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Old 06-18-2005, 09:57 PM   #1
Craig
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Default Clutch slippage...

At 175K I put a new LUK clutch (clutchcityonline.com) in my '95 SW2, but 17K later it was slipping. I thought I might have had a bad pressure plate, so I bought another LUK and installed it with a resurfaced '97 flywheel. This one has about 20K on it and is starting to slip in 4th-5th gear. All three clutches have a rather soft feel to them and engage closer to the top of the pedal travel compared to other S-series cars I've driven...even my '94 parts car with 150K on it engages with a lot more authority! I've also installed the same LUK clutch in my son's '94 SL2 with a resurfaced flywheel (my old '95 flywheel, in fact), and his has a much firmer engagement than mine.
I've tried swapping the clutch slave cylinder, and even experimented with shortening a spare clutch slave actuation rod by .100" to see if it made any difference with engagement; this helped out a little, but obviously isn't the solution to the problem. The only thing that I haven't tried yet is another clutch fork...I have one in a spare '97 trans, but not sure if this would solve anything for the amount of work involved.
I know the clutch is installed correctly, and fit the center recess in the flywheel with no clearance issues (both with my '95 flywheel and the '97 flywheel). I don't beat on the car or slip the clutch excessively (most of my driving is highway mileage). There really isn't much to a clutch, but I'm totally stumped as to why this would be a recurring problem. So I'm sending this out to the Saturnfans panel of experts...Wolfman, Sscicarman? Anyone?

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Old 06-18-2005, 10:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

Are you purchasing complete clutch "kits" or just piece meal parts?

(A "kit" includes: Disk/Pressure Plate/THROWOUT BEARING.)

When installing the clutch fork, are you getting it clipped (stationary end) into the bell housing correctly?

Have you checked the runout of the crankshaft?

Any contamination seen on the disk/flywheel/pressure plate? (Oil or Transaxle fluid) Or glazing (indicating an intermittant slip)?

Has the clutch hydraulic assembly ever been replaced on this car?

...
Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil!
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Old 06-18-2005, 10:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

No contaminants or anything on the previous two clutches; everything was cleaned with brake cleaner prior to installation. I installed the complete kit (clutch, PP, throwout bearing) with no problems or hangups. I bought the car in '97 with only 41K on it, and it always had a soft pedal. Not sure if the slave cylinder was ever replaced before I bought it, but there was nothing wrong with the one that was in the car; it was easy enough to swap just to try it and eliminate the possibility. I'm also certain that I have the fork clipped in properly, I think it would have created some major problems if it wasn't.

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Old 06-18-2005, 10:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

My thought is that the hydraulic system is not fully releasing the fork. Liquids do not compress. The clutch hydraulics have two springs basically, one at the clutch end (the pressure from the pressure plate) and one at the clutch master cylinder where it inserts into the fire wall. IF anything is preventing the clutch actuation rod at the master or slave from being completely recompressed by the "two" springs when the pedal is released then the disk will not be fully clamped to the flywheel. Even a TINY amount of slip will gradually acellerate the disk wear (say over 17k miles or so...) until it starts to slip in ernest eventually. I think there is binding going on at either the master or slave somewhere. (This may be why shortening the actuation rod helped...) Since the hydraulic system has never been replaced, but all the rest of the clutch parts have, it is also the logical likely source of the problem.

...
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Old 06-19-2005, 01:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

The canuck's thoughts...

If the actuation system is at fault, and not allowing the clutch to fully engage, then removing it and test driving the car should provide a definite diagnosis.

What i propose is that you detach the slave actuator from the bell housing and do two things:

1) reach into the hole and see if there is "in and out" play on the release bearing fork. From memory, a release fork will have a good 1/2" free play in the bell housing with the actuator removed.

2) manually put the car in 4th and go for a drive down a straight deserted road. This will be tricky, as you will have to "lurch" the car into motion, and then again to a stop. with the hydraulics out of the picture, if the clutch still slips, then the pressure plate (or friction plate if worn) is at fault.

2.5) if step 1 shows that the fork has free play, then step 2 is not needed.

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Old 06-19-2005, 09:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

This morning I swapped slave assemblies between my '95 and the '94 parts car; this didn't make any difference, so I swapped them back again. I did check for fork free play in both cars...the '94 has 1/2"+, the '95 is closer to 3/4". I don't know what to make of any of this, just something bizarre with this one particular car.

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Old 06-19-2005, 10:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

I have the exact same problem in my 01 and I have done the exact same things as you. However I am now at 20K on the new clutch and things are starting to slip pretty badly.

...
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

One of my son's friends has a '00 SL2 with about 80K on it; the clutch isn't slipping, but it has the same soft feel to it as my '95. Conversely, my son just picked up a '93 SL2 with about 160K on it, and the clutch in that one feels like the one in his '94 SL2 and our '94 SW2 parts car. Just thought it funny that the '93 and the '94s have a stiffer pedal and engage so much better than my '95 and the '00, and probably your '01 SC2...can't for the life of me figure out why, though. Did Saturn make any sort of changes to the fork or the bellhousing around '94/'95?

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Old 06-21-2005, 09:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

Saturn changed the clutch design to allow for easier pedal effort around 2000.

If the car has had a clutch replaced since that time, it may have the updated clutch with the "lighter feel"

on the plus side, actuating the newer clutch design puts a lot less strain on the thrust bearing, which can be a weak point, depending on driver propensity to ride the clutch.

on the bad side, with the softer (adjustable) spring, slippage issues sometimes pop up.

I have the updated design clutch in my 93 sw2, and would gladly trade some slippage for a chewed up crankshaft. I have acumulated ~ 50,000 miles on it without issue, except for a slight shudder. The shudder is my own damn fault, as I was in to much of a hurry to machine the flywheel back when I had the transmission out.

If the clutch is the adjustable type, make sure that the proper adjustments are taking place before installation. this may be the cause of your slippage, if the installer is not familiar with the design.

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Old 06-21-2005, 03:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

I'm hoping when you say "slave assembly" you mean the whole thing?

Cuz you have to change out the whole thing at once, it's a sealed unit.

...
-96 SC2 gets 35 mpg mix city/hw.

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Old 06-21-2005, 04:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

The kit that both my son and I have installed in our cars are both the updated version with the larger clutch disc and pressure plate (not the late self-adjusting one)...just thought it odd that my '95 has a lighter feel to it than his '94 and '93 or my '94 parts car. Can't quite seem to nail this one down!

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Old 06-21-2005, 04:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

Correct me if I'm wrong somebody, but doesn't that updated clutch disk require a new or modified flywheel???

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Old 06-21-2005, 05:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

If by "lighter feel" you mean "easier to depress" then it's true.

Somewhere between '97 and '01 Saturn made the clutch much easier to depress. I always thought that they reduced the spring force somewhere but do know that we noticed the difference between our '97 SC2 lease and the '01 SC2 that we purchased.

Eric & Genieve
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See how Eric lost nearly 1/3 of his body weight at:
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Old 06-21-2005, 06:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: Clutch slippage...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig
The kit that both my son and I have installed in our cars are both the updated version with the larger clutch disc and pressure plate (not the late self-adjusting one)...just thought it odd that my '95 has a lighter feel to it than his '94 and '93 or my '94 parts car. Can't quite seem to nail this one down!
My sister's clutch in her 95 SOHC engages really high up and I thought that it might need replacement too. But that thing grabs very nice.
It was definitely different than my 92 DOHC.

...
-96 SC2 gets 35 mpg mix city/hw.

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