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Old 01-20-2009, 02:08 AM   #1
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Default Clutch or hydraulics?

My 1997 SW1 only has around 80,000 but now the clutch won't engage until the very end of the "pedal lift." One mechanic said it was obviously the clutch plate needing replacement, but could it be a hydraulic problem? I've looked at some of the threads on the topic but don't understand where the master and slave cylinders are located -- or what can go wrong with them. - Still a Saturn fan
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: Clutch or hydraulics?

The master is high in the firewall on the driver side next to and a bit lower than the brake cylinder and the slave is in the engine/transmission somewhat low. The mastet has a black plastic cap that says CLUTCH on it. They are connected by a hydraulic line, but it is difficult to see due to the air ducts, battery, etc. Check to confirm that you have adequate clutch fluid.

80K miles sounds early for clutch plate problems, but that also depends on how much the clutch has been abused by drivers.

The typical hydraulics failure mode is insufficient travel of the actuator rod in the slave. A symptom is difficulty shifting when the engine is running, but easy shifting when the engine is off. As second symptom sometimes seen is car creeping when in gear with the clutch fully depressed and the engine reved.

There are threads here with drawings that show how to measure the travel to assess whether or not the hydraulics.

Your description sounds like the clutch disengages after minimal pedal travel, and that does not sound like typical hydraulics issues.

Last edited by DonP; 01-20-2009 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Clutch or hydraulics?

Low pedal engagement is normally the hydraulics. High pedal engagment is normally the clutch mechanicals. Sounds like you need a clutch.
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