Got my '87 Fiero licensed and insured this week. Aside from an alignment problem, shifting issues (tough going into 1st and 2nd as described elsewhere), and a clutch pedal that seemed to have to be pushed all the way to the floorboards to disengage, it went great for a couple hundred miles.
Put on about 120 miles today, but unfortunately the last 30 were without benefit of a clutch that would disengage. I was very fortunate to be able to take a rural highway almost all the way home and only had to come to a complete stop once.
Now comes the part where you'll have to forgive me because I know NOTHING about hydraulic clutches whatsoever.
This morning I took a minute to look at the clutch cylinder (master? slave? whatever is on the firewall near the brake MC) and noticed that the fluid was below the add line. I opened a new (sealed) can of DOT 3 brake fluid and filled it to the fill line. That was at about 30 miles into my trip this morning. It went fine (same as usual with issues as described above) for another 60 miles. Rolling up to a stoplight at about mile 90, however, I pushed the clutch pedal in to disengage the clutch and downshift but the pedal just sank and the clutch wouldn't disengage. I popped it out of gear to avoid a collision at the intersection and came to a stop. To get started again, however, I had to turn the engine off, put it in 1st, and start it again -- rolling slowly ahead as it cranked, of course. Got home by shifting without the clutch, relying on the synchros to do their job for the up- and downshifts. Nursed it into the driveway where it's gonna have to sit until someone tells me where to begin.
I deeply appreciate any advice anyone can offer. My experience up to this point has been with mechanical clutches, and even that is limited. I'm really bummed about this turn of events.
Wow, seems like alot of people have been having clutch problems lately!
Your master cylinder (near brake booster) may be leaking. Typically it leaks into the interior of the car, up behind pedal and onto the carpet. If anything is wet in that area, its the MC.
The slave cylinder (on transmission) may also be leaking. See if the bottom of the boot is wet, or any other place for that matter.
Those are the two main pieces to the puzzle. The line itself might be leaking, but its not very common. Another thing you may want to look into is replacing the clutch pedal itself. After 20+ year of use, they tend to bend and not allow full disengagement. I believe the Fiero Store sells an all steel replacement that will not bend. If your current clutch pedal does not sit higher than the brake pedal at rest, it is bent.
[This message has been edited by AutoTech (edited 03-06-2008).]
Posts: 81 From: Seattle, WA, US Registered: Aug 2007
Commonly found in mid- and rear-engine vehicles, a hydraulic clutch linkage is basically a mini hydraulic brake system. A master cylinder is attached to the clutch pedal by an actuator rod, and the slave cylinder is connected to the master cylinder by high-pressure tubing. The slave cylinder is normally attached to a bracket next to the bell housing, so that it can move the clutch release fork directly.
Just like depressing the brake pedal on your car, depressing the clutch pedal pushes a plunger into the bore of the master cylinder. A valve at the end of the master cylinder bore closes the port to the fluid reservoir, and the movement of the plunger forces fluid from the master cylinder through the tubing to the slave cylinder. Since the fluid is under pressure, it causes the piston of the slave cylinder to move its pushrod against the release fork and bearing, thus disengaging the clutch. When the clutch pedal is released, the springs of the pressure plate push the slave cylinder's pushrod back, which forces the hydraulic fluid back into the master cylinder. The biggest plus to a hydraulic linkage is the physics: a small amount of pedal force can be used to manipulate what would normally be a heavy clutch with a shaft and lever linkage.
Now that you know what happens when you depress the clutch pedal, what are the warning signs that a clutch needs adjustment or replacement? While most new car clutch linkages are self-adjusting, there are some telltale signs that will tell you if adjustment is needed. For instance, if the clutch engages and disengages close to the floorboard or the transmission "grinds" when shifting, your clutch may need attention. Does the clutch pedal move easily, but the transmission will not go into gear? More than likely, the clutch linkage has become disconnected or a clutch cable has snapped. If the clutch slips (doesn't fully engage), the linkage could be grossly out of adjustment, or the clutch disk could be worn to the point of replacement. Clutch "chatter" is often caused by an overheated clutch (normally from "slipping" the clutch when starting on an incline) or from oil on the clutch disk. In either case, the clutch must be replaced. No matter what symptoms your vehicle may have, always consult with a certified ASE mechanic to diagnose the problem properly.
Although it may seem like there's not much to getting your car in and out of gear, a lot is going on behind the scenes each time you depress the clutch pedal. Now you have something to think about each time you're faced with rush-hour traffic.
This is the SAME problem i was having a few months ago with my Fiero... i was having to shut it off to shift into 1st and Reverse... AND THE CLUTCH HAD TO BE HELD TO THE FLOOR HARD AS POSSIBLE TO DISENGAGE... 1st I replaced the slave cylinder then i had the the trans looked at and turns out the pressure plate was warped and the throw out bearing was out of wack, so i just bought a new clutch kit and had it put in...
Thanks for all the feedback! (And please don't let this reply suggest I'm not interested in more opinions!) Gonna try to get it into the garage this weekend and see if I can track down the problem. Can anyone point me to a diagram or photo online of where to look for the slave cylinder?
Posts: 3781 From: Long Island, NY USA Registered: Feb 2006
I had an issue with mine a while back where I'd only have issues after I drove for 20 minutes or more and the clutch wouldn't disengage. It turned out that the plastic bushing that is inbetween the slave push rod and the trans clutch linkage had cracked and it would flex when it got warm from the exhaust manifold. I'm not sure if all years have this plastic bushing or not. I have a 84' with a 2.8 and getrag 5speed from an 86' but I didn't do the swap so I don't know for sure. I fixed mine with a small piece of 1/8" mild steel and two nuts, one larger one with an inside diameter wide enough to fit the pushrod, and the other small enough to fit inside the clutch linkage arm. It was 5 or 6 years ago, so I don't remeber the size, and I probably just found them in my spare parts bin anyways. anyways, to make it work, I welded the nuts one on each side to the flat stock and it slips into place of the plastic piece. It's ugly and crued, but it works.
does any know of a updated replacement for this part? has else anyone had this problem?