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1986 Toyota Camry clutch problem

I have a 1986 Toyota Camry that I bought for $125. I have no expertise with cars everything I know I learned from having crap cars. This car has been very good to me for the price I bought it for. I drove it for a year with no additional problems than when I bought it. I replaced the clutch when I bought it. However, It recently has had a new problem. The clutch pedal is going directly to the floor with no effort whatsoever. When this happened in the past it was simply out of clutch fluid, I was aware of the leak when I bought the car. Now it doesn’t seem to be using any at all and I can only put it in gear when it is turned off. I have replaced the clutch master cylinder myself and it didn’t seem to solve the problem. I have tried to bleed the new master cylinder but no fluid is being drawn into the master cylinder from the fill cup on the top of it. I’m not even sure that this is the problem. I noticed that the place where the MC is attached to the clutch pedal is adjustable. Could this be a matter of adjusting this to drive the plunger inside the MC all the way forward? I am also having trouble understanding the whole clutch system. The MC doesn’t seem to have anything to do with engaging or disengaging the clutch. The only thing it attaches to is the clutch pedal. Where does the clutch fluid go? Is there another place to fill Manual transmission fluid?

Sorry this was so long. I appreciate any help at all. And please forgo posting any “your car is crap” or “Just junk it” posts, for those of you who don’t know what forgo means. It means do without.

Before installing the new clutch master cylinder you should bench bleed it first. Once installed, you bleed it at the slave cylinder end. Did you do that?

Let’s see if I can explain how it works. You can copy the tatached drawings onto your desktop (or print them) and follow along. They’re not an '86 Camry speciifically, but the system is the same.

(drawing #1) - When you push the pedal it pushes the Master Cylinder Push Rod.

(drawing #2) That pushes the push roda dn the piston in the Master Cylinder. The piston pushes fluid out the tube at the end of the cylinder.

(drawing #3) The fkuid gets pushed through a tube and into the slave cylinder (here called the Clutch Release Cylinder Assy). It pushes the piston, which pushes the Pushrod.

(drawing #4) The push rod pushes the end of the Clutch Release fork. That pushes the center “fingers” of the Clutch Cover Assembly, behind which is a Pressure Plate clamping the clutch disc to the flywheel. That action releases the pressure on the clutch disc and allows the flywheel to turn seperately from the transmission.

Apologies if I got too intense with the explanation. I hope it helps.

http://tijil.org/Scion_Docs/05_tC_Shop_Manuals/Repair%20Info/Repair%20Manual/Clutch/Clutch%20Pedal%20Sub-Assy/conponen.pdf

http://tijil.org/Scion_Docs/05_tC_Shop_Manuals/Repair%20Info/Repair%20Manual/Clutch/Clutch%20Master%20Cylinder%20Assy/conponen.pdf

http://tijil.org/Scion_Docs/05_tC_Shop_Manuals/Repair%20Info/Repair%20Manual/Clutch/Clutch%20Release%20Cylinder%20Assy/conponen.pdf

http://tijil.org/Scion_Docs/05_tC_Shop_Manuals/Repair%20Info/Repair%20Manual/Clutch/Clutch%20Unit/conponen.pdf

The master cylinder assembly you showed was way too complex. I drew some illustrations to show what I am looking at here.

These are crude drawings but all components are represented. I will see if i can find some actual photos.

Found some Photos. The first is the Master cylinder. The second is the clutch pedal assembly attached to the MC.

The second drawing I posted is what’s inside the part that’s under the “fill cup” (known as the reservoir).
The fiirst drawing shows how that pedal assembly is put together.

In explaining how the clutch fluid goes, I was trying to show how it gets pressurized by the piston in the master cylinder when you press the pedal, the pressure moves through the tube to the slave cylinder and pushes a piston in that, and the piston in the slave cylinder pushes the fork that releases the clutch. I was unable to find a good simplified diagram, so I went with what I had.

Don’t worry about the switches. These are irrelevant to the actual operation of the clutch. They simply tell the ECU when the clutch pedal has been begun being pushed and when it’s totally pushed in so that it can control the engine appropriate to the situation. Think of them as sensors for the engine rather than part of the clutch operation.

You should know, by the way, that while the drawings I posted were Scion tC drawings, the tC uses a camry engine and tranny and these should be very similar to yours, albiet a 2005 version.

“I am also having trouble understanding the whole clutch system. The MC doesn’t seem to have anything to do with engaging or disengaging the clutch. The only thing it attaches to is the clutch pedal. Where does the clutch fluid go?”

Forgive me if I’m overlooking something, but I read this as the OP asking how does the actual clutch mechanism get actuated. It sounds to me like the OP was not aware of the slave cylinder, though mountainbike did just mention it. I think that’s the question being asked.

I do not have the depth of experience as most posters here, but what I do know is that there is another hydraulic component, the slave cylinder, to be considered in troubleshooting the problem. It is located under the car, connected by a hydraulic line to the clutch master cylinder and attached somewhere near or on the transmission, which converts fluid pressure back into motion which actuates the clutch.

The slave cylinder, or the hydraulic line to it, may be part or all of the current problem.

Hope that helps.

The clutch master has a hydraulic line connected to it. Follow that line down to the “slave cylinder” which will be mounted on the bell-housing. It will also have a bleeder fitting you can open to get the air out of the system…If the master was shot, you might as well replace the slave too…