Slave cylinder leaking immediately after replacement - Transmission Forum

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Slave cylinder leaking immediately after replacement
Sunday, May 29, 2011 3:27 PM
'04 Cavalier, manual transmission:

About a week ago I was driving and the clutch pedal started to get spongy and low. Thinking I was running out of fluid, I pulled into the next store that carried brake fluid. I checked the level, and it was full (to the very top). I was about 1/2 mile from work so I just kept going. The clutch pedal went to the floor and the clutch stayed engaged. I made it to work with the clutch stuck on.

I ordered a master cylinder and installed it at the end of my shift. I bled the system and the clutch then worked but the pedal was still low and spongy. I was in a hurry to get out of the shop before closing time, so I decided to drive it home like that. I made it a few blocks and the pedal went to the floor.

The next morning I tried bleeding it again, and vacuum bleeding did nothing, as it hadn't the night before. I was getting air out, but never got any fluid. I then tried manual bleeding (alone, relying on the double-spring mechanism to hold the pedal down while I opened the bleeder). I started to get a little bit of pedal, then heard what I soon learned was the sound of brake fluid runnig out from between the engine and transaxle.

So I ordered a slave cylinder (from the Chevy dealer, it looked identical to the one I removed from the car). I installed it today, and vacuum bleeding did nothing, as it hadn't the week before. I was getting air out, but never got any fluid. I then tried manual bleeding (alone, relying on the double-spring mechanism to hold the pedal down while I opened the bleeder). I started to get a little bit of pedal (it actually got firm at the end of it's travel), then felt a slight pop in the pedal followed by the pedal going to the floor and the all too familiar sound of brake fluid splattering on the concrete.

What could be wrong? This doesn't make any sense to me. I'm an automotive technician (but we don't do intermal engine/transmission stuff where I work), and I don't know what could be wrong. I replaced the transaxle about a year ago (including swapping my slave cylinder/throwout bearing onto the salvaged transaxle). So I did the exact same thing I just did, only this time something went wrong. I assume I got a bad part, but I wanted to see if maybe I did something wrong, don't want to make the same mistake when I replace it again.

As far as I could see, the clutch "springy finger dealeys" were good (once again, I don't do engine/trans/clutch work in a professional capacity, and have forgotten the name since school). None were broken/bent/missing and they were stiff enough that I could barely move one by hand. Prior to losing the clutch pedal, the clutch would hold up to a second gear burn-out with about 250 HP turning some grippy tires, so I doubt it's worn. It also did fine for the 40 miles or so of slip shifting I did getting to work, home, to my shop, and home. The only time the clutch had ever slipped was when a friend bet me I couldn't spin the tires through all 5 gears on wet pavement (it started slipping as I dropped the clutch into 5th, and I let off the gas as soon as I saw the tach rise and the speedometer drop, maybe 1 second tops). It worked fine after that slippage and still held up to burnouts in second gear. I include that beacuse I remember reading that the clutch self-adjusts and at one point I was thinking maybe the slave cylinder had to travel too far and was pushing out of it's bore. But it would travel less or the same if the clutch was worn out, right?

I'm installing a new engine next weekend or the week after, so I'd love an answer by then. It was bad enough removing the transmission knowing I'd be doing the engine in a couple weeks, I don't want to replace it next ime and not know if it's going to leak when I'm done.

Thanks in advance for any help!
-Jason


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans

Re: Slave cylinder leaking immediately after replacement
Monday, May 30, 2011 12:16 AM
I would bet that the "springy finger dealeys" (clutch diaphragm sprring, btw ) are bad, and you could be overextending the slave cylinder. But it is possible that you just got a bad slave. Also, make sure that the engine to transmission bolts are tightened down all the way.




Currently #4 in Ecotec Forced Induction horsepower ratings. 505.8 WHP 414WTQ!!!
Currently 6th quickest Ecotec on the .org -12.453 @ 116.45 MPH!!!

Re: Slave cylinder leaking immediately after replacement
Monday, May 30, 2011 6:46 PM
Thanks for the reply. Any way to check the clutch diaphragm spring? I should probably just replace the clutch anyway. It's most likely the original one, unless it was replaced before 74k miles when I bought the car... 124k now (mostly highway, but a lot of racing too). I assume the slave cylinder is bad now if it wasn't right out of the box, or can you just get the piston back in the bore and be ok? If so, how would I go about doing that? I was pulling the old one apart while I waited for some helpers to show up to help me lift the transaxle back into place, and it didn't appear that it really came apart. I pulled the dust boot off of it and could smell brake fluid, but nothing had separated, all I noticed was that the bearing seemed a little loose compared to the new one.

