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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do other people with leg injuries/disabilities get in and out and use the clutch? I know OhioSpyderman dealt with issues and wound up selling his car. I hope I can avoid that conclusion.

Back on 7/9/22 I was at our cabin and stepped off a 1 inch high platform, my right foot slipped, my left leg bowed out and my quadriceps tore (a typical injury with people that have my disability but a first for me). In the clutch leg. Being out in the middle of literal nowhere, no help. Wound up belly crawling to a tree to pull myself up. Managed to get compression on it, had to make a cane to get around.

Well, the drive back home in the Stealth was brutal to say the least (Please God, no traffic jams). I had to recline the drivers seat fully, slide on top of the center console and use my hands to move my left leg into the car.

Wore a cast the first week, started rehab after that. I'm having to relearn how to walk once again. Stairs are the hardest to relearn. Every once in a while the leg will just go paralyzed for a split second, hence the cane full time now.

I have been able to drive the car again at this point but my entry/exit and my clutch work has totally changed and I'm wondering how other owners deal with this sort of thing. What I have to do now is do the butt plop in the seat and then swing my legs in one at a time which puts a lot more stress on the leather seats.

What I'm having to do is pivot my ankle and let the clutch pedal slide under the shoe. I don't think I'm ever going to be able to lift the foot to shift again.

So, anyone have any tricks?

I really don't want to get to the point of selling my Stealth.
 

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You've got a few options for the clutch pedal:

1: Add a second vacuum booster (like a VH44) to the clutch circuit which will make the pedal effortless and will also reduce the stroke required to engage/disengage the clutch. I fitted one to my car at one point and could push the pedal with 1 finger.

It's reasonably un-invasive and is easily removed.

2: Fit an electronic clutch actuator (such as those found on the Mercedes A Class) and wire it up to a button on the gear lever through a PWM control unit of some kind - it doesn't leave you a plan B if it goes wrong though.

3: Do an AWD automatic conversion. A beefed up auto box with a shift box & paddle shifters would run rings around a manual any day of the week. It's more or less a bolt in conversion, keep all the old bits so they can be refitted at a later date if you wish. Alternatively, selling off the TT running gear would probably pay for the conversion.

I'm sure @Chris @ Rvenge Performance could shed some more light on the capabilities of the ATX box.

As for getting in and out....well that's a bit more tricky because of the size & shape of the car. You used to be able to get swivel seat bases/rails which would allow you to turn the seat 90 degrees and it would also lift slightly, but I don't think we would have the roof height for that and the seats are probably too low in the footwell of the car. Maybe talk to your local mobility specialist on options for this?

A seat cover will save the seat leather for the meantime.
 

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I was also "offered" the AWD auto option.
While it seemed like a good solution, I did not want to bastardize my #3 off the line Spyder VR4.
Your pristine low mileage Stealth should be in that same scenario.

Max, I LOVED my cars, and it seriously hurt to sell them, but "someone or something" told me it was time to let them go.
When I got in my Spyder and went to press on the clutch, and half hit the clutch and brake, it was TIME.
It's not worth putting yourself (and for me, someone else) in danger.

I would love to be driving some paddle shifter, big power machine.
I settled for a VW Tiguan (but, VERY top of the line :) ).
65 and happy...

Bob.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was also "offered" the AWD auto option.
While it seemed like a good solution, I did not want to bastardize my #3 off the line Spyder VR4.
Your pristine low mileage Stealth should be in that same scenario.

Max, I LOVED my cars, and it seriously hurt to sell them, but "someone or something" told me it was time to let them go.
When I got in my Spyder and went to press on the clutch, and half hit the clutch and brake, it was TIME.
It's not worth putting yourself (and for me, someone else) in danger.

I would love to be driving some paddle shifter, big power machine.
I settled for a VW Tiguan (but, VERY top of the line :) ).
65 and happy...

