How do you know if your clutch is bad?


Drez7
05-09-2007, 02:19 PM
I have a 1995 Saturn SL2 manual trans. w/about 165k miles on it. I've been having a problem with it where the rpms get really jacked up here and there...I've come to think it must be a fuel flow issue or something? I took it to a mechanic before and he said that something was really dirty and that i should make sure to clean to pvc pipe or something once a year...and he said the cause of my car being dirty was from cheap gasoline and that I should use Plus instead of regular, which I have been doing, yet the probelm still exists....btw, i think that mechanic had no effin clue what he was talkin about.

The problem: every now and then the rpms will get really high when the car is not in gear. If I'm driving in gear everything will seem normal, but once I push in the clutch to switch gears the rpms will rev up really high, over 2 often and this will happen when it is in neutral or until i come to a complete stop and wait for a while or put it back in another gear. Also, and I usually notice this when I'm in 5th gear, the car will begin to feel like it's studdering and have a sort of sharp push forward when I let off the gas for a while and then push it. For example, I'll accelerate up to 40 mph, let off the gas for a bit, and then push it again, and once i push the accelerator the car will studder a bit and jerk forward. Once this happens and it doesn't go away quickly, it means when I put the car back into neutral the rpms get really really low and the car will die out, usually once I come to a complete stop. It then takes a bit longer than usual to start up, and it's died on my quite a few times.

The "Solution": Now, I took it to a mechanic yesterday and let them test drive it, where they immediately told me it was the clutch. I don't know much/anything about cars, but I really didn't expect that to be the problem, and what's more fishy is the fact that they described a bad clutch as having high rpms until the clutch is engaged, yet they said they couldn't figure out why the car was dying and that must be another problem. The guy who drove it told me it must be "just a Saturn thing" ...wtf?

My thoughts: I certainly believe that whatever is wrong with my car can't be a two-issue deal here, which leads me to believe it's not the clutch, although maybe it's possible. Why? Because, usually the problem begins where the car will die out as described above, then once I start it back up again the high rpms problem kicks in. That is, the rpms get really low and the car dies out, then once I start it back up the rpms will get really high on start up and between shifting or having the car in neutral. This leads me to believe the "two issues" are connected and are simply just one.

Your thoughts: So, what do you guys think about my situation? Is the mechanic right? He said something about the pressure plates and the clutch was bad and sounded like he was 100% sure...but I'm not sure about that. My question is, what's the sign of a bad clutch? Is there any way you can tell if your clutch is bad? How does a clutch get worn out mostly, ie., is there a bad way of driving that wears out the clutch quickly? I certainly hope it's not the clutch, cuz they said total with labor would be about $1,000 to fix, which I'm certainly not going to pay for a car they aren't even sure about why is dying. Also they said they have no way of knowing how long the clutch will last...but I was just thinking if it really is the clutch I might as well drive the car until the clutch wears out, because it's just not worth it to invest about as much money as I paid for this car into it and still not be sure it's totally okay.

turtlecrxsi
05-09-2007, 02:52 PM
$1000 to replace a 1995 Saturn clutch?!!!!!!!!!!!??! Holy Rip Off! Where are you going to have your car serviced? The Snake Bros. Gun, Pawn and Auto Chop Shop... LOL. Honestly, go somewhere else to get your car looked at.

Symptoms of a bad clutch... your car will not stay in gear. Early signs of clutch going south are rpms "racing" when you give it gas but you essentially are not moving as rpms climb which is very noticeable.

The other problem with your car dying upon stopping and idle issues sounds like a vaccum hose leak or something related. Check your hoses leading to the intake manifold and make sure they're not rotting away or loose. If you have no clue what I'm talking about just go to a reputable mechanic... certainly a different one from the one you already went to. GL

UncleBob
05-09-2007, 04:14 PM
book time is 7.3 hours on the clutch, so depending on his labor rate, $1000 sounds fair to me.

Of course, I keep hearing how all these jobs are so easy, these people that never have done one can do it in 30 minutes :D

Whether or not the symptoms are completely related to the clutch failure, I assume that the mechanic did find the clutch is bad. If thats true, then you have 2 issues. If its not true, then you need to get a second opinion.

Clutch failure seems to confuse people very often. I can't tell you how often I have to argue with people, the reason their car no longer moves is the clutch is toast, when they want me to throw fuel filters and sparkplugs at it. I'm not questioning your relaying of the symptoms, but if the mechanic is positive the clutch is bad (how bad, is the question IMO) then it could be related, definitely.

In short, get a second opinion.

Drez7
05-09-2007, 11:57 PM
Agreed. Now, I wouldn't disagree so much with the mechanic if they had at least some clue as to what the the cause of my car dying out is. Like I said, I'm fairly sure these two issues are related. Maybe the clutch is a bit worn though, but the problem is that today when I was driving it, besides the fact that it died out again today, the rpms were no where near as high as they were when my car was idle when I took it to the mechanic. See, what happens is sometimes the problem occurs for a day or a few days, and then the next day I start it up it'll be as though the problem had never existed...that is until my car dies out again. It seems to come and go, although I have to admit it's been effectively getting worse. One morning it died out when I got home and when I restarted it, it studdered and shook really badly and the rpms were very, very low for a while...I started it back up again and again until finally on one start up the problem was gone but then my rpms got high during idle again for a few days until they seemed to get back to normal. My car is possessed!

UncleBob
05-10-2007, 12:08 AM
is the check engine light on?

I would suspect a vacuum leak and/or an IAC problem. Could be related to the PCV system. But this is very little help without diagnostics. High idle, by itself suggests air is getting into the engine that shouldn't be, and there's only a couple ways that can happen.

Racincc85
05-11-2007, 08:40 AM
Try this: Get the car up to 30 mph or so. Once you reach that speed, put it in 4th gear and punch the gas to the floor for a few seconds. If the engine revs up quickly and the car does not accelerate then your clutch is definitely bad. If the motor lugs and does not rev up, then the clutch is fine. Also, do you know if the previous owner of the car ever had the clutch replaced and if so at what mileage?

bobss396
05-16-2007, 10:22 AM
Try this: Get the car up to 30 mph or so. Once you reach that speed, put it in 4th gear and punch the gas to the floor for a few seconds. If the engine revs up quickly and the car does not accelerate then your clutch is definitely bad. If the motor lugs and does not rev up, then the clutch is fine. Also, do you know if the previous owner of the car ever had the clutch replaced and if so at what mileage?

Agreed, the time honored acid-test for a bum clutch. Have you noticed any smell from it? You may or may not, especially if the clutch is just plain worn out. Make sure they look at the throw out bearing, clutch fork closely too.

Bob

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