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Adjusting the 2001 Toyota Rav4 "self-adjusting" clutch?

The clutch on my 2001 Toyota Rav4 has become very, very stiff. The car (and clutch) has 101,000 miles. Can the stiffness of the clutch be reduced without replacing the clutch, even though it is described as a “self-adjusting” clutch?

Does a worn pressure plate result in a stiffer pedal throw? Is the pressure plate replaced, if the clutch is replaced?

What else could be causing the stiff clutch?


The linkage is hydraulic, so as the disk wears, the systems self compensates without any adjustments…If your pedal movement has become stiff, look for binding in the pedal linkage (rare) or the throw-out bearing carrier or pressure plate is binding due to wear or corrosion…Any chance it has been under water? Salt water?

If by chance it’s a cable operated clutch, that’s a different story and replacing the cable will cure the problem…

Could you be more specific regarding “very stiff.” i.e., is the pedal uniformly more difficult to push from top to bottom? Or is there a ‘tight spot’ as the pedal moves down? Is the point at which the clutch begins to grab very near the fully released position of the pedal?

Both the 2WD and 4WD Rav4’s have the same motor 4Cyl, 2.0L and hydraulic clutch systems. Most likely, Caddyman hit it, and the pedal merely needs someone to get up there, clean it up and grease it (removal is the easiest way). Be sure and test for free movement before connecting to the master cylinder. Heck, detach the cylinder linkage, and test for free movement before even cleaning/grease.

If that doesn’t fix it, then you’re looking at replacing the clutch master cylinder.