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Sonoma Clutch Cylinder Problems


There’s been something going on with my clutch ever since my floormat got
shoved up in there and was pushing up on where the clutch thing connects to
the master clutch cylinder. It’s not leaking any  fluid, but it’s almost
like air is getting in there. I’ve seen a lot of info about how the slave
cylinders have needed replacement on many of the Sonoma models (mine is a
’98), but I really don’t feel like that is the problem. The issue comes and
goes and sometimes it’s worse than other times. Sometimes I’ll get in and
push in the clutch and it’s perfect, other times there’s no clutch at all
and I can’t get it into gear for my life. Do you think it’s some sort of
sensor, or electrical issue that the floormat interference started? Or is
it something more serious (and expensive) like the slave cylinder? My dad
knows a lot about repairing cars/trucks but not so much with the electrical
stuff, and he’s pretty sure that’s what it is. Any ideas before I shell out
a pretty penny at the garage?

As far as I know, there are no electrical connections or sensors on the hydraulic clutch system for your vehicle.  If there was, it would be a fluid level sensor, which would not keep the system from working.  Do you have to add fluid to the clutch master cylinder?  Is the level low?  I would suspect either a low level, or a bad slave cylinder.

If your level is low, I would fill it up and monitor it.  If it the level stays high, then I would say that you just got a little air in the system from the level being low.  If the level drops again, then the fluid is leaking somewhere.  Either the hose or the slave cylinder.


Posted: 20th August 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Drivetrain

Wheels studs and what they are.


What is a stud? How would one get broken and would it make the steering mess up,pump rack and pinon-95 Nissan Altima

Thank you


There could be a couple of studs on the front of your car. A stud is a threaded piece of metal which is attached permanently to another part of the car. So when tightening the nut, you do not have to hold the back side of the stud. In other words, it’s a bolt which can not turn, thus allowing you to tighten the nut without holding the bolt.

There are wheel studs which go through the axle flange and through your tire. This stud is what the lug nut threads on to and holds your tires in place. Most cars have 4 or 5 studs per wheel. Not likely that this caused a problem with the power steering.

There are also studs which the power steering pump and rack and pinion mount to, both could cause problems if they snapped. These studs could break due to fatigue, or hitting a curb with the tire.

Take Care,


Posted: 1st July 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Drivetrain, Suspension, Wheels and Tires

How to check your clutch…

I use this trick when checking out a used car. Since you can not climb under a car and check how much material is left on the clutch disc, you can only guess the condition. Using the following tips you can get closer to an educated guess and hopefully make a good decision.

1. Operate the clutch and observe where the clutch grabs. It should grab about 2″ from the floor. The motion of the pedal should be smooth and even. Make sure you have the emergency brake on when doing any of these tests.

2. Listen for any chatter or squealing when operating the clutch. Is there a grinding noise when the clutch is depressed? This indicates a worn throwout bearing, and will require the transmission to be removed to replace it. You can assume if the throwout bearing is bad, the clutch is not in the best condition.

3. Put the car in 2nd or third gear and let the clutch out slowly. (make sure the car’s emergency brake is on, and you have your foot on the brake) Does the engine RPM decrease and almost stall? If it does, the clutch still has some life in it, and is doing it’s job. If the clutch slips, and the engine does not sound like it’s going to stall, there is a good chance the clutch needs to be replaced.

4. While on a road test, does the transmission shift smoothly? Is there any crunching when changing gears? A crunching noise when shifting usually indicated bad sychnonizers in the transmission, but can sometime just be the clutch cable being out of adjustment.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you are inspecting a used car, or trying to diagnose your own car. A manual transmission car can be a blast to drive, and offer better fuel economy, but presents unique issues when trying to evaluate it’s health.

More information on your Car’s driveline


Posted: 6th February 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Drivetrain

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