5spd clutch/hydraulics question

kdenney

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Location
FL
TDI
2006 Jetta TDI
Ok,

So had a weird experience in my 06 Jetta the other day. I drove the car for about 30 min or so to the store (highway speeds), and was in the store about 30 min. On the drive home, around 10 min in, I came up on a stop light and pushed in the clutch, but it was very spongy and barely returned. I didn’t get stuck all the way to the floor, but seemed like it was trying.

Pulled off to a side street and it seemed to return to normal. I noticed the gears were difficult to shift in/out while it was returning. Then a little later on the main road again (speeds around 45), it did it again. Again, I pulled off to a side street and it seemed to return to normal.

I tried again today to recreate the problem, but I can’t seem to make it happen again. It does seem that after driving at high speed, the first time or two of pushing in the clutch feels ever-so-slightly different than normal, but I couldn’t be sure.

What could be going on here? I haven’t yet checked the fluid level, but at first glance, there was no sign of a leak around the master cylinder. Is the slave cylinder easy to check on these?

Could it be possible it’s just time for a fluid flush?

I know the hydraulic system is shared between the brakes and clutch on this car, so I really don’t want to be taking any chances with the brakes.

Thanks in advance,
-kd
 

sptsailing

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Location
Safety Harbor, FL
TDI
2006 Jetta Manual, stock with Panzer Plate & Franko6 modified EGR cooler & CAM
Doing the brake fluid flush every 2 years or less is important, as brake fluid is hygroscopic and the absorbed moisture can, and does accelerate internal parts corrosion.

Flushing the fluid on our cars requires flushing through all 5 bleeder valves, but getting at the one for the clutch slave cylinder requires extra work to access.

Years ago, I paid the local VW dealer to flush the brake fluid. The next maintenance for this I did myself, and judging from the horrific color of the fluid from the clutch bleeder valve, the dealer's mechanics clearly failed to have done it for the clutch bleeder valve during the prior 2 year interval service.

I believe that the symptoms you describe could be possibly explained by such a possibility, with corrosion particles temporarily interfering with the clutch related seals.

If this occurred with my car, I would thoroughly flush and bleed the hydraulics system, hoping for the best. Good luck!
 
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Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
Check the fluid level. Since the brake and clutch share a resivor a leak anywhere in the system will cause the clutch to act up first and then the brakes. Because the tap for the clutch is mounted higher on the resivor it looses fluid first.

Flush the fluid at the first opportunity, after you check for and repai any leak you might have.
 

kdenney

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Location
FL
TDI
2006 Jetta TDI
Checked the fluid level - seems normal, but it’s a little hard to tell with the battery in the way. When I remove the reservoir cap and view, it seems within the bounds, but again hard to tell.

I bought the car almost 2½ years ago, so it’s at least been that long since the fluid has been changed.

Researching similar issues, it seems it usually ends with needing a pretty expensive repair like a new slave cylinder and clutch from fluid leaking from the slave inside the bell housing. I’m thinking that if the pressure does return to normal there probably isn’t a leak somewhere as the pressure would be gone permanently.

Because it’s intermittent, I’m leaning more towards the fluid itself as the culprit. Does that seem right?
 

GCBUG00

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Location
Hartsville SC
TDI
2000 Beetle
The hydraulics do not know that you are driving, engine RPM or gear being selected. They only know you applied a force to the pedal, master creates pressure, fluid is forced thru hose and slave cylinder pushes the release fork.

A slave cylindesr biggest job, Do Not leak fluid or allow air to get in. Fluid leak is 1st failure mode. I think air getting in can sometimes happen when the cyl is removed for a clutch R&R. Possible but I can't document it.

The master cyl has a bit more functions and may be more of a culprit in this problem.

Look at the push rod where it comes out of the master cyl, wet, moist or dry. Inspect the wing clip connection of the push rod to pedal. Loose or nice and snug connection.

Also inspect the hose for exterior moisture.

Gary
 

kdenney

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Location
FL
TDI
2006 Jetta TDI
Thanks for your thoughts, Gary. That makes sense.

This still is baffling me... after another day of driving around town, there were no issues whatsoever. What could make this a temporary issue?

The first day it happened I remember about 30min prior as I shifted into reverse from first (or vice verse) in the parking lot, there was a small pop as it went into gear. I remember thinking that it was odd, but then forgot about it. Could that possibly have something to do with the issue?
 

kdenney

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Location
FL
TDI
2006 Jetta TDI
So took it to a local shop and they said it was the clutch slave cylinder. They replaced it, and said the bleed process was really difficult (which is why I didn't want to attempt the repair...). But now it seems now that the clutch is consistently more "squishy/soft" than before; there is more slack initially than before.

Think I might take it back and get them too check it again.

What amount of pedal travel is expected? Just want to make sure something's wrong before I make a big deal about it.

thanks in advance...
 

GCBUG00

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Location
Hartsville SC
TDI
2000 Beetle
So took it to a local shop and they said it was the clutch slave cylinder. They replaced it, ...
They replaced it.

Question, was it LEAKING or WEEPING brake fluid?

If not leaking or weeping please have shop explain their criteria and discovery that it was "defective"?

Hope you get problem fixed.
 
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