How To Install A Hydraulic Throwout Bearing Kit

American Powertrain HydraMax, Modern Hydraulic Throwout Bearing Make Shifting A Breeze

By Brian Brennan   –   Photography By Nate Nelson

The hydraulic clutch system turned everyday clutch operation into a pleasure rather than a session at the gym. I’m sure there are plenty of us who can remember the days of waiting at a stoplight as we patiently counted down the seconds for the light to turn green, all the while holding in the clutch pedal. The obligatory leg shakes and cramps are still fresh in our minds. All because we had opted to run a 3,000-pound three-finger clutch. Ah, the days of sheer brute force. The advent of the hydraulic clutch has relieved us of this discomfort. But it’s an offering from American Powertrain in their HydraMax bolt-in underdash hydraulic clutch and pedal system that has taken the hydraulic clutch installation to a new level of ease, comfort, and performance.

02 Heres the HydraMax clutch kit as it comes out of the box from American Powertrain
Here’s the HydraMax clutch kit as it comes out of the box from American Powertrain. It is truly ready to go. The pedal assembly is bled and ready to go.
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Read More: How To Install a TR3550 Tremec Transmission Into a Dentside Ford

The new system features an integrated under dash hydraulic clutch master cylinder and a bolt-in clutch pedal. The included clutch pedal allows for easy conversion to hydraulic or retrofit to an already-existing hydraulic clutch system by now taking much of the guesswork out of setting the system up correctly. It also speeds up and makes doing an automatic to manual conversion that much easier and quicker. The American Powertrain HydraMax bolt-in underdash hydraulic clutch and pedal system is easy to install and requires no complicated adjustments and saves you from wandering wrecking yards for hard-to-find pedals.

03 Part of the kit is the HydraMax bearing pre bled pressure tested and comes with Buna N seals
Part of the kit is the HydraMax bearing, pre-bled, pressure tested, and comes with Buna-N seals (long life). It is compatible with most domestic four, five, and six speed transmissions.

Hydraulic vs Cable Clutch
The significant advantage of the hydraulic clutch system is the ease of use and the smoother clutch pedal feel. Unlike the traditional cable clutch there is no need for adjustment. If there is fluid in the reservoir hydraulic clutches self-adjust and are known to last a very long time.

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04 The arrow shows where the pivoting fitting comes off the pedal of the clutch master cylinder
The American Powertrain HydraMax kit is all inclusive. The kit comes with a ¾-inch bore master cylinder, a correct ratio clutch pedal, -3 AN braided line, and a billet HydraMax slave cylinder bearing. It should be noted that the hydraulic pedal is also available for purchase separately, with no hydraulic slave.

(For more on installing a hydraulic clutch, see The Best Powertrain Combo For Your Hot Rod.)

4a the 3 AN line can be positioned in a good location so as not to interfere with anything under behind the dash area
The arrow shows where the pivoting fitting comes off the pedal of the clutch master cylinder. It freely moves to ensure that the -3 AN line can be positioned in a good location so as not to interfere with anything under/behind the dash area.

It should be noted that the slave cylinder bearing is pre-bled, dual-sealed, and comes with shims to adjust the distance to the clutch finders for any type of clutch setup. Also included is a fluid reservoir. (When installing the reservoir make sure it is at the same height or higher, as it is gravity fed, as the firewall-mounted master cylinder.) The range of transmissions that the American Powertrain system will work with includes any TREMEC transmission, including the T5, TKO/TKX, and T56 Magnum.

05 In this view you can see the clutch pedal with the clutch master cylinder attached
In this view you can see the clutch pedal with the clutch master cylinder attached. It bolts directly to the factory pedal assembly bracket. The visible rubber hose goes from the clutch master cylinder to the billet reservoir.

To get the lowdown on the latest HydraMax pedal system from American Powertrain we paid a visit to Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop. We found Scotty Troutman installing one of the systems on a Tri-Five Chevy. The installation is fundamentally the same for all kits that American Powertrain makes for this system: ’64-72 GM A-body cars, ’67-81 GM F-body, and ’62-74 GM Nova. (There is also a full listing of GM trucks that the HyrdaMax system will fit.)

06 The stock pedal assembly bracket with pedals was removed and has gone through a sandblast treatment
The stock pedal assembly bracket with pedals was removed and has gone through a sandblast treatment so that it is ready for paint and reuse.
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In speaking with the technicians at American Powertrain they tell us the kit is a ready-to-use system, making it ideal for the do-it-yourselfer hot rodder. The pedal has the clutch master cylinder mounted to the pedal assembly, complete with hose and a ratio correct pedal. By having the correct pedal ratio, it prevents you from inadvertently overstroking or understroking the system, thereby guaranteeing a perfect pedal every time. There is minimal hardware consisting of a few bolts and a new sleeve and it is all provided.

Read More: Critical Details for Mating LS Engines with Manual Transmissions

07 Here you can see the new American Powertrain clutch pedal is bolted in place
Here you can see the new American Powertrain clutch pedal (fresh black paint) is bolted in place where the stock pedal had been removed.

You will pull out the factory clutch pedal and then install the provided American Powertrain pedal. Once installed you will notice that the new clutch pedal and factory brake pedal have their same OE relationship. Included in the kit is a new bolt with a machined sleeve that allows the brake pedal to pivot along with holding the clutch pedal assembly in place. The basic reservoir comes with a barbed fitting on the bottom with its own two-piece bracket. In the Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop installation they opted to make their own bracket, allowing it to be installed to the inside of the firewall, now residing within the interior.

08 Part of the kit is the optional billet reservoir along with the 3 AN line
Part of the kit is the optional billet reservoir along with the -3 AN line. The line runs from the clutch master cylinder on the pedal assembly down to the hydraulic throwout bearing.

It’s truly a simple swap, whether you are retrofitting your hot rod or installing from scratch, the American Powertrain HydraMax bolt-in underdash hydraulic clutch system is a breeze and a welcomed addition. MR

09 Here Alloway s Hot Rod Shop fabricated this reservoir bracket
Here Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop fabricated this reservoir bracket now mounted to the inside of the firewall.
10 The kit provided reservoir mounted to its freshly minted bracket
The kit-provided reservoir mounted to its freshly minted bracket that will be welded to the firewall.
11 The billet reservoir can be mounted almost anywhere but you do want it to be at the same height
The billet reservoir can be mounted almost anywhere but you do want it to be at the same height, or higher, than the clutch master cylinder mounted on the clutch pedal. The reservoir gravity feeds so it needs this height.
12 An overview of the American Powertrain billet reservoir factory pedal assembly bracket
An overview of the American Powertrain billet reservoir (arrow, right), factory pedal assembly bracket (arrow, center), and the clutch pedal with master cylinder (arrow, left) all bolted into position.
13 Here we can see the factory brake clutch pedal assembly with the rubber hose that runs from the reservoir
Here we can see the factory brake/clutch pedal assembly with the rubber hose that runs from the reservoir to the ¾-inch bore clutch master cylinder attached directly to the clutch pedal.
14 The firewall shows the reliefs for the clutch master cylinder and the steering column
The firewall shows the reliefs for the clutch master cylinder and the steering column. You will have one -3 AN line that will hook up to the underdash hydraulic cylinder and then run to the hydraulic throwout bearing at the rear of the engine.
15 Note the big block Chevy its an Alloways Hot Rod Shop standard
Troutman is working on the 1955 getting the firewall ready to accept the brake master cylinder. Note the big-block Chevy, it’s an Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop standard.

 

Sources

American Powertrain
(931) 646-4836
americanpowertrain.com

Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop
(865) 977-9140
allowaysrodshop.com

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