M21 or Clutch Problem?
Just reinstalled my newly rebuilt Hurst Comp Plus 4-Speed Shifter back into my `68 SS 427 (L72), M21 Sport Coupe, and adjusted all Linkage Rods as per the Hurst Neutral Alignment Procedure using all new steel bushings and retainers. While up on jack stands, I had the Clutch Pedal pushed down to the floor (with a steel rod between the front seat mount and pedal) for a couple of hours so the 1-2, 3-4, and reverse levers could be moved to set the Linkage positions while under the car. With the install and alignment complete, I put the car back on the ground and went to test the shifter out. The first red flag that went up was that while the shifter operates very smoothly through all gears, it did so without the Clutch Pedal being depressed! The Pedal travel still seems as firm as it always has, and upon visual inspection, there does not appear to be any mechanical damage or binding with any of the Clutch related Linkages, Springs, or hardware. In other words, the 1-2, and 3-4 Gear Levers can now be placed into any forward gear without the Clutch being pushed to the floor. I fired the car up (carefully) with the Clutch in, and sure enough, I'm not getting into any forward gear, but do have reverse. Nothing was done to the Clutch during the shifter install, and the car was driven into the shop just before this.
This is the original `68 Muncie M21, and in my mind, it seems like one of two things may have happened:
1.) The Clutch itself may in fact be stuck in the disengaged position due to a broken or binding Throw Out Bearing, Fork, or Return Spring that may have occurred from the Clutch being depressed for several hours, and it just decided to let go (?)
2.) This has nothing to do with the Clutch, and something was internally damaged by moving the Rod Levers during the Shifter install.
The confusing thing about this to me is that reverse still grabs and engages with the Clutch, so this would seem to indicate that the Clutch is at least doing what it's supposed to do to some degree. Unfortunately, Muncies are not my field of expertise, so any input, advise, or suggestions out there would be greatly appreciated!