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Old 21-06-2016   #1
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Clunking and grating while shifting

My 1971 500L is fun to drive. Specially after the 123ignition upgrade. Dave from Mrfiat was most helpful!

The shifting on the other hand is quite unfriendly. 1st to 2nd results in a loud clunk and 2nd to 3rd to 4th often results in a slight grating.

Does anyone have any ideas or has experienced anything similar?
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Old 21-06-2016   #2
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

Have you got a 500 non synchro box or a 650 synchro?
If you have a 500, are you double de clutching?
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Old 21-06-2016   #3
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

On up-shifts it shouldn't make any difference as to which gearbox you have ---you only need to double-de-clutch on down-shifts. Get the revs right and you can actually change gears on the 500 (non-synchro) box without using the clutch at all--up and down. I once (in my impetuous 'yoof') won a pint of beer by driving from south London (West Wickham to those that know north Kent) to Westminster Bridge without using the clutch except for pulling away after mandatory stops (traffic lights etc.) or an emergency. On the 126 'box, the synchro holds the gear 'in', so it is actually harder to drive 'clutch-less' with the 126 'box than it is with the 500 'box.
I would suggest that you probably have too much clutch-pedal free-play. The 'book of words' says that the free-play AT THE PEDAL should be between 1-3/8in and 1-9/16in (35-40mm to those that think metrically). Checking the free-play and (if necessary) adjusting it would be the first thing to do.
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Old 21-06-2016   #4
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

I'm glad this question was asked as I was having the same "issue". Changing down double declutching is OK (when you have enough notice....less easy when you suddenly need to pull in between parked cars for example). Changing up does grate nearly all the time - only avoidable if you change slowly and let the revs drop a bit.

Clutch seems fine but for a newbie to all this can you explain what "free play at the pedal" means (and how you check it/adjust it)?

If this is OK, are there any other suggestions as to what the problem could be (or if it is a problem at all...I can't believe that it is not damaging)?

Thanks all
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Old 21-06-2016   #5
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

Free play is the how much the pedal needs to be depressed before the clutch release bearing contacts the clutch diaphragm.
When you press the pedal you should feel some additional resistance when the bearing takes up the load.
If there is no free play, then the clutch release bearing will spin all the time at the speed of the flywheel and soon burn out.
If you remove the lower flywheel cover held by 3 10mm bolts you can see the mechanism.
You need to adjust the clutch cable to take up some of the free play as the clutch wears.
Hope this helps.
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Old 21-06-2016   #6
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

On the non-synchro box there is technique that you can use changing up a gear which will help. With the clutch pedal depressed, gently but positively move to neutral, stop momentarily and then select the next gear. Going down, again you usually stop briefly in neutral, increase engine speed quite significantly and then carefully plop it into the lower gear. With experience you can sometimes do this in one fluid movement, depending on current gear, road speed and gradient.
The overall key to this is to change gear without rushing and to drive frequently to gain experience.😄
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Old 21-06-2016   #7
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

Quote Originally Posted by fiat500 View Post
On the non-synchro box there is technique that you can use changing up a gear which will help. With the clutch pedal depressed, gently but positively move to neutral, stop momentarily and then select the next gear. Going down, again you usually stop briefly in neutral, increase engine speed quite significantly and then carefully plop it into the lower gear. With experience you can sometimes do this in one fluid movement, depending on current gear, road speed and gradient.
The overall key to this is to change gear without rushing and to drive frequently to gain experience.😄
I do something similar when changing up which seems to be the smoothest and as far as I know the preferred method.

So changing up say from 2nd to 3rd. 2nd gear, Clutch down, into neutral, clutch up, clutch down, into 3rd. Just seems to produce the smoothest gear change.
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Old 21-06-2016   #8
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Quote Originally Posted by Vitesse View Post
I do something similar when changing up which seems to be the smoothest and as far as I know the preferred method.

