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Old 12-22-2016, 09:58 AM
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Clutch Question

Hey everyone, I'm not sure if my clutch is right or not, and looking for second opinions.

On Monday I brought my 15 JKU to the dealer to get my throw out bearing replaced under warranty (rattling noise, had it for a while, almost thought it was normal but only recently read what the throw out bearing even was and that it's covered under the 3/36).

Since the warranty covered the removal of the tranny and clutch, I told them to put a new clutch in it since it's open and that way I don't have to pay for labor.

So, they called me Tuesday afternoon and said it was done. I get there right as they close, so the service writer and tech were gone. I do the paperwork, go to get in to drive away, and the clutch goes straight to the floor with no pressure what so ever. Barely was even able to stat with the clutch on the floor. Ok, this isn't right, I left it there to have them look at it again in the morning.

Since they tore a boot on something pulling the tranny (I think slave cylinder) my thought was an air bubble in the system, like what happens with brakes if they're not bled properly. So that's what I told them. They said that they did not feel a problem with it, but they bled the clutch again.

They called me back and said that they still didn't feel anything wrong, but bled it. I said (over the phone) that it wasn't right, if you don't feel a difference go grab one off the front lot and compare them.

I got to the dealer a few hours later to raise hell, and the service writer told me they bled the clutch 4 times, had 3 techs, service manager, and sales manager test it out, and compare it to a new one, and that they all agree it's normal now.

My question is, what is normal on a brand new TOB/clutch? I can now definitely feel the pressure from the clutch pushing back against my foot, however, it's significantly softer than it was when I brought it in, and how it was when I bought it new with 89 miles on it. Is there a slight break in period of about 100 miles on a new clutch for it to stiffen up, or does it still sound like something may be wrong? I admit I was flustered and did not sit in the 17 to compare clutches when I was there, but took his word for it since the two were parked right next to each other in the garage. After driving it this morning (still not at 100 moles tho) it still feels softer than I think it should, but as I've never had a brand brand new clutch before, I'm just not sure.

Any advice or experience is welcome. Merry Christmas everyone.

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Old 12-22-2016, 01:46 PM   #2
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My clutch feels the same to me from when it was delivered with 6 miles to the present. Clutch "feel" can be subjective, but it was never harsh. It always felt "normal", whatever that actually is. It always had a softer feel than my YJ and former TJ, for example. If it's working properly, quiet, and there are no problems shifting, unless some type of problem develops, I would say that it's normal. I don't think it would be unreasonable for them to allow you to test a manual JK if you're still not comfortable with it. You shouldn't have to drive off of the lot to do it.

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Old 12-22-2016, 02:34 PM   #3
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When does the clutch disengage? Is it near the top of the pedal, or near the bottom of the pedal?

An air bubble usually means the clutch doesn't disengage until you're almost at the floor, if at all.

At least, that's how it's worked on all the Ford Ranger and Explorer clutches I've done over the years.
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Old 12-22-2016, 03:01 PM
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My view on 'normal' is based on my old 2011, and how this one was until this work was done.

The clutch engages around half way, give or take as best half way can be measured with your foot (can get actual measurements if needed). To help visualize, currently if I had to put a number on the clutch pressure, with 1 being zero resistance, and 10 being a cobra stage 3 racing clutch, it's about 2, until half way ish when it goes to about 4, and is 4 the whole way down. Previously, it was about a 2, until about half way when it would then be a 6. So, it feels like it's in the right position, but the push back pressure from the clutch seems softer than previous.
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Old 12-22-2016, 06:10 PM   #5
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Any chance you can feel a new clutch on the lot? I'm wondering if there was something goofy with yours right out of the gate and you got used to it.

The clutch feel on my 2013 hasn't changed from new.
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Old 12-22-2016, 11:10 PM   #6
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Pretty much exactly what happened to me. When I picked it up from the dealer after they dropped the trans, I immediately knew there was air in the clutch lines because the pedal was soft and it engaged low. They swore up and down that it was fine and a low biting clutch was "great." They didn't care that I'd done several clutch jobs myself. They knew better. It was late, so I drove it home.

Had it towed to the dealer the next morning because it had lost all pressure and you couldn't get it in gear. The slave was leaking. The pedal pressure and engagement point should feel exactly the same as when you gave it to them. That's the point of a hydraulic clutch.
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Old 12-23-2016, 02:52 AM   #7
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I had my clutch, throw out bearing, and pressure plate done last week and the feel of the pedal is exactly how it was before.

The bite or tooth of the clutch disk changed a bit as it broke in, but the engagement point was exactly where it was before.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:34 AM   #8
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You can have a slightly different feel from a new clutch, and get used to it after driving it for a little while. Is it working properly or not? Is it slipping, grinding going into first or reverse, grinding shifting into any of the other gears, is it chattering, do you still have the TOB noise? If you've answered no to all of the above then the clutch is working properly and you have to get used to it. There can be slight differences between vehicles too, but yes to any of the above on a new clutch job means bring it back.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:00 AM   #9
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Did they install an OEM clutch or aftermarket? Some of the aftermarket ones we have done are incredibly light feeling on the pedal. Clutch works as it should; it just takes almost no effort at all to push it down.
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Old 12-24-2016, 11:52 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I had them install a new OEM one, and there was no abnormal noises or feelings or anything other than just a bit less pressure pushing back against my foot as I pushed the pedal in. Engagement was good, placement was good, and everything seemed right, just a bit softer.

Well, after driving a couple days and about 100 miles, the clutch is back to feeling 100% normal and right. Since I admit that I don't know much about how things in engines/transmissions work, my only theory is maybe after being installed, the hydronic components have a little bit of pressure build up from normal driving to get it settled into place.

I will probably still go to a dealer and test a new one just for peace of mind, but, I do feel a lot better now than I did before.

It's amazing how much you just accept something is right because you don't know, sure glad I got that done, makes so much less noise than it used to. Thanks everyone for your input and opinions.

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