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Vanya

Sticky Clutch Pedal

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Hi all,

 

I've been hunting around the forums for threads that match the description of my problem but haven't found anything definitive. Therefore, before I go and splash out on everything from a braided clutch hose to new slave and master cylinders, I figured I'd check with you wise people who have no doubt run into something similar.

 

My clutch feels quite rough towards the end of its travel - as it reaches the bottom it almost feels like I'm pushing against something and it seems to "stick" - movement down and up at this stage feels very choppy, and sometimes I get the impression that it might not quite return on its own either.

 

The threads I've read on the interwebz and on here describe similar issues albeit these all seem to involve leaks. I haven't found a leak anywhere and the fluid level has been rock solid for over a year.

 

It also doesn't match any (to my knowledge) known description for air in the system - as this is supposed to make the clutch pedal feel "spongey". Definitely not spongey for me.

 

Anyhow, I'm not having any issues selecting gears nor do I have any grinding anywhere if that helps forming an assessment.

 

Could it be the internal components in the slave/master are worn out? Or could it be as simple as a bubble in the system?

 

Thanks a million,

 

Regards,

Vanya

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Could indeed be slave needing replaced/rebuilt and possibly even the master.. 

 

gotten under and looked at the rear?

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Hi,

 

I had a quick look at it this weekend when I was washing the car (had it up on a lift) - apart from the usual surface rust one gets on the stock slave, I didn't see anything else suspicious - no leaks anyway.

 

Mr OogieBoogie from the forums has suggested it could be the clutch and/or release bearing. I will look into this although I'm praying it isn't - REALLY not in the mood to take the car apart right in the middle of summer...

 

I was "hoping" it would be a misaligned cylinder in the master/slave as that'd be a lot simpler. But still need to gather more opinions before splashing out - and if it IS anything requiring the transmission to be disassembled then I need to save all I got - I don't have a proper garage in which to do such a job myself so I'd have to farm it out to an acqauintance of mine...

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You have checked the pedal itself ?

It is very close to the steering column UJ.

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I haven't actually checked the pedal to be honest - but that wouldn't explain the resistance on the way up right at the end of travel though? I'll get in the Lotus Position this weekend and give it a look over.

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Mr OogieBoogie from the forums has suggested it could be the clutch and/or release bearing. I will look into this although I'm praying it isn't - REALLY not in the mood to take the car apart right in the middle of summer...

Can you hear any unusual noise with the pedal depressed??

 

A worn release bearing will definitely be making noise. 

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No weird noises coming from the gearbox/clutch that I know of, but I can check with someone under the car to be extra sure.

 

I've been reading more forums and a similar thread (resistance/sticking at end of travel without leakage) on an RX7 forum suggested that it could be an internal leak in the master cylinder - i.e breaking down the seals and with the fluid leaking back into the reservoir.

 

My clutch fluid has been black since buying the car May last year. Yes I know it's not a good sign and I've been planning to flush it and switch it out this season - reason I wasn't so panicked is because dark/dirty clutch fluid seems to be the norm for so many folks. I suppose I could have bits of seal clogging up the cylinder at the end of travel which could explain the resistance and subsequent binding on release.

 

Like I mentioned above, I'll remove the slave from the Box and check if the same resistance is still felt. At that point, I'll just replace the whole lot master/slave/red hose. Might as well.

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The black in the fluid is rubber from the seals that have broken down. 

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The seals generally hold the piston central in the cylinder as well. If they are going the piston could be picking up on the cylinder wall as the clutch is operated.

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Sounds like a no brainer by now - I'll just order new cylinders and a braided hose.

 

By the time I'm done with my car I will have chucked 70% of the original components out :)

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70%? Maybe I should shift this topic over to the Restorations area? :)

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My clutch fluid has been black since buying the car May last year. 

I'm amazed it's lasted this long.

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Compare price of new clutch master and slave vs rebuild.. If not drastic go with new. When seals break down they also let in more moisture (water) and possible the cylinder has scratched the walls. And then the water has rusted the cylinder a bit.. making new a better option than rebuild

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Just had a thought, you are using DOT 3 and not DOT 4 aren't you ?

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Roger - not entirely sure about that. Since taking ownership I have switched out most of the fluids for things I KNOW are in accordance with Lotus recommendations, however, the clutch fluid is still an unknown quantity. What's left is the chargecooler and the master cylinder. After that I'll rest easy.

 

Whoever owned the car before me was not nice to it. I still have a tag attached to my brake fluid reservoir stating "USE ONLY DOT 5 BRAKE FLUID FROM *insert forgotten manufacturer name here"" - that gave me a laugh.

