Reduced Clutch disengagement

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
2004 BEW TDI, My clutch will barely disengage, and I'm about to order everything for replacement. I'm just not quite sure if it's the clutch being worn out or something else, since there is no slippage, it just acts like there is not enough "pedal movement" to disengage, and it's starting to grind as I at times have to almost jam it into gear while shifting.
Car has 380,000 miles, replaced the DMF and clutch when the car had less than 100,000 miles since I had it chipped and thought I needed a more heavy duty clutch, purchased a G60/VR6 from DieselGeek in 2007.
So does this sound like a worn out clutch, or maybe something with the hydraulics which is non adjustable? In general, I'm not that hard on the clutch.
Thanks for any advice, I don't want to go after a clutch change if not needed!
 

phaser

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2004
Location
Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta PD - 490k
How long has it been since the transmission oil was drained and changed?



.
 

steve6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 25, 2010
Location
Beaverton, ON
TDI
2003 jetta tdi
I wouldn't think the hydraulics, but could be fork bent or wearing through pivot ball, or something on the clutch disk/pressure plate is worn. If youre going to do it would be good to do pivot ball, fork(the clip) and the transmission seal along with the clutch.
 

gforce1108

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Location
Newburgh, NY
TDI
04 Jetta GLS BEW, 03 Jetta Wagon ALH
I have had both a cracked throw out arm and a trashed DMF cause those exact symptoms. Others have mentioned in the past that a bad pressure plate can do it. You won't know for sure until you remove everything but there is one quick test you can do:
Pull the slave cylinder and measure to the throw out arm. Broken/cracked arm looks like this:

A good one looks like this:

The slave can be checked by bolting a plate preventing it from extending. Pedal should be rock hard with almost no movement.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
It is possible the release fork just wore through at the pivot point. It happens, eventually. New fork, new ball stud, you're back in business... but obviously the trans will have to come out for this.
 

gforce1108

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Location
Newburgh, NY
TDI
04 Jetta GLS BEW, 03 Jetta Wagon ALH
It is possible the release fork just wore through at the pivot point. It happens, eventually. New fork, new ball stud, you're back in business... but obviously the trans will have to come out for this.
I was surprised to find the ball broken off and imbedded in fork on my 03. It shifted normally, only having a pulsation in the pedal. (303k miles)
 

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
Wow, thanks for the quick suggestions, really appreciate it. Confession time, a bit of guilt brought on by me, activated by phaser: In 14 years, 9 trips to Alaska from Illinois, some pulling loads, I have gotten over-complacent with the car seemingly needing no maintenance. Well, oil changes of course, and recently replaced timing belt 2nd time. Having said that (sheepish moment now), I have never drained or changed the transmission oil, and have not seen any spec on that requirement. Hopefully I did not create problems for myself here- but I plan to fix whatever it is. I'm a real newbie on the clutch system, so I'm up for a learning curve. Won't be able to immediately attend to this with work out of town next week, but hoping "ya'll" will continue to hang with me on this, sure appreciate it!
 

SAABNEWBIE

Active member
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Location
LONG BEACH, CA
TDI
1999 NEW BEETLE
I had the same symptoms in my car. I changed the slave cylinder and clutch line to no avail. when I finally removed my transmission I found the throw out bearing disintegrated.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

steve6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 25, 2010
Location
Beaverton, ON
TDI
2003 jetta tdi
Wow, thanks for the quick suggestions, really appreciate it. Confession time, a bit of guilt brought on by me, activated by phaser: In 14 years, 9 trips to Alaska from Illinois, some pulling loads, I have gotten over-complacent with the car seemingly needing no maintenance. Well, oil changes of course, and recently replaced timing belt 2nd time. Having said that (sheepish moment now), I have never drained or changed the transmission oil, and have not seen any spec on that requirement. Hopefully I did not create problems for myself here- but I plan to fix whatever it is. I'm a real newbie on the clutch system, so I'm up for a learning curve. Won't be able to immediately attend to this with work out of town next week, but hoping "ya'll" will continue to hang with me on this, sure appreciate it!
These transmissions(the 02j manual) don't really need a ton of maintenance, fluid does not hurt every few years.. you'll know if the trans gets low on fluid as it will burn up 5th gear though. Most likely your issue is in the clutch system, its time, its been enough years and rubbing metals only last so long, but do a fluid change while at it, its pretty cheap and easy.
 

gforce1108

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Location
Newburgh, NY
TDI
04 Jetta GLS BEW, 03 Jetta Wagon ALH
I typically do manual trans fluid changes with the timing belt. Perfect interval. Cheap enough too.
 

