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Old 20-05-2019   #1
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Angry Has my clutch gone?

Hi all,
Thought I’d share my experience with a Panda 4x4.
Not been on this site for a while so it may have been mentioned before.
Typical clutch failure presented itself. Pedal to floor but still ‘crunching’ gear changes but drive ‘slip’ not noticeable at the time.
Called out Green Flag and the guy said the clutch had gone after a brief inspection. Asked him to double check if any adjustments could be made because the car has only done 25k miles, it doesn’t tow anything so it seemed odd.
He looked again and noticed the clutch pedal was a lot lower than the brake pedal. He pulled the pedal up by hand and ‘hey presto’ the clutch was working again. He couldn’t explain why this had happened.
I can only assume that the hydraulic cylinder which is directly linked to the pedal had somehow lost fluid, perhaps an air lock. When I looked myself, I noticed slight corrosion around the clevis pin and fork which was causing stiffness. WD40 was used and it seems fine now. Has anyone else had this problem. It could have caused me great expense if I’d just let the Green Flag mechanic tow it away.
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Old 21-05-2019   #2
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

How old is the car? I'd have the clutch fluid changed as it's hygroscopic (?spelling) and can encourage corrosion in the master and slave cylinders.
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Old 21-05-2019   #3
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Certainly sounds like hydraulics to me - from what you're saying probably master cylinder. What engine do you have (what I really mean is does your's have a concentric slave cylinder or one , like mine on our 1.2 petrol Panda, on the outside of the bell housing. If it's out side I'd just change that at the same time as it's not a crippling extra expense. What it doesn't sound like, to me, is "clutch failure" in that I think the actual clutch - cover assembly and driven plate - is probably ok. If you have a concentric slave cylinder though the gearbox will need to come out to change it so I'd be taking the cover assembly off the flywheel and having a quick check of the driven plate condition. The only extra labour in doing this is removing a few bolts to remove it and doing them up again (aligning the driven plate as you do so) Maybe 15 minutes if nothing needs to be renewed so minimal cost.
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Old 21-05-2019   #4
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Quote Originally Posted by babbo_umbro View Post
How old is the car? I'd have the clutch fluid changed as it's hygroscopic (?spelling) and can encourage corrosion in the master and slave cylinders.
The car is a FIAT PANDA 4X4 TWINAIR 5 door Hatchback Petrol Manual 875cc 2014 and has a full service history.
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Old 21-05-2019   #5
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
Certainly sounds like hydraulics to me - from what you're saying probably master cylinder. What engine do you have (what I really mean is does your's have a concentric slave cylinder or one , like mine on our 1.2 petrol Panda, on the outside of the bell housing. If it's out side I'd just change that at the same time as it's not a crippling extra expense. What it doesn't sound like, to me, is "clutch failure" in that I think the actual clutch - cover assembly and driven plate - is probably ok. If you have a concentric slave cylinder though the gearbox will need to come out to change it so I'd be taking the cover assembly off the flywheel and having a quick check of the driven plate condition. The only extra labour in doing this is removing a few bolts to remove it and doing them up again (aligning the driven plate as you do so) Maybe 15 minutes if nothing needs to be renewed so minimal cost.
The car is a FIAT PANDA 4X4 TWINAIR 5 door Hatchback Petrol Manual 875cc 2014 and has a full service history.
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Old 21-05-2019   #6
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Quote Originally Posted by lighthouse19 View Post
The car is a FIAT PANDA 4X4 TWINAIR 5 door Hatchback Petrol Manual 875cc 2014 and has a full service history.
Shop4parts show an exterior mounted slave cylinder for this engine @ £37.11 plus VAT so that's not too bad then. The master cylinder (which may be the more likely culprit) will be a fair bit more though.

Just came across another recommendation specified for an earlier version twin air @£18 approx? I think I'd be giving Mike at S4p a ring with reg and vin numbers to hand - maybe my local factors too.