Bob.
Bob,
I'm not going to do any extensive mods, I'm just looking for some entry/exit and shifting techniques. The clutch in mine engages quickly as I bring up the clutch pedal, especially from a stop which was hard enough to get used to without the all new and unimproved slip it under the shoe method. And of course now I can't find a good seat position or angle for my leg. Argh!

I maybe could increase the height of the little foot rest next to the clutch pedal. The second booster won't work because I can't lift my foot off the floor so I'd still be using the clutch the same way.

And Bob, since I can't feel my right foot, I sometimes hit the brake and gas at the same time. First time, I thought I blew the tranny. Now I just make sure I shove my foot against the tunnel after braking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Advice to the OP. It's only been a little more than two weeks since your injury. Give the therapy some time and reassess in a few months. It sounds like it would be very painful to part with your stealth, so work hard. MJ
Rehab always kills me. At least I know the exercises that are needed so I don't have to visit the local dungeon.

The root problem that worries me is I have what's known as Fluoroquinolone-Associated Disability, one of the hallmarks of which is torn tendons, especially the thigh. Other people in my support group tell me that once it happens, it'll never be the same so buy a fancy cane and learn to hate stairs.

I wonder if anyone makes any slippery booties that slip over shoes to make the clutch pedal sliding easier. Or a longer pedal cover.
 

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Max, visit REALITY, this is not going away easy.
Like me, you already have other issues.
I know you love the car. I also know you "can" make it whatever you want.
At least consider the AWD auto swap, please.
It scares me to think of you driving that car as it is and as you are, now.
Another vehicle (selling yours and buying another more suitable) is also an option.
Used vehicles (especially pristine collectables) are bringing in tidy sums.

Life happens.
Sometimes you just have to "see" it.

Bob.
 

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The second booster won't work because I can't lift my foot off the floor so I'd still be using the clutch the same way.
The second booster reduces the amount of travel needed to activate the clutch, you normally end up fitting a reasonably long pedal stopper at the bottom of the pedal.

There's no reason why instead of fitting a pedal stopper, the pedal couldn't just be adjusted (or modified) to sit lower to the floor to reduce the stroke.

Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, the good news is that I can use the clutch pretty normally again provided I wear my knee compression. The one I have goes from the knee cap to the mid thigh area.

The bad news is that for the most part my left knee is now a "trick" knee where for a sudden moment it won't hold any weight so going down stairs other than one step at a time is a fond memory. Going up the stairs isn't too bad at this point.

It doesn't affect getting into and out of the car at this point but that could change. Of course at this point I'm pretty gun shy about what I do on my feet. I certainly can't put that knee on the ground because of the weakness involved. I'm due for an oil and trans-axle change so I'm sure it'll be entertaining getting back up.
 

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Well, the good news is that I can use the clutch pretty normally again provided I wear my knee compression. The one I have goes from the knee cap to the mid thigh area.

The bad news is that for the most part my left knee is now a "trick" knee where for a sudden moment it won't hold any weight so going down stairs other than one step at a time is a fond memory. Going up the stairs isn't too bad at this point.

It doesn't affect getting into and out of the car at this point but that could change. Of course at this point I'm pretty gun shy about what I do on my feet. I certainly can't put that knee on the ground because of the weakness involved. I'm due for an oil and trans-axle change so I'm sure it'll be entertaining getting back up.
Awesome on sentence 1.

Sentence 2 worries me (at least the trick knee part). No chance that your "trick" knee won't trigger when you're working the clutch?
As for the 1 step thing, I hear ya.

Sentence 3 rings true with me too. For whatever reason my knees aren't happy on the ground either. I always get back up, but it's not the same "hop" up it used to be...lol.

You know I care about you (and I know trying to talk you out of this is futile), so take things slowly (please).

Bob.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Awesome on sentence 1.

Sentence 2 worries me (at least the trick knee part). No chance that your "trick" knee won't trigger when you're working the clutch?
As for the 1 step thing, I hear ya.

Sentence 3 rings true with me too. For whatever reason my knees aren't happy on the ground either. I always get back up, but it's not the same "hop" up it used to be...lol.