Another question about the diaphragm spring: From when the pedal first started to get soft, I used the clutch about 10 times before the pedal went to the floor. Would the spring fail that quickly? I always shift into neutral and let off the clutch when coasting and at stops. I notice even the slightest change in how a car drives, and it was completely normal when I shifted into 5th on the highway, then was just slightly soft about 15 miles later when I got into town.

Thanks,
-Jason


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
The Solution:
Saturday, June 11, 2011 6:22 PM
The solution, if anyone else runs into this:

I finally got around to pulling the transaxle again, and found the problem. The clutch diaphragm spring was bent slightly (about 1/16" shorter than the new Exedy one). The clutch disc was just about flush with the rivets (as far as I know, it had 123,331 miles on it). The flywheel had 3 heat marks evenly spaced around the friction surface, I didn't measure them, but they seemed to make a nearly perfect equilateral triangle, the friction surface had a slight ridge where the clutch disc contacted it. So all in all, I'd say there was probably about 1/8" to 3/16" of wear that was allowing the slave cylinder to overextend. I replaced the flywheel, clutch disc, clutch cover, and slave cylinder. It drives like a new car, takes much less effort to change gears. It never seemed excessive, but now it just falls into every gear. I think the clutch diaphragm spring being bent was causing the clutch to not fully disengage. That would also explain why the 3rd and 4th gear synchronizers went out and 2nd was on it's way out.


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
Re: The Solution:
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:30 AM
I literally just had this happen last week.
The clutch pedal went to the floor (04, 5spd) on my way home on the highway.
I pulled over, kept the car running so i had A/C (it was 100+ here in TX that day), but every time I pulled the pedal out by hand, it would stick back to the floor.
After hours of being stranded, and waiting for a friend to bring me some brake fluid/clutch fluid, and pumping the pedal many times, it looked like it was gonna work.
Then BAM..back to the floor, this time the fluid in the reservior still full! I was lost.
Looked under the car, fluid EVERYWHERE and leaking like a faucet.

Mechanic gets it to his shop, says the Master cylinder is bad. Then the Slave cylinder. Then since the tranny is out, might as well put in a new clutch/clutch kit.
Assembles it, and POP, fluid everywhere!
He goes and gets a new slave cylinder again, puts it all back together, POP! fluid everywhere.
Now they dont know what the problem is, and its already $1200 of work/parts into my paid off car...

So..I am going to take your information here and give it to him, if it works, come to San Antonio, TX and I'll buy you a Guiness


04 Cav. 2dr. 5spd. My DD. 'Nuff said.
Re: The Solution:
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 10:55 PM
Make sure that they install a new clutch pressure plate/diaphragm spring. The bent diaphragm spring seemed to account for most of the excess travel. And that was measuring it unloaded, I assume the spring bent more than it should have under load, probably allowing for even more travel. I would think that if they installed a new "clutch kit' that it included that, but the clutch disc is available by itself, it's possible they just did that to save money. Also I would advise a new flywheel. I could only find it from the dealer, but it was $90-something, machining the old one wouldn't have been much less, and I figured since I was hunting for excess travel, I wouldn't mess around with machining it.


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
Re: The Solution:
Friday, June 17, 2011 6:41 AM
Thanks for the advice!
They actually got the whole clutch kit, I saw it with my own eyes. Included the throw-out bearing, pressure plate, clutch plate, etc.
I mentioned what you had put, and then something clicked and they thought 'oh sh!t, maybe its the flywheel' lol...so he measured and said it was 3.47mm worn down.
Bought a new Flywheel and I havent heard back, that was Wed afternoon when he ordered. Said it would be in by yesterday by 2pm (CST), and so Im hoping they got it in. Not sure why I havent heard back.
This sounds like it could make sense though, because it just sort of happened on the highway, and its not intermittent, its a constant thing (like I said, they reinstalled everything 3x and it kept blowing it out).
He said his cost for the new FW was $130, and he's pretty straight, cut me some deal on labor costs and did the towing/hook-up for free. So maybe its a better FW..


04 Cav. 2dr. 5spd. My DD. 'Nuff said.
Re: The Solution:
Friday, June 17, 2011 10:53 AM
Just curious, did your pedal get a bit low/spongy before it went out completely?

On they flywheel, I work at a huge shop that runs 2 shifts, we bought about $200,000 of parts from the GM dealer last year, so we're on the highest level of commercial discount they give... I probably should have mentioned that before. $130 seems reasonable for a full retail price. I wasn't able to find a normal steel flywheel anywhere but the dealer, but I only checked 4 places... not a lot of aftermarket demand for them, all the aftermarket ones I saw were aluminum.


