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Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

 
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Old 22 Jul 2010, 02:57 pm
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Cool Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

I have a 2005 PT with a manual transmission and about 85K miles. I am new to PTs having bought this one about 5 months ago, most of my previous cars have been Hondas.

About two weeks ago when setting off in the morning my PT would not let me shift into gear. After following the recommended diagnostics, checking fluid levels etc, I came to the conclusion that the slave cylinder was probably bad, and purchased a replacement part.

The master and slave cylinders are replaced as a single assembly, but despite what the service manual said, and online research confirmed, they do NOT come pre-filled and do not come with a new reservoir either. On my 2005 the master cylinder connects to the brake reservoir instead of having its own. I think that change was made for the 2006 model year, but must have been a mid-year change on mine.

The new assembly was very difficult to fill with fluid, and extremely difficult to bleed following the service manual procedures. It turns out that you have to use the 2006/2007 procedures which describe how to open the bleed port by releasing a clip and extending the tube. After finally bleeding it correctly I was able to shift correctly and all was well for about 24 hours.

After sitting in my work parking lot all day when I went to go home it refused to shift again. No amount of peddle actuation or even fully bleeding it again would make it shift.

I brought it to a mechanic and he suspected that the new assembly must be bad, so I purchased a new one and had him install it. The new part acts little better than the one before it, and the clutch will still not disengage.

My mechanic is now telling me that he thinks the clutch needs replacing, which of course is very expensive.

* The transmission works perfectly aside from the clutch not disengaging, there is no grinding, extra noise, slipping or any kind of other problem.
* The throwout bearing is not making noise.
* I am able to drive it without using the clutch by matching speeds; the clutch engages fully.
* The hydraulic system is not leaking, there is no sign of fluid loss.
* It was very difficult even for the mechanic to bleed the system, he had to do it outside the car, prior to install and it still took an hour.
* The mechanic is able to disengage the clutch manually using a bar, but says that it takes too much force.
* The mechanic has not worked on PT Cruisers before.

My Questions are these:

1. Does anyone have experience replacing the slave/master assembly on a PT? If so, are there special bleeding requirements that must be followed?

2. Can a PT clutch fail in a way that prevents it from fully disengaging? Is that common?

3. Should I have a mechanic with PT experience look at it? If so, how do you find one? The dealership wants $150/hr to look at it. God knows what it would cost to replace the clutch if that is what is wrong.

4. What would you do?

Thanks for your time, I appreciate any advice.

-Mike


Last edited by mmatrix; 22 Jul 2010 at 06:40 pm. Reason: Adding Image
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Old 22 Jul 2010, 05:45 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

What service manual are you using? The slave cylinder is not replaced with the master cylinder, and it bolts onto the transaxle, not the master. Here's an excerpt from the factory Chrysler manual:

1.6/2.4L (Except Diesel and Turbo)
NOTE: To prevent drainage of clutch master cylinder assembly upon slave cylinder removal, it is necessary to make sure brake master cylinder fluid level is full and reservoir cap is installed tight.

1. Verify proper brake fluid level and top off if necessary. Install and tighten brake master cylinder cap to prevent clutch hydraulic system drainage.

2. Raise vehicle on hoist.

3. Using suitable screwdriver, release both slave cylinder hydraulic line snap ring retainers (1)(Hydraulic Tube Retainer Clips). Do not separate at this time.

4. Remove slave cylinder-to-transaxle mounting bolts (2)(Clutch Slave Cylinder at Transaxle—1.6L Models)(Clutch Slave Cylinder at Transaxle—2.4L Models).

5. Have replacement slave cylinder ready. Remove slave cylinder (1) from transaxle and separate from hydraulic tube. Quickly attach replacement slave cylinder to plumbing and secure with both retaining clips.


The master is located behind the brake booster, and yes, the clutch system uses the brake resevior and brake fluid.
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2010 PT Cruiser Classic, Deep Water Blue

Last edited by heifetz17; 22 Jul 2010 at 05:50 pm.
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Old 22 Jul 2010, 05:56 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

heifetz17, I have a 2051 page PDF of the Chrysler Service manual, it claims to cover through the 2005 model year. I am prepared to believe it may be not correct for my car. What are you referencing?
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Old 22 Jul 2010, 06:01 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

Just to clarify, I have replaced the assembly twice now, and had it professionally installed the 2nd time. The clutch will still not disengage fully. It has done so several times, and for a day at a time even, but it will start to fail within 24 hours.

If I didn't know better I would swear it was a hydraulic leak, or air seeping in the system.

But my real concern is that the problem is really in the clutch, and not the hydraulic at all, but I can't figure out how a clutch can fail in that way.

-Mike
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Old 22 Jul 2010, 06:05 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

I'm a dealership employee, so my source is Chrysler's online manual that dealership technicians use. When you say you replaced "the assembly", did you only replace the slave cylinder, or did you replace the master as well? They're two different components with two different locations.
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Old 22 Jul 2010, 06:11 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

I am grateful for your time! My local dealership would not discuss it with me, of course that is not their business so I don't blame them.

I have, both times, replaced the assembly, which is the master cylinder and pre-bent hosing connected to the slave cylinder. It is bolted to the firewall at the master end, and the transaxle at the lower. You have to disconnect and move aside the brake booster assembly to gain access to the master, other than that it is straight forward.

Where my documentation let me down is in describing it as a pre-filled assembly, and showing it connecting to a dedicated reservoir. Maybe my docs only cover the 2004?

Bleeding the unit was very difficult, and I never got it completely bled myself, but the mechanic claims to have. He says that he thinks that it is giving "full travel" but that the clutch arm is not moving far enough.

When moving the arm manually with a bar it will disengage, but he says it feels too heavy, but he is not a PT guy at all, maybe it is normal.
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Old 22 Jul 2010, 06:14 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

I just checked my receipt and the part/assembly is #5273512AC - 705 Actuator -H

Is it possible that this is the wong part for this car? I know there are a few possible transmissions.
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Old 22 Jul 2010, 06:21 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

The chrysler dealer verified my VIN twice when I ordered the part, but if it is of any use to you, the last 9 digits are : 95T541803.
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Old 23 Jul 2010, 06:17 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

I have some new information about this problem, my mechanic took apart the clutch in preparation of putting in a new clutch kit and discovered that there was a pin loose inside the dual-mass flywheel and that it was getting lodged and preventing the clutch from disengaging. The balance springs in the flywheel showed a lot of damage, and the pressure plate fingers showed uneven wear.

The interesting thing about this is that there was a recall in 2003 for this exact problem! I am trying to see if Chrysler will help me out with the cost of parts at least since it was clearly a known problem.
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Old 23 Jul 2010, 06:40 pm
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Default Re: Hydraulic Clutch Problem?

That part you listed was the correct part for your VIN.

Do you have a recall number? I can't find any clutch recalls for the 2003 model year. There's only a TSB for a noisy clutch while in neutral and the pedal released.
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