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Old 04-13-2010, 12:22 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Crofton, MD
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Default Cold weather-related clutch and transmission woes

Not that this is going to be a problem until next fall, but it seems when ever it is less than 40 or 45 deg. F outside, as was the case this past weekend when I drove to Ohio to visit my girlfriend's family, a couple of strange behaviors made themselves apparent.

First, when depressing the clutch pedal the first couple of times in the cold, it is like there is no fluid in the system, and the pedal goes to the floor with zero effort, totally limp. The clutch still engages and disengages as expected, and the pedal returns to the normal position after letting it go, but the lack of effort required to depress it is strange. I would think it is a failing slave cylinder, but normally the clutch stops working all together. Plus, after working it a couple of times, pedal pressure seems normal, and this doesn't happen when its warm.

The second issue is that in the cold, it is hard to get the transmission into first gear and reverse (it takes a fair amount of strength pulling/pushing on the lever), and second and third gears give a very brief (like 3 or 4 cogs hitting) mini-grind when shifting to them. It is almost too effortless to get the transmission into 3rd, almost like the shift lever is sucked into 3rd. This behavior goes away after the gear oil warms up, then the car drives as expected, missed 3rd gear shifts and all.

I'm guessing for #2 I could use fresh fluids in the trans; #1 has me a bit mystified, as it isn't behavior I'd expect, with things still working and all. Any help would be appreciated.

Also, a word of advice to those contemplating a road trip with their girlfriends, wives, or any other type of significant others in the coming months - what ever you do, do not instantiate, provoke, contribute to, or acknowledge an argument of any kind, until you are within 30 minutes from your destination. Especially do not do it 30 minutes into a six and a half hour drive. That is all.

Last edited by hotspoons; 04-13-2010 at 12:27 AM. Reason: Grammar FTW!
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:35 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Oregon
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Sounds like your clutch master cylinder to me, and mine is hard to shift when its cold too. Just take your time until you have some miles to warm up the tran.
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