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Discussion Starter #1
A few days ago coming back from picking up groceries I noticed my clutch pedal abruptly felt incredibly stiff at the bottom while fully engaged, and every gear was super notchy. Required a good amount of force to make it into 2nd-5th gear, while 1st and reverse I have to turn the car off to even engage. Since it's not the slave cylinder (I already threw a part at that) the only other thing I can think of is the clutch master cylinder or the rubber clutch line (ordered a new one). I believe it's something to do with the clutch system because once I do have the vehicle in 1st or reverse, if in 1st gear (clutch in) the car will move forward, in reverse (clutch in) the car will move backwards, so the clutch isn't fully engaged. Therefore I believe there's a loss in pressure somewhere. The clutch slave has been bled thoroughly and only new fluid is coming out of that thing. After pumping the living dickens out of the clutch, I can manage to effortlessly slide into 2nd gear.

Has anyone experienced anything similar? This happened on a 1-2 shift going maybe 10mph if that.
 

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If the bite point is low it sounds like the master cylinder
Im in the process of dropping my transmission for a similar but not the same issue, I thought of the master cylinder but when I bleed the clutch the gear issues mostly went away, in the process I drained the transmission and noticed it had less than a oz of fluid, I can tell you my experience with hondas are they are built like tanks and while it does cause excessive unnecessary wear and is NOT good it seems they are happy to run on no or low fluids, and the symptoms they do display for someone in tune with their car are subtle and generic(I dont have the ablity to work on my car where I live I have to wait till I visit my family and I have not had good luck with car shops)
If you haven't put the car up on jacks or something yet Id recommend checking the master cylinder(most likely) or checking the transmission fluid(unless there are other issues it very well could be low or empty, mine was caused by the drain bolt not being torqued correctly and a ultra-small leak over a period of almost a year and almost a year before I started to see fluid on the ground)
Seems the two best tests(which are not covered in the links below) are having someone pump your clutch while you look at the reservoir if the fluid jumps when the person pumps the clutch then jumps again on release its a sign of a failing master, if your bite point has dropped or is ultra low its also a sign
https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/symptoms-of-a-bad-or-failing-clutch-master-cylinder
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/7-signs-of-a-bad-clutch-master-cylinder
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-test-a-clutch-master-cylinder
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If the bite point is low it sounds like the master cylinder
Im in the process of dropping my transmission for a similar but not the same issue, I thought of the master cylinder but when I bleed the clutch the gear issues mostly went away, in the process I drained the transmission and noticed it had less than a oz of fluid, I can tell you my experience with hondas are they are built like tanks and while it does cause excessive unnecessary wear and is NOT good it seems they are happy to run on no or low fluids, and the symptoms they do display for someone in tune with their car are subtle and generic(I dont have the ablity to work on my car where I live I have to wait till I visit my family and I have not had good luck with car shops)
If you haven't put the car up on jacks or something yet Id recommend checking the master cylinder(most likely) or checking the transmission fluid(unless there are other issues it very well could be low or empty, mine was caused by the drain bolt not being torqued correctly and a ultra-small leak over a period of almost a year and almost a year before I started to see fluid on the ground)
Seems the two best tests(which are not covered in the links below) are having someone pump your clutch while you look at the reservoir if the fluid jumps when the person pumps the clutch then jumps again on release its a sign of a failing master, if your bite point has dropped or is ultra low its also a sign
https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/symptoms-of-a-bad-or-failing-clutch-master-cylinder
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/7-signs-of-a-bad-clutch-master-cylinder
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-test-a-clutch-master-cylinder
Trans service was done by me and I guarantee that drain bolt was torqued. I hate to think about doing that job, but I think that master cylinder is the culprit. I did see a used one online for about $60. Getting past the brake master and the harnesses near there is going to be fun, including breaking my back getting up at the top of the clutch pedal.
New slave, new hose, new clutch master. yaaaaaaaay
At least I have an excuse now to work on my car lol
 

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I'd say you're on the right track and that it does sound like an issue somewhere between the pedal and fork; hydraulic.