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
Re: The Solution:
Friday, June 17, 2011 2:21 PM
yes, it slowly stopped working, from the time i left base (work on an Air Force base), about 5 minutes of traffic, then on the highway. When i started shifting, it felt wierd, but worked..then at some point about 2 or 3 minutes on the highway, it just went to the floor and wouldnt come back up.

my mechanic just texted me, the new flywheel didnt work either! damnit....it just blew again


04 Cav. 2dr. 5spd. My DD. 'Nuff said.
Re: The Solution:
Friday, June 17, 2011 3:50 PM
hey i got a bunch of mechanics, including GM techs asking what a 'diaphragm spring' is...and it turns out,there is a huge 'campaign' going regarding this issue with GM for these Cavaliers...its not a recall yet, but just a campaign to find out the problem.


04 Cav. 2dr. 5spd. My DD. 'Nuff said.
Re: The Solution:
Friday, June 17, 2011 4:05 PM
I actaully found it myself..not sure how these 'certified' techs didnt know what that was, probably because its a 'part' of the pressure plate setup...comes assembled. but its that large plate that pushes the pressure plate onto the clutch disc. its brand new though, so it shouldnt be that


04 Cav. 2dr. 5spd. My DD. 'Nuff said.

Re: The Solution:
Friday, June 17, 2011 4:12 PM
is it possible the input shaft is off? because they said everything is installed correctly and he's got like GM, dealerships, mechanic friends, and many transmission shops scratching their heads over this one...


04 Cav. 2dr. 5spd. My DD. 'Nuff said.
Re: The Solution:
Saturday, June 18, 2011 12:44 AM
Don't hold not knowing the name against them... I didn't know it until Roofy told me the proper term for it

The input shaft is splined and slips in and out of the center of the clutch disc, it could be an inch too far in and not affect the operation of the clutch. If the transaxle case were physically damaged, the slave cylinder could be too far away from the clutch, but there's nothing there that would wear and it seems unlikely that it would break and go out gradually. The most likely thing I can think of is some part is wrong and too thin from the factory. I used the Exedy clutch kit (included slave cylinder, clutch disc, and clutch cover) that Amazon.com sells. Might be worth trying that brand (I have no brand preference yet, but I know it worked in at least one car, and it was the cheapest big-name brand that I could find). It's holding an estimated 250 hp just fine, so I think the quality is at least OK. Time will tell how long it holds, but I'd say it should be just fine for a stock setup). I'll see if I can find the GM P/N for the flywheel I got, that will be Monday assuming I remember, the invoice is in my toolbox at work. Is the transaxle bolted up tight to the engine with nothing in between holding them apart? Let him know that the proper way to bleed the system is to use a vacuum pump to suck the air out, not start out pumping the pedal. I wouldn't think that would cause your problem, but at this point I'd be printing off the directions and checking the steps off one at a time. Once I got some fluid out, I disconnected the vacuum pump and ran the hose into the reservoir and had a friend slowly move the pedal up and down by hand until I got no more air bubbles floating up. There is also a "flywheel side" note stamped in one side of the clutch disc, but I'm not sure if it would cause that problem... IIRC it would just interfere with either the flywheel or pressure plate, giving you less travel in the slave cylinder. Also be sure that he's using a new slave cylinder, if he's re-using the first new one, the seal may be damaged in it.

The only other possibility that I can see is a bad thrust bearing that lets the flywheel go too close to the engine, but that seems very unlikely for several reasons. The rods would be misaligned and probably cause all sorts of wear on the bearings, pistons and cylinder walls; I would think the engine would fail before the clutch hydraulics if that happened. The flywheel is also very close to the block, and I don't think it could move very much before grinding into the block. I had a little over 1/8" of combined wear, and I think there's less than that between the engine and flywheel.

You might want to start a new thread and see if someone else has input, anyone who might have been able to help probably stopped reading this thread when they saw my issue was resolved. I mostly do electrical diagnostics/ air conditioning/ drivability stuff, and I don't do any engine/transmission/clutch work in a professional capacity, I'm no more help than a DIY'er there.


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
Re: The Solution:
Saturday, June 18, 2011 9:29 PM
sweet thanks for the help anyways, lots of useful info!
Ill try starting a new thread to see if we can get any new insight on this, thanks again!


04 Cav. 2dr. 5spd. My DD. 'Nuff said.
Re: The Solution:
Saturday, August 24, 2013 7:12 PM
so has anyone figured out the problem with this? im having the same issues with my 01 getrag. im trying to assemble the car with a new ky stage 3 clutch kit and i popped 3 slave/throw out bearings.


01' Z24 5 speed
422whp/400wtq
T4 Turbocharged
Built LD9
HP Tuners
Re: The Solution:
Sunday, August 25, 2013 1:54 AM
Yes, the solution was found. If you actually read this TWO YEAR OLD thread you resurrected, you will find it.


