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Old 11-22-2015, 06:47 AM   #22
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Posts: 4,040

1997 SL
Default Re: Clutch Hydraulics Diagnosis

Originally Posted by BarnOwl View Post
This one comes up enough that I'm going to get it made into a How-To.


The car is hard to shift especially into 1st or reverse while running but, will shift smoothly with the engine off.

Quick Tests

On a level surface, with the engine running, hold the clutch in for a minute or two. If the car starts to creep forward after waiting a bit, it's a good indication that the problem's hydraulics. If it starts to creep right away, it could be another problem.

When the car is hard to shift, try pumping the clutch a few times. If it gets easier to shift, it's probably a hydraulic problem. If not, you really don't know.

While the above tests will give you a pretty good idea what's going, on they are hardly definitive. Given that the price of a clutch hydraulic assembly is more that $100, you really want to be right when you buy one.

The Definitive Test

First check the clutch pedal travel as shown in the picture below. It needs to be 135 mm to 156 mm (5.3 - 6.2 in). If it isn't, there's some obstruction or the dash is damaged.

If the pedal travel checks out, there's a small access hole next to the slave cylinder (see pic below). Stick a piece of stiff wire in that hole till it touches the fork and mark the wire where it goes into the hole. Do the same thing with the clutch pushed all the way in. The distance between the marks should not be less than 11.18 mm (0.44 in). If the distance is too small, it's the hydraulics. Otherwise, your looking at a damaged fork or pressure plate.

Thanks, BarnOwl, I will look at this today when it's light out. Early here. Would you know if these tests apply to a clutch even though my clutch only is hard to shift, certain times? Half the time the clutch shifts like it's brand new. And again, I have had that clutch replaced about seven years ago and I drive like an old lady when it concerns the clutch. But the car does shift just fine when the car is shut off. But I haven't tried that test when I'm having trouble shifting. I will pull over and shut the car off when having problems shifting to see if it shifts okay when the car is then off. And I will look at the other tests too. Thank you for all the help. Keeping my fingers crossed that it's only dirt in the fluid and may change the fluid today. Thanks again.
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