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Discussion Starter #1
I replaced my clutch, master cylinder, slave and all the clutch bits. The clutch had been hanging up and not always releasing when the pedal went down (it was really bad when the car was cold - to the point of having to start the car in gear), the MC was leaking and the whole thing had over 100,000 mile on it.

New clutch works great, good feel, very light and responsive everything about feels new, as it should. Then we had a morning with a temperature in the low 40s and I had no clutch. Had to start the car in gear and until the car warmed up I had to pump the pedal numerous times to get it to release even a little. Works great when it warms up and now that our mornings are back in the 50s no more trouble.

Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong?
 

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Something's not adding up. Starting in gear with a clutch that won't release you'd be moving down the road as soon as the engine fired.

Welcome to FF
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That is what happens. I have to start the car in gear because with the engine turning I can't put the car gear with the engine running because everything is spinning. Very weid to have it happen only when pretty cold.
 

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Excuse a question that may not apply.

Have you tried putting it in another gear before trying to get into first/reverse when cold?

This is often necessary in colder weather even when all is working normally, to slow down the gears spinning more than usual because of the thicker oil.

I've had a hydraulic clutch issue once in the cold, but it was an old car & extreme cold.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll have try that the next time it gets cold, but even once I get moving it is tough to get into any gear for a couple of miles until stuff warms up. Might get cold enough next week to try it out.
Need to get this figure out before winter.
 

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Shouldn't be TOO stiff unless very cold. The getting into first/reverse procedure of trying another gear first can help at ANY temperature when at a stop.

What kind of transmission fluid did you use when changing the clutch?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Had a little chance to play with this in the morning. The clutch is clearly not disengaging when the temperature drops. It is not the gears in the transmission being stiff. It gets a little better by pumping the pedal a lot but when warm it works just fine.
 

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It is likely the hydraulic system, when it's cold the metal of one of the pistons is contracting to the point you lose seal. Since you have no leaking fluid I would guess the master cylinder. If you haven't tossed your old master cylinder you could clean it up and swap it back and test.
 

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How does the pedal feel on a cool morning?

Unless it goes part way to the floor without resistance changing the master won't help.

Saw another today that had a problem with clutch return spring, that can drop the pedal after sitting. I'll link that in a sec. http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=480985

Still wondering what trans. oil was used for the refill when the clutch replacement was done...
 

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The reason I'm leaning towards it being the master is this is the same type of failure people get when they say "my brakes sink to the floor when I push on them" yet there's no leaking and no fluid loss in the master reservoir. The difference is the temperature component of the failure but I think that is a red herring on this one. My guess is that each time it gets cold it's going to have a higher and higher temp point where it fails until eventually it's failing all the time.

Obviously, if your getting fluid loss and there's no leaks on the master or lines to the clutch then it's the clutch slave cylinder.

Crazy insane design on this one to put the slave cylinder INSIDE the bellhousing!
 

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You could well be right on this one tm, I'm just trying to get a better feel for what's happening from the OP.

Doesn't help that the light clutch on these doesn't have as much "feel" as some, "heavier" pedal is easier for feeling differences.

Yeah, direct action slave saves parts but it hides the hydraulics where they can't easily be serviced.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We did not change the transmission oil.
The hydraulic fluid is standard NAPA brake fluid.
With the car warmed up and the clutch working ok i have about 1 1/2 inches of pedal travel from the top before any resistance is felt.
I'll report how much play I have tomorrow morning in the upper 40's temps.

The MC is the second new one on the car. The first guy who worked on it got a second one when he could not get it to bleed out. I'm not going back to him ever again for a variety of reasons so maybe i'm just gonna have to have to try another new one.
 

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Trans oil question may seem odd, I just ask because some is usually lost when the trans is pulled to replace a clutch. With the drive shafts removed, loss through those holes while the trans is maneuvered out & back in is common.

Comparing "feel" between when it works well for you & when it doesn't can certainly help folks guess at your problem.

Tx
 

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Are you going to pull the MC and replace it or are you going to have a shop do it? From your description it sounded like you were doing your own work. Now it sounds like you have had a shop do the work? Could you clarify a bit?

Lots of people have said these systems don't bleed out unless they are pressure bled - but when I last did my clutch I did it the old fashioned way with an assistant pumping the clutch pedal and it worked fine.

If you had problems with the last shop to the point that your not going to take the car back there then I'm wondering if this is just typical shoddy workmanship.

The engine bays in these cars are really tight and a lot of mechanics who are used to manhandling transmissions around to replace clutches quickly get a rude awakening when all their little tricks to rush a clutch job don't work.

There's even a Youtube video out there by some self-proclaimed expert that purports to show how to replace a clutch in one of these where the guy has a big old prybar and is prying on the transmission to get it out, to the point that the transmission has an uncontrolled fall and bounces around on the concrete floor - my jaw must have dropped 6 inches when I saw that one.

There's a right way to do a quick clutch job on these cars and a wrong way, and the right way is not the way you do quick clutch jobs on most other cars. If you had a shop work on it that had never done one of these before they could have made all kinds of mistakes from hammering on the thing to get it back together to smashing or kinking a hydraulic line in frustration.

The secret to doing it quickly is partially disassembling the front suspension with the bolts on the upper control arm then partially dropping the entire subframe. Doing that gets you plenty of clearance and you can easily and safely get the trans in and out on a jack. You don't have to hammer apart ball joints or any of that rubbish. But doing it that way means the front end will have to be realigned so some shops will try it the way the Factory Service Manual documents which is the ass-backwards way, to save the cost of an alignment, that's when they discover there's no clearance.

In my case I just buy the "lifetime" alignments from a major chain store (they always have sales on them) on my vehicles.
 
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