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Old 08-09-2018, 01:36 PM   #1
BarnOwl
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2000 SW2
1998 SL2
Default Clutch hydraulics sticking...I think

This is a 2000 SW2 5-speed. I was shifting and the clutch suddenly stayed on the floor. I could shift all I wanted with the engine running and the clutch out. The gears didn't grind, etc. but, the clutch wouldn't engage. I pulled over and called AAA. While I was waiting, it occurred to me what must have happened. I think the hydraulics got stuck. I little later I checked and the clutch pedal was normal and working. I cancelled the tow and drove home with no trouble.

The thing is I've never heard of that happening to anyone. Is there anything else it could be? Everything else I can think of would leave the clutch engaged not disengaged and there's no way anything else I can think of would fix itself.

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Old 08-09-2018, 03:05 PM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Clutch hydraulics sticking...I think

That is the clutch cover with soft engage feature and if that series of wedges hangs up the clutch will not engage. This is the thing you have to wind up when you install it and those 3 fingers with the little springs on them is what makes it work. The release is an over center diaphragm spring but that usually only fails once and done.

The hydraulics have the self adjusting tension spring that forces the slave piston and rod to compensate for wear or the slave is detached from the bell housing. Pictures: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=183128

Check the fluid level.

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Old 08-09-2018, 04:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Clutch hydraulics sticking...I think

The fluid level looks fine.

I'm quite familiar with 2nd gen clutches. I've replaced a few of them. I'm not 100% sure that knowledge applies to 3rd gens. However, unless it's a radically different setup, the only thing I can think of besides the hydraulics getting hung up would be the pilot bearing getting caught in the pressure plate fingers. That sounds even more far fetched to me. Especially considering it came loose. I could be wrong though.

One thing I neglected to mention is that this car was hit from behind while I was sitting at a light about 10 years ago. That caused the push rod on the clutch pedal to be pulled from the master cylinder. I'm not one for popping the clutch so I never fixed it. I slipped it back into place and never had a problem but, it's loose. I don't think that's affecting anything here but, it's another data point.

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Old 08-09-2018, 06:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Clutch hydraulics sticking...I think

From your descriptions of a one time clutch pedal stuck to the floor, shifting gears was fine with engine running, tells me clutch hydraulics are fine. On its own and without a mechanical method to retract a depressed master cylinder creating hydraulic pressure to move the slave cylinder rod, the hydraulics have no way to retract the slave and master rods. The mechanical forces needed to push back the slave unit and master are the clutch pressure plate fingers. Instead of leg power to depress the clutch pedal, clutch pressure plate is the reverse, spring pressures pushing back on the throw out bearing, moving the clutch fork back and forcing the master cylinder rod back to home position. While hydraulics can hang up, its unlikely. A bent master cylinder rod, bent slave rod, cocked master or slave cylinder in its mounting, bent fork, binding clutch pedal are some areas to consider.

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Old 08-09-2018, 08:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Clutch hydraulics sticking...I think

Well I know the clutch pedal isn't binding. The fact that the clutch worked fine after whatever the problem was worked itself out pretty much says that the pressure plate can push back on the slave cylinder. So, something's getting stuck. There hasn't been anything since the accident I mentioned that is likely to have bent any hardware anywhere. So, I'm left with two unlikely scenarios. Either the master or slave cylinder are wearing to the point that something's managing to bind or the pilot bearing is hanging up in the pressure plate.

I'm not experiencing the hard shifting that goes with either the pressure plate fingers wearing or the hydraulics getting weak. Whatever's going on, it's unusual and it happens quickly. I'm leaning toward the hydraulics because it's easier for small parts to get in a bind than larger parts but, that's not much to hang your hat on.

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Old 08-09-2018, 08:58 PM   #6
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Clutch hydraulics sticking...I think

There is no pilot bearing in these cars. The throwout bearing is in continual light contact with the clutch diaphragm fingers and with enough wear they can hang up in the released position. The TO bearing is a anti-friction bearing. This is more common with the clutch covers designed for a low force pedal feel.

Replacing the hydraulics is easy enough and once replaced eliminates it as a possible failure.

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Old 08-09-2018, 09:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Clutch hydraulics sticking...I think

True enough and another reason I'm leaning that way. The bad thing is that there's no way to know whether it's fixed. I have little doubt that right now the clutch will work just fine.

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