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Clutch and manual transmission

I have a 95 civic with 170K. The clutch started to go. had the master & slave replaced. still hard to get into 3rd & 5th, returned, system bled and tightened up. better but still a little problem. about 200 miles later (on way to Cambridge!) car won’t shift at light at a stop off the highway. turned engine off, then it started OK. 40 miles later on highway, it makes nasty metallic grinding noise. drive gingerly to Cambridge, staying out of 5th, take it to a cartalk shop, guys say NO fluid in transmission, it’s shot, they put in a used one. The local shop that did clutch work say it’s unrelated, even tho the clutch master handles the hydraulics. they’ve been good for us for 15 years, but i smell something fishy.

Somehow, when they had the transmission out to replace the clutch, they allowed all the fluid to drain out of the tranny… With the driveshafts out, the tranny oil will run right out if the tranny is tipped on its side…

Changing the clutch hydraulic master/slave cylinder had nothing to do with the transmission running out of oil. If the transmission was never removed to replace the actual clutch assembly, it sounds like this vehicle was driven 170,000 miles without ever having the oil level checked in the transmission and it finally gave out from lack of oil.


SOMEONE should have ben checking the fluid level in your transmission for the last 15 years. Obviously you didn’t notice that oil spot under the car, so you can’t possibly be to blame.

I tend to agree with the shop that replaced the clutch, except trhat it is entirely possibly that the clutch was not your problem to start with, but the lack to lubricant in the transmission was.

Where have you been getting your oil and lube work done? A good indy shop would have been checking fluids other than the oil.

In the OP’s defense, it isn’t easy to check the transmission oil on this vehicle. You have to remove the fill plug and stick your finger in there to see if there is any oil. Then you need to have a fresh crush washer for the fill plug, which is an odd size. It isn’t like there is a dip stick. Basically, the only practical thing to do is keep an eye out for leaks and change the transmission oil on a routine basis. I change mine every 15,000 miles.

…so allow me to ask the OP: jimhook, when is the last time you had the transmission oil changed?

If you have never had the transmission oil changed, or you can’t remember the last time you did it, you can’t blame the shop.

Hondas had a transmission vent at the top of the transmission in 1982. It had a hose running down the side, held near the end by a small bracket with a loop on the end. When the hose rots, it breaks off at the top, allowing water and dirt to get into the transmission.

This may have shortened the life of the transmission. Somewhere around 170,000 miles is just about when. Make sure there is a hose there if your car is supposed to have one.

The clutch hydraulics have nothing at all to do with the transmission being out of gear oil.
It is recommended that all fluids be checked on a regular basis.

15,000 miles? What, is it a track car?

Once you go through the trouble of getting the crush washer and removing the fill plug to check the level, you have done half the job already. My transmission holds 1.9 quarts of 10W-30 oil, which makes the cost of the job about $6. Besides, you can’t argue with results. After 189,000 miles and 12 years, my car still has its original transmission and clutch.

thanks to all of you. this is my first time at for anything and I’ve learned a lot. just realized that folks use this for real discussions or I would’ve replied sooner.

First, I have had a regional NY/PA/NJ franchise (STS) service the civic for years. But they have done about 1/2 the oil changes. The other have were by discount places. Never again those places. If the trans is a nuisance to check, maybe my regular garage was also not checking. But even if I am not as young and able as to do it myself, I need to know to ask. And to make sure it is changed be it at 15K or 30K. Second, as several suspected, I never had the trans oil changed. It was never suggested by a mechanic. Don’t know if it is in the manual since we got the car w/ 20K and w/o manual. Obviously, i wish the regular mechanic would’ve suggested it, but that’s my responsibility, though I wonder if that really is a reflection on the quality of this facility as well. Third, my wife likes to drive the civic most of the time, but I do seem to remember a little (capful not cupful) of fluid under the engine once or twice w/i last year. I was watching that in case it got more to have it looked at, but thought engine not trans oil. Could the original problem have been trans and not master’slave to begin with as MG McAnick wondered? Would a good shop ever confuse the two?
I intend to call the shop that did the trans work to see what they think. But based on the replies,it’s our lesson to learn from. As to my regular shop, the most I can be disappoitned with them for it that they never recommended tran oil change.
Lastly, just fyi, in the last 4 years, I taught 5 teenage boys to drive stick on this car, which is definitely hard on the trans even though they never were driving it even occasionally after getting the hang of it. But would that cause fluid loss??