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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having a clutch problem and hope to get someone to let me know if a good clutch pedal also looks like the picture below. The picture is of the master cylinder shaft from the inside of the car at the top of the clutch pedal. The black gunk up there could be hydraulic fluid, or could be old grease.



My clutch ran out of fluid recently, bad me I hadn't been watching. I filled it up but the clutch still occasionally needs pumping to disengage. Once disengaged, it stays disengaged even if i sit for several minutes (sensor only traffic lights with no other traffic...). If the master cylinder were leaking, I'd expect the clutch to slowly engage as I sit at a long light but mine doesn't.

Back in http://xenforo.local.svc.cluster.local/threads/16313/, M3FSQ showed that his looked the same as mine so he replaced the master cylinder and as part of replacing it he bleed the line. After doing both the problem was solved but from what was said there is no way to know if just bleeding would have done the same thing.

Rather than taking the same shotgun approach, if someone could compare their clutch to the picture above it would help me to know which steps to take. I promise to post the results here for the next guy.

Thanks

Chisight
'00 Red 4453 AC 180K miles 79LMPG
Record: 140.2MPG for 6.2 miles! flying start, hot engine, no wind, no
net altitude change, no net charge change. (not down a mountain and not MIMA mileage)
 

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It seems odd that your clutch won't engage.

Hydraulic clutch systems are fairly simple - a piston at one end (the master cylinder) forces fluid down a line to a piston at the other end (the slave cylinder) which actuates the mechanical clutch.

If the master cylinder is toast, you normally can't get up enough pressure in the line to cause the slave cylinder to move the clutch mechanism.

If there's air in the line between the two cylinders, the same thing will happen because the air will compress like a spring and again the slave cylinder will not exert enough force to move the clutch mechanism.

For the clutch to not engage again, something is keeping the pressure up in the slave cylinder, causing it to not release the clutch mechanism. Perhaps the master cylinder is sticking and not returning when you release the clutch pedal.

Before replacing anything, you might try taking both the master and slave cylinders out and cleaning them to make sure that there's no 'gunk' anywhere. Based on the picture and the fact that you ran out of fluid, you'll likely have to replace the master cylinder.

Hope this helps,
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It seems odd that your clutch won't engage. ...
I must have been unclear. With the pedal held down, the master cylinder doesn't leak enough to engage the clutch, when I let the pedal up, the clutch engages just fine.

I'm in the far north suburbs of Chicago if anyone wants to take a look with me.

Thanks

Chisight
'00 Red 4453 AC 180K miles 79LMPG
Record: 140.2MPG for 6.2 miles! flying start, hot engine, no wind, no
net altitude change, no net charge change. (not down a mountain and not MIMA mileage)
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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I would definately "bleed" the system. It fairly easy to do. Your orig. post didn't indicate that you did.
HTH
Willie
 

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this post probably wont help, but here is a picture of my clutch master.

http://i51.tinypic.com/2gumedu.jpg

I did have all the fluid leak out once while I was driving (not sure where it leaked out from), but after I filled it again, it hasnt really given any problem since then.

I also notice that your clutch master looks slightly different than mine, maybe mine is aftermarket.

here is what a new one looks like (from the service manual)
http://i56.tinypic.com/w9fi84.jpg
 

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Looks bad

My master cylinder failed at 245,000, it looked just like yours. All that black stuff is fluid and deteriorated seal. When mine failed I just went ahead and replaced both master and slave at the same time, if one failed the other is probably not far behind. Mine also lost fluid, even after adding more it wasn't fully disengaging the clutch so I couldn't put it in gear from neutral.

It is overall a pretty easy job, have to jack it up and pull the drivers tire and pull the drivers wheel well liner out to access the master and remove some air intake and throttle cover stuff for the slave but once you have access it is easy. Just make sure you bleed it out good.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
02insight, you were both probably the most useful, thank you very much for the picture, it tells me that the crud on my master cylinder isn't that out of the ordinary and it's worth bleeding the clutch like Willie says before bothering to replace the master cylinder. I'll probably have it done by Wednesday (the car is still drivable) and will get back with results.

Thank you all, it's wonderfull to see that the forums have survived Honda turning the Insight label into a mainstream model.

Chisight
'00 Red 4453 AC 180K miles 79LMPG
Record: 140.2MPG for 6.2 miles! flying start, hot engine, no wind, no
net altitude change, no net charge change. (not down a mountain and not MIMA mileage)
 

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tells me that the crud on my master cylinder isn't that out of the ordinary
well I dont think crud stuff is normal anyway... maybe mine is also bad because I did have my clutch fluid all leak out once... I think if someone else who has never had a problem with the clutch system could post a picture, that would be better to compare with. But then again, the fluid could have leaked from somewhere else, like maybe the slave cylinder.

think its a common problem for the clutch master to leak on the manual insights. But you should definitely try bleeding the system, its not that hard to do really. Since your will have access to the slave cylinder for the bleeding, maybe you can disassemble the it to see if nothing is wrong there. Once the airbox and associated pipes are removed, its easy working in there with enough space.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I flushed all the very black fluid out of the clutch today and everything seems to be as good as new. I don't think the clutch has disengaged at such a high pedal height for years.

