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#1737244 - 01/09/10 10:23 PM Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems
TallPaul Offline


Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 12897
Loc: By Detroit
In cold weather my clutch on the '95 F150 is having problems. It seems to happen when it is in the 20s and below (F). For example we has some weather down to 4F and the next morning the clutch pedal went to the floor and I hand to manually raise it, I was able to drive by only depressing the pedal part way and after it ran a few miles it seemed to work normally. Next day was 15F in the morning and it was worse, managed to drive it to nearby shop and they flushed and bled the hydraulic clutch system. It was fine after that (temps were consistently in the mid to upper 20s at this time), then this morning it was cold again (mid teens) and the clutch was acting up again, but became normal with driving. I checked it this morning and there was fluid (roughly a little under half way full in the reservoir. I can only figure there must be a leak and it is slow enough that eventually air gets in where it is leaking, but then you would think it is not going to recover unless the cold worsens the effect of the (assumed) small amount of air getting in. Well, guss I'll see what happens soon as it warms up again in a few days. shrug
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#1737256 - 01/09/10 10:33 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: TallPaul]
Audi Junkie Offline


Registered: 11/03/02
Posts: 11247
Loc: PA
Does it share a reservior with the brakes?
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#1737871 - 01/10/10 02:17 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: Audi Junkie]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
We've been having another super cold winter around here.
My clutch will feel sluggish/stiff for a minute when starting out when it's below 10-15F or so. I consider this normal and expected.

But yours is not simply sluggish or stiff due to thick fluid. If the pedal goes to the floor like that, you have an internal or external leak when the cold contracts parts and seals. Either the master or slave clutch cylinder.

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#1737956 - 01/10/10 03:15 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: mechtech2]
TallPaul Offline


Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 12897
Loc: By Detroit
Well this am the pedal went down and stayed. Fluid was half as high as when I checked Sat am, so there must be a leak. I filled it and drove it today for about 40 miles, it imroved some until it seems pretty normal now. For a while though the engagement was near the lower part of the pedal stroke and normally it is near the top. Anyhow, I'll take it back in. I don't think the leak is the slave, wouldn't the mechanic who bleed it have seen that? He is a very good mechanic and even had to use a micro torch to get the bleeder screw loose after 10 years--amazing feat with a plastic body slave assembly (has metal insert for bleeder screw of course). He didn't even charge me, as he expected there may be a leak but thought before I spend big money, give it a try. I'll have to hobble thru next week, topping up, and drop it off Monday the 18th when he will have the whole day to look at it.
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"There is a slight vibration in it that I always attributed to something I can't explain." --Neil Young

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#1739219 - 01/11/10 02:37 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: TallPaul]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
The mechanic saw/worked on the car in an inside environment, where it was not super cold. The seals and parts were working OK then.
We have to cut him some slack.

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#1739321 - 01/11/10 04:08 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: mechtech2]
TallPaul Offline


Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 12897
Loc: By Detroit
Oh yeah, the mechanic is aware. He didn't even charge me yet. He knew there may be a leak but to save me $$ let me try it for a while. This same mech put in the clutch about 10 years and 90,000 miles ago, a Cumberland (nobody's ever heard of it, but it is a rock solid clutch still running strong).

Oh and no it does not share the reservior with the brakes. That would be a factory cost cutter for sure.
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"There is a slight vibration in it that I always attributed to something I can't explain." --Neil Young

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#1740606 - 01/12/10 03:36 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: TallPaul]
willix Offline


Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 1889
Loc: minneapolis mn
The brake fluid has accumulated & retained moisture and needs fluid replacement. Ice may have messed up the slave.
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#1740899 - 01/12/10 08:07 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: willix]
JohnBrowning Offline


Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 9448
Loc: USA
I am thinking your seals are worn enough that when cold the leak. Replace. My TOyota gets just as cold herein Flint as it does in Detroit and no problems with the clutch or breaks which share a fluid resavoir. I am aPlastic nonsense with alloy fittings is lame. What would a master and slave run you?

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#1742656 - 01/14/10 11:04 AM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: JohnBrowning]
TallPaul Offline


Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 12897
Loc: By Detroit
On the 4th, my mechanic flushed the clutch hydraulics, replacing the fluid twice, so not likely moisture contaminated. Definitely leaking and worse the colder it is. Going to need a new slave assembly and that is on the input shaft so the tranny must be dropped. There goeth the $10 a quart Redline MTL that has only 10,000 miles on it.

