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Old 08-19-2019, 08:25 AM
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Help with clutch diagnosis

I'm looking for a little help diagnosing a clutch issue on my 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 130k. It's happened to me 3 or 4 times now and I'm looking for recommendations on what to replace first.

The problem: After driving on the highway for 15 - 20 min, when slowing down on the exit ramp, my clutch gets hard and I can't down shift it into any gear. It doesn't go to the floor, it's more spongy and hard. After pulling off to the side of the road and pumping the clutch for 30 seconds, it starts to go into gear again and then works fine for the rest of my trip. Each time this happened, I checked the clutch fluid, and it's full. I'm thinking maybe there is air in the line and it needs to be bled?

What do you all think? Do you think it's Hydraulic related or clutch/flywheel/baring related? I'm a little short in the $$ department, so I wan't to try and stay away from replacing something that doesn't fit the symptoms. Thanks!

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Old 08-19-2019, 10:15 AM   #2
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:39 AM   #3
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Spongy and hard are kind of opposite so hard to get just what is happening


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Old 08-19-2019, 11:31 AM
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It's hard to explain... The clutch didn't slam right to the floor as you would expect if there was a leak in the system. It was "harder" to press the clutch in then it normally does and it felt as I would imagine it would feel like if there was a "sponge" adding resistance to the petal.. Make sense?
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:59 AM
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Just an update... It happened again to me today before I got on the highway, only about 5 min into my commute. I pumped my clutch around 10 times while moving but it wouldn't go into gear until I came to a complete stop. Once I was stopped, I clutched once and it went right into gear. Any Ideas?
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:45 AM   #6
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I'd replace the clutch master/slave cylinder and see if that fixes it, before tearing anything apart to actually start replacing the clutch itself. I bought a Luk master/slave unit for under $90 at Rockauto. It's a sealed unit with no bleeding needed and takes under 30 minutes to DIY.

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Old 08-23-2019, 05:30 AM   #7
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If engine is running and vehicle is stopped it is harder for the clutch to let you shift into gear not easier as the difference between engine rpm and tranny rpm is greater


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Old 08-24-2019, 06:54 AM
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I was originally going to just replace the master/slave cylinder but someone told me that it sounded like a problem with the throwout bearing. So now I'm going back and forth with what I'm going to do. I think I'll just start with the cheapest option. Bleed the lines, then master/slave unit and finally the throwout bearing and clutch...
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Old 08-24-2019, 07:15 AM   #9
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If pumping pedal improves it it is not a throw out bearing

If it makes no noise it is not a throw out bearing


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Old 08-24-2019, 07:36 AM   #10
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Sounds to me like the slave cylinder is bad. I doubt it is the TOB. I'd probably start with the slave cylinder, although with 130K miles if the clutch is the original you might end up doing a complete clutch job too. Hard to tell w/o driving it.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:34 AM
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Thanks for the input everyone. I'll probably just start with the master/slave calendar.
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:55 AM   #12
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Try Bleading the Hydraulic clutch, before replacing, You may have contaminates in the system.

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clutch , cylinder , hydraulic , master cylinder , slave cylinder

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