Can you stick your head in the foot-well and look up at the adjustment rod and nut on the master cylinder to check if its ever been adjusted or tampered with. Some DIY tinkerers like to mess with clutch pedal adjustment for some reason and its possible the nut has moved and has shortened your pedal range. While there look for leaks and touch the rod near the cylinder as its one of the possible master cylinder seal failure points/leak areas and feel around the firewall.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd say you're on the right track and that it does sound like an issue somewhere between the pedal and fork; hydraulic.

Can you stick your head in the foot-well and look up at the adjustment rod and nut on the master cylinder to check if its ever been adjusted or tampered with. Some DIY tinkerers like to mess with clutch pedal adjustment for some reason and its possible the nut has moved and has shortened your pedal range. While there look for leaks and touch the rod near the cylinder as its one of the possible master cylinder seal failure points/leak areas and feel around the firewall.
I'll take a flashlight to the firewall to see if it looks wet. I didn't notice any fluid loss whenever we bled the new slave, though. Clutch fluid level was still at maximum. I feel that it is something with the master, since if it were a line it would lose pressure over time, but this just has none to begin with. I'll check that nut as well. As for that Element master; the piston isn't long enough. Sucks. I'm just going to order the used one on eBay and hope for the best. Maybe I can adjust the master to force a little more fluid in to actually engage the clutch instead of just mashing it into gear.
 

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i'm not sure how much adjustment there is in the CRZ's clutch pedal, but i'd also make sure that it's positioned to mfg specs.

the pumping issue def sounds like a pressure issue, but poor engagement or disengagement can also be attributed to poor pedal adjustment like koala pointed out. i generally check here first when someone comes to me with clutch issues, and work my way from there.

not only can adjusting the rod cause poor clutch engagement, but allowing the clutch master (the rod) to travel too far in or out is bad for the master as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So I guess looking for a rebuild kit was a dumb idea, because they don't exist for the CR-Z. I'm about to buy a $22 clutch master for a Honda element and just re-use the plunger, spring and other components. Still waiting on parts. Hope to get this fixed soon.
 

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So I guess looking for a rebuild kit was a dumb idea, because they don't exist for the CR-Z. I'm about to buy a $22 clutch master for a Honda element and just re-use the plunger, spring and other components. Still waiting on parts. Hope to get this fixed soon.
Not sure about hondas, but I've had bad luck rebuilding GM clutch cylinders that weren't intended for a rebuild kit... My experience is that the cylinders didn't make it through the first winter without issues, and the general consensus from the forums was "yea, no ****, you tried to rebuild this, what did you think would happen?"

Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not sure about hondas, but I've had bad luck rebuilding GM clutch cylinders that weren't intended for a rebuild kit... My experience is that the cylinders didn't make it through the first winter without issues, and the general consensus from the forums was "yea, no ****, you tried to rebuild this, what did you think would happen?"

Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
I'm just gonna sit this one out until the parts get here. I have the next two days off and the delivery is approximated on Wednesday for the master cylinder. Clutch line shows up tomorrow, though. I'm probably going to run to my mailbox Wednesday night after work and install it ASAP. Already sick of bumming rides off of people and it has been maybe five days.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Clutch master and new clutch line showed up today. What a ****show.

Started getting everything taken apart so I can gain easy access to clutch hard lines and the rubber clutch line.
Get a pair of lockjaw pliers on the back of the line where the bracket is on the transmission, 10mm line wrench on the ported line. Breaks free just fine. Can't get lockjaw pliers on the back of the chassis mounted bracket, start freaking out and getting pissed off beyond belief to the point where I managed to get the pliers on top of the bracket, and bending it a full 45* just so I can get the lockjaw pliers on the back of the line. Rest of the line was getting in the way and I was replacing it anyway, cut the line. Couldn't get the line off anyway after that. Got super frustrated, said **** it and just unbolted the master cylinder off the firewall and just yanked it, and sure enough, freely popped into the engine bay and was able to wiggle around. From there popped a 17mm line wrench onto the nut on the master cylinder, 10mm on the ported line and it came right out. Right after mutilating the line near the port at the clutch rubber line. Installation of the new master cylinder was, of course, very easy. Everything bolted back up, brackets and all (except for that one that I decimated on purpose). Now I just need to bleed the air out of the system and it should be good to go. But yeah, pushing in the pushrod on the old master cylinder just feels so incredibly broken. Plunger dips off to the left side as soon as it gets depressed, so I think the spring ate it.

