You may find the following useful:
1500 and possibly 1300 Dolomite clutch hydraulic problems. (I have only ever owned and worked on 1500’s hence the comment about 1300)
If you do any work on the clutch hydraulics there will be a need to bleed the system to get all the air out of the system. The various workshop manuals make it seem to be a simple task just like bleeding the brakes. However from my own experiences and from the comments I have read on Facebook it is not that simple. In this article I hope to identify the various methods that owners have found that work.
The method that I have used successfully for a number of years is to remove the slave cylinder from the clutch bell housing and hold it up above the master cylinder in the engine compartment with it tilted, so that the bleed nipple is at the highest point. Just one point I should state here is that the bleed nipple should be at the top of the slave cylinder when the cylinder is fitted. It is then just a matter of bleeding the system which is made easier, if you have an assistant to operate the clutch pedal. Some people like to use an easy bleed kit but I consider this to be more trouble than it is worth and I stick to just adding a non return valve to the bleed nipple such as in the vizibleed shown in the photograph, if I am doing it on my own. (See photo Bleed non return valve.)
There is also a need to ensure that the slave cylinder when refitted is pushed fully forward before it is clamped up.
I have found that some of the, after market, slave cylinders will not pull back out though the slave mounting bracket and that this means the mounting bracket has to be removed along with the slave cylinder.
A simpler way that Colin Whitely recommended on Facebook is to use a syringe and back bleed, bottom to top. This is definitely a way I will try in future.
Again another method identified by Derek Wadsworth on Facebook is to wedge the clutch pedal down and leave it over night. I am assuming this is after you have bled the system normally and are just looking to get any trapped air out by letting it bubble up from the slave cylinder / hose into the master cylinder reservoir to escape from the system.
On the 9th February 2019 Dololomite 135 posted on the clubs discussion board the following: “After I put my Toledo (1300, but the hydraulic system is the same) back on the road after it's 15 year slumber, I had issues with my clutch barely disengaging. Having read that repro parts were best avoided if possible I had also put new seals in the original master, and slave cylinders during re-commissioning. After removing, inspecting, re-bleeding the system a number of times (off the car) I identified that the master cylinder was not returning fully on it's stroke, and that I only had approx two thirds travel. This was not immediately obvious on the car, and being hydraulic it had self adjusted to the reduced stroke during bleeding so the last two thirds of the master moved the first two thirds of the slave. On inspection it became apparent that the return spring in the master cylinder had weakened over time and was not strong enough to fully return the piston to it's resting position. Using a second spare spring I doubled up the springs (coiled together to maintain the correct overall length) which finally allowed for the master cylinder to operate through it's full stroke, and the clutch to disengage normally.” This is obviously something that I am glad that he has brought to our notice as it is something a number of owners could suffer from.
If none of these methods solve your problem, is it something as simple as do you have a mat in the foot well that has moved and is restricting the clutch pedal movement. I believe that some owners have been caught out by this happening. However more than likely it may be as a result of wear in the clutch operating mechanism. There are a number of parts that can and do wear from my own experience. First start at the clutch pedal. There could be wear in the hole through which the clevis pin goes (See worn hole in clutch pedal photograph)
or in the clevis pin (part number PJ8808) itself or the push rod (part number 122296). Next moving onto the slave cylinder, again there is a push rod (Part number 109182) and clevis pin (Part number 112516) that wear over time (See clutch push rod and pin photo).
The photo does not show up the wear very well in the push rod but the hole had become enlarged. The lower push rod is an example of an after market re- manufactured push rod. The problem you have, if there seems to be wear here is that you need to take the bell housing off to sort out the problem. At the other end of the clutch arm there is another pivot (Part number 129410) and a tolerance ring (Part number 129412), which causes a problem when it wears and this allows the pivot pin to drop out. This can be overcome by using a pivot pin (part number ULC 2713) which has a top hat to stop it falling out if it is fitted from above (See clutch arm pivot pins photo) I believe this was a modification that was introduced during the dolomites build run.
Although I have stated, that to make a repair there is a need to take the bell housing off I do believe there is a work around which is to extend the push rod. Tony Keogh on Facebook stated that he had to extend the push rod and did this by cutting down a small socket and wedging it onto the end of the rod. I would suggest that a small blob of an epoxy resin would ensure it did not come loose. Tony extended his push rod because he suspects that aftermarket clutches do not have a high enough bite but I believe that the same method could be used to take up the wear in the various bits.
The one bit of the system that I have not discussed is the hydraulic pipe (Part number 155956) that connects the master and the slave cylinders. I have heard that these can cause problems as the originals were made of plastic which can go soft and expand when hot, or split or be damaged by rubbing on the cars bodywork. However in my 40 years of Dolomite ownership none of my cars have suffered from any of these problems with the plastic type hydraulic hose. Alun Nicholas has advised that he believes that the problems mainly occur on Sprints and 1850’s as their original OE hoses have a rubber section which suffer from aneurysm in old age. However the club has recently arranged for a supply of braided hoses to be manufactured if you think you have a problem with the hose on your car. These are available at a cost of £45 which includes postage.
On February 10th 2019 there was yet more good advice on the clubs discussion board, if you have no reasons to suspect the hydraulics, the very respected, Jeroen, advised that the first thing to check when the clutch isn’t disengaging totally is to check the engines thrust bearings for wear or they may even have dropped out.
I have also found that some people fit clutch master cylinders that have a larger internal bore 0.7 inch or ¾ inch which means more hydraulic fluid is moved for the same clutch pedal travel and hence the slave cylinders movement is greater.