Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Staffordshire, UK
Dragging clutch - S3 Spider
I have recently put my engine and gearbox back into my 1989 S3 Spider after a head rebuild and new clutch. I bled the clutch some weeks ago and have had the engine running to shunt the car in and out of my garage to enable other odd jobs to be done prior to the MOT. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the clutch was dragging, such that it was difficult to put the car in gear with the engine running. If I pumped the clutch a few times, it seemed to help, so I thought I may have some air trapped somewhere. Since I was to bleed it again, I replaced the old (slightly cracked) flexible pipe. The result was a much lighter clutch - too light in fact and it was worse than ever, despite several attempts to bleed it. Looking underneath whilst my son helped by pressing the pedal, I noticed that the slave cylinder was only pushing the clutch mechanism about 10mm or less, and I was expecting it to be more in the region of 10-15mm. Nothing seemed to improve this despite numerous attempts at bleeding. In the end, I have adjusted the rod between the pedal and the master cylinder and it now seems to be ok - I think!
The problem seems to have been due to the pedal not having enough throw to operate the slave cylinder far enough. Adjusting the rod at the master cylinder so far seems to have sorted the problem, but why did I have to do this? It worked prior to the clutch being changed. Incidentally, the slave cylinder was changed about 500 miles ago due to a leak on the old one, so I can rule out any problem there.
I'm pleased to have hopefully fixed the problem, but mystified as to why the problem came about. Any ideas?