So changing up say from 2nd to 3rd. 2nd gear, Clutch down, into neutral, clutch up, clutch down, into 3rd. Just seems to produce the smoothest gear change.
That's what my uncle taught me in the good old days... It forces you to take your time between gears.
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Old 21-06-2016   #9
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

Quote Originally Posted by Vitesse View Post
I do something similar when changing up which seems to be the smoothest and as far as I know the preferred method.

So changing up say from 2nd to 3rd. 2nd gear, Clutch down, into neutral, clutch up, clutch down, into 3rd. Just seems to produce the smoothest gear change.
That full double-declutch will work best on downshifting, when you blip the throttle at the neutral stage to speed up the input gears ready for the gearchange. I find that when going up the gears, because the engine naturally slows down as I depress the clutch and remove my boot from the throttle, the slight pause in neutral is usually all that's needed.

Occasionally, when downshifting on facing a decent incline, I can keep my foot on the accelerator as I dip the clutch and the lower gear slips in just nicely. What a sweet feeling that is and it's a part of the Fiat 500 Fun for me.
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Old 21-06-2016   #10
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

To enable one to slow down (by braking) as well as changing down a gear at the same time, one needs to perfect the art of 'heel and toeing'. To do this (and it is very easy in the 500), as you brake you roll your foot onto the accelerator when required and this enables you to 'blip' the throttle during the 'double de-clutch' manoeuvre. Get this perfected and it is amazing how quick you can change down a gear, and brake at the same time. As I said in an earlier note, get it right and you can drive with a 500 gearbox surprisingly smoothly (and quietly).
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Old 21-06-2016   #11
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

Quote Originally Posted by the hobbler View Post
, get it right and you can drive with a 500 gearbox surprisingly smoothly (and quietly).
I agree; and the adjective I use before smoothly and quietly is "very".
I think you can end up driving better than with a synchromesh box; I do.
(Mind you, that's not saying much )
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Old 21-06-2016   #12
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Just had this very same problem. I had the clutch cable adjusted and gear changes are now easier and smoother than ever.
Stu...
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Old 22-06-2016   #13
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

Quote Originally Posted by Vitesse View Post
I do something similar when changing up which seems to be the smoothest and as far as I know the preferred method.

So changing up say from 2nd to 3rd. 2nd gear, Clutch down, into neutral, clutch up, clutch down, into 3rd. Just seems to produce the smoothest gear change.

Smarty-pants Tony @Vitesse
I thought I would checkout the technique you described and find that in practise, that's what I do already when changing down. It does also help when changing up the gears.
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Old 22-06-2016   #14
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

Quote Originally Posted by fiat500 View Post
Smarty-pants Tony @Vitesse
I thought I would checkout the technique you described and find that in practise, that's what I do already when changing down. It does also help when changing up the gears.
Yeah but after a while it becomes second nature and you do it without realising, especially with the amount of miles you do. The problem I find the most challenging is when you come to a junction and you have to stop or giveaway, if it is a giveaway, then I tend to change down to 2nd and keeping it rolling hoping the way is clear so you can accelerate away still in second. If a stop then approach in 2nd and drop it into 1st once you have stopped. It's all about keeping the momentum going in a 500.

Roundabouts are the best, just try not to slow down at all and take them flat out, even if you are turning right.
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Old 22-06-2016   #15
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Re: Clunking and grating while shifting

Quote Originally Posted by Vitesse View Post

Roundabouts are the best, just try not to slow down at all and take them flat out, even if you are turning right.
I completely identify with that "procedure".
It shocks the life out of following drivers as you roar around and see them trailing behind as you take your exit.
The best one we have is for the airport turnoff on the A96. I'm going straight on and as there is great visbility and I have worked out the best line to take, I know exactly when to slip into third gear with no braking and whizz across.
To an observer it probably seems that I just keep my foot down with no slowing-down.
great fun and another reason for using the 500 so regularly.
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