I have an '07 Jeep Compass 4x2 manual trans w/ about 65k on it, so I’m out of warranty. A week ago, the clutch failed. When I stepped on the clutch pedal, it went straight to the floorboard with no resistance and gears would not engage. While pushing it to a safe location, noticed brake fluid leaking out. A mechanically inclined friend took a look at it and told me that I probably needed a new master cylinder/clutch bladder system, but he couldn’t get to it because it is enclosed in the transmission. So, is it true that the hydraulic clutch system is enclosed in the transmission in this vehicle? How much is a repair of this nature?
The hydraulic clutch release master cylinder is underhood, outboard of the brake booster. It feeds off the brake fluid reservoir, but only to a point. If there is a leak in the clutch release system, the fluid level in the reservoir will drop down only a little bit. After that, the clutch release system will go dry and the brake fluid reservoir level will not drop any more. The clutch release slave cylinder / release bearing assembly is in the transmission bellhousing, concentric to the transmission input shaft. If the slave cylinder is leaking (Fluid dripping out of the bellhousing), the transmission has to be removed to replace the parts. If the master cylinder or one of the hydraulic hoses or lines is leaking, the repairs should be much simpler. Did you check to see if there are any service bulletins on this condition that might extend your warranty?
There are no recalls for this problem. How do I access service bulletins?
My friend said he traced the leak to the transmission housing. He did this by pouring in more brake fluid and watched it flow right out.
Bad sign. The tranny will have to be dropped in order to get at the slave cylinder. Have a new clutch and throw-out bearing installed while they’re in there.
A new clutch?? The car is only 2 years old! I do not plan on keeping it past 100,000 miles. As soon as it is drivable it again, I am trading it in for a Japanese car.