My car at times (not quit more often that not, and usually in first and second gear) doesn’t let me get into gear, and the clutch gets really light…I can actually feel it going down the the floor without me pushing on it. If I pump the clutch once or twice it comes back and I’m able to get into gear. …Also, if I’m already in gear when this happens I have to rip it out of gear with some force or my car acts like it’s going to die. This has been happening for a couple months…I’m also wondering if this could be resulting in my gas mileage going down significantly, about 60 miles to the tank. Thank you if anyone can help!
Just offhand, this is sounding like a total clutch system failure from the clutch disc itself along with the clutch operating system.
A slipping clutch (the former) could lead to loss of fuel mileage and a clutch operating system failure (the latter) could be behind the hard shifting.
Wrestling this thing around for several months could be the reason for any clutch slippage.
If you want to determine how bad the clutch disc is, or if it’s slipping try this.
With the engine off shift into 3rd gear. Set the park brake, depress the clutch pedal, and hold the foot brake down.
Start the engine and rev it to about 2500 RPM while letting the clutch pedal out. The engine should die quickly. If it does not, the clutch is going. (along with the clutch hydraulics, or operating system)
And yes, it does feel like it takes 3 feet to do this.
It sounds like a bad clutch release master cylinder and/or slave cylinder. I replace these together since they wear together. I don’t believe your having issues with the clutch itself, since it is not slipping, but trying to stall the car. I replaced the master and slave cylinders in both my Celica and my Supra for less than $100 in parts and fluid each. The Celica was really easy, but the Supra was a pain to get to one of the master cylinder bolts.
If the clutch master cylinder reservoir has adequate fluid in it when this occurs the problem is most likely the master cylinder. But, when the master or slave fail the other is not far behind. Also, forcing the shift lever through the gears is damaging the transmission.
It sounds like your master or slave cylinders are going, if the clutch fluid level at the master is in fact OK.
The second part of your post (where you rip it out of gear) is a direct symptom of master/slave failures. You should take care of this ASAP. Continuing to “rip” it out of gear will mess up your shifer linkage and transmission. As said above, ideally both the master and slave should be replaced at the same time.