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Old 04-24-2013, 11:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Just Completed GTM with major hydraulic clutch problem

My Gen1 GTM is virtually completed and my plan was to show the car at the Hunnington Beach Factory Five Show this weekend (3 days away). I paid for the regristration, and hoped all would be completed. However I have an incredibly difficult problem with the hydraulic clutch that will probably prevent me from being in the show. I need help, please.

First, a few pictures of my new GTM are attached. I have incorporated lots of advanced technologies like linear actuators for the aft hatch, 12-point temperature monitoring system, crystal cockpit that will dispaly instant HP, torque and virtually every engine parameter I desire.

But so what................with my currently unsolveable hydraulic clutch problem I cannot take the chance to make run from my home in Lake Forest, Ca. to Hunnington Beach, a mere 20 miles away.

So, here is the problem:

1. I have a race tuned LQ9 with Porsche G50-20 transaxle. When moving the car under its power several months ago I noted that it would not shift when the engine is running (I have a cable shift system that will shift the trans perfectly when the enging is off).

2. I towed the car to a very good mechanic in Newport Beach Ca that installs twin turbos on Lambos and is considered one of the best tuners/high performance mechanics in the area. He said the (new) hydraulic clutch cylinder was probably defective and rebuilt it. His test drive was about 100 feet only but said it was fixed. (as it turns out......NOT)

3. I complete the electronics install on the GTM and try to take it for a test drive about 4 weeks later. Shifts perfectly until I start the engine and then I cannot get it in any gear.

4. Get a local Porsche mechanic who tells me there is air in the lines, bleeds the lines and says it is a go. He does not test drive the car. When I drive it, after he left, it shifts perfectly for about 1 minute then will not shift, in fact the car is locked in gear and continues to move even when the clutch is in. Panic stop with key turned off. He is not interested in coming back and says he is too busy but wished me good luck in solving the problem.

5. Hire another mechanic who I have known for years who methodically tightens all the lines and doubles bleeds the system by pulling a vacuum both from the front and at the trans. (He was a military mechanic on the Stealth bomber.) Again, works great for about a minute and 3 to 4 shifts but then again locks in forward and I can not budge the shift lever. Another panic key off stop. I pump the clutch pedal for 2-3 minutes and then it works good enough to get it back in the garage. He is out of ideas and gives up.

6. Contacted another mechanic but he cannot even look at it till next week...unfortunately after the HB car show.

So, any suggestions from you GTM wizzards?
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you tried removing the SC from the transaxle, positioning it above the level of the MC and then bleeding it?
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you tried removing the SC from the transaxle, positioning it above the level of the MC and then bleeding it?
Have not tried this but a good potential suggestion. I will give it a go. Thnaks for your input.........
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would like to know... are you losing pedal effort/feeling when it suddenly doesnt work ? or does the pedal still have alot of pressure to it ?

Plus how much play are you feeling in it initially ? and does the play slowly move further out each time you press it in until the good pedal feeling is gone ?

IF you have full pedal feeling all the time with good backpressure, your disc is snaging on some part of the flywheel or pressure plate. It did happen to me once and I cant remmeber what I had that wasnt the right size... I think the VW clutch disc is so similar to the porsche one that it almost interchanges .. even the splines match up and if its thrown in there it will randomly snag because the fit is just that close that it will let go some and suddenly catch at times .. very scarry. ... lol you dont want to hear my fix for it... I did fix it without taking it apart but when I got time to pull it all back apart ...lol .. it wasnt reuseable or "re sell able" .. lol

Last edited by iron.man; 04-25-2013 at 01:28 AM..
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey Joe,

I spoke with Brian at OC Cars and he's going to try and help you out. After describing the problem, he and I had the same conclusion in that the car being locked in gear should not be happening regardless of the clutch. What I mean is that no matter what, a manual transmission should always be able to be pushed out of gear and into neutral. I know that with my T5 half the time I just push it out of gear when coming to a stop with out putting in the clutch. Having it stay locked in 2nd or third would seem to be a tranny problem or a linkage problem and not a clutch problem. I have to figure this is by design in case a clutch cable breaks? Too bad your guys bailed on you. The good news is that Brian and his shop are right up the road from you. Wish you would have called earlier! I hope we can get to the bottom of this and get you to the show!
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Old 04-25-2013, 03:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Clutch fix

First off, have you had someone press the clutch and went under the car and looked to see if the clutch arm is moving?

