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Clutch advice

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Old 19 Jan 2011, 10:14 am
mikelikestobike's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 365
Default Clutch advice

The past few days my clutch has felt kind of weird. There isn't much resistance as you press the pedal to engage and there isn't much pedal left. It still seems to be functioning fine however.

Also, I've been experiencing an intermittent stalling problem - someone suggested it might be clutch related: Stalling problem

I'm pretty ignorant about car stuff, I just didn't grow up working on them - but I have an interest in them and have been able to teach myself things over the years. I've been able to figure some things out. I'm not afraid to work on my cars. I have the Haynes manual. A clutch is definitely outside of my experience, however. I'm newly divorced and a recently moved to be nearer my kids, so $$ is tight, tight, tight.

That being said, any ideas on my clutch problem? Is it something that can be adjusted? Is it just wearing out? I've only had my PT for about 6 months and don't know much about the history previously. She has about 63K miles on it. I'm the 2nd owner and bought it from a dealer, I was told that they did most of the work on it. I think it was pretty well maintained. I don't know if the clutch had ever been replaced though. I did buy a little warranty with it, for major stuff, but I think I remember it excluding clutches (I'll have to check to be sure).

I guess my real questions are these:

a. Do I need a new clutch? What are the symptoms of a dying clutch?

b. Can you drive a manual car without a working clutch? Or if it goes will I be up a creek? (I live alone and have no family nearby - new to the area= no real friends - if it goes I'm a walking...)

c. Is a clutch replacement something a regular shade-tree kinda guy can do in his apartment complex's parking lot? (I've changed oil and brakes there...) Please be honest - I won't be offended.

d. If not, what does a typical place charge? How long does it take?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice.
'03 Manual non-turbo in Silver w/ Factory flames.
K & N Drop in, Modded airbox, MSD Superconductor wires, Strut bar, blue dots in taillights. Sold 12/13

Last edited by mikelikestobike; 19 Jan 2011 at 10:31 am.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 19 Jan 2011, 10:41 am
UptownSport's Avatar
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Location: 55403
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Default Re: Clutch advice

Sounds like the clutch (per se) is fully functional, the hydraulic mechanism for disengaging is what's failed.
You sure can drive a car with out dis engaging the clutch.
Not fun though!

One of these guys might send you some 'info' on the clutch if you'd send them your e-mail.
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Old 19 Jan 2011, 10:13 pm
Matt42's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Glendale, AZ
Posts: 496
Default Re: Clutch advice

First thing, check the clutch hydraulic fluid level. It uses brake fluid, and it looks like a brake fluid reservoir right next to the brake fluid reservoir. If it's low, it can indicate a leak in the linkage line, master cylinder or slave cylinder. It can also indicate that the clutch is wearing out. If it's low, add some fluid and see if that improves matters. Fixing the hydraulic system is much easier than replacing the clutch. You can probably replace it yourself. It ain't simple, but it isn't major.

Second, where is the clutch "action" taking place? Is it all in the upper inch or two, in the middle, or near the bottom of the clutch pedal swing? As a clutch wears, *generally,* all the "business" will get done near the top, just as you start to push. Once it starts to act like an on-off switch, it's toast.

Third, does the clutch slip? The meatball approach is to set the parking brake with the car parked, put the transmission in second or third, and see how easy it is to kill the engine. You should kill the engine immediately. If not, it's clutch time.

I've never done a front wheel drive clutch. So I can't comment on the DIY aspects. When you eventually get it done, DO NOT try to save a few bucks by having rebuilt clutch parts installed. The times I've had that done, I've been sorry, sorry, sorry, regardless of the so-called warranty. Spend the extra fifty bucks for new clutch parts.
1996 Dodge diesel 4X4, 2001 PT Cruiser Touring with rear disc brakes, [Now gone 2004 PT Cruiser Base 5 speed], 2007 Chrysler T&C Touring
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Old 20 Jan 2011, 03:02 am
UptownSport's Avatar
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Default Re: Clutch advice

I wouldn't worry about the clutch, yet.

Agree, though, Every Neon uses the PT clutch, unless they are doing some serious boost.
It's a great clutch.
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