Pedal To The Metal Or Not - Problem Solver Tech
The creaks and groans of advanced age-us older folks know them well. It's the same with our vintage cars, and it's those types of noises that help give the impression of "old," and often, "too old."
A while back, we dealt with rebuilding the "old" door hinges on our '66 GTO, which created horror movie soundtrack-like noises when opening or closing the doors (HPP, Dec. '04). This time around, we're going after the pedal assembly. While the accelerator pedal was fine, our particular brake and clutch pedals made all the characteristic "too old" noises, along with some almost comical "sproing" noises from the clutch pedal.
Since our GTO was undergoing a complete restoration (seemingly down to the individual GTO molecules), we yanked the entire pedal assembly out of the car as a unit and proceeded on the bench from there. If our entire GTO wasn't coming apart, removal of the complete pedal assembly (including the upper mounting bracket) would first require extrication of the steering column and brake master cylinder. But don't let that scare you away from restoring your pedal assemblies, because if you choose to leave the upper mounting bracket in the car, the pedals themselves are easy to remove.
With our complete pedal unit on the bench, the initial inspection revealed all the dry and rusty parts, so the sources of the creaking noises immediately became evident. Upon closer inspection of our clutch pedal, we saw an oversized and elongated (worn out) hole for the clutch rod. This was the source of our "sproing" noises, as the clutch rod would jump around in the elongated hole, causing the clutch return spring to make funny cartoon-ish sounds.
After disassembly and further detailed inspection of the components, everything other than the pedal pads and clutch pedal itself looked to be in reasonable shape and fully reusable after a good cleaning, refinishing and lubricating (where necessary). The clutch pedal additionally required some minor surgery to fix the worn out clutch rod hole-and this is where our story became a tale of mystery and intrigue.
When we measured the size of the clutch rod hole in the clutch pedal, it seemed quite large in comparison to the size of the pin on the clutch rod. The elongation of the hole is an expected result of wear and tear (since the load on the clutch rod is basically in a single direction), but it would be extremely unlikely for the entire hole to wear itself into a larger diameter.
Consulting our OEM service manual, the illustration of the clutch pedal installation showed what appeared to be a bushing installed in the clutch rod hole of the pedal. Our pedal showed no signs of any bushing, and being out in the middle of Nowhere, Canada, we unfortunately didn't have any other minty "survivor" '66 GTOs around to check for bushings. We assumed there was a bushing in there at some point, yet our attempts to find a GM service (or reproduction) part for this hypothetical bushing came up empty. In the end, we welded up the damaged pedal hole, drilled a new (round) 31/48-in hole, then sourced a 31/48-in OD bronze bushing insert from a local industrial supply outfit and pressed it into the pedal right before we reinstalled the pedal assembly back into the car.
Other than the bushing, the only new items purchased were reproduction pedal pads to replace the well-worn originals. Given that our '66 does not have power brakes (part of its anti-Pro-Touring, keep-it-old-school theme), our pedal pads are plain rubber without the stainless trim. Reproduction pedal pads can be sourced from any of the major Pontiac restoration supply outfits.
Follow along with the photos and captions, and soon you, too, can be banging powershifts without a cartoon soundtrack.

Photo Gallery: GTO Brake and Clutch Pedal Repair - High Performance Pontiac Magazine

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