All the gap you can get is just right. I use lots of springs to get the throwout bearing absolutely NOT touching the clutch pressure plate fingers. As you said, touching that ruins it. So I have a spring between the clutch fork and the lower Z-bar paralleling the lower push rod [there is a hole in the fork for a spring] .That keeps the push rod tight to the clutch fork. Then I have another spring between the clutch fork and and a stud [I use an exhaust head pipe bolt] to pull the clutch fork away from the pressure plate. The fork pivots on the bell housing ball stud and that spring on the fork holds it in place. Lastly I have a spring that grabs the clutch pedal hanger and goes to a spot up under the dash. That retracts the pedal away from the firewall. As you can see I have springs keeping everything tight, no slop, and the pedal retracted up all the way. By doing that I can get an inch of pedal free play while knowing that the throwout bearing is nowhere near the pressure plate fingers. Remember that due to the clutch linkage geometry, inches at the pedal equals millimeters at the clutch.When the pedal is released, how much gap is right?