All in all, rough as hell install. 3/10 would definitely just sell the car if I had to do it again.
 

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Sorry I'm laughing here, but sounds like a nice little DIY write up! Moral of the story? Remove master cylinder first; get a beer; go to next step; get peossed; get a beer; repeat as necessary. :grin2: Thanks again for the play by play--warns me what I'll be getting into if/when the time comes to do it myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So, a victory then. 😜
Lolnope. Clutch feels exceptionally firm, crystal clear DOT3 fluid coming out of the bleeder screw.
Still doesn't engage first gear.


Guys... I think it's the pressure plate. It slips at higher RPMs in higher gears, hard engage, can't access 1st/reverse. I think the time driving on the bad master cylinder made the pressure plate end itself.
 

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I got the bright idea to replace my clutch on my 2005 Elantra at 210000ish miles after being quoted an arm, or a leg, or an arm and a leg at different shops and dealers. 1st attempt was with my father-in-law, who has built multiple hot rods. Clutch 1, self 0. Second attempt was with my neighbor's semi-truck/diesel mechanic/transmission specialist. Clutch 2, self 0. 3rd attempt I took it to a shop, luckily they knew what they were doing. At least they came in cheap enough that even with my previous blunders I came out within a couple bucks of the previous shop quotes. And had my car back in drivable condition. Clutch-2, Self-Winner. I ended up not really saving any money and taking MUCH longer to get it done, but I was fortunate to have another vehicle and got some much appreciated learning experience out of the ordeal. Also, I won't be doing any of my own clutch work from here on out because of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
CRZ 1, F4LL3N 0

Round 2 is a clutch kit then eh? Will you be doing the fighting to make up for the 3/10 experience? :O
In the dead of Texas summer? Absolutely not. I'm not masochistic enough to drop a transmission in a parking lot with no shade. I got a good deal on labor with a friend who works at a shop and has (luckily) done a CR-Z clutch before. Book quote is 6.4 hours and his boss is letting it go away for 4. Just a wee bit over $500 in labor, and I supply all the parts. I had to apply for a credit card to put it all on so I could afford it. Clutch - Spec Stage 1 for $440, Flywheel - OEM for $317, Labor - around $515.

This is what I think happened;
Clutch master cylinder fails. Drive around for a little while just trying to make it to work and back and keep clutch in, in fear of having my 2nd gear synchros eat it because I'm power shifting into 2nd just to get the car rolling, because I cannot engage 1st/reverse without having to literally rip it out of gear. 2nd-6th it will push out of gear without even shoving it. Stay clutch in, 2nd gear at a stop literally everywhere. This goes on for a few days, and all of a sudden, bottom of clutch pedal feels even harder. Figure I should stop driving the car completely until I can get my ordered parts in. Parts come in, installed (grr) and test putting the car in first, again. Grinding. So in the midst of having my clutch master fail, me being an idiot and staying clutch in with that much pressure on the driveline in second gear must have been pressure plate's demise. Now, I have to basically replace the entire clutch system. Better than a transmission, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Bump, never really said how this ended up. Well, hasn't ended really, but still going.

After that last post, I did end up getting the clutch replaced (and my friend forgot to replace the rear torque mound nut so I rammed an MDX lug nut on there and it was solid until the actual part came in). It was all fine and dandy until about 20-25k later my throw-out bearing started to groan on engagement. Thought it was a wheel bearing but got it up in the air and was able to replicate it with someone underneath in the bay. Right from the bell housing.
Engagement from a stop now groans when engaging, no other time. I believe the throw-out bearing has failed. I'll be attempting to tackle this myself but not promises, this transaxle doesn't seem too terribly heavy, but then again it is also fitted with a differential and a lot smaller than a Miata transmission (which we dropped last week). Got me a bunch of parts to throw in all at the same time, so this coming Sunday I'll be slaving away at this thing. Oil, MT fluid, magnetic MT drain plug, CV axle boots, throw-out bearing and pilot bushing. I'm in for some fun.
 
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