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Old 07-02-2013, 08:35 PM   #1
smallblockfever
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Losing pressure in clutch pedal

I drive a 2002 SVT and every now and then my clutch loses pressure totally.

For example, today I was driving everything is working fine. Getting onto the interstate, and I push clutch to the floor and try to select third, but it wouldn't go in at all. I took my foot off the clutch and it stayed on the floor. I tried "pumping" it with my foot and got it back to its resting position and gave it a few seconds to regain pressure. It got pressure and all was well. In 30 minutes of city driving it happens maybe 8 times.

Leading up to losing all pressure it usually goes like this.

Takeoff-- Fine
Shift to second-- realize I'm losing a bit of pressure (clutch only lets me use 3/4 of my normal throw before it catches)
shift to third-- even less pressure
shift to fourth-- can't shift.


NOTE the gear points above aren't specific. It can happen to any gear, I'm trying to give an idea of what usually happens.


Episodes like this have happened about four separate times in the last year or so. Each time I resolved the problem by bleeding the system with new brake fluid thinking it was air in the lines. After that it will work great and wonderful for a month or two. Then it will start again and I have to bleed it again.


I'm thinking it's a slow leak of sorts from somewhere that causes me to lose pressure, so master cylinder maybe? I'm at a total loss otherwise and I'm getting rather frustrated. These kind of problems always seem to pop up at the wrong times huh?? haha hope you guys can help


I've tried my best here to explain my situation here, but if I wasn't clear on something just let me know and I will try to explain again.


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Old 07-02-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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The clutch master cylinder usually leaks inside the passenger compartment (on the clutch pedal and the floor mat in my case). It sounds more like the slave cylinder, inside the transmission.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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When you bleed it, is there air entrapped?
Sometimes a leak lets brake fluid out, sometimes it just lets air get sucked in.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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I agree with elsolo, sounds like you are getting air in the lines. not to insult you or anything but are you making sure you snug your bleeder screws down properly. when you bleed your system is your fluid still clear or not? sounds like somewhere you are getting air in the system. what you should do is if you can find a slab of concrete that isn't all stained from fluids and park and pump u your clutch until you lose complete pressure and then wait till it builds up and then repeat a couple times then pay attention and move your car, if you are expelling fluid you will see just move your car a car link so try to get your back bumper where your front bumper is OR take it into a shop lol.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fawzie13R View Post
I agree with elsolo, sounds like you are getting air in the lines. not to insult you or anything but are you making sure you snug your bleeder screws down properly. when you bleed your system is your fluid still clear or not? sounds like somewhere you are getting air in the system. what you should do is if you can find a slab of concrete that isn't all stained from fluids and park and pump u your clutch until you lose complete pressure and then wait till it builds up and then repeat a couple times then pay attention and move your car, if you are expelling fluid you will see just move your car a car link so try to get your back bumper where your front bumper is OR take it into a shop lol.
Yea I definitely make sure all my bleeder screws are rather snug, to the point that I worry they are over tightened. See I'm thrown for a loop here because all the symptoms point to air in the lines, but it's just so odd. I only lose pressure when I'm driving. I would have to do a LOT of pumping to get it to lose pressure when parked, even if the car is idling (if it is even possible to do that). I only lose pressure when the car is moving.

Note: No signs of leakage around the pedals.

