For 1982 and 1983 the Camaro Z-28 and Firebird Trans-Am used a mechanical clutch actuated by a bell-crank arm. This arm connects the foot pedal (on the frame end) to the clutch bearing arm (on the transmission end).
These arms are a known failure point. Because the cars were produced for only two years the arms are near impossible to find new.
There are several alternative repair schemes available.
One is to replace the mechanical clutch system with a hydraulic system. While a good choice it is, as a practical matter, beyond the scope of the average car owner working in his garage or on his driveway. Before taking this route be sure to read as many forum pages as you can to become familiar with the work involved and the order in which to do it.
Another is to replace the car. An extreme choice to be sure but an effective one.
One man suggested taking a piece of pipe, bending it into a close shape and weld on the arms. I’ll go into more detail why this is not a good idea farther on into this article.
The approach we took was to repair the damaged arm.
The end of this arm split open and was badly distorted. Trying to straighten the material and re-weld the existing section was not going to work. We opted to take dimensions, build a welding fixture to assure alignment, fabricate a new more robust end piece, modify the arm and, using the fixture, weld the arm to replicate the original configuration.
Notice that the wall thickness of the repair part is thicker. The new repair part is fabricated from alloy steel and heat treated post welding. Per customer instruction we also relocated the grease fitting to make it more accessible during lubrication service.
The original arm is heavy walled alloy steel tubing. It is quite a bit stronger than mild steel tubing. This is why making an arm from pipe is not a good approach. The pipe is not as sound as the already inferior mild steel tubing.
The repair is machined to use the original bushings and retainer ring so an off the shelf bushing set will fit as will an original or replacement pivot ball.
As mentioned while the hydraulic repair is probably a better repair it is also more complicated and labor intensive. If your car is used for track days or racing the hydraulic would be a better choice. But for normal street use, the simplicity of having your original arm repaired and ready for installation would, in most cases, represent a better value and more practical approach.
The repair cost for the arm shown is $725.00. We used the customers damaged arm. If you have a damaged arm and would like a price to repair it email us two or three photos of the damaged arm and we will send you a price. With shipping time and repair please allow 2-3 weeks to process the repair. Once we receive your arm we require a 50% deposit to start and the balance when ready to ship. If you have an arm from another make and model we can repair those parts as well.
If you should have any questions please send us a message.
Thanks for reading this post and looking forward to hearing from you soon.