You had to pump up the pedal to get the clutch to dissingauge, then either it's one of 4 things...
1) air in the slave cylinder (sc)
2) clutch rod at master cylinder is not adjusted allowing pressure to bleed off
3) clutch pivot is cracked inside of bell housing
4) wrong clutch disc was installed

I live 30 minutes from you and if you want can either lend you mine or take a look at yours. I'm not a Lamborghini or stealth mechanic, just a dumb Fireman, but I can offer you help if you need.
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Old 04-25-2013, 03:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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First off, have you had someone press the clutch and went under the car and looked to see if the clutch arm is moving?

You had to pump up the pedal to get the clutch to dissingauge, then either it's one of 4 things...
1) air in the slave cylinder (sc)
2) clutch rod at master cylinder is not adjusted allowing pressure to bleed off
3) clutch pivot is cracked inside of bell housing
4) wrong clutch disc was installed

I live 30 minutes from you and if you want can either lend you mine or take a look at yours. I'm not a Lamborghini or stealth mechanic, just a dumb Fireman, but I can offer you help if you need.
Robert GTM 407
Robert, That is quite a very generous offer and I would love to invite you down to see the car anytime that fits into your schedule. You have some great suggestions as do all the guys that responded. The car is at a location called RV storage in Mission Viejo, Ca. As you can imagine I spend all of my time there, (especially since it is less than 5 minutes from my home). I will call the friend of Eric's in the AM and see if I can talk him into making a "garage" call since his shop is only a few miles away.

So, the invite to you is anytime that fits into your schedule. Thanks again!
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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SO.... Do you have pedal feedback the whole time ?... would kinda narrow it down ya know !
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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SO.... Do you have pedal feedback the whole time ?... would kinda narrow it down ya know !
Yes, there is pedal feedback. However, when the system has the "air evacuated by a vacuum pump" the cluth is nice and firm. It stays that way until the engine is on and a few shifts are made then the feedback is much, much less so the pedal feedback becomes weak but still there. In this state I can not shift into any gear with the engine on. I turn the engine off and it shifts thru all gears quite easily I "pump" the clutch for about a minute or two and the pedal feedback increases. I start the engine and it shifts fine in all gears but only for about 1 or 2 minutes and/or 2-3 shifts then it locks up again in first or second (I am going around in a parking lot so cannot get much speed up so have to stay in the lower gears). I turn the key off to stop the engine. Pump up the pedal again so that I can get back into my secure garage to continue to figure out just what is wrong.

Hopefully I will get Eric's friend over to help me this morning. Will report his findings/recommendations and hopefully his solution to fix this unusual, (for me), problem.
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My bet is you have either (or both) a bad MC or bad slave, my money is on the slave.

I have NEVER Had any luck rebuilding one. Just get a new slave, put it on and be done with it. JMHO, RIchard.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My bet is you have either (or both) a bad MC or bad slave, my money is on the slave.

I have NEVER Had any luck rebuilding one. Just get a new slave, put it on and be done with it. JMHO, RIchard.
Good suggestion and one of the first things we will look into this morning.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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So long story short.. you are losing pedal feedback/pressure with vibration from the engine running ? .. and getting it back by pumping it back up ....

are there any leaks underneath the car ? and can you take a cutting torch tip cleaner and run one of the tiny files in the air hole in the master cylinder to make sure there isnt trash stoping up that hole ?
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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So long story short.. you are losing pedal feedback/pressure with vibration from the engine running ? .. and getting it back by pumping it back up ....

are there any leaks underneath the car ? and can you take a cutting torch tip cleaner and run one of the tiny files in the air hole in the master cylinder to make sure there isnt trash stoping up that hole ?
Yes, losing pedal feedback/presure when the engine is running but not sure that vibration is the problem (but that is a good guess).

There are NO leaks at all under the car. I continually check on this. The fluid level is at max level and stays exactly there.

Will try your idea on checking the air hole in the master cylinder but remember mechanic #1 completely rebuilt the origional new MC thinking it was defective.

The transaxle is from a 911 and is a G-50/03 , non-limited slip differential.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I have had to "open up" a hole before that wouldnt let fluid in and air out because of corrosion from not being used ... might be overlooked on a rebuild of all the other parts ..

The wilwood cylinder, not having a vacuum hookup, and the porsche slave do not interact with the engine in any aspect whatsoever ... other than they ride on the same car as it does !