You know I care about you (and I know trying to talk you out of this is futile), so take things slowly (please).

Bob.
I apologize real hard (squinting and everything) for not replying sooner.

The 1 year recovery wasn't exactly accurate. For a full recovery, yeah, probably a year. I can get in and out fine with modified movements. As far as the trick knee goes, it's related to where the quadracep attaches to the knee. What happens is that for a split second only when I am walking, it'll be like when you whack your knee and can't stand on it.

With the quadracep tears and the part that attaches to the knee, frequently that actually tears fully allowing the tendon to roll up in the leg. I'm lucky in that it didn't happen. One of the rehab exercises I do are deep knee squats to stretch out that particular bit because I was working on the Stealth and crouched down and it was a comedy of contortions to get back up. Lesson learned, it's much better with the new exercises.

My REAL issue is that with no feeling in my right leg, it's hard to know where the foot is so sometimes I hit the brake and gas at the same time. Now I just jam my right foot against the tunnel so I know where it is down there.
 

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My REAL issue is that with no feeling in my right leg, it's hard to know where the foot is so sometimes I hit the brake and gas at the same time. Now I just jam my right foot against the tunnel so I know where it is down there.
Max, that was the problem with my left foot.
I'd think I was going for the clutch and pressing the clutch and the brake, a LESS than expected response.
There was no way in hell I was going to risk either braking in traffic (rather than hoping to shift up/down) or hit the clutch when braking was needed (even worse).
I put my sweat, heart and soul into my cars, but I wasn't risking someone else's life (or mine) to play Mr. Macho with a "cool" car.
It was a hard pill to swallow, but much easier than the alternative.

I'm sure you know, other's offered the "AWD Auto Swap" option.
For me, it was never going to happen.
My new owner has a 3rd off the production line original Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder VR4.

Sometimes you just have to say "uncle".

Bob.

EDIT: WOW, I sound like a broken record (from July). I'm not apologizing.
 
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I apologize real hard (squinting and everything) for not replying sooner.

The 1 year recovery wasn't exactly accurate. For a full recovery, yeah, probably a year. I can get in and out fine with modified movements. As far as the trick knee goes, it's related to where the quadracep attaches to the knee. What happens is that for a split second only when I am walking, it'll be like when you whack your knee and can't stand on it.

With the quadracep tears and the part that attaches to the knee, frequently that actually tears fully allowing the tendon to roll up in the leg. I'm lucky in that it didn't happen. One of the rehab exercises I do are deep knee squats to stretch out that particular bit because I was working on the Stealth and crouched down and it was a comedy of contortions to get back up. Lesson learned, it's much better with the new exercises.

My REAL issue is that with no feeling in my right leg, it's hard to know where the foot is so sometimes I hit the brake and gas at the same time. Now I just jam my right foot against the tunnel so I know where it is down there.
Hopefully the feeling will keep coming back and your brain will most likely relearn how to feel or adjust to your needs.

Ive had 2 back surgeries and my 2nd one with L5/S1 ruptured left me mostly paralyzed not being able to stand or sit until after surgery. I still have almost no feeling in either feet and had to pretty much learn to walk again. I still have nerve damage on the bottom of my feet that causes me not to exactly walk in a straight line. Its not really noticeable most of the time except when I'm walking with the wife holding her hand or worse with my arm around her. Its sort of like walking in sand, I have to constantly readjust my balance.

I had problem with the clutch for quite a while and the brake, I would sort of hit both at the same time but eventually the brain taught the foot where it should be. Luckily I dont have any knee issues except like OhioSpyderman when Im on the floor or kneeling for more than a couple of minutes they feel like I'm not getting back up but I manage.

Im very glad I went back to a stock clutch. I really doubt I could still push in my Stage 3 I use to have.

Dont give up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The clutch isn't a problem. Having size 14 bozo the clown feet doesn't help matters. Like I said, foot against the tunnel for the gas. That and 90% of my driving is using the cruise. At this point, I'm more worried about changing the oil and getting back up.
 
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