Lets learn a bit more about the Fiat 500 clucth.
The clutch is a single disc design and incorporates a driven plate ( which carries the friction materials on each side) and a pressure plate and cover assembly. On early cars the pressure plate is tensioned by coil springs and the pressure is taken off by a central release ring linked to three release lever which pivot on the cover.
The clutch operating lever pivots in the forward end of the gearbox casing and thrust bearing on the inner end bears on to the release ring when the arm is operated. The operating arm is moved by a cable from the clutch pedal.
As the friction surfaces of the driven plate wear so the clearance between the thrust bearings and release ring decreases. This clearance is reflected in the free play movement of the clutch pedal.This movement can be adjusted by altering the length of the cable . This is done by turning the adjuster nut fitted to the clutch end of the cable.
From the 110F onwards (learn to identify your Chassis number ) the clutch was redesigned, and now has one diaphragm spring. The advantage of this is that as the pressure plate moves nearer the flywheel as the friction linings wear the spring tension stays much the same. Pedal pressure releasing the clutch is less. There are fewer parts, and the clutch is easier to balance.
The withdrawal bearing is a carbon ring on the coil spring clutches, and a ball bearing on the diaphragm ones. The station wagon (Giardiniera) withdrawal mechanism is slightly different from the sedans, Clutches are not interchangeable.
Some drivers allow their clutches to outlast the engine and transmission. Others need new ones almost as part of the 12,000 mile service. The clutch is one of the prime examples of a component cheap to buy, but expensive (or lengthy for the home Mechanic) to fix.
The short life is due to abuse.
Common abuses can be avoided as follows:
Do not sit for long periods, such as at traffic lights, with the clutch disengaged. Put the gearbox in neutral until the lights go yellow. This extends withdrawal bearing life.
Always remove the foot completely from the clutch pedal once under way. riding the clutch lightly ruins the withdrawal bearing and thereby the rest of the clutch.
Whenever the clutch is disengaged,hold it completely so, the pedal down as far as it will go. You see drivers holding the car on a hill by slipping the clutch. This wears it our quickly.
Always move off in 1st gear!