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Old 12-13-2010, 02:27 PM   #1
Lefterson
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Unhappy Clutch problem on 2005 ZX5

Hi there

Firstly ill introduce myself to the forums. My name is Dave. After searching all over the net and not being able to locate the info I need I decided to join this forum and ask for some help.

My car began giving my problems last week. My clutch was not ingaging, and the pedal had alot more play when I would depress it. This started off as intermittent for the first 2 days. Day 3 was really tough to shift between gears. After driving 20 minutes on the highway it was fine.

The next morning I could not get the car into a gear no matter how hard I tried. The pedal now is loose, and just pushes to the floor with ease.

I explained my problem to a few mechanics that are customers of mine (i sell batteries for a living) and one guy was quick to say it was the slave cylinder. (nobody has looked at the car). He said its cheap, and not a big deal. I then checked online, and apparently if its an internal slave cylinder then its basically a remove engine repair job IE: change the whole clutch. I found the term "Concentric Slave" and I believe this means my slave cylinder is inside the clutch housing.

Another mechanic told me to check the master clutch cylinder to see if it has fluid, and top if off if not. but he also said its unlikely to be a fluid problem as my brakes still work fine.

I am not a savvy person when it comes to cars though I learn things quickly, and can grasp new concepts. I have heard a new clutch typically will cost around $1200 and really cant afford that especially given the time of year it currently is.

Looking for some advice. Is checking the master cylinder fluid my first step? Whats next after that? Any help would be great!

TIA

Dave


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Old 12-13-2010, 05:41 PM   #2
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The master cylinder guess is the most correct. True, a slave cylinder could cause the problem- but that would leak lots of fluid, and quickly drain the system. The Focus hydraulics design uses a common reservoir for the brakes and the clutch. If it was simply out of fluid, then you'd have no brakes as well. You should check that first. If you don't have fluid in it- count yourself lucky that you couldn't drive to find out you had no brakes. You'll have to bleed the system now, and I strongly recommend you borrow a vacuum bleeder from one of those mechanics. If you don't have one, then purchase one for approximately $50CAN. I would then watch the fluid level, and see where you're leaking from before worrying about replacing a slave cylinder. If it was the slave, I'd save money up for a new clutch. BTW, I do recommend replacing the slave cylinder with every clutch installation.

Now, the clutch master cylinder is a problem in these vehicles when it fails, but typically that shows itself by fluid leaking down onto the clutch and brake pedal. If you've seen fluid on the floor there recently- then that will answer your questions for you. Of course you'll want to make sure that was brake fluid. Check the complete how-to archive in my signature for master cylinder replacement directions- all clutch master cylinders are the same in these cars regardless of model or engine.

There is a chance that the clutch master cylinder failed but is not leaking. To test this, put a one-man brake bleeder on the slave nipple, open the nipple, remove the reservoir cap, and press on the clutch. Fluid should quickly flow through the line. Fluid will flow through the line from force of gravity, but not as quickly as it will with the clutch master cylinder working correctly.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:07 PM   #3
Lefterson
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Hey. Thanks for all the great info. I didn't check back before I added brake fluid so I did not see the info about the vacuum bleeder. The tank was empty, and I topped it up, and then it took some, and I added more. I pumped the clutch about 10 times and was able to get in reverse with ease (reverse was the most problematic gear when I first had the problem) for the first couple of minutes of driving the clutch would lose pressure, and I had to put in in neutral and pump the clutch to get the pressure back. This only happened for the first five minutes. I drove the car for about 20 minutes, and checked the fluid levels. They were still full. I just went back out to start the car after a little over an hour of sitting, and the clutch still had pressure.

Under the pedals was wet. Pretty sure it was brake fluid. Master cylinder? How crucial is this for me to get fixed? I have driven this car 140,000km and have never checked it though I have had the car checked it was just a while ago. Is it safe it I drive my car with it topped up for now, and just monitor it each day? Or do I need to get this taken care of ASAP?

Thanks again for both your speedy response, and great info.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:57 PM   #4
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You should purchase a clutch master cylinder and get it taken care of as soon as possible. Brake fluid will eat away at the adhesives that hold the rubber pads on the brake and clutch pedal. You can expect those to fall off.

There is a bench bleeding process for bleeding the master cylinder before installing it. Directions on how to do this should come with the master cylinder, or you might be able to convince one of your mechanic buddies to show you how to do it. You'll have to bleed from the slave cylinder nipple, so you'll want to locate that on the transmission in the meantime. Since you work hand in hand with local shops, you might want to ask them if they can get discounted prices from dealers, and just get a new Ford part. If not, we get a 5% discount from Rock Auto.com. You can also call Steve at Tousley Ford, mention Focus Fanatics, and get a discount there as well. I'd try to get it locally if it was me- what you save might not be worth what you'd spend in brake fluid and pedal adhesive.

Clutch Master Cylinder Replacement thread

I'm not sure if the vacuum bleeder is in that or not. If you can't find one, bench bleed the master cylinder. Install it, fill the reservoir, wait for air to bleed up to the reservoir, then pump the clutch pedal vigorously for a minute or so. This should force all the air into the slave cylinder. Now you can gravity bleed: remove the cap from the reservoir (this is the first step for all bleeding procedures), fill if needed, loosen the slave cylinder nipple until fluid comes out, tighten slightly to stop fluid, attach a clear hose if you have one, open the nipple again, and bleed the slave until the fluid doesn't have any bubbles in it. Tighten the nipple, repeat this procedure until you don't get any more bubbles from the slave cylinder nipple. It should work just fine now.
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