I don't have a welder. I definitely want to keep the mechanical bell crank rather than go hydraulic. Didn't catch your original post so thanks for keeping it alive.

Dlowe - Have you got any photos of your fix? I'm getting close to the point in my build where I need to either think about rebuilding the bell crank or replacing the whole thing with new parts, so it would be nice to see some pics of exactly what you did.

Bill :chug:
Unfortunately I get so caught up in the fix a camera is'nt one of the tools, it won't grind, weld or cut.... But very simple, remove the bell crank find a solid rod with an OD just a little smaller than the ID of the Bellcrank, I originally thought about finding a hydraulic rod the right diameter, didn't get around to looking so I used what I had which was an iron concrete form stake, an hour or so of grind/sanding it fit through the bell crank... cut the rod the exact length of the Bellcrank, drill a 3/8" hole 1/2" into each end....centered in the rod. Cut off two 3/8 bolts 1" in length and weld them into the rod. Coat with grease and slip into the Bellcrank and reassemble. I wish I had pictures as it turned out pretty decent. With a little searching I'm betting a perfect diameter rod is out there which would shave all kinds of time of the repair.
Get your rod and bolts prepped and have a welding shop grow it together for you.
Sounds good. With a lathe, you could make a nice shaft to fit. My main problem was the body torqueing which caused the clutch arm to fall out of the throwout lever. I put in a hydraulic clutch to solve several problems. I do like the simplicity of a mechanical design though. Congratulations on designing a great upgrade. There used to be a chain linkage one that conferr made many moons ago also.
My 1972 CJ5 came with a cable system to operate the clutch that ran from the peddle to a bracket on the inside of the firewall then down through the floor board to the clutch fork. This eliminated twist and torqueing issues but the metal balls on the end of the cable that slipped into the slots at the peddle and fork were notorious for pulling off under the load without warning leaving you no clutch. This happened so frequently I use to carry a spare no matter where I went. However one day while in the middle of nowhere Montana the bracket at the firewall literally disintegrated leaving me to drive back into Missoula shifting by RPM for repair.

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