If the master is moving fluid... it has to go somewhere ! and if its not all over the ground how could the slave cylinder do anything other than leak ? .. only last resort if you cant feel the pedal very well is to put a guage on it and literally see what its doing.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm going to have to agree with Richard Oben on this one. There's no way the MC or slave can suddenly become "un-bled" once you get all of the air out (assuming that the MC reservoir stays full). I've never once seen that happen in my whole life......probably because it's against the laws of physics. Once the system is bled and you have a solid pedal, the only way for that to go away is with a defective MC or slave. My guess would be on the MC, since the only way the slave could fail would be to also leak......the fluid being pushed into it has to go somewhere, and it it isn't pushing the cylinder out, that means that the fluid has no where left to go but past the seal and out onto the ground. The only other thing I can think of is that you have the clutch line routed right up against the exhaust somewhere, and when you run the engine, it boils the brake fluid and this would act just like air in the line.

You don't have a clutch stop installed where there is virtually no travel between the clutch disengaged and engaged? You don't want a ton of overtravel, but you do need to have enough clearance there for full clutch disengagement.

Oh.....and you did remember to put oil in your transaxle, right? I'm guessing an oil-free transaxle might be pretty hard to shift with the engine running......
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:18 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I forgot to ask: How many miles do you have on the car? Is it a new build?
I hope you get it sorted out before the weekend.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:10 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I forgot to ask: How many miles do you have on the car? Is it a new build?
I hope you get it sorted out before the weekend.
Robert #407
The car has 0 miles and is a recently completed build (well, almost complete if there is such a thing). It was no easy job to get it licensed in Ca. but well worth the effort since I now never have to worry about smog inspections. (Like most Ca. car guys, Iwould rather go for a root canal that to the smog station)

I am happy to report that the clutch problem is solved! Thanks to everyone for the wealth of information and suggestions. Having a GTM is more that owning an incredible car, it is being part of a tremendously sharing community.

I have Eric to thank for introducing me to his neighbor, Bryan Hayes. Bryan is the owner of Orange County Cars, a high performance building/ tuning shop that is located in Lake Forest, California. (only a few miles from the area I garage my GTM) They work on hots hods of any make and vintage from full frame off restorations to high performance tuning.

Brian and Eric came over about 5 PM to try to trouble shoot my clutch problem. Brian first examined everything and made an interesting observation that the hydraulic MC for the clutch had a much smaller piston bore that that of the 7/8" bore on the two brake cylinders. (I have a stock Factory Five system). He bleed the clutch again at the trans and noted that very little if any air came out as the pedal was depressed.

His logic was quite good, thinking that with such a small diameter cylinder I was probably not getting enough hydraulic fluid, thus pressure on the clutch. He increased the throw of the clutch to get more than 1" longer stroke. With this longer stroke, NOW enough fluid was sent to the clutch and it engaged perfectly. Evidently with the short throw that was initially set up it was just on the ragged edge of working.

He wants me to drive the car for a while and possibly in the future to install a clutch MC with a larger bore.

So, hopefully Brian's fix on my GTM will help others if they have a similiar problem. It was a real pleasure to watch such a talented trouble-shooter work because when I was running the engine Brian mentioned something about a slight miss due to the MAP sensor. He pointed out that on my build it was on too short of a tube connection to the air intake (only about 2" away) and he said that it would be best to have it located about 5 to 6" away. So, this is another to-do but a simple one now that I have an operating clutch!

Thanks again from all the help from this forum.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:55 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Yeah! Glad to hear you got the clutch problem resolved.

Hope to see you at HB on Saturday!

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Old 04-26-2013, 02:56 PM   #19 (permalink)
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...He increased the throw of the clutch to get more than 1" longer stroke. With this longer stroke, NOW enough fluid was sent to the clutch and it engaged perfectly. Evidently with the short throw that was initially set up it was just on the ragged edge of working...
I hope it works.

How did he increase the throw of the clutch without changing master or slave cylinders (if you know)? Thanks.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:57 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Unless I'm wrong, on the wilwood setup, you can increase the throw by adjusting the how far the shaft goes into the fork/barrel receiver on the pedal shaft. You have to remove the circlips first from what Brian was saying. He is the master. If you're ever in Lake Forest, you should check out his shop. It's like a car show. He does some great work.

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Old 04-27-2013, 01:32 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I hope it works.

How did he increase the throw of the clutch without changing master or slave cylinders (if you know)? Thanks.
Yes, it was just an adjustment at the pedal
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:09 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Im glad to hear you found the solution to your problem ... even though Im not following how it would even be possible for the clutch to ever function at all, even after a good bleed !

Most master cylinders get "more efficient" as they are used because the return pressure doesnt push the same ammout of fluid back each time until all the slack is out of it completely and the pedal tightens up each press .... but what you were describing was exactly the opposite.. that it would work for a while and then slowly die out with the engine running.

But hey, if it works now, thats what counts....
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:28 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Did you make it to Huntington Beach?

Pictures?
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