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Loose clutch? Cold weather?

I have a 1999 Chevy s10 truck 2.2L with 202k miles on it.

I have a real difficult time getting my car into gear, and mainly first and second. I my clutch pedal has to be pumped for 4 minutes before it will disengage, and when it does its pressed nearly all the way in. Also, I need to cram it into gear real fast or it won’t go in, sometimes it takes maybe 5 times to go into gear. I was all of this is much worse in the winter.

Any ideas what’s going on?

The problem might be with the clutch master cylinder leaking internally.

When this happens not enough hydraulic pressure is produced to operate the slave cylinder to release the clutch when the clutch pedal is depressed. One indication that this is the problem is you can shift thru all the gears without the engine running. But as soon as you start the engine and depress the clutch pedal it’s hard to get the transmission to go into gear.


A dragging clutch can be caused by several things, including the one Tester mentioned…But there can be other causes, including various problems with the clutch itself…

I can easily shift through all the gears when the engine is off. But it sounds like a tough self diagnostic to figure out. I am not low on hydrolic fluid if that makes a difference. Further, after shifting many times, but the clutch pedal gets much more still and disengages much closer to the beginning, but it still is very tough to get onto first.

Hopefully it keeps working enough till it gets warmer outside :stuck_out_tongue:

You will destroy your transmission if you continue to drive it by forcing it into gear…The synchronizers were not designed for that kind of abuse…Your clutch is dragging badly