Please excuse the long post!
My clutch had been getting progressively worse over say the last 3-4 months, getting more notchy and less smooth as time passed. I paid a non Alfa specialist (yeah i know) to fit a new clutch only last July. The car had done 125k at this point and has now covered 150k mostly motorway miles. I have the receipt for a new clutch kit and 6 hrs labour in front of me and it says they replaced the clutch assembly, clutch cover, centre plate and release bearing plus new gearbox oil. Shortly after this the master cylinder went and was then replaced by the same garage. Both times the car was returned to me they'd failed to do things like resetting the cruise control switch under the clutch peddle so i vowed never to use them again and to do as much as i could myself using these forums!
Prior to a recent road trip to Italy in Sept i changed the cambelt, water pump, both front upper wishbones, replaced brake pads all round, plus changed all fluids, filters etc. I bled the clutch using the two person method then later with a Gunsons easy-bleed pressure system and each time clutch response improved and was good enough, i felt, to attempt the 3000 mile round trip. I did not replace the slave cylinder.
Needless to say 1600 miles into our trip i put my foot to the floor and, just as had happened when the master cylinder failed, the clutch pedal stayed grounded, stuck to the floor, with the car still in gear and moving forward! Thankfully, or so we thought, we had taken out green flag breakdown cover and the car was immediately taken to a garage. Unfortunately though the garage was no better than my one back home and we ended up having to cough up 150 euros cash to get our car returned. I'm kicking myself as all it appears that all they did was release the pedal from the floor and perhaps add some grease to the spring above the pedal itself (and i could have done that myself!) I know they didn't get anywhere near the bleed nipple as they hadn't removed the battery, as i still had my trip mileage intact.
This fix somehow got us back home to the UK, however it wasn't the pleasant journey we'd had on the way down, with a very notchy gear change, especially when coming off of a long motorway stint and trying to change down, the car would refuse to engage any gear, meaning we had to freewheel in neutral to a stop. Weirdly, after a 20 minute rest, or in low gears in traffic the clutch was fine, all the way back.
On returning to the UK I looked on here and immediately saw that it must be the slave cylinder on its way out. Sure enough i changed this last week and the old part was leaking fluid under the rubber gaiter. So i thought I'd fixed it, as the slave was leaking fluid, however i have not seen the clutch improve dramatically, still being quite notchy and hard at times to get in gear.
This week when out on a short journey i suddenly started to lose the ability to select gears, 1st went first, followed by second gear, to the point where i almost didn't make it back home, as i if I'd had to stop i wouldn't have been able to get going again! Luckily i got the car back and this weekend have again bled the system however i still cant select any gear now, the car also moves forward in first with the clutch pedal down too, it looks to me like the clutch itself is failing to engage? Both the master cylinder and slave seem to be working ok and theres definitely no air in the system, though there was a small amount. The arm attached to the slave appears also appears to travel fully, its just i have no clutch engaging?
So can anyone shed some light on this, can a clutch fail this soon after only 25k. Am i overlooking something stupid? Or has anyone replaced a clutch on the 1.9 JTD themselves, it looks like a big job however I'd be keen to have a go if it's doable?
Any help appreciated as always!