Hee heee, how about I put a little Auto Rx in to fix those seals?

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#1742833 - 01/14/10 01:41 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: TallPaul]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
Save the drained trans fluid.
Filter it through several paper coffee filters into a clan container.
It will be SLOW, but you will eventually be able to get it all filtered . It works well. I have done this a few times.

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#1742929 - 01/14/10 03:05 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: mechtech2]
TallPaul Offline


Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 12897
Loc: By Detroit
Great Idea. Hopefully it doesn't all drain out. Seems like you maybe only lose 1-2 qts if you are careful. Capacity is 3.8 qts.

I think about my old '84 F150 where the slave was outside the bell housing easy to get to. That truck ran 25 years (I know the second owner) and 300,000 miles and never had any problems with the original clutch hydraulics, not even a fluid change or check. Also original rear end lasted all that time with factory fluid. Tranny had one chage about 95,000 miles and I filled it with 10w40 motor oil, this with the poorer quality motor oil of about 1990.

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#1750594 - 01/21/10 01:34 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: TallPaul]
TallPaul Offline


Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 12897
Loc: By Detroit
The slave cylinder is being replaced today. Also doing the clutch, pressure plate, and pilot bearing, because they are near the end of their life and they already have the tranny dropped. In addition, he said he could replace the leaking rear main seal while the tranny is out. So I should be in good shape now, but for my wallet.

BTW, the clutch had about 97,000 miles on it and was working perfectly, not a hint of slippage. Cumberland brand clutch, nobody has ever heard of it.
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"There is a slight vibration in it that I always attributed to something I can't explain." --Neil Young

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#1750718 - 01/21/10 03:07 PM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: TallPaul]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
You may have 50,000 more miles left in the old clutch, but who knows? Be happy!
People who drive a stick shift right get 3 times [or more!] life out of clutches than kids who abuse them.
Ask if the trans main seal [input] can be easily replaced at this time. Maybe even the axle and shift seals.

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#1751189 - 01/22/10 12:04 AM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: mechtech2]
TallPaul Offline


Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 12897
Loc: By Detroit
Turns out the clutch had very little left before metal on metal, we got it just in time. He put in a DynaPac, which came with clutch disk, pressure plate, throwout and pilot bearings. Also a new Borg Warner slave cylinder which also came with a throwout bearing. He installed the throwout bearing that came with the clutch. Tranny seals were all good. I still have some oil leak out the lifter covers, but the main seal will help a lot.

Strange thing is I don't think he bled the system properly as the pedal engagement in near the floor and before the leak it was up high. In fact, two weeks ago, the same mechanic bled the system and the pedal was real nice until the leak got to it again. He said the bleeding is difficult as you have to do the slave and then the master cylinder, and tha it takes a while driving it and it will improve, which doesn't make any sense to me. So I suspect it's going to have to be bled again.

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#1751241 - 01/22/10 04:46 AM Re: Cold Weather Hydraulic Clutch Problems [Re: TallPaul]
AdRock Offline


Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 671
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: TallPaul
Turns out the clutch had very little left before metal on metal, we got it just in time. He put in a DynaPac, which came with clutch disk, pressure plate, throwout and pilot bearings. Also a new Borg Warner slave cylinder which also came with a throwout bearing. He installed the throwout bearing that came with the clutch. Tranny seals were all good. I still have some oil leak out the lifter covers, but the main seal will help a lot.

Strange thing is I don't think he bled the system properly as the pedal engagement in near the floor and before the leak it was up high. In fact, two weeks ago, the same mechanic bled the system and the pedal was real nice until the leak got to it again. He said the bleeding is difficult as you have to do the slave and then the master cylinder, and tha it takes a while driving it and it will improve, which doesn't make any sense to me. So I suspect it's going to have to be bled again.


The change in location on engagement as far as the pedal goes could be to the new slave cylinder. I had something like this happen with a customers car several years ago. After rechecking everything in detail a million times I cleaned up the old slave and put it back on to try something. Pedal engagement location was back to normal.

Came to find out that the new slave had a slightly larger bore on it. Thus requiring the pedal to be pushed in further to take up the extra space. Bought one from the dealer and all was well. Just some food for thought.
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