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Old 07-29-2003, 01:47 AM   #1
SL2Ghost42
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2004 VUE 2.4L
Default Clutch engagement very far off.

Learning where the clutch engages is the key, and on my car it's so far OUT on the sweep, it's almost as if something is wrong but Saturns has checked it twice and has found it strange, but nothing wrong. The clutch does not slip.
It engages about half an inch before my foot is off the clutch pedal entirely.
Of course, since I am still learning where my foot is when it is just off the pedal, learning where the clutch engages is very difficult.
Is there anything I can do to correct this or make it better (more in the middle), or is just the way the clutch is?

If it is just the way the clutch is, I'll be looking for a new one once I pay off the car (6-7 months).

...
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Old 07-29-2003, 09:48 AM   #2
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Sounds like you could use a clutch adjustment. However, I don't know the Saturn's setup, and whether they use a self-adjusting clutch (I'm used to working on big rigs).

How is the free travel in your clutch pedal?

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Old 07-29-2003, 11:46 AM   #3
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Forgive me, I am not completely knowledgable about clutches yet. What is "the free travel"?
If it is the part of the sweep from the clutch "to the floorboard", then it's fine. It really just does nothing until it engages at the very end.
Or is it something else? I'm not sure what I need to describe.

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Old 07-29-2003, 12:20 PM   #4
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The amount of free travel in a clutch pedal is where it's "loose" for lack of a better term. How far your pedal will move before you really need effort to move it any further (just before the point of engagement). Now that I've had some time to sit here and think on it, I'm assuming you're only getting 1/2" or so in that.

Now, (someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this assumption) the amount of free pedal travel that is considered normal on a Mack truck is about 2-2.5" Anything less and you're needing an adjustment, much more, and you're needing a new clutch.

And then I pull up some information that states the Saturn hydraulic-activated clutch does not need a free-play adjustment at all in it's life.

Wish I could be more help to you. I know you said that the Saturn techs though it was strange, did they happen to mention any possibilities to what they thought it was?

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Old 07-29-2003, 05:35 PM   #5
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Saturn clutches/clutch pedals ARE NOT adjustable. The hydraulic system constantly keeps the pedal "where it should be" in relation to the amount of wear on the clutch. It should however be VERY consistant in terms of where it engages as you release the pedal. If it is not, there may be an issue with the hydraulic system itself. The good news is that if indeed the hydraulic system is ok and the clutch is "grabbing" that close to the floor, it suggests a VERY healthy (or new) clutch disk with plenty of life left in it.

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Old 07-29-2003, 09:30 PM   #6
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Normally a clutch pedal engaging close to the floor is a sign of hydralic problems and close to the top of the pedal is is a mechanical problem. From what you have said with with the clutch engaging at the top of the pedal then chances are that you have a worn clutch of something else inthe clutch system is worn. Drive it until some thing goes wrong bit but save your cash in the mean time because the labour to replace the clutch is normally at eight hours in most flat rate books.
Normal free play in the S-series is about 1-1.5 inches.

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Old 07-29-2003, 09:34 PM   #7
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Um... Reading the first post in the thread, he describes the pedal as disengaging right at the top of it's travel, usually a sign of a clutch thats just about worn out.

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Old 07-29-2003, 10:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Saturn-Eh!
Um... Reading the first post in the thread, he describes the pedal as disengaging right at the top of it's travel, usually a sign of a clutch thats just about worn out.
DOH! You are of course correct. I mis brained his post from "off the pedal" to "off the floor". Just as an added bit of information, a recently done clutch (by me) on a Gen1 SL1 (same clutch same parts) which included replacing the clutch disk, throw out bearing, pressure plate AND hydraulic system engaged at first within an INCH of the FLOOR. A week later it had "settled in" to a more "normal" 1 3/4" +/-.

...
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Old 07-30-2003, 01:28 AM   #9
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I'm a little confused. And by the way, I'm a she. Real name is Shelley.

My clutch engages about 1/2inch from the point where my foot is COMPLTELY off the pedal and the pedal is not pressed in whatsoever. Is that "engaging 1/2inch from the floor" or 'from the top"?
And what exactly could be wrong with it now, if it is engaging so far from the norm?

As far as "free travel" in the clutch...there is NONE. I press it to the floor with not even a hint of difficulty between where it engages, or even halfway in, or anything. It's a simple press to the ground, about as loose as the gas pedal is.
I do know that I have a type-1 (or something) clutch, a very easy to press clutch, and I know that I might like to have a type 2 (or whatever) in there.
Also, this car JUST passed 40,000 mi (Tonight, at a gas station!). Driven by a late-twenties woman with a child and another on the way. She mostly drove it for grocery getting or work before they got the bigger Toyota family car. For the past few months (since december) they have only driven it once or twice a week to get groceries, so that it wouldn't clog or anything from no use.
She doesn't seem like the type to have beaten out the clutch within that much mileage, then again it engages so far out, it may have been hard to work with a lot of the time. So that's the back history, perhaps that will help with some questions and possiblities of what exactly is happening with the clutch.

...
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Old 07-30-2003, 07:35 AM   #10
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I guess the easiest way for you to descibe it would be the "engagement point" When the pedal is fully depressed to the FLOOR, the clutch is DIS-engaged. As you release pressure on the pedal allowing it to raise upward, the clutch will gradually ENGAGE or start to grab. The total movement between disengaged and engaged (pedal pressed down to pedal completely released) is called the pedal TRAVEL. With that explaination in mind, at what point in the pedal travel does the clutch actually start to "grab" (try to start moving the car)?

...
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Old 07-30-2003, 09:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
My clutch engages about 1/2inch from the point where my foot is COMPLTELY off the pedal and the pedal is not pressed in whatsoever.
I see you are getting some good advise here, but from my perspective, engaging 1/2" from the top is not the sign of a healthy clutch. Did you say whether or not you (or anybody else) checked the clutch system's hydrualic fluid? If not, I think that would be a good place to start.

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Old 07-30-2003, 12:11 PM   #12
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Hello!

It is I, the person who first test drove this car for Shelley. STUPID me for FORGETTING TO CHECK the hydraulic fluid! (Shelley, if you want me to show you how to check it just drive your car over here)

Anyway, the clutch engages 1/2 inch before one's foot is completely removed from the pedal. So if I take my foot and press the clutch in 1/2 inch, I am at the engagement point, VERY far away from the floorboards.

I told Shelley and the sellers of the car that the clutch was either near the end of it's life, or it was just very strange. Of course, being a small girl diving in and out of compartments and such to check the car, it was slightly hard to get respect out of the gentleman selling it, so he just told me, "we have no reason to believe the clutch is anywhere near bad"

The women, who primarily drove the car, DID in fact tell me (when her husband went inside) that she had problems with it sometimes. Apparently she would on some measure NOT fully disengage the clutch when she was shifting. BAD! I do not know to what extent this happened or if she had any other bad habits, but I can assume she might have. Even nice thirty-something female drivers with children have bad clutch-killing habits, like Riding it to try to drive smoothly, or sitting at a stoplight with car in gear, accidentally revving it really high when right at the engagement point, and a host of other things. You don't have to pound it to destroy it.

I told Shelley that the main thing she needed to have checked out was the clutch. I always assume that I can easily be wrong. there is a long story behind why the clutch did NOT really get checked over well by a mechanic before she bought it...

It is also interesting to note that compared to my clutch, pressing on the pedal offers a surprising lack of resistance. It is best described as: "thunk" in the most nontechnical terms possible

The lack of resistance worried me a bit as well. It does have SOME resistance but much less when compared to my clutch pedal, or anyone else's I have driven (um.. Jeep Cherokee, Escort GT, Eclipse GST, Mustang GT to list a few. Some of these have stage II clutches to the resistance is expected to be greater then with a Saturn))

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Old 07-30-2003, 01:15 PM   #13
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That's making much more sense to me now, and I've been in the same position as you trying to talk to a male seller as a woman with actual knowledge Sounds like you impressed his wife!

As for the resistance, I don't have any newer Saturns to compare to, but I've noticed the same lack of resistance on my SL2 - particulary when back in my car after driving a friend's Dodge Shadow 5spd (with it's own clutch issues) and '01 Daewoo Leganza.

The thing that's still sticking me funny is that Shelley said she had someone at Saturn look at it, and nothing abnormal was found. Now granted, I got my Saturn for $30 becuase of a stupid mechanic, but that's still a red flag for me.

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Old 07-30-2003, 06:42 PM   #14
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Guess I can't complain...my '95 SW2 just turned 170,000 miles today, still has the original clutch in it. Still engages/disengages nice and grabs well, although I have noticed that if I really stand on it in second gear and shift to third (like when I'm trying to merge into traffic) at full throttle, it will slip a little before fully engaging. Doesn't do that under normal driving, but I'll probably put a new clutch in it soon just for peace of mind.

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Old 07-30-2003, 07:51 PM   #15
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A couple days ago I drove a 03 Honda Accord(not choice) and the clutch was TIGHT! Does this mean its bad or just brand new? I mean as soon as you let off the clutch it engages, hardly any play in it at all.

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Old 07-31-2003, 01:31 AM   #16
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Probably just new, I would say.

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Old 07-31-2003, 09:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by cormor
A couple days ago I drove a 03 Honda Accord(not choice) and the clutch was TIGHT! Does this mean its bad or just brand new? I mean as soon as you let off the clutch it engages, hardly any play in it at all.
What I've noticed is that some cars just have naturally very stiff clutches. Sometimes it's just when they're new, sometimes the car has a stiff clutch for it's lifetime.

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Old 07-31-2003, 07:38 PM   #18
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Don't want to sound critical, but you really can't compare the clutch in one car from one manufacturer to the clutch in another car from another manufacturer. It's basically the same as comparing apples to oranges.

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Old 07-31-2003, 09:26 PM   #19
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but apples do taste the same as oranges and i like them both to the same degree.

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Old 07-31-2003, 11:30 PM   #20
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::looks at all the posts::
Uhm...So should I look into replacing the clutch or not? I've seen people say clutch=good, clutch=not good, and i'm still confused as to what I should do about this clutch.

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