Only time will tell if flushing is all it takes but it's looking very promising right now.

Chisight
'00 Red 4453 AC 180K miles 79LMPG
Record: 1098 miles on a single tank of E10 gas. Real commuting miles, not pulse n glide in the middle of nowhere.
 

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Hmm.

Thanks for this, I'm going to check the clutch master for that goop in both cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, it's been 2 and a half weeks of driving almost everyday with everything still working and the fluid level unchanged so the master cylinder isn't leaking enough to be a problem.

I'm going to recommend that anyone having a clutch problem like this consider spending $3 to flush it before spending $125 to replace the master and slave cylinders.

Eli, I checked my other car (an Eagle/Mitsubishi) and it was surprisingly similar, right down to the greenish paint, clearly it was made by the same source that Honda used and it had the same gunk. How did both your Insights look?

Chisight
'00 Red 4453 AC 180K miles 79LMPG
Record: 1098 miles on a single tank of E10 gas. Real commuting miles, not pulse n glide in the middle of nowhere.
 

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I forgot to check, I'll run out and do that.

Insight #1 looks like it's JUST starting to show signs of the black goop on the pedal side of the master cylinder.

Insight #2 is worse, but not quite as bad as yours. How much are the parts? I'll probably just want to replace them in both cars if they're not too expensive.
 

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I haven't seen it mentioned that brake fluid, and clutch
fluid should be changed from time to time in any and all
vehicles. All such fluids have an affinity for water, and
soon turn dark, then gummy.

Wait too long, or don't change the fluid; seals fail,
parts corrode, money will be spent, and forward progress
may revert to foot-power.

The clutch system holds very little fluid, so usually needs
changing more often than brake fluid. If it's dark like strong
tea, it's bad.

No bleeding to remove air is necessary if the fluid level is
maintained while changing.
 

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For me when my clutch master cylinder failed at 247K miles with 3 previous owners and that many miles since I plan on having this car for a long long time it wasn't worth kind of fixing it, I went ahead and ordered both master and slave and just changed them both at the same time. Now I can drive it for years to come without having to worry about it stranding me somewhere along the side of the road. Not that I'm aposed to the cheaper fix, just to many question marks for me on this one.
 

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Yeah, that's my thought too.

Looks like it's about $130 for both master and slave cylinders. That's not bad at all, and if new ones will give good service for at least another 150,000 miles, then it's money well spent. It sounds like they can last a LONG time even after they start leaking, so I'm not too worried about it.

I know my clutch fluid is bad. I could probably change it now and save my master cylinder from further damage, but it may be too late overall since it's already starting to leak..
 

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I haven't looked at the pedal to see what it looks like yet, but I've been leaking clutch fluid at a slow, but regular, pace ever since I bought my car (95K miles so far).

I lose about 1/4" in the reservoir every tank and typically top it off every other tank (1000 miles or so).

When I had the ISB/clutch replaced last year, I thought that might fix the leakage, but it hasn't.

Since I don't trust my mechanical abilities to change the master/slave cylinders myself, I've decided it is a lot cheaper to buy a bottle of fluid every 6 months than to preemptively replace the cylinders.
 

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Let me know....

Since I don't trust my mechanical abilities to change the master/slave cylinders myself, I've decided it is a lot cheaper to buy a bottle of fluid every 6 months than to preemptively replace the cylinders.
Varak, we both live in Phoenix, let me know and I'll help you change out the cylinders, they are pretty easy. You can come by my place since I have a garage and all the tools or i'll come to you and help there. Let me know.
 

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Varak, we both live in Phoenix, let me know and I'll help you change out the cylinders, they are pretty easy. You can come by my place since I have a garage and all the tools or i'll come to you and help there. Let me know.
Thanks for the offer, I may take you up on it in the future.

I've always been one for 'don't fix it if its not broken' so I will probably just keep topping off the fluid periodically for now (unless it starts to get worse).

If nothing else, I'm continuously changing the fluid!
 

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... I will probably just keep topping off the fluid periodically for now (unless it starts to get worse).
that's what I planned to do as well when I lost all the clutch fluid one day. But after I refilled it, none has leaked out or the level has not dropped since, which was almost a year ago.

I find it strange how all the fluid can disappear one day, and then later after you fill it, it wont lose any at all? Just for that reason, I now keep a bottle of brake fluid in my car, in-case it decides to leak it all out at once like it did before. When it did leak it all out, the clutch was constant engaged, so I had to basically drive home in 2nd gear the whole way and try not to stop.
 

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You guys should practice shifting without the clutch. ;)

Note: Do not attempt this unless you understand the concepts and risks involved.
 
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