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Clutch Slave or Master Cylinder Problem?

Darryl G

Inactive
Hey guys. I was just driving the 1992 Honda Accord wagon 5 speed stick shift and there's a problem with the clutch. It's been about 30 years since I've messed with clutches on a car (since my 1976 Datsun B-210) so I'm a bit rusty on dianostics here. This is both my wife's and my errand mobile...good little car and only 115k miles on it.

Here's the problem...I think it's the slave cylinder but wanted to check first. First of all, it was a low on fluid and I topped it off but that didn't correct the problem. The top half of the clutch pedal is basically dead...you can tell that depressing it over the first half of it's throw doesn't engage anything. So effectively, to disengage it and engage it from gear are very close to eachother...you basically have to pin it to the floor to disengage it and it grabs just a little ways up from there.

So is this indicative of a failing slave cylinder? I know it was pretty cheap and easy to change on my Datsun...it actually failed while I was in a line to get on a ferry...that was fun, lol. I know they tend to leak before they fail entirely too. Is there anything else that could be the problem?

Thanks in advance
 

FIXDISS

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Roanoke.Al
How low on fluid was it ? If bad low it could have air in it and need to bleed it like your brakes. If that does not improve the pedal then look for a leak at the slave cylinder(fluid had to go somewhere). You my be able to buy and install kits in either the slave cylinder or clutch master cylinder if that is the case. If no leak at the slave cylinder be sure to check where the clutch rod goes thru the firewall into the clutch master cylinder.
 
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Darryl G

Inactive
Yah it was pretty low, well the little reservoir was empty but it didn't take much fluid. Actually decided to just send it into the shop Monday. There is some fluid on the floor near the clutch pedal. Just glad I drive it myself because wifey didn't mention it. She said she was having trouble getting it in gear but thought that's just because it's cold out.

Thanks for taking the time to reply :) I'm just not into doing outdoor car repairs in the winter, ya know.
 

topsites

LawnSite Fanatic
Yah it was pretty low, well the little reservoir was empty but it didn't take much fluid. Actually decided to just send it into the shop Monday. There is some fluid on the floor near the clutch pedal. Just glad I drive it myself because wifey didn't mention it. She said she was having trouble getting it in gear but thought that's just because it's cold out.

Thanks for taking the time to reply :) I'm just not into doing outdoor car repairs in the winter, ya know.
Ahhh yes, well I see that after I leave a reply lol
I think you did the right thing in ways, it's not much fun replacing them if that's the case.
And I'm leaving the information below in case it helps someone else.

Anyhow:

There exist two types of clutches, one is cable-operated, the other is hydraulic.

So I am assuming your diagnosis of it being a hydraulic-operated clutch is correct...
Because more than a few clutches are operated via a cable, and what you describe could be
as indicative of a cable that either needs adjusting / tightening, or replacing...

Certainly Hondas I am almost sure that some of them are cable operated, I guess I could be wrong...

Anyhow...
If it is a hydraulic clutch then it's most likely the pedal-operated cylinder that needs replacing,
when they start to leaking it's usually the seal gone bad and unfortunately they don't rebuild these,
either way it involves removal so replacement is the answer.
One of my cars has one of those, usually the way I can tell it's leaking is because there's friggin' hydraulic fluid
all up inside my driver's side floor board, now it doesn't mean all cars are like that.
But there should be some sort of hydraulic fluid someplace, if it's leaking, one would think...

So more than anything you have to be sure of whether it really is a hydraulic,
or whether it's a cable-operated clutch...
Personally speaking I think the cable operated ones are way easier, but either way
you'll most likely want to check further inside of a Haynes / Chilton's manual.
 
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Darryl G

Inactive
Hmmm..i wrote a reply but don't see it here. Yah, I think it is hydraulic operated. There is fluid running down from near the pedal..making a mess of the vinyl there.

I like to diagnose things the best I can even if I'm gonna have a shop do the repair. Helps keep them honest for one and maybe cut down on diagnostic time. Go to a dishonest shop and tell them you have a clutch problem and you could very well end up with a whole new clutch.

The problem came on suddenly it seems..I drove it earlier in the week and it was fine. Does feel like it's probably the cylinder under the pedal...I can feel the return spring of course for the first 1/2 of it's throw but there's no resistance as you'd usually feel. Should be an easy repair for the shop..it's actually going to Midas..the local one is pretty good here....they're honest which is a big plus.

Well thanks topsides and fixdiss. I'm follow up with exactly what the problem was after it comes out of the shop.
 

T.M. LAWNS

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
N.W. ARKANSAS
Hmmm..i wrote a reply but don't see it here. Yah, I think it is hydraulic operated. There is fluid running down from near the pedal..making a mess of the vinyl there.

I like to diagnose things the best I can even if I'm gonna have a shop do the repair. Helps keep them honest for one and maybe cut down on diagnostic time. Go to a dishonest shop and tell them you have a clutch problem and you could very well end up with a whole new clutch.

The problem came on suddenly it seems..I drove it earlier in the week and it was fine. Does feel like it's probably the cylinder under the pedal...I can feel the return spring of course for the first 1/2 of it's throw but there's no resistance as you'd usually feel. Should be an easy repair for the shop..it's actually going to Midas..the local one is pretty good here....they're honest which is a big plus.

Well thanks topsides and fixdiss. I'm follow up with exactly what the problem was after it comes out of the shop.
Darryl, your clutch is hydraulic operated, you should change both the master & slave cly. they are both probadly the same age ( miles ) You can fix this your self, it's not hard. You will need some one to help you bleed the system to get all the air out. Make sure you have about 1\8 of an inch of free play on the pedal rod when the pedal is all the way up.
 
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Darryl G

Inactive
Actually I think the master was replaced a few years back and this one was just weeping a little at that point. I'll just sent it out though...maybe if it was warmer or I could get more than 1/3 of the car in the garage, lol. It's wifey's daily driver so just wanna get it fixed quickly and properly. She'll just drive the VW Eurovan Weekender until then. That's more the kid, road trip and camping mobile. I actually tried towing my loaded trailer with it it just to see if I could use it as a backup if necessary...tows and stops fine, just gotta make sure you balance the trailer right or it does the boingy thing...it's got a 3/4 ton chassis and extra load tires.
 
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Darryl G

Inactive
Just an update. It was the clutch master cylinder again. Like 80 bucks for the part and $113 labor plus brake fluid and tax..came to just under $225. Solved the problem.

Thanks for the input guys.
 
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