Good luck - We're collecting the grandchildren from school today (15.00 hrs then taking them swimming so got to go now as it means a trip across town and then on out to the new pool at Mayfield. It'll be an exhausting day for us but great fun. Should be home about 20.00 hrs. - at least we'll miss most of the rush hour traffic. Big decision to make though - Do we go in Twinkle (the Ibiza) or Becky (the Panda)?
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Old 21-05-2019   #7
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

My previous model Panda (2005 4x4) did this now and again for a while until I changed the clutch fluid and bled the system. As others have mentioned, the fluid can absorb water which leads to corrosion in the clutch mechanics and also can prevent the clutch pedal from being fully effective. However, I only needed to change the fluid - not any of the parts - and the car was good for several more years after that. (note: on the old Panda the clutch fluid was in a separate little reservoir - not sure - as never had to look! - if the post 2012 model still have separate clutch fluid 'tank')
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Last edited by Herts Hillhopper; 21-05-2019 at 16:33.
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Old 22-05-2019   #8
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

The pedal sticking to the floor and the corrosion on the clevis point to a master cylinder leak.

If the seals have gone, the piston no longer works as a plunger, pushing fluid to active the slave cylinder and push against the clutch diaphragm, so the there's no feed back from the clutch diaphragm to push the pedal back up, hence it sticking to the floor.

Brake/Clutch fluid is highly corrosive, it'll strip the paint off anything it gets on and will start eating the metal underneath, hence the rusty bits you see.
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Old 22-05-2019   #9
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Is there not a light return spring in the master cylinder? Lack of fluid changes can cause corrosion due to it being hygroscopic as has been said. I'd probably replace the master as a precaution and replace the brake fluid every two years. I'll do a fluid change in the City Cross in October. I did the Lounge not long after I got it when it was three years old.
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Old 22-05-2019   #10
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Quote Originally Posted by murphyv310 View Post
Is there not a light return spring in the master cylinder? Lack of fluid changes can cause corrosion due to it being hygroscopic as has been said. I'd probably replace the master as a precaution and replace the brake fluid every two years. I'll do a fluid change in the City Cross in October. I did the Lounge not long after I got it when it was three years old.
I also think it essential to have the brake fluid replaced every two or three years; apart from the corrosion issue, higher amounts of water in the fluid affect brake fade.
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Old 24-05-2019   #11
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Having just taken a look under the bonnet of mine (MJ but sure they'll all be the same), the clutch uses fluid from the brake fluid reservoir (via a small tube coming off the back of that)...

If your 'full service history' is indeed 'full', the brake (and clutch) fluid should have been changed at least once, if not twice, on a 2014 car (since ideally brake fluid is changed every two years to avoid any issues of it absorbing water).
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Old 25-05-2019   #12
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

But then (at least on this side of the Channel) garages intend to forget the clutchcircuit. That is if they perform the changes of brakefluid at all...



gr J
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Old 25-05-2019   #13
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Quote Originally Posted by A3jeroen View Post
But then (at least on this side of the Channel) garages intend to forget the clutchcircuit. That is if they perform the changes of brakefluid at all...



gr J
I thought the clutch was cable operated on the left hand drive version? But yes, I wonder, where the brake fluid does get changed, if the garage know to include the clutch circuit. Good point...
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Old 25-05-2019   #14
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Rereading this thread has set me to thinking about brake fluid changes generally. Most of us here on the forum will be, probably? well aware of the insidious danger of old brake fluid and the potentially catastrophic results of not renewing it when necessary (recommended every 2 years by most manufacturers).

It occurs to me that when I was working on the shop floor back in the '70's and 80's it was very common to be renewing brake parts and hydraulics (calipers, wheel cylinders, brake pipes and flex hoses, etc) followed by bleeding through to eliminate air from the system. I've just realized that it was really rare to be given the job of changing/renewing brake fluid on it's own. Anyone else out there have the same perception? Of course it occurs to me that the boss was simply giving these tasks to someone else.

I wonder if not enough is done to recommend it to customers due to the difficulty caused by corrosion involving bleed nipples which have a predilection for snapping off at the least excuse! - necessitating the fitting of a new cylinder and associated costs. When is someone going to invent something more fit for purpose than the bleed nipple?

So I think I'm going to conduct a wee poll of my own and make a project of asking around all the garage workshops I know as to whether brake fluid changes feature large in their schedules - could be interesting?
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Old 26-05-2019   #15
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Re: Has my clutch gone?

Quote Originally Posted by Herts Hillhopper View Post
I thought the clutch was cable operated on the left hand drive version? But yes, I wonder, where the brake fluid does get changed, if the garage know to include the clutch circuit. Good point...
Yes my LHD Panda is cable operated, but I was speaking (typing) in general.

gr J
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