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
Re: The Solution:
Sunday, August 25, 2013 7:44 AM
you coulda just told me the answer, you dont need to be a dick about it. i posted this at 2am after being tired from removing the damn trans 3 times from this issue.


01' Z24 5 speed
422whp/400wtq
T4 Turbocharged
Built LD9
HP Tuners
Re: The Solution:
Sunday, August 25, 2013 11:23 AM
Another option would be for you to take it upon yourself to learn things and not expect others to do all the work for you. I found the solution myself, by looking at the problem and using logic, not by skimming over "The Solution" and then expecting someone else to read the details for you. I titled that second post "The Solution" because, well, it contained the solution to the problem. I can't believe you call me a dick for taking the time to at least alert you to the fact that you just failed to read through even the first reply after you bring back a two year old thread. That, after I took the time to do a detailed writeup so that anyone with a computer who is capable of reading can benefit from my knowledge. Next time you ask for help and the answer is there, I will actually be a dick by sitting here and laughing that you are still scratching your empty little head while the answer is right in front of you. Good day sir.


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
Re: The Solution:
Monday, August 26, 2013 6:44 PM
actually mr. dick, your issue turned out to be completely different from mine. however im not going to post what my issue was due to you being a complete a**hole and instead of helping someone out you sit there and rant and rave about how you found the problem and i should read instead of asking questions. good day dick.


01' Z24 5 speed
422whp/400wtq
T4 Turbocharged
Built LD9
HP Tuners
Re: The Solution:
Monday, August 26, 2013 7:33 PM
LOL! I doubt I will ever be in need of the knowledge you think you are withholding. Have fun kid.


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
Re: The Solution:
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 6:55 AM
Publikdstrbnce wrote:

actually mr. dick, your issue turned out to be completely different from mine. however im not going to post what my issue was due to you being a complete a**hole and instead of helping someone out you sit there and rant and rave about how you found the problem and i should read instead of asking questions. good day dick.







Re: The Solution:
Thursday, August 29, 2013 7:26 AM
lol... i forgot all about this thread.
by the way...the asshole-assclown of a mechanic ended up scamming me. My top of the line battery and GPS unit was stolen. His mechanic took it but i didnt have solid proof so i couldnt press charges. I ended up dropping a sh!t ton of money on this guy because he kept crying that my transmission was not stock (i was super new to the jbody's at the time and didnt know any better) and that it was my cars fault he couldnt figure it out. I ended up losing over $2000 on this guy to put in new parts (i saw them) but was half assing everything. then after weeks of this and not having a vehicle, i had another local guy for $400 at his shop put in an upgraded set up. done.

problem? he was installing the TOB incorrectly and the seal was getting completely smashed, leaking fluid all over inside. But hind sight is always 20/20 and now i can do this myself.

Just thought Id chime in as the issue was the mechanic, not the parts. And what he ended up chargin me (a little over $2000) i was going to take him to court over (since i had a certified tech confirm in writing his install was crap), he fled the area and couldnt be served paperwork. Guess who i see driving down a road as im visiting a friends house YESTERDAY? his hopped up 135i (murdered out, pretty nice actually). but the statute of limitations is 24 months and so i couldnt take him to court if i wanted now. f*cker.

so yeah...thanks for all the good info before though J


04 Cav. 2dr. 5spd. My DD. 'Nuff said.
Re: The Solution:
Thursday, August 29, 2013 5:45 PM
Sorry to hear about all that, it really sucks when grease monkeys pull that crap.

No problem, always glad to help... well, as long as some effort is put forth by the person seeking help


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'04 Cavalier
2.2 Ecotec Supercharged w/ 2.9" pulley
Charge air cooler
Poly bushings - lower control arm and engine/trans
Re: The Solution:
Monday, September 02, 2013 8:06 PM
lol, funny I see this now. Big tip. DON'T REMOVE THE WHITE PLASTIC RETAINING CLIP FROM THE SLAVE!!! It's designed to break apart during bleeding and keeps the slave piston from over extending and damaging the Slave seal. It's the reason why a new one is included in the clutch kits, once you pull the Trans the slave over extends and can pop the seal out.




SPD RCR Z - '02 Z24 420whp
SLO GOAT - '04 GTO 305whp
RACER X - '78 Opel Kadett W41 Swap

Re: The Solution:
Friday, September 06, 2013 6:22 AM
Google searching for a pic of it all I could come up with was a pic of the Isuzu slave/tob with retaining clips.
I know I've seen something like this on the Getrag ones, and seen a TSB from GM on it at one point.




SPD RCR Z - '02 Z24 420whp
SLO GOAT - '04 GTO 305whp
RACER X - '78 Opel Kadett W41 Swap

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