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    Thread: GUIDE: Testing your clutch in your driveway (and a parking lot, too)

    1. Member VeeDubDriver1990's Avatar
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      Jul 19th, 2004
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      1981 Rabbit Pickup, 1990 Cabriolet, 1993 Corrado VR6 (up for sale)
      07-01-2005 11:21 PM #1
      Here are a few self-diagnosis tests you can perform in your driveway
      or an empty parking lot that'll tell you if you need a new clutch or just
      need to adjust it. Manual transmissions only, remember
      And these checks will work with any car equipped with a manual
      transmission.
      First, a hard clutch pedal (which makes us all have the strongest left
      legs out of anyone we know, LOL! ) is usually caused by a
      stretched out cable, which could also make it seem like there's
      something wrong with your clutch. I would recommend getting a new
      cable before worrying that there's a problem with your clutch [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

      To check for Clutch Slippage in your driveway or a
      parking lot-
      1. Check and adjust clutch pedal free travel (not necessary with a self
      adjusting clutch cable)
      2. Warm up the engine to operating temperature, BLOCK the wheels,
      and apply the parking brake completely.
      3. Shift the transmission into its highest gear and let out the clutch
      pedal in a smooth, normal manner. The engine should stall
      immediately- a delay would indicate slow engagement and slipping.

      To check for Clutch Slippage on a road test (or empty
      parking lot)-
      1. Check and adjust clutch pedal free travel (not necessary with a self
      adjusting clutch cable).
      2. Drive to an area with very little traffic. Accelerate slowly and
      drive at 15 to 20mph (24 to 32kph) in the highest transmission gear.
      Use the lowest speed at which the vehicle will operate smoothly.
      3. Depress the accelerator completely to make a wide-open throttle
      acceleration, and listen to the engine rpm or watch the tachometer.
      The engine should increase steadily as the vehicle speeds up.
      Any clutch slipping will occur as the engine enters its power band, where
      it produces maximum torque, around 1500 to 3000rpm, depending on
      engine design. If the engine speed flares upward, the clutch is
      slipping and needs service. Slipping becomes even more evident if
      this test is made while driving up an incline.

      A test for clutch spin down is done to find a clutch that is not releasing
      properly. Hard shifting into gear from neutral, sometimes
      accompanied with gear clash, can be caused by a condition called
      "drag" (which is the clutch not properly releasing).
      Spin down is the time it takes for the clutch disc and transmission
      gears to spin to a stop when the clutch is released (push down on the
      clutch pedal). Note that this time will vary depending on clutch disc
      diameter and transmission drag.
      To check Clutch Spin Down-
      1. Check and adjust clutch pedal free travel (not necessary with a self
      adjusting clutch cable).
      2. Warm up the engine and transmission to operating temperatures.
      3. With the engine running at idle speed and the transmission in
      neutral, push in the clutch pedal, wait 9 seconds, and
      shift the transmission into reverse (a non-synchronized gear). The
      shift should occur silently. Gear clash or grinding indicates a
      dragging clutch that has not been released completely.
      Note- the 9 second time period is very long- you will find some cars
      that will shift quietly into reverse in 3 or 4 seconds. If a clutch fails a
      spin down test, it probably needs to be replaced.

      To check Clutch Pedal Operation (requires a helper)-
      1. With the hood open and the engine off, have your helper work the
      clutch pedal slowly through a full apply and release while you check for
      noises and inspect for improper movement of the linkage and pivot
      points. You can often pinpoint the location of noises by placing your
      hand at different points to feel for the vibration that accompanies
      some noises or to dampen a noise. The noise will often go away when
      you apply pressure to the problem area.
      2. As your helper moves the pedal smoothly and evenly, inspect the
      linkage points from under the hood (or vehicle) for improper
      movement, binding, or noise. Also, check for excessive flexing of the
      engine bulkhead or firewall. On vehicles with self adjusting clutches,
      check to see that the adjuster cam and locking mechanism is
      operating correctly. On vehicles with hydraulic clutches, check to ensure
      that the slave cylinder is moving an adequate distance (on vehicles
      that have externally mounted slave cylinders- I believe later model
      VWs have internal slave cylinders).

      To perform a Clutch Pedal Noise Check-
      1. Check and adjust clutch pedal free travel (not necessary with a self
      adjusting clutch cable).
      2. Warm up the engine and transmission to operating temperatures.
      3. Set the parking brake, and with the engine at idle speed and the
      transmission in neutral, press down on the clutch pedal slowly and
      steadily as you listen for unusual noises.
      If noise begins as you press on the clutch pedal and the transmission
      gears spin down in speed, shift the transmission into gear to ensure
      that they are stopped. Noise at this time is definitely coming from the
      pilot bearing or release bearing. Shift the transmission back into
      neutral, and let the clutch out slowly so that the transmission gears are
      spinning again. Now the pilot bearing will have stopped with the
      release bearing still spinning. If the noise stops, it is caused by a
      faulty pilot bearing; if the noise continues, it is a faulty
      release bearing.
      That is the textbook definition, but in layman's terms- if you hear a
      noise when you press on the clutch pedal and the noise continues
      until you release the clutch pedal, it's caused by a bad release (or
      "throw-out") bearing. If you hear noise when your clutch pedal is not
      pressed (with the transmission in neutral), it's caused by a bad pilot
      bearing.
      If there's anything I forgot (or needs to be edited), don't hesitate to
      correct the improper info

    2. Member G60 CAB's Avatar
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      07-02-2005 12:27 AM #2
      [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Great writeup!
      FJ and Benz project pics on Instagram: G60CAB

      82 500 SEC......Roadhaus
      07 FJ...............Icon CDC w/o sways, 315/70/17s, overland prepped, likes large rocks
      99 M3..............twinscrewed and wallet hungry

    3. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      07-02-2005 12:47 AM #3
      Off to the FAQ it goes! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    4. Member VeeDubDriver1990's Avatar
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      1981 Rabbit Pickup, 1990 Cabriolet, 1993 Corrado VR6 (up for sale)
      07-02-2005 04:50 PM #4
      Thanks for the [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] Adam and George

    5. Member lowredcabrio's Avatar
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      1990 Miata, 2006 Renault Megane Diesel
      07-02-2005 09:16 PM #5
      great guide! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      3 + 3 + 3 = NEIN!

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