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Old 10-16-2012, 04:55 AM   #1
roswelltop
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Help! Burned out clutch.

On September 4, my adult son picked up his 2004 Focus ZX4, with a brand new OEM clutch kit installed to replace clutch that failed. Kit was $364, and installation was another $390 for 6.5 hours labor.

This past Friday he had to have the car towed back to the shop, because it appeared the clutch failed. The owner of this large, reputable shop called him and told him that the new clutch was burned out. He went on to say that the clutch had been installed perfectly, and that he (my son) must have driven constantly with his foot on the clutch! He has put about 4,000 miles on the car since 09/04/2012.

In response to the "foot on the clutch" comment, my son said "...I understand the fragility and expense. The only time I put my foot on the clutch is to change gears."

I am lost here, as I am not a mechanic, nor is my boy.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this ? My son bought this car with 85,000 miles in December, 2010. He drove it all 2011 and till September 2012 with NO clutch problems and during that time, he put over 30,000 miles on the car. Are we to believe that he suddenly started driving with his foot on the clutch at all times after September 4th?

Anybody have any thoughts as to how we might analyze what has happened here and if the new clutch possibly was defective or installed improperly?

Thanks very much.


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Old 10-16-2012, 05:20 AM   #2
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the clutch kit itself IS still under warranty. They are trying to keep from having to do a warranty job. 4k miles is far too early even riding the clutch.

They just installed it last month... as far as you should be concerned, it is either installer error (they say it was installed perfectly... right, because every job ever done was done perfectly), faulty parts (I have seen far too much of this lately, OEM or not), or improper servicing method (did they resurface or replace the flywheel?).

the slave cylinder adjusts on its own so that is not a possibility.

I am betting on failed parts... in which case the worst that should happen is he ends up paying for the labor to do the job again. However, its only been. month and I'd have to bite the bullet on that one and replace no charge. Its usually when you get several months down the road that labor costs will be involved again.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:25 AM   #3
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I would like to say one more bit about the slave cylinder though. it is inside the transaxle (transmission on front wheel drive cars). On the slave cylinder is the clutch fork and throw out bearing assembly. there is the possibility that it could be binding and not allow full engagement of the clutch. this is possible if they didn't clean out the bell housing and/or lube the input shaft that the bearing slides on. they should have checked for any burrs or other wear that could catch on the bearing. It could also be faulty parts.


edit: this should also be posted in the General Technical Chat section... I will get it moved. You might have a little more input that way.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:42 AM   #4
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Michael, thank you for taking the time to help me, and for the valuable input.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:23 PM   #5
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Update: The clutch that lasted less than 2 months is being replaced under the 12 month warranty, by Ford.

However it seems that the cause of the failure of the new clutch is a bad flywheel. Seems that the flywheel should "move" no more than 3/4 inch, whereas the one in this car is moving some 1.5 inches, and literally tore the clutch to pieces.

Is it likely that the flywheel was bad at the time the clutch was replaced in September, and simply was NOT detected by the mechanic doing the job ? The car has about 115,000 miles and I do not know when / if the clutch had ever been replaced prior to September.

Or, is it just impossible to determine if the flywheel condition existed when the clutch was replaced ?
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