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Old 12-28-2004, 10:45 AM   #1
exhacker
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Default Gunk Or Silt In My Clutch Fluid Reservoir

Hey I bled my clutch last night. I have ~43K miles, and I've been double-clutching my downshifts every day since I got the car in Feb 03. I'm very nice to my clutch/tranny/synchros and never let anyone abuse my car. I never drop the clutch, slip it, or launch the car, but I do drive with a very spirited nature sometimes. I seem to go through front brake pads every 24K miles, and tires every 14K miles. I think the dealership bled my clutch around 20K or 25K.

There's a visible sludge/silt/gunk on the bottom of the clutch fluid reservoir. Anything I need to worry about? Want pictures?... if so I have to remove the TMIC again, which is fine because I forgot to change the PCV thingy for my 30K service

I bled the clutch because it was starting to feel weak, like it wanted to slip. The bleeding helped a bit, as it is not as weak anymore. It still grabs towards the top of the pedal, while I feel it should grab a bit earlier in the stroke. There's also still a "click" towards the bottom of the pedal, but I'm pretty sure that is the starter-interrupt switch. The click is annoying, but that's what I get for being fast with my clutch all the time... I probably use the pedal 4x as often as the average driver. Anyone know how to get rid of that click???

-x
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Old 12-28-2004, 10:56 AM   #2
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A problem with the hydraulic system (air, weak cylinder) won't make the clutch slip. On the contrary, it will prevent it from disengaging fully.
If the clutch is grabbing higher on the pedal than it should, this means that the disc is wearing out. As the disc wears, the engagement point will get gradually higher until eventually the clutch begins to slip and is worn out.
If the pedal was feeling soft, and bleeding helped, there was probably air in the system. Combined with your observation of debris in the reservoir, which could be particles from disintegrating seals in the master and slave cylinders, this may indicate that one or both cylinders are failing.
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Old 12-28-2004, 11:49 AM   #3
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There was a small bubble or two (< 2mL) of air in the system, but was probably just from connecting the hose to the bleeder cap.

How would I tell which hoses/parts are disintegrating?

Do I need to be concerned about the clutch system (aside from the disk) in the next 17K miles?

I don't suppose the clutch cylinders are covered by the 60/60 warranty?
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Old 12-28-2004, 11:58 AM   #4
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If the pedal felt better after bleeding then some air must have come out.
You can't really tell where the debris is coming from because it's internal in the cylinders. The only external inspection you can do is to look at (and under) the rubber boots on the master and slave cylinders, if they're wet with fluid that's a bad sign.
There is no way to predict when, or if, any components will fail in the future. You can either take a chance and leave things alone, or pro-actively replace the master and slave now to prevent an inconvenient failure later on. It's not all that difficult or expensive.
Not sure if they're covered under the 5/60.
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exhacker
There's a visible sludge/silt/gunk on the bottom of the clutch fluid reservoir. Anything I need to worry about? Want pictures?... if so I have to remove the TMIC again, which is fine because I forgot to change the PCV thingy for my 30K service
-x
The seal ringson your slave cylinder is worn. When it gets worn it won't form a good seal and will allow contaminants to get into your clutch fluid reservoir. I would replace the slave cylinder as its an easy part to replace. Might as well do the master also though. My friend drives the same way as you he double clutchs on downshift which = faster wear of the seals. I just helped hiim replace his slave and master cylinders, feel free to pm him. His name on nasioc is ShinjiN.

Last edited by file_id; 12-29-2004 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 12-29-2004, 10:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by file_id
... , feel free to pm him. His name on nasioc is ShinjiN.
I tried searching for that username.
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Old 12-29-2004, 02:03 PM   #7
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I'm sorry. It's Shinji N
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Old 12-29-2004, 02:16 PM   #8
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I've seen this on 3 different 02/03 WRX's all with less than 35K on the ticker. Maby its just normal. Infact ive seen it on all the WRX's ive had a chance to be under and notice so there hasn't been a one i haven't seen it on where i actually took a moment to look at it.
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Old 12-29-2004, 05:09 PM   #9
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I've had eventual failures on hydraulic clutches on a B-210, 280ZX and 300ZX. I've honed and rebuilt them, but it was a lot easier to replace the two cylinders.

If you have trouble shifting after slowly depressing the pedal, and you can shift after pumping it, it's going to go out on you. I have used creative driving techniques after that happened. Z cars have good low rpm torque, and you can drive it like an automatic, except without completely stopping. Stopping required a restart in gear. I did 61 backroad miles that way once.
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Old 12-29-2004, 06:00 PM   #10
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I had a little bit of that stuff in mine too, but not that much.. It was a little film at the bottom though; not a whole lot. And it didn't cover the whole bottom of the reservoir.

There was a similar film in the brake reservoir too. I noticed this when I was sucking out the old fluid to replace with some new, I took it as normal, but I dunno. The last time I looked at my clutch slave, it was fine. My 04 had about 27k miles then.
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Old 12-29-2004, 06:02 PM   #11
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oh, the little sponge in the brake fluid reservoir must be to filter out the fluid somewhat. The black stuff seemed to come out from that.
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exhacker
I tried searching for that username.
Hi2U!

I am having this problem, what a B.
I'm actually taking half the day off tomorrow to work on it again. (File? you there?) I first had this problem after getting my clutch done. Seems that the slave tends to go out when some people get their clutch changed. Early this year, after the clutch change, I was having a problem where the clutch engagement was very harsh, and eventually got the bad slave cyliinder symptoms. (clutch pedal would not return all the way up, pedal would stick to floor, clutch would not disengage correctly)

I changed my slave cylinder around June or July or so. Made a big difference but something still wasn't right. I don't think it helped that I wasn't bleeding it correctly either but the clutch did function at least.

