Author Topic: Dad! I have no clutch.  (Read 204 times)

Offline stokester

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Dad! I have no clutch.
« on: July 04, 2019, 09:02:12 PM »
My oldest daughter really likes her 2003 Saturn Ion Quad Coupe and it has been quite a good reliable vehicle albeit with Dad's maintenance and needed repairs.

This call was made from the parking lot at her apartment complex.  The initial description had me thinking that the clutch master cylinder had failed and the initial inspection did not show any fluid leaks.  The slave cylinder/throwout bearing is inside the transmission and therefore not accessible nor viewable.  I replaced the master cylinder and struggled to bleed it which is a common issue with these as the bleeder just outside the transmission case and to bleed it the plastic tube is unlocked and pulled out about 1/4".  Not the best in my opinion.  I replaced the MC and attempted to bleed it using a MityVac to no avail.  This led me to have it towed to the house.

At the house I used my shop air vacuum bleeder as well as my pressure bleeder without success.  This led me to visit my former employer and get the GM MC and was then able to bleed it and get clutch pressure.  This was short-lived as when I went to return it there was no clutch.

So, the only other component in the system is the slave cylinder which happens to be hidden in the transmission.

The transmission removal, while a bit complex requiring it to be dropped out the bottom after removing the cradle is not too difficult.  … as long as you have the necessary tools and a hoist or engine cradle. 

Disassembly, and the new spot under the transmission, pretty much proved the slave cylinder/throwout bearing was to blame.  I was surprised to see that the clutch disc showed minimal wear after more than 170K miles. 

The kit (disc, pressure plate, slave cylinder) is on its way and I’ll have it back on the road next week.
Nick
Yorktown, VA

Offline goodfellow

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2019, 09:22:54 PM »
Great job Nick -- well done! You're a good dad -

Online john k

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2019, 11:28:11 PM »
Good going.  Hate engineering like this that is good only for the assembly line worker.

Offline muddy

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2019, 01:26:23 PM »
Great work, that's no easy job


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Offline slip knot

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2019, 03:16:34 PM »
I recently volunteered my shop to a kid at work to help him replace the clutch in his Zoom-Zoom mazda. Now I'm not too sure about it.  ;D

Offline goodfellow

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2019, 04:17:58 PM »
I did that one time - volunteered my lift to a hut replacing the rear end of his 4-Runner. What a disaster - he worked on it for two days and then just let it sit in my garage. I finally got sick and tired of the whole deal and finished it for him- then put it on the street; where it sat for about six additional weeks before he even bothered to come back.

Lesson learned -


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Offline slip knot

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2019, 05:48:44 PM »
This kid doesn't have another vehicle so it will have to be done over the weekend. But damn that looks like a pretty big job....

Offline stokester

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2019, 10:51:14 AM »
This kid doesn't have another vehicle so it will have to be done over the weekend. But damn that looks like a pretty big job....
The clutch kit is supposed to arrive today.  Even at my cost I could not beat aftermarket over the OEM parts and come to find out the clutch and pressure plate are from the OEM supplier, not sure about the slave cylinder.  Plus the LuK kit comes with a clutch alignment tool!

As I was reading up on how this all comes apart using a Saturn forum, YouTube and my Haynes manual it became very apparent that experience and an understanding of how a transverse-mounted engine/transmission works and supported is invaluable.  The YouTube video author had no clue on what a clock spring is and therefore removed the steering rack from the cradle rather than separating the intermediate shaft to avoid "anything with the air bag".  This along with completely removing the calipers and struts made it a bigger job than it needed to be.  Not a quick process but if done methodically it does come apart quite easily.

Nick
Yorktown, VA

Offline stokester

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 05:21:35 PM »
Dad, I have a new clutch!

The LuK clutch kit is quite complete to include a small packet of spline lube and is the OEM to include the slave cylinder/throwout bearing by Valeo.  I picked up some ACDelco Manual Transmission and Transfer Case Fluid which is essentially Dexron III.  There is a TSB to use this where Dexron III is called for in a manual transmission.

Installation was pretty straightforward after aligning the clutch disc and torquing the pressure plate although maneuvering the transmission, lowering the engine and using a motorcycle/atv lift to align the transmission was no fun in the summer heat.  After installing the transmission I bled the clutch and was able to get pedal pressure to ensure it worked before installing the subframe and reassembling the front end.  I was able to balance the subframe using 2x4s and the mc/atv lift to get it into position.

After all the reassembly it felt as if the clutch pedal engagement zone was too low which meant there was probably a bit of air in the system. As mentioned before this system is difficult to bleed even with the right equipment because to open the bleed nipple the locking clip for the hose has to be disengaged and pulled out about 1/4”.  I found my shop air vacuum system seemed to be pulling air in from around the hose o-ring so I used my Motive Products pressure bleeder and got that last bit of air out of the system.

Bottom Line…
This is a repair that can be done at home but do your homework to make sure you have the necessary equipment/tools and know what you are doing.
Nick
Yorktown, VA

Offline slip knot

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 05:27:21 PM »
Good job!! That does look like a nice kit. Alignment tool and all.

Offline goodfellow

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 06:03:28 PM »
Excellent -- glad it was a success. Saving a few shekels here and there on doing your own repairs sure adds up quickly into big $$$ sums.

Offline stokester

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Re: Dad! I have no clutch.
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2019, 03:13:31 PM »
Excellent -- glad it was a success. Saving a few shekels here and there on doing your own repairs sure adds up quickly into big $$$ sums.
Yes, this job is very labor-intensive so Dad's labor makes it worthwhile on what could be a keep-or-discard ($1500+) decision on a 16 year old, 170k+ vehicle if shop labor was added to the parts price.

Just like my motorcycles (newest is 1994), the only way economically to use them as daily drivers is to maintain and repair yourself.
Nick
Yorktown, VA