 

Ramjet - I bought the car for 12,000 GBP last year. I will have spent roughly the equivalent amount if not slightly more to bring it back to showroom condition. I suppose I'm a bit of a masochist, but right now my attitude is: when was this last changed? Don't know? Replace it. So by my estimations most stuff will be chucked. Maybe I should start a restorations thread. I'll make a huge one one day when I'm nearing completion.

 

John - yeah the dirty clutch fluid was never a good sign. Resilient bugger the Esprit is. The biggest reason I haven't flushed EVERYTHING yet is because I don't have a garage of some sort - I currently store the car in a rented heated garage complex where it's technically forbidden to do anything but store the car. Prior to that (up until last winter) it was parked in my parents yard, so I only worked on it when it wasn't raining. And last years weather in Stockholm was ****.

 

Since then I've found out nobody minds if I'm at it dremeling rusty bolts off the car in the garage complex - I've spent days in there under the car but I feel that replenishing fluids (with the associated risk of spillage) might be the last straw for the landlord - don't wanna push my luck.

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You shouldn't spill any. It's paint stripper, good precautions are a prerequisite. It's an easy job, even I can do it :)

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If it's not a hydraulic issue, there's a chance it could be the release bearing guide tube. I've replaced 2 due to wear affecting clutch action.

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Did you get it sorted? I am having a similar issue, sticking throughout the whole range of travel while releasing. It makes a smooth takeoff hard to accomplish. Yep, my fluid is black. I "think" the master cylinder is new but I will be checking on prices for a master and slave. I plan on using the guide on LEW ( http://www.lotusespritworld.com/EGuides/EModifications/clutch-cylinders.html ) for replacement.

 

I do still need to double check the clutch pedal for biding somewhere first but doubt it is the issue. Strangely, it just started at the beiginning of one drive and didn't show any warning signs beforehand.

 

Anyone have any additonal advise or the best place to get the master and slave in the US?

 

Thanks

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Not sorted yet - I've got some rebuild kits from SJ (going to try these before buying new slave/master cylinders as they're cheaper) so I'll try to get it done during the coming week. It is a pain on certain days - and it will be properly embarrassing the day the pedal doesn't return.

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Ak ok. I just checked and it is not the pedal causing my issue. I can see a little seepage around the inside gasket on the firewall so I guess I will try the master first. So how hard is it to rebuild it? I wouldn't mind going that route but don't want to waste time trying it if I end up having to replace the whole thing.

 

Edit, I just ordered a rebuild kit for both and will plan on doing both in the next week or so. Does anoyone have a link to a "how to" on rebuilding these?

 

Thanks

Edited by Techspy

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Whoever owned the car before me was not nice to it. I still have a tag attached to my brake fluid reservoir stating "USE ONLY DOT 5 BRAKE FLUID FROM *insert forgotten manufacturer name here"" - that gave me a laugh.

 

 

 

 

Woah!  Never use DOT5 brake fluid in the Lotus (brakes or clutch) the DOT5 fluid is silicone, and will froth and become more compressible.  It also won't absorb moisture, which can lead to pockets of corrosion in the system.

 

Use DOT4 or DOT5.1, which is not silicone, and 5.1 is compatible with DOT4.

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Hahahaha the amount of incompetent labor previously performed on my SE could form the basis of a novel. Considering what is yet to be discovered, and the severity of the mistakes, I'm ready to write this car off as "expendable" in that I'll mostly use it to learn about the Esprit before taking the plunge on a mint final edition V8 or similar...

 

Anyway, staying on topic: I agree with Techspy, a guide would be good - although the service manual does provide details on how to remove and set up master and slave for the clutch. Refitting and greasing seals should be pretty self explanatory once one has all the bits on the table...

 

*mentally prepares for days of toil upon discovering rusty bolts or other quirks that make life harder than necessary*

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Yep, I have that bookmarked for the removal/install but would like a guide on rebuilding. From what I understand it should be pretty straight forward but what Lotus job is?

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Ok, I got mine rebuilt and back on. Not too bad but I didin't realize you had to unbolt the brake master cylinder to get the clutch master off. Took about 3 hours to rebuild both, re-install and bleed the system. The seals didn't look bad but I found some scarring on the pushrod. I sanded and polished it. I had a vaccum assister that helped bleed the system so that wasn't too bad. I went for a test drive and the problem I was having is gone. My clutch engages about 1-1.5 cm from the floor. Is that correct? If not, does that mean it isn't bled well enough or do I just need to adjust the linkage at the pedal?

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