My clutch is grabbing real high, and it just got changed this year so I DON'T THINK IT'S A WEAR ISSUE! The clutch doesn't fully disengage sometimes, and the point that it grabs is erratic too. Sometimes it will be lower, sometimes really high. I also have a lot of free play at the very top where there is no resistance, and there is a grinding sensation in the pedal around the mid point. I think the whole hydraulic system is messed up somewhere.

This month I finally got tired of it and went out and got a new master cylinder, clutch hose, and the two washers for it. My master cylinder was full of sludge at the bottom. When I disassembled it I noticed that there was a lot of black sludge on the rubber boot that seals against the firewall. I swapped out those pieces and bled the clutch again.

The clutch action was better, but still not close to normal. It eventually started getting bad again so I read up on how to bleed again and corrected my mistake. Once again the clutch got better but started going back to crap.

I guess old habits die hard.

I'm going out after work today to get another slave cylinder. I read that when one goes bad, it tends to take the other one out too.

The one thing I wish I had done was change the slave, master, hose and washers all at the same time! I suggest going down that route.
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:17 PM   #13
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Please let me know if you have luck with ANY of your problems.

Also, what is everything that you have done to your clutch system?


Lastly, I don't think that click is from the starter switch. I never noticed it before I started having problems.

Last edited by Shinji N; 12-29-2004 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 02-28-2005, 07:39 PM   #14
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I took my 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan (PSM) into a dealership in Huntsville, AL on University Dr (forget the name) on Tuesday of last week (02-22-05). I explained the problems I was having something like this: "The clutch is grabbing towards the top of the pedal, and has been getting worse lately. Also, on my way back from Miami on 02-19-05, I noticed a gear-type whining noise coming from the transmission-area of the console once I got into Georgia. First it only happened above 70mph, and even when I put the car in neutral and released both the clutch and the throttle pedals. Later on in the trip, I noticed it got worse when I accelerated or engine-braked. Once back in Huntsville, the noise continued to happen at lower speeds." At the time, their tech was in training, so I setup a 7:00 AM Central appointment for Friday 02-25-05. I dropped it off that morning, and it was happening even around 45 mph then.

They called me at the end of the day on Friday, to let me know they had been troubleshooting, and determined that the transmission bearings were probably the cause, but they needed to disassemble the entire transmission to determine root cause. I was told the entire procedure would be covered under SOA warranty (I'm at around 47K-48K right now).

They called me today around 4:45 PM CT to say they had the transmission apart, and had ordered the needed parts. He did say that he suggested a new clutch, as the material of the clutch was all over the transmission and would probably be useless in a few months. The warranty does not cover clutches (is that just after 30K?). After a short clarification, I understood that the clutch would be ~$540, and the labor would be free. I then asked if they would clean out the reservoir and get the little clutch pieces out of there, and he said that they were having to clean out the entire transmission. Great news.

So, I agreed to a new clutch (my cost: parts + tax = sweet) and kindly said g-bye, see ya'll friday or monday. That's awesome, because if the noise hadn't come around, I would be paying labor for all this, too.

I then hung up and got to thinking (with the on both shoulders) about the SPT flywheel. Since SOA is already involved, and they know I'm willing to pay for the clutch, I'm hoping they'll let me order (and pay for) the SPT flywheel and install it for me. He did say that a flywheel is "covered"... I'm not sure if that meant that the cost of the clutch included a new flywheel... or what ... but that a performance clutch would not be covered. So what? I'm having to pay for the clutch... let me put a factory-tuner-approved part in there with it.

Anyways, I'm waiting to hear back from the dude at the service dept to see what he hears from SOA about the SPT flywheel. I still haven't agreed to actually order it, I just wanted to know if they would.... I probably will if they'll install it for free or a discounted labor rate. If it voids the whole deal or mars my SOA "record", then screw it; I'll do it after 60K.

In retrospect, I'm thinking that the clutch material contaminated the transmission, damaging the bearings (? I still haven't found out exactly what was damaged) and causing this extended trip to the fixer-place?

Thoughts?
-x

Last edited by exhacker; 02-28-2005 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 02-28-2005, 07:48 PM   #15
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The only place that wear particles from the clutch can be deposited would be the inside of the bellhousing. Remember the clutch is external to the transmission and the hydraulic system is sealed and self-contained. The stuff in your clutch fluid reservoir is from the master and/or slave cylinders as we previously discussed. Since the car is already at the dealer it would be a good idea to have them take a closer look at the hydraulics and replace the cylinders if necessary.
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Old 02-28-2005, 08:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder
The only place that wear particles from the clutch can be deposited would be the inside of the bellhousing. Remember the clutch is external to the transmission and the hydraulic system is sealed and self-contained. The stuff in your clutch fluid reservoir is from the master and/or slave cylinders as we previously discussed. Since the car is already at the dealer it would be a good idea to have them take a closer look at the hydraulics and replace the cylinders if necessary.
He did insist it was from the clutch, and they had the whole system apart. But your answer makes more sense. Are you sure...?
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:22 PM   #17
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They called again today... I'm not sure the service manager was clear on where the particles were and where they weren't. Anyways, they're going to check things out, and I expressed nervous concern about the master and slave clutch cylinders.

They will not install an SPT flywheel for me. He said dealerships cannot install the part. Even if he could (which, as I said, he can't) it would void the warranty on my transmission. If I just do the clutch, they'll continue the warranty on my transmission for 12 months, regardless of miles. Without that, I would only have 11,000 miles / 23 months left, and I may run out of miles in 12 months

That gives me 12 months / unlimited miles on the tranny, and 23 months / 11,000 miles on the engine.

<dreams> Then, once those are up, I can start my upgrades. </dreams>

-x
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