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Thread: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

  1. #1
    Euro-Nova Founder bobbybrown's Avatar
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    hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    Hi guys,
    Right let me start by saying my spelling and grammer will be awful as I'm posting this from my phone whilst I'm at work.

    I have a car in my care at the moment with a hydraulic clutch,with problems.

    When it first came to me it had a very soft clutch pedal and was difficult if not impossible to get in to gear with the engine running, this quickly turned in to being impossible so I changed the master cylinder as inspection of the old one revealed badlty damaged seals.

    The problem disappeared for around a month or two.

    However, in the past week the problem has come back.

    Soft spongy clutch pedal which improves if the pedal is pumped but soon goes soft and spongy again. It will change gear with a little force and when it becomes to difficult a few pumps of the pedal gets it in to gear.

    The bite point is also almost on the floor.

    Now, these cars have the slave cylinder in the gearbox and is apparantly sealed and unbleedable.

    The car for reference is a renault laguna, mark 2 made in 2001 with the 1.8 petrol engine and 5 speed box.

    I have diagnosed this as a slave cylinder fault and I'm planning on changing it at the weekend but some people have expressed other opinions, like possible clutch problems instead of the slave cylinder.

    I'd like some second opinions from you as to weather you agree with my initial diagnosis and the slave cylinder is worth investigating. I will also add the gearbox doesn't appear to be leaking brake fluid as I would expect it to with a dying slave cylinder.

    Due to this and the other suggestions I am starting to doubt my initial diagnosis. I know it isn't the master again as it was replaced with a brand new unit direct from renault.

    I'm thinking it may be a case of stripping the gearbox off and checking the cylinder and the clutch.

    I will stress, the person can only afford to replace the cylinder OR the clutch, not both.

    I can't see it being both anyway, but if the cylinder has leaked in to the box then I will insist on a clutch change due to contamination.

    Hope you can offer some advice!!

    Cheers.
    Dan.
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    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    Hi Dan - no fluid leak sounds like a problem I have heard about on cars with hydraulic thrust release bearings. The seals wear internally, allowing fluid to pass from one side to the other. In the worst-case scenario, vigorous pumping of the pedal pushed all the fluid past the seals, so the clutch pedal went solid, and the clutch would not disengage. Its happened to two guys at work, both with SAABs.

    So I would think your diagnosis is probably correct, although as you say replacement of the thrust release bearing will be a bit of a job (engine out I guess?).

    The only other thing might be air getting into the system somewhere, but if there are no leaks I think the slave cylinder is the culprit.

    Good luck!

    Lauren
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

  3. #3
    Euro-Nova Founder bobbybrown's Avatar
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    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    Cheers Lauren.
    I can't find anywhere that could be letting air in, that was my first thought. I even disconnected the pipe that goes to the slave and had someone push the pedal, fluid with no air so I disregarded that as the problem.

    The job to replace the slave cylinder should be about 5 hours book time, but bearing In mind I will be on a friends muddy drive way with flood lights (stripping it tomorrow night during the early hours so its ready to fit the new part first thing saturday morning) and normal jacks I think I can add a couple of hours on to that, then again I can probably subtract an hour or so due to having an assistant to help, then add a few more on because it will be the middle of the night and I will have just finished a 12 hour shift. I suppose what I'm trying to say is it could take a few hours, I could still be there at christmas, who knows
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    Senior Member bushboy's Avatar
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    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    I had a similar issue with the reek recently, The further I drover her the less bit the clutch pedal had & the harder it was to put into gear. At this stage the bite point was mm's from the floor. Pump the pedal a few times and all was well. You may recall a couple of months ago I did have to replace the slave seals as it was loosing fluid at a great rate of knots. I suspected the same again this time but the fluid level was correct and inspection of the slave (external one not hidden in the gearbox) revealed the issue. It just had too much free play. So I adjusted the play out & all is now good.

    When cold it was not noticeable & I can only guess that when things heated up so did the free play.

    Just a thought that could save you a mid night strip

    Good luck

    Bushboy
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    "I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying"

  5. #5
    Euro-Nova Founder bobbybrown's Avatar
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    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    Thats how it seems with this Martin, the problem however, is there is only one slave and its inside the box, so I will have to strip it anyway
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  6. #6

    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    Yep, no other choice Dan. Had the same thing happen with my old 1 ton Chevy pickup. It was the only year with an internal slave... figures. While the trans was out we changed the clutch and t/o bearing - might as well since you have it that far apart.

  7. #7
    Euro-Nova Founder bobbybrown's Avatar
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    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    Righty, its now 4:39am and I've just got home, started stripping it at about midnight, not bad all in all.

    The gearbox is now off and the slave is exposed, it looks a bit dirty and on closer inspection there was fluid coming out of the box, out of sight from normal view, although the slave does look dry

    I will be replacing it tomorrow and hoping that it sorts out the problems, otherwise I may advise that a match is added to a gallon of fuel and put inside the car, once again I think this is appropriate:

    I'll advise more tomorrow, well later today, picking up the part at 9:30am and then its on to fitting, lets see how it goes when its light and I haven't just finished a 12 hour shift

    Until later...
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  8. #8

    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    You insire us all as we were in bed dan
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  9. #9
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    I think I've been working the opposite shift to you - just come in after starting on the car at midday. I managed a couple of hours yesterday as well.

    Cold, is the word that comes to mind!

    Good luck with the slave replacement Dan!

    Lauren
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

  10. #10
    Euro-Nova Founder bobbybrown's Avatar
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    Re: hydraulic clutch - experienced opinions needed

    It all went wrong Lauren.

    Changed the part, put everything back together, got in the car and pressed the clutch and hiss, the small hole thats in the pipe going to the slave cylinder (its supposed to be there and isn't actually a hole as far as I know) exploded and put brake fluid everywhere.

    Now all that happens when pressing the clutch is the fluid comes out of this hole.

    I'm unsure what to do next to be honest so I've left it for today to think it over, never seen this before.
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