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Old 01-07-2007, 03:09 PM   #1
Laura1553
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Default Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Hi All, this is my first post. Glad I found you, especially You, BarnOwl!

I have a 2000 SL1 with 35,000 miles. I've been having hard shifting problems since about 15,000 miles.

BarnOwl, I've done some of your tests:

The clutch shifts fine when the engine is off.
There no creep when revving the engine with clutch in.
Pumping the clutch does not help.
The clutch pedal travel distance appears to be only 3 3/4 inches!!!!! (I measured from the back of the clutch pedal to the rubber stopper.)
I don't know how to check the fork distance. If I opened the hood, the only thing I'd be able to identify is the battery!

So, I guess the next step is the Saturn dealer, though the idea of a "damaged dash" is frightening. The weird thing is, the hard shifting problems have come up whenever I have the car serviced -- even just an oil change! As I drive it for 3 months between service appts., it loosens up. Then I take it in and when I leave the shop, it's hard to shift again!

The first time I complained, I took the car back for them to "look at it," then picked it up in a couple of hours and it was fine. Next time, they said it was "working as designed." Next time they said since it's one unit, there's nothing to adjust and nothing they could have done to cause it, and they couldn't imagine what a previous tech could have done to fix it. Now, I've just had the quill bearing replaced (they said the clutch is fine), and now shifting is so hard, the car is barely driveable! Seriously, I'm amazed they had the gall to return it to me in that state! I'm having trouble in all gears and some grinding (catching) in second. I have to shift into 2nd-4th in stages to get it to "take."

Any thoughts on the weirdness? Also, may I ask, what is the FSM? Is it a service manual? I want to know what to tell the dealer when I take my car in. If it is the "official" manual, and the clutch pedal travel distance is my problem, boy will I be PO'd after all this time and aggravation!

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 01-07-2007, 03:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Yes, FSM is "saturnfanspeak" for Field Service Manual.

The times they somehow, miraculously made the hard shifting "go away", the should have been absolutely explicit about exactly what they did to make it happen. It sucks to say this, but I gotta wonder if they tend more to just say "it's all better now" with women customers. What bites is, that information, about what they did on previous visits, could shed a LOT of light on what continues to happen.

So they didn't put in a new clutch when they did the quill bearing? Thing is, the big expense with the clutch is labor. So it probably would ultimately have SAVED you money to replace the clutch at the same time. That they didn't do that, or at least inform you of those options (again, would they do this with a male customer?) doesn't reflect well on them.

Your description of the pedal travel, presuming the hydraulics are good, brings to mind something funky (bent?) with the fork inside the clutch. But if it were, that would contradict whatever witch doctory they did on previous visits to make it "just fine".
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Old 01-07-2007, 03:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Thanks for your reply, Madpogue.

It was only once -- the first time -- that they miraculously fixed it, and since then they have changed ownership and, gosh, who knows how many techs. Since it was such a "no problem" that time, I didn't press for details on how they did it.

About the quill bearing, yes, bummer, I found out through this Forum -- AFTER the repair job -- that I should have replaced the clutch at the same time. Well, I've just moved to a new location, so all I can do is hope my new Saturn dealer is better. Well, that and bring in posts from this Forum!!! One of the reasons I bought a Saturn is because they were supposed to be so "fair," but I do feel like this shop under new ownership is somewhat taking me for a ride or brushing me off. Under the previous ownership, they were much better: very responsive and concerned.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-07-2007, 04:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Yes, FSM is "saturnfanspeak" for Field Service Manual.






FSM=Factory Service Manual.
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Old 01-07-2007, 04:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Laura1553

Where is the clutch pedal engaging the clutch?

A low engagement point, close to the floor noramlly indicates a hydraulic system problem. A high engagment point, close to the top of the clutch pedal travel normally indicates a clutch mechanical problem.
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Hi Ssicarman,

The clutch is engaging about 1/4 of the way down.
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Old 01-07-2007, 07:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura1553 View Post
Hi All, this is my first post. Glad I found you, especially You, BarnOwl!
Awww shucks ma'am

ssicarman and others know a lot more than I do. Given the way hydraulic systems work, this shouldn't be possible. However, can you pull the clutch pedal back from it's at rest position? If not, there is something obstructing the pedal. I remember a post from someone that found it was that the rubber stop was out of place. They were able to reposition it themselves. So, it's not necessarily anything major. If you look carefully under the dash with a flashlight, you might be able to spot it.
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Old 01-07-2007, 08:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Hi BarnOwn,

What shouldn't be possible, the troubles I'm having or my infinite incompetence in measuring things? LOL! If the latter:

I remeasured the clutch pedal travel from the base of the footpad and this time! pushed the cluch in all the way and measured the actual distance between where it started and where it ended up (duh). It's closer to 5 inches.

As to where the clutch is engaging, the movement is very smooth, so it was hard to tell when the clutch was engaging. So . . . I drove with the car in gear, slowly depressed the clutch pedal, and noted at what point the RPMs suddenly rose. Is that right? A little bit right? Totally wrong?

Okay, so I tried to pull the clutch pedal back and it does not move. Neither does the brake pedal.

I'll see if I can get my head under the dash tomorrow when it's light and I'm wearing pants!
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Old 01-07-2007, 08:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Try this for checking your fork travel.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Fork Travel.jpg (95.1 KB, 47 views)
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Old 01-07-2007, 08:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Transaxle? Slave cylinder? Are they easy to find?

Sorry, Richpin06, I'm really out of my element here. Thanks for the pic, though. If I can find the transaxle, I think I can do it! And I'll recheck pedal travel with those helpful instructions.
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Old 01-08-2007, 08:10 AM   #11
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

It shouldn't be possible that the pedal isn't kept at the top of it's travel by the hydraulic system. I just wanted to verify that there was a clutch pedal travel problem. At this point, you've verified that there isn't. If you can find the clutch master cylinder, you can follow the line from it to the tranaxle and the slave cylinder (where the line ends). To get to it and perform the test with the stiff wire that I suspect you read about in a previous post of mine, you'll probably need to pull the battery and the air intake. If that's beyond your capabilities, anyone that is the least familiar with cars could certainly do the test. It doesn't have to be someone from Saturn.
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Old 01-08-2007, 11:06 AM   #12
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Default Re: Clutch Pedal Travel re: Shifting Problem

Okay, thanks BarnOwl!
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