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
Correction: the car has 280,000 on it, not 380,000, not sure how I messed that up. But, I agree the car deserves a bit of TLC and even though I'm planning on a 2015, this has really been a faithful "buggy" and I'm keeping it. Would like to get 400,000 out of it or more.
Yes, I've seen the "lifetime" associated with the tranny, but indeed I'll do what's prudent. Has a really big oil leak as well.
I'll attempt to post pics when I find the problem(s).
 

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
OP here hopefully reviving this thread... did not abandon, just busy with life and doing a lot of other things to the car as well.

Thanks Gforce for those pics with the measurement to the release fork for good and bad scenarios, I already had the transmission pulled assuming I was going to find a mess in there. The fork and bullet bullet stud looked great, the through out bearing was creased a bit, but not bad. Pressure plate tines were not appreciably thinned out from bearing. Clutch was amazingly in good shape yet. BUT, I had all new stuff, including a new clutch and pressure plate (stiffer stage 2). The clutch did not fit with my G60 so I put the old (good) one back in with new pressure plate, new main seal, fork, stud, bearing.

Took a lot of measurements of the new parts and very little difference from old. BUT, put a thick washer under stud just in case, to make sure the clutch released before pedal all the way to the floor. Well, after all together, the measurement per the Gforce pic is 3/4 inch, not 1/2 inch as shown. But I can't imagine that is a problem. Anyways, tested the car and no different than before I did all this. Basically identical, possibly a bit worse.

OK, now changed the clutch master cylinder. Feeling how "tight" the plunger felt compared with the "loose" old one, thought this would be the ticket. No difference at all. Seriously?? Changed out the old slave with new one. Worse. continued soft pedal feel. Did not release the clutch to get it in gear at all. Spent a LOT of effort bleeding, including reverse bleeding to remove the potential air bubble in the master... never had any air bubbles come into the reservoir. Put the old slave back in, and better, firmer clutch pedal, though still a bit soft at first, but of course it SHOULD be easier at first since the pressure plate tines have not moved much yet. I've swapped out the old and new slave about 4 times now, every time the old works way better.

Just seems like there is not enough fluid flowing to move that release fork enough. Seems like it needs more fluid flow from the master. No brake fluid leaking anywhere by the way. Earlier I had blocked off the slave and the clutch felt quite hard. But I got a new slave anyways, just in case.

So basically everything is new in the entire system. It's kicking my butt. How do you get more motion of that slave plunger? I'm about as confident as I can be that there is no air in system. I even compressed and blocked off slave, then bled, to make sure there is no pocket of air left in the slave since the plunger is part way out to make contact with release fork when it's installed, and I figured it's possible that bleeding it in that static configuration will not remove a pocket of air in the slave, but just move the upstream fluid. I've never seen that mentioned before. But in any case, it made no difference.

Do I need a certain brand of master/slave? My new slave being worse makes me wonder if one needs to just keep buying new ones until you happen to get a quality one that works correctly? That's pathetic of course. Bought Bently manual set, and read everything I can on the forums, and I feel like I've done everything, but obviously not, since no improvement. I can't think of anything other than throwing NEW new parts at it. Is that 3/4 inch gap to the fork too much, even after I put in a washer under stud? Should not have to lift the stud with all new parts.

This post is way too long. I'm venting. Would love any suggestions.
 

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
Clutch master from Oreilly, Power Torque brand:
https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/...der/cm1325/4670667/2004/volkswagen/golf?pos=0

Clutch Slave: Can't seem to remember where I got it from, I think NAPA. Also can't find indication of brand on it.

Bleeding:

Initially, master and slave cylinders installed in car, loosen slave bleeder and attach Harbor Freight air compressor bleeder (WAY better than the MityVac I bought there as well and wore out some time ago, and cheap too!), pulled brake fluid through till no air bubbles, then more to make sure. The bleed valve needs to be turned about 1.5 rotations before it begins to bleed, unlike typical metal bleeder valves.

Subsequently, bought an oiler can, filled it with brake fluid and put together a hose assembly to attach to slave port, and applied brake fluid INTO the port to send it uphill to the master and then the reservoir to make sure there is no air bubble in the master. Got this from a post elsewhere, video link below.
No air bubbles ever seen as the fluid level would rise in the reservoir.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdf--suwqw0

Even after the above reverse method, I would then bleed again using the vacuum system at the slave port just to make doubly sure. My bleeder hose is clear, so I could see the absence of air bubbles as I'm bleeding.

After thinking about other possibilities, it seemed to me that MAYBE a pocket of air stays in the slave, since when installed the slave plunger is part ways out against the release fork, and bleeding from the slave port does not guarantee that the air is removed from the slave cylinder on the plunger or engine side of the cylinder from the bleeder port, so I compressed and blocked off the slave plunger to hopefully not leave any air in the slave since the plunger is fully in, and then vacuum bleed again, close the bleed port, then remove the block from the slave and let the plunger spring back out on its own, drawing only fluid into the slave cylinder. Then after bolting the slave back in, vacuum bleed one more time just to make sure. In almost all of these processes, pure fluid is coming up the bleed tube, no air bubbles. I bought several large cans of fluid to go overkill on the bleeding. I did this same thing on both the old and new slave, and with the new slave, the pedal is always softer and does not release the clutch, as mentioned.

Anything seem wrong with my procedure(s)?
 
Last edited:

gforce1108

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Location
Newburgh, NY
TDI
04 Jetta GLS BEW, 03 Jetta Wagon ALH
A power bleeder is probably the best way to do it. I've seen a how-to that looked a little scary, but apparently works well. They hooked a hose from the clutch slave bleeder to a front caliper bleeder - pumping fluid out the brake and into the clutch created a closed loop and purges out the air. Haven't tried it - but was very temped the last time I had to replace a slave!

The gap I measured was on a Luk setup - didn't catch if that's what you are running or a Sachs. Also - you may have a DMF problem. The second car that came into me with similar issues needed only a DMF (got a whole kit from idparts though). At first I figured 2 98 Beetles with the same symptoms would both have the same problem but nope... The second one would go into gear at a stop by pumping the clutch pedal a few times first. Took it all apart and nothing was worn besides the flywheel.
 

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
A power bleeder is probably the best way to do it. I've seen a how-to that looked a little scary, but apparently works well. They hooked a hose from the clutch slave bleeder to a front caliper bleeder - pumping fluid out the brake and into the clutch created a closed loop and purges out the air. Haven't tried it - but was very temped the last time I had to replace a slave!
The gap I measured was on a Luk setup - didn't catch if that's what you are running or a Sachs. Also - you may have a DMF problem. The second car that came into me with similar issues needed only a DMF (got a whole kit from idparts though). At first I figured 2 98 Beetles with the same symptoms would both have the same problem but nope... The second one would go into gear at a stop by pumping the clutch pedal a few times first. Took it all apart and nothing was worn besides the flywheel.
I've been running a G60 flywheel/VR6 clutch for over 200,000 miles, so I have a SMF. When I pulled it apart I was amazed at how good it looked. Was hoping for an obvious problem, but did not see one. But purchased a ClutchExperts Stage 2 setup (https://www.ebay.com/itm/CLUTCHXPER...ETTA-PASSAT-CORRADO-GTi-VR6-2-8L/172142358960) thinking I might as well put in a beefier clutch since it was apart. I polished the G60 with fine grit sandpaper/block, reusing it since it looked good and I do not want a lighter flywheel. The clutch geometry was wrong however, so I put the old one back in- it looked almost as good as the brand new one that didn't fit. But also used the new stiffer stage 2 pressure plate, so really that is the only new component, along with the new fork, bearing, bullet stud (which I put a spacer washer under). As mentioned, after trying it out, the system acted the same as before, barely releasing the clutch when all the way to the floor. Moreover, this behavior has been going on for at least a year while I've ignored it and just dealt with it. I guess the only hard data I have is the 3/4 inch gap to the fork. Sure wish I would have measured it before I took everything apart, but it makes sense for it to be the same since it's acting the same before/after.
I can't see how forcing brake fluid from the brake bleeder into the clutch slave bleeder is different from me forcing/pumping brake fluid directly into the slave bleeder from my oil can. Assuming I'm interpreting your power bleeding correctly. Would it have something to do with the sheer volume or RATE of fluid flow into the slave?
I feel like I either need to pull the tranny again and put a whole stack of washers under the bullet stud to reduce the 3/4 inch gap to about 1/2 or 1/4 (but this should not be necessary if all the parts are good!) or start installing master and slave cylinders until I get a combo that actually works, even though my current hydraulic system DOES work, just not good enough. And this option seems ridiculous as well.
It's very frustrating, and likely hard for anyone to comment since nothing seems obvious that I have not tried, at least I think. But I'm really bothered with the fact that the new slave is softer than the old one. Can't imagine there is air in it based on how I bled the system, and I did the same thing for both slaves multiple times.
Appreciate the help, still hoping someone has a suggestion I can try. I feel like I've tried the "power bleeding" in reverse pressure bleeding at the slave, and the clutch and brake system are separate in any case even though they use the same fluid. As long as the tube from the reservoir is supplying fluid to the master, the brake and clutch systems are completely independent.
Sigh...
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
I've always thought of the hydraulic system as a single closed system. The object of whichever bleed method you use is to expel all the air.
 

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
I see how you can interpret the hydraulic system as a closed system, since fluid can flow from brake system to clutch system, and nothing from the outside world can enter/escape. But I would think it should be interpreted as a "passive" closed system, rather than "active" from the standpoint that you could completely block the brake fluid flow to/from the brake master and the clutch hydraulics would not know the difference, and vice versa. In that sense I consider them "independent"... one does not rely on the other.

But to your point BobnOH, "the objective is to expel all the air". Yes, but correct me if I'm wrong, but again based on the design, air in the brake system cannot enter the clutch system, and vice versa. The only "connection" they have is in the common fluid reservoir, and air from either system would only be able to get to the other system by bubbling up into the reservoir, and THAT unlikely air should just stay in the reservoir. Of course it goes without saying that everything needs to be purged.

Well I just ordered a Motive Products power bleeder so I will power bleed/flush the entire clutch/brake system again using that tool (linked below), then vacuum it again as well. I'm also going to block the slave (which I have already done) and try to carefully determine if there is any air in the system.

https://www.amazon.com/Motive-Produ...103647&sprefix=motive+products,aps,166&sr=8-2
 
Last edited:

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
Here is a pic of the housing to fork distance at the slave port. It looked like 3/4 inch when I measured it crudely earlier, but it's slightly less than 5/8ths, so it seems to me that this confirms that my basic good/new clutch components are not at fault. So at the moment I'm convinced that it has to be the hydraulic system. Wasn't looking forward to pulling the trans again in any case!

 
Last edited:

alaskax

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Location
Salem, Wisconsin
TDI
2004 Golf, 2013 Jetta Sportswagon
I don't know if anyone is reading this thread anymore, but I got some data that is very helpful to me and might be to others as well. The main thing is that I've been a bit fixated on the distance from the housing where the clutch slave attaches and the release fork, and I now realize it's not critical. I was just assuming that the slave plunger essentially fully extends when the master plunger is activated from pressing the clutch to the floor, since then where the slave plunger starts would limit how much extra travel there is to release the clutch. Since my whole issue has been the clutch not releasing or barely releasing when I press the clutch to the floor, this seemed like a very pertinent matter.
Well, the slave plunger is able to extend a total of 2 inches. Almost exactly. BUT, full activation of my master, from full depression of the clutch, is half that, almost exactly 1 inch. In that sense, withing a certain range it does not matter where the slave plunger STARTS, ... in my case, it is starting at 5/8 inch, the distance the plunger extends before making contact with the release fork. If it starts at 1 inch or more, then the slave plunger will bottom out at 2 inches before the clutch pedal is all the way to the floor.
This is why no clutch adjustment is ever needed as the clutch wears out. Pressing the clutch will move the plunger 1 inch to hopefully release the clutch no matter where the plunger starts at (but less than 1 inch). Thus, putting that washer under the bullet stud to bring the other end of the fork closer to the housing/slave plunger was completely without purpose. It does nothing to improve the ability to release the clutch.
Having said all this, my problem is still there, so I'm not so sure that the 1 inch slave plunger travel is the correct spec. I blocked my slave and the clutch is hard as a rock, showing that IF there is any air in the new clutch master, it would only be a tiny amount or the clutch would still feel spongy with the slave blocked. If the slave plunger moved even 1 1/4 inch, then I believe my problem would be gone. 1 inch just does not seem like enough to fully release the clutch.
I would buy another new clutch master if I thought it would help, but since the old one and the new one have the same result, does not seem like a very logical plan.
So I still maintain that I just need more slave plunger movement than I'm getting, and I know the finger points to air in the system, but my hydraulics are rock hard with the slave blocked. Wondering if anyone knows if that 1 inch slave plunger movement is the correct spec? Or has any other suggestions?
 
Last edited:
Top