hydraulic clutch conversion?

BDCCLARK

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gravois mills
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MO
#1
Have any of you converted your mechanical clutch linkage to hydraulic?

If so, why?

I have had plans to swap in one of my ax15 transmissions, but the bellhousings are not set up for mechanical linkage at all.

I know I can do it with an older bell housing, but the adapters required I have no interest in.

I don't want to go hydraulic, cut it seems like it might be the simplest rout.

I'm all ears for thoughts, experience, and guidance.

Thank you, Chris
 

Ron84cj

Scrambler Junkie
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West Bend
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WI
#2
I just used the adapter and an AMC bell with the mechanical linkages. Worked perfect. But that was only because I had an AX15 from a Dakota which is the wrong bell. If I had a Wrangler ax15 then I would just go hydraulic because it's already set up for that. So I guess my decision would purely be based on what bell I happened to have since both work just fine.
 

Belizeit

CJ-8 Member
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City
River Ridge
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La
#3
I was kinda wondering what the negative vibes were on the hydraulic clutch ? I've been using one for 35 years.
 

BDCCLARK

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gravois mills
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#4
I just used the adapter and an AMC bell with the mechanical linkages. Worked perfect. But that was only because I had an AX15 from a Dakota which is the wrong bell. If I had a Wrangler ax15 then I would just go hydraulic because it's already set up for that. So I guess my decision would purely be based on what bell I happened to have since both work just fine.
I'm just not a fan of adapters is all.

There appears to be a knock out in the firewall where the hydraulic master cylinder would have been if mine had been a hydraulic factory rig.

It's mechanical so I wanted to keep it that way. I think it's cooler that way.

Chris
 

Ron84cj

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#5
If you are planning to cut a hole in the bell, you will also need to get an adjustable pivot ball and clutch fork. I very highly doubt there is enough material for where the pivot ball would need to be. That would be a lot of screwing around. I'm very confused as to what you have against adapters and/or the hydraulic route. Those are your options. If you are worried about fitment, I can absolutely tell you the adapter from Advance Adapters fits excellent if you go the mechanical route. Plus it makes up the difference in depth because the AMC bell is more shallow.
 

walkerhoundvm

Just trying to stay upright
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#6
I did a hydraulic swap for my v8/ax15 swap. Does it work? Yes. Is it a pain in the butt? Yes - hard to adjust, worried about exhaust temps, and that time the o-ring failed on my drive home. The mechanical was such a simple, easy to work with design, but there was no easy way to keep it with my swap.
 

BDCCLARK

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gravois mills
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MO
#7
I was kinda wondering what the negative vibes were on the hydraulic clutch ? I've been using one for 35 years.
I too have owned and utilized hydraulic clutch systems. I don't have anything against them. This jeep came from the factory as a mechanical clutch setup so it would be easiest to leave it as such if possible.

I did a hydraulic swap for my v8/ax15 swap. Does it work? Yes. Is it a pain in the butt? Yes - hard to adjust, worried about exhaust temps, and that time the o-ring failed on my drive home. The mechanical was such a simple, easy to work with design, but there was no easy way to keep it with my swap.
How did you convert to hydraulic, what was the pain in the butt, and what did you have to adjust?

Chris
 

Belizeit

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
River Ridge
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La
#8
Mine came hydro with 4 cyl. All that is out now. Going back with completely rebuilt 258 w/sniper FI / D300 completely rebuilt 4:1 Lomax gears and overhauled T176 with Novak parts and hydro kit .
 

BDCCLARK

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gravois mills
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MO
#9
Mine came hydro with 4 cyl. All that is out now. Going back with completely rebuilt 258 w/sniper FI / D300 completely rebuilt 4:1 Lomax gears and overhauled T176 with Novak parts and hydro kit .
Are you using the factory clutch master cylinder location? If so, would you be willing to take a picture of that area?

Chris
 

Ron84cj

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#11
As Belizeit posted, use the factory location. Just cut it out if it hasn't been already. Then just use the factory YJ master and slave. You will need the clutch pedal from a YJ as well. You do not need the whole pedal assembly.
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
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Richmond
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TX
#12
Early YJ, if you are planning to use the factory brace and bolt hole centers. The late YJ hydraulic master had a wider bolt pattern.

Here is a factory hole with nothing mounted:

B8836B11-5151-43EA-9BBC-EE1D8C5654E5.jpeg

Another good thing about hydraulic is the linkage won’t bind when the body/frame are twisted up while off road. I’ve had the stock mechanical linkage bind and come apart when crossing ditches. And my setup was not very radical. The clutch linkage was pretty worn though.
 

Spieg

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Aurora
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#13
I prefer hydraulic over mechanical for off road (less issue with frame flex messing up your clutch linkage geometry). I'd recommend using a bell with external slave for easier service/repair.
 

BDCCLARK

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gravois mills
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MO
#14
Factory location

Thank you for the pictures. The factory knock out is still in place in mine. That's a simple enough change if I go that route.

As Belizeit posted, use the factory location. Just cut it out if it hasn't been already. Then just use the factory YJ master and slave. You will need the clutch pedal from a YJ as well. You do not need the whole pedal assembly.
Thank you. Couldn't the cj pedal just be drilled and utilized?
Early YJ, if you are planning to use the factory brace and bolt hole centers. The late YJ hydraulic master had a wider bolt pattern.

Here is a factory hole with nothing mounted:

Thank you. I believe the early master and the later/external slave require a custom line too. I have never seen mechanical linkage separate on a twist before. That's not an issue I'm interested in experiencing ever.

I prefer hydraulic over mechanical for off road (less issue with frame flex messing up your clutch linkage geometry). I'd recommend using a bell with external slave for easier service/repair.
Thank you. I have all the parts to do the external slave. I have zero interest in internal slaves. Bad engineering all the way around.
 

walkerhoundvm

Just trying to stay upright
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Cave Creek
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#15
How did you convert to hydraulic, what was the pain in the butt, and what did you have to adjust?

Chris
It was part of a advanced adapters kit for an ls swap. The slave is out of a Toyota, but the master is an early YJ. Adjusting it is difficult because it's way more sensitive than the mechanical clutch was. A little adjustment goes a long way, and it's not terribly easy to adjust because it's really tight. Not like the mechanical linkage was.

But my biggest beef was the o-ring going out after 500 miles. Brake fluid all over my firewall, stuck in the middle of an intersection trying to slip it into first to limp into a parking lot. Those are the sorts of things that make you never trust the setup again, never know when it might happen again. At least with the mechanical linkage you can check the wallow, and even the Omix units are good quality.
 

Ron84cj

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#16
You can drill the cj pedal. It's just kind of a pain. I think it took me all of 20 seconds to pop off the clip and grab the yj pedal at the pick n pull by me. I think they charged me like $3. Plus it's just fun going to junk yards to look for goodies 😉
 

Ron84cj

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West Bend
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#17
It was part of a advanced adapters kit for an ls swap. The slave is out of a Toyota, but the master is an early YJ. Adjusting it is difficult because it's way more sensitive than the mechanical clutch was. A little adjustment goes a long way, and it's not terribly easy to adjust because it's really tight. Not like the mechanical linkage was.

But my biggest beef was the o-ring going out after 500 miles. Brake fluid all over my firewall, stuck in the middle of an intersection trying to slip it into first to limp into a parking lot. Those are the sorts of things that make you never trust the setup again, never know when it might happen again. At least with the mechanical linkage you can check the wallow, and even the Omix units are good quality.
This is a totally different setup than the Wrangler AX15 swap for the 6 cylinder. The Chevy LS swap does make things interesting for sure. The worst part is all the bad info out there. Once you know what is needed it's not so bad. I personally used as many off the shelf parts as possible so I can go into any parts store and get it. When my slave went out (slave was from an 89 rx7), I just went in to AutoZone and picked it up for $17. Plus it was in stock. It wasn't some wierd special order adjustable one.
 

BDCCLARK

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gravois mills
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MO
#18
You can drill the cj pedal. It's just kind of a pain. I think it took me all of 20 seconds to pop off the clip and grab the yj pedal at the pick n pull by me. I think they charged me like $3. Plus it's just fun going to junk yards to look for goodies 😉
I'd be in for grabbing one from a junk yard, but I live where there are none. How much difference is there in the two pedals? I could always buy one and have it shipped.

Chris
 

walkerhoundvm

Just trying to stay upright
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Cave Creek
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AZ
#19
I'd be in for grabbing one from a junk yard, but I live where there are none. How much difference is there in the two pedals? I could always buy one and have it shipped.

Chris
I wound up buying a complete assembly online and just swapping the clutch peddle out. The other important part is the firewall brace.

Here's an affordable one on eBay, the brace is at the top.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/224105728324
 
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