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Intermittent Clutch Problem


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Hi All,

I've got a 2004 Mk 6 1.25 Duratec Finesse. It's been an excellent car - currently has 32K on the clock.

This week, both wife and I have had trouble with the clutch - biting point was just of the floor, and on one occasion wasn't there at all and we couldn't change gear - this seemed to sort itself out quite quickly, but there's clearly something wrong.

I flushed/bled the clutch circuit through with fresh fluid - old stuff was pretty black. However, the problem is still there, intermittently. Fluid level hasn't dropped in the reservoir.

I'm now suspecting master cylinder or (annoyingly) slave cylinder. In essence, the problem is that the clutch is not disengaging correctly, and this is intermittent.

Anyone else had the same problem and any ideas? Am I on the right lines?



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After posting this I bumped in to mate who's in the trade. His advice, based on experience of seeing this fault before is:

1. It's likely to be the master cylinder not the slave - the master cylinders seem to fail more often than the slave

2. If the slave cylinder fails it normally leaks big time - in my case there's been no leakage at all from that area (or anywhere)

3. He's known the master to fail without actually leaking any fluid anywhere (so fluid level in reservoir doesn't drop).

As it's the master this is a job I am more than capable of doing myself, so I'll give it a crack in the next week or so. If I learn anything else I'll post it here.


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Hi Phillip,

Sorry you didn't get any replies. Sometimes the clutch system can be a nightmare to bleed without a pressure or vacuum bleeding kit so it might be worth using one of these if you can?

let us know how you get on


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Hi Stef,

Not too fussed about no replies - I did a search before posting and there wasn't much, so maybe it's not been experienced by the folks on here. I've got one of those Eezi-bleed devices - which is great. The part is waiting for me at my local Ford dealer, and it's under £40, and whilst the job looks awkward, it seems fairly straight-forward. If it was the slave cylinder it would be a different matter....

If I remember I'll take some photos.


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OK, I've now replaced my clutch master cylinder on my Mk 6 1.25 Finesse (Duratec), and it seems to have done the trick. I didn't manage to take any photos. It wasn't a complicated job, just frigging,frigging awkward.

I used the Haynes manual but I ended up doing some things differently. If you are going to do this job yourself, a manual would be useful, but here are some pointers:

1. Remove the clutch position switch first. I managed to break mine (I'll post separately about this).

2. Follow instructions in manual to remove pipes in engine bay - I couldn't improve on that bit at all.

3. When you come to remove the pedal/cylinder assembly remove the pedal pivot bolt first. As you remove the bolt, the pedal will be have lateral movement that should allow you to remove the actuator arm from the pedal.

4. Fully remove bolt and you should be able to remove the pedal on its own - if you are lucky the return spring will fall off the end of the pedal. Note that there is a metal tube and two plastic washers that form the pedal pivot bearing itself.

5. To remove the master cylinder assembly, first undo and remove the two bolts securing it to the bracket.

6. The assembly itself also clips in to the bracket - pull it down to free it off and it should then withdraw.

7. The pedal fits to the cylinder assembly in two places - via the return spring and via the actuator arm. I didn't actually fit the actuator arm before trying to replace in car - after several attempts I used the thin garden wire stuff to secure the spring on the end of the clutch arm. I wrapped it several times - Haynes says use tape but that's a stupid idea! Note that the metal tube/washers that form the pivot bearing fall out quite easily and need care.

8. I refitted the assembly by getting the pedal approximately in position in the bracket, but I actually fitted the cylinder assembly in first - push up to locate the assembly clips in the bracket, and then fit/tighten the bolts. It's much easier to do it that way without the actuator arm connected to the pedal.

9. Fitting the pedal back is a bit tricky because you are pushing against the spring, and it's all a bit confined and awkward. I laid upside down with a folded towel on the door sill, and I had the bolt in one hand and the pedal in the other. I actually put the bolt in the other way round - it was just easier. Initially, just get the bolt located in one side of the pedal - you should then have enough lateral movement to fit the actuator arm, and the retaining clip. Then push the pedal in to position so you can slide the bolt all the way through and do it up.

10. Replace pipes as per manual, and bleed the system.

If the car won't go in to gear after doing this job, then pump the pedal a few times. I took mine for a test drive, and then bled the system again.

Final task is clear up and have a beer.

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