A mechanical or hydraulic linkage typically operates the clutch, in a manual transmission vehicle. Vehicles with a mechanical linkage typically have either a cable or shaft,and lever style. The shaft and lever linkage have many parts and various pivot points, including a release lever and rod, an equalizer or cross shaft, a pedal to equalizer rod, a return spring, and the pedal assembly that transfers the movement of the clutch pedal to the throw out bearing.
A cable clutch linkage is the most simple linkage available. Typically, a cable connects the pivot of the clutch pedal, directly to the release fork. This simple design is flexible, compact, and eliminates nearly all the wearing pivot points found in a shaft and lever linkage. The downside to a cable linkage is that over time, the cable can stretch or even break leaving the vehicle without an operational clutch.
A hydraulic clutch linkage is just like the brakes on a car, depressing the clutch pedal pushes a plunger into the bore of the master cylinder. A valve at the end of the master cylinder bore, closes the port to the fluid reservoir, and the movement of the plunger forces fluid from the master cylinder, through the tubing to the slave cylinder. Since the fluid is under pressure, it causes the piston of the slave cylinder, to move its pushrod against the release fork and bearing, thus disengaging the clutch. When the clutch pedal is released, the springs of the pressure plate push the slave cylinder's pushrod back, which forces the hydraulic fluid back into the master cylinder.
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