thoughts?
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:59 PM   #6
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I'd replace the clutch master cylinder since that is known to fail. It may not be leaking fluid but when you push the clutch in it could be sucking in air. Plus it's the cheapest and easiest (compared to doing the clutch) part to change in the clutch system. If it still does it after that then I'd suspect the slave cylinder which would mean you have to drop the trans to replace. Best to replace the whole clutch at the same time with a clutch kit since it will come with the slave cylinder. You can find the stock Luk clutch kit online for around 350 bucks at most places.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:09 AM   #7
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Not a bad idea, I checked rock auto and a master cylinder is anywhere between $30 and $50. If I do end up having to replace the clutch, is it worth the money to go ahead and upgrade to a stage 2 or equivalent? I have plans down the road to go forced induction but that's a year or two away.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:35 AM   #8
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Hmm that's a loaded question. If you know for sure you are going F/I then it wouldn't hurt to do the upgrade now. The only downside can be increased pedal effort over stock. When I did my clutch in my SVT I wanted to go with a light weight flywheel specifically the Center Force clutch since I have one on my Yellow focus and it has over 100k mi on it with lots of track runs on it and still grabs great. Last time we had the trans out it still had lots of life left in it so it's still in there. The only problem is they don't make a clutch that will fit the flywheels out there and only have the clutch and flywheel combo available for the SVT and it's ridiculously expensive. So I ended up just going with a stock Luk clutch kit. I wanted to pair the stock clutch with a aftermarket flywheel but couldn't find one at the time that didn't have a ETA of 6 weeks.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:33 AM   #9
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You have bled four times and now frustrated? Seems to me that is self induced, your warning occurred with the first or surely the second bleed. Air getting in is a defective part, no magic there.

The wrong time? You had a year by your own words.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
You have bled four times and now frustrated? Seems to me that is self induced, your warning occurred with the first or surely the second bleed. Air getting in is a defective part, no magic there.

The wrong time? You had a year by your own words.
The thing is, bleeding the clutch system would make the clutch function perfectly for two, three months before it would start to act up again. And when it would act up, it wouldn't be so bad, maybe lose pressure once in few days of use. In addition, there were other things that dearly needed to be addressed such as tires, alternator, and oxygen sensors (upcoming inspection stickers). In dealing with those issues this clutch issue was not feasible due to lack of funds and information (I didn't quite have enough knowledge of the focus nor enough knowledge of the problem to attempt at making a diagnosis).

That brings us to the current time frame where I am having a much more vigorous flare up with this clutch issue. Now that I have allotted some time I can appropriately address this issue with the attention it warrants. As for funds I don't really have a choice but to come up with what is necessary. However, no other major repairs are impending so this repair is more feasible than it was in a previous time.


Now for an update:

I've spent the last few days doing some touch up paint on the brake calipers and repainting the valve cover. Thus, the car has been sitting since Tuesday evening. This loss in clutch pressure first reappeared Tuesday morning.
I got the car back together (fresh oil and oil filter btw) and figured, "heck why don't I go ahead and pump the clutch with the car off like someone suggested on the forum and see if I lose pressure."

Four or five quick pumps and all pressure was gone.
I got down and pumped it with my hand to make it lose pressure. I saw no leakage of fluid, but I could clearly hear a sucking (or blowing) or something near the top of the pedal, where I assume the clutch master cylinder is. I haven't determined if this is in fact a suction or expulsion sound of air or fluid but let it be known that something is in fact making noise.

I started her up. Had to try several times to get the car in reverse because putting the clutch in would lose pressure before I could shift into gear.
On the road clutching was difficult. I had maybe an inch of play in the clutch pedal before it would catch the gear and begin putting power to pavement.
Around the block I went, same story so I left it in second and just cruised.

Got home and didn't raise the garage quick enough to coast in so I had to sit for a few seconds.
Door fully raised I tried to put the car in gear. Three attempts to get the lever in first gear, and once I did the clutch lost pressure with the car idling in first gear and it killed.
Two more times I did that.
On one of those times I had trouble starting the car because I put the clutch in to start the car and it lost pressure, thus the car wouldn't think the clutch was actually in.

Finally got the car in the garage and here I am. I'm now more leaning towards clutch master cylinder. I say this because 2 owners before me was some punk who put a stage 3 clutch in the car (even though it was bone stock). So when the previous owner got the car she put a stock clutch in because she couldn't operate a stage 3 clutch. This is me assuming that somewhere along those lines the slave cylinder was replaced.

Is there something I may be missing?



Sidenote: I previously owned a 1999 Infiniti g20 that I had to replace the valve cover gasket on. The SVT valve cover itself as well as the gasket are WAY better designed- made me a little happy
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