Clutch Replacement for 1999 Mazda Protege?

I assume that I need to replace my clutch.

Clutch Repair Symptoms: Going up hills in San Francisco feels like I’m in the “Little Engine that Could.” I’m able to slip between gears really easily almost without shifting at all- except for Reverse.

History of Car: 4 of the 8 years I’ve owned my car involved commuter traffic w/stop and go. For the past 2 years I only drive the car about 8 miles a month, but I am planning on driving cross country in 3 months and want to be safe.

I got a quote in 2003 in Atlanta, GA for the repair and they quoted me $800 including labor. That seemed expensive and unnecessary, so I’ve waited and the clutch has held up.


1. Do I need a new clutch, pressure plate and throw out bearing? (been researching this for a few hours now)

2. How do I make sure not to get taken on labor hours/fees? aka How much will this whole thing cost me?

3. What is your opinion on after market parts or new for this job?

This is lascon again – forgot two important things

  1. 86,000 miles on the car
  2. Thank you for trying to help me out on this!!!

As usual, you have a poster trying to make a name for themselves so please ignore the “one a year like this” to appear on this forum.

It does sound like the clutch could be slipping. To test this, set the park brake firmly, shift into 3rd gear, hold the foot brake, and rev the engine while releasing the clutch pedal (yes, it takes 3 feet!). The engine should die quickly; it if does not, the clutch is slipping.

If you need a clutch it should be replaced as an assembly (disc, press. plate, T.O. bearing) with a few extras. The pilot bearing in the flywheel should also be replaced for one.
Another is that the flywheel should be machined if it shows any signs of burn marks or scoring. Since you’re in there anyway, the flywheel should be removed and the engine rear main seal replaced. One would hate to put it back together and a few months later the 10 year old seal start puking engine oil.

One thing that is going to hurt you pricewise is your location. It seems that San Francisco has some of the highest labor rates in the country. Rates are probably in the 100 dollar an hour category, or even more. Figure 4-5 hours of flat rate labor + parts + those extras I mention and you’ll probably be in the 800 dollar range; or better.

Aftermarket parts are generally more inexpensive than the dealer factory parts and will work just fine.
Hope some of this helps in your decision. :slight_smile:

(Every shop has their own policies, but anytime I’ve performed a clutch job for someone I always threw the pilot bearing installation and rear main seal replacement in as labor free and only charge for the parts. It only takes a few minutes anyway so why not perform a tiny bit of PR.)

Thanks a bunch. Wow, labor is going to kill me out here. Maybe I’ll have to take it to East Bay (Oakland) or south toward San Carlos/San Mateo. I’ll give that park brake 3rd gear thing a try tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get a really big tax refund that will pay for this? :slight_smile: