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Old 08-22-2018, 10:37 AM   #1
ianh
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1997 SL2
Default Bad clutch hydraulics?

Hi everyone,

Thanks again for the really helpful information throughout this forum! It's allowed me to do a lot of work on my Saturn and make sure things are done right.

I have a 1997 Saturn SL2 with 128k miles. I usually drive it several times a week, but not quite daily. Over the last year or two I've had to drive in a lot more heavy traffic when I do use it.

Yesterday morning I started the car and the gear shift refused to go into reverse or first. After pushing and wiggling the stick pretty hard I was able to get it to work. Once moving it shifted into the right gears without too much trouble, but that depended on the rpms and speed more or less already matching the speed I was going. When I turned it off I noted that the shifter moved easily once the car was off.

Here's the weird thing. After it had sat in the sun for another few hours, the problem was gone. I drove it home in the early afternoon and it shifted fine. I tested it later that evening and again this morning and it is still shifting perfectly smoothly. Initially I assumed that the temperature was affecting it, but the tests in the evening and this morning show that's very likely not what was going on. I also tested the motion of the pedal and checked that the car does not roll forward after putting it in first gear and letting it sit with the clutch pedal all the way down.

I was initially inclined to suspect the clutch hydraulics, but now I have no idea. I did pay to have my shifter cables replaced two years ago, so perhaps something went wrong there. The clutch, its hydraulics, the transmission and the transmission fluid are all original. I've been meaning to change the transmission fluid but haven't yet.

Any idea what's going on?

Thanks,

Ian

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Old 08-22-2018, 11:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

Step one would be to check the fluid level in the clutch master cylinder reservoir and top it off if needed with clean brake fluid.

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Old 08-22-2018, 11:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

Step 0 is check the floor mat.

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Old 08-22-2018, 01:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

Have you been getting squeaking sounds from the clutch in hot weather -- above 85F???

If so, perhaps the master cylinder of the clutch *is* wearing out....

But check the floor mat first, as the prior poster said!

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Old 08-22-2018, 04:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

^ ^ ^ after checking the basics, a few other things

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=206193

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=174856

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...hlight=shifter

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12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles

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Old 08-22-2018, 05:36 PM   #6
ianh
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

Yah, the problem isn't the carpet. I didn't think to check that until yesterday evening, but it's several inches away from interfering with the pedal.

I did just add some clutch fluid. After all the spill out from putting the reservoir cap back on there wasn't that much added, but it was some. There was a bit of silt at the bottom of the reservoir, but that's not surprising given that the car is 21 years old at this point.

There have been squeaking noises with the pedal. The fix last time this showed up was to spray some silicone wd40 on the hinge up above the clutch pedal. I'll try that again and see if it goes away or if it's coming from the hydraulics in the back.

This definitely could be an issue with the tower. The description in the third link from alordofchaos sounds a lot like what was going on here. I'll see if I can locate it and check on whether or not it moves freely.

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Old 08-23-2018, 10:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianh View Post
There have been squeaking noises with the pedal. The fix last time this showed up was to spray some silicone wd40 on the hinge up above the clutch pedal. I'll try that again and see if it goes away or if it's coming from the hydraulics in the back.

This definitely could be an issue with the tower. The description in the third link from alordofchaos sounds a lot like what was going on here. I'll see if I can locate it and check on whether or not it moves freely.
If your clutch hydraulics are squeaking, it's probably the master cylinder, not the clutch pedal linkage. I recently tried the Syglide lube injection idea from jasenpeters and that helped. But if you're having clutch engagement issues, you might considering replacing the whole master+slave unit -- they aren't that expensive, and should take less than an hour.

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Old 08-23-2018, 01:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

I had some clutch pedal squeak a while back, too.

I took the clip off the post where the master rod hooks on to the clutch pedal, unhooked the master rod, put just a wipe of Sil-Glyde on the post, and reassembled. It's still very quiet.

I saved the link for the jasenpeters thread with the injection tip somewhere, seemed like it could come in handy in the future. I think hholbein's post in that thread was pretty recent so the thread should still be on the first page or two of the forum

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Old 08-23-2018, 10:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

Okay, I followed up on the squeak. It was the boot around the rod behind the clutch pedal this time. I put just a little sil glyde on it and then pumped the clutch a few times and the noise went away almost immediately. If it comes back I can try forcing some lubricant inside the boot.

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Old 08-23-2018, 10:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

I still need to investigate the shift selector, cables and tower some more.

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Old 08-23-2018, 10:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

For anyone else interested, the post that describes how to inject lubricant inside the boot around the clutch push rod is http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...2&postcount=12.

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Old 11-12-2018, 11:13 PM   #12
ianh
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

For anyone who comes across this later and is wondering what happened. Thus far, the problem has gone away on its own. I did lubricate the clutch pedal a little more to quiet it down. I also made sure the hydraulics had enough brake fluid. It may be that one of those fixes took care of the problem or it may be that the wires or the shift selector were stuck on something and have settled back in to normal operation on their own. At least for the time being though, the problem is gone.

Many thanks to everyone here for their suggestions!

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Old 11-15-2018, 10:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: Bad clutch hydraulics?

Never force the shifter because it can damage the shifter cable and you will need to replace it.

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