Clutch pedal in free play.. no control

1992 manual trans… I went to start the car , when I put it in reverse the car jack rabbited backwards…I shifted into neutral…I felt had no control… The clutch pedal is in free play …there is no tension or resistance when pushing down, like it is no longer in connection with the clutch… I filled up the clutch fluid resevoir…made no difference. This was all of sudden…the clutch was working perfectly fine til this morning… Any ideas what had happened? this is a 1992 same as Mitsusbishi Eclipse.

Probably a bad slave cylinder.

1 Like

The clutch master cylinder may be leaking internally.


1 Like

Was the clutch reservoir low/empty? If it was, then see the above 2 comments, probably also now have air in the system.

1 Like

Any of the above or possibly a broken pressure plate diaphragm spring…

1 Like

Having the clutch pedal disconnect from the clutch master cylinder has been a common failure. It usually happens when driving though.

If you had to refill the reservoir then it must have leaked out. Maybe the slave cylinder blew out. Now the system has air in it and won’t work.

This is something I never checked. But it only took about 4 maybe 5 oz to bring it to the top.

A bad slave cylinder will leak hydraulic fluid onto the ground.


If pumping the clutch pedal a few times seems to help, pretty good chance this is just a faulty clutch master cylinder. I’ve had to replace that part 2-3 times in my similar-era Corolla, and it can go from working to not working at all very quickly, in a day or two. There’s no external fluid leaks, the problem is internal to the MC. So there’s no loss of fluid either. If you are definitley losing clutch hydraulic fluid, that’s more likely a problem with the clutch save cylinder. Slave failure is unlikely in a 2002, but definitely possible in a 1992. You may be able to see the slave cylinder, and maybe even see some fluid leaking out of it in a 1992. Later cars often locate the slave cylinder where it can’t be seen, inside the bell-housing, in the clutch area.

Does anyone want to take a guestimate as to repair costs?

Also, on the highway if I have to suddenly slow down/ hit the brakes the front of the car vibrates…most like brake rotors?
Thanx for your input. It is appreciated.

RE: Front end vibrating. Yes, could be warped brake rotors, could also be worn from suspension parts.
As for cost, has a cost estimator.
Until a mechanic inspects the vehicle, you will not know what is really required.

Common? Since when? Maybe back before the 80’s, when a lot the linkages were still all mechanical, and things like pins and pivots would wear out. I turned wrenches for about 15 yrs in the late 80’s and 90’s and never saw this.


How common? - I don’t know. But it happened to me on two different vehicles. The vehicles had over 100k miles.

While calling around, a mechanic on the phone told me to try to pull out the rubber ring within the clutch fluid reservoir…this swells and can prevent fluid going down… pull it out and fill up with fluid and pump clutch to see if it starts working… looking down the plastic bottle neck…it makes a right turn and right below that is a rubber ring…although pulling out seems to be very difficult…make sense to anyone? (this is 1992).