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Old 07-18-2011, 11:03 AM   #1
Melissa_M
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1999 SL2
Default clutch pedal : hard to depress

We were recently in the market for a new car (not to replace my saturn), so I test drove 2 manuals. Other than my Saturn, I have not had the occasion to drive another manual for 12 years now! The sales guys were rolling their eyes, I am sure, because I kept talking about my Saturn during the test drive, LOL.

I was amazed at how light the clutch pedal was in these 2 cars.

Then one day, my shifter was causing more trouble than usual. I was looking under the hood, and I noticed the master cylinder Ė it is covered in moisture and grime. I guess it is leaking? No drips in the area, though. Does look like a little grime on the hard line that goes to the slave.

So I check the clutch fluid. I had checked it a year ago and it was fine, but today it is about 20mm from the top and it is supposed to be 9-12mm from the top. Added fluid to 10mm and put the cap back on.

I then pumped the clutch a few times, drove it for maybe 20 shifts, but the pressure/resistance in the pedal is not reduced.
Obviously I donít know much about the clutch system. I have looked over what chiltonís offers.

The ensuing questions:

Am I fair in comparing my clutch system to a new system? Or are these 'modern' clutches just generally lighter?

Will it take longer than a few shifts for the added fluid to make a difference? I actually donít know what causes increased clutch pedal pressure, and that is my BIG question. I thought low fluid level gives you decreased pressure, right?

What is the deal on the master/slave system? I see you can buy the complete unit, which I thought you had to do because it is a sealed unit. But I also see you can get just the master or slave. So if you do it right you keep fluid in the system and can replace one part or the other?

If I continue to have fluid loss do I need to figure out if the slave is also leaking to decide if I should replace the whole unit? Since the slave is under the battery that seems like a hassle. I wanted to clean off the master to easily see leakage, but I found it physically impossible to get in there

I wonder if I also have issues with the clutch because of my shifting problems. 68K miles seems early for worn out clutch, tho. I really think it is something with the cables or linkages, since I do occasionally get a really smooth shift.

...
1999 SL2 MANUAL

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Old 07-18-2011, 01:29 PM   #2
manualman
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1995 SL
Default Re: clutch pedal : hard to depress

My 95 clutch is about 4 times harder to push in than the 02. I just got the 95 (rescue), and I have no idea if it is original or not. The 02 I am pretty sure is factory.

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Old 07-18-2011, 02:01 PM   #3
sc2-1995
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1995 SC2
Default Re: clutch pedal : hard to depress

Replace the whole unit together! That's really the only way to do it. It takes a few minutes to do and it's very simple. You will likely have a perfectly functioning clutch again.

It can he hard to get the cap back on correctly if you check the fluid. I think I let some moisture get into mine and it froze last winter. I'm just going to leave my new unit alone. These things last 10 to 15 years and then you replace them.

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Old 07-18-2011, 02:57 PM   #4
alordofchaos
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1998 SL2
1997 SC2
Default Re: clutch pedal : hard to depress

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa_M View Post
Since the slave is under the battery that seems like a hassle.
Not horrible - worst part is that battery retaining strap, IMO

Once the battery is out, there are (in 2nd and later gen, I believe) two 13mm bolts in the battery tray, and one long one that goes through the splash shield at around the 10 or 11 oclock position behind the front tire. I had to jack the front up just a bit and used a long extension. I suppose I could've just turned the wheel I removed and installed on two cars last weekend, hand tools only

links
ShawnV's How To: Clutch Hydraulic system with pics

mavmav's Filling the Clutch Master/Slave Cylinders without 'Bleeding'

...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

Wait, what, I actually won that eBay auction?
12/2008 silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 172k
7/2010 white Craigslist 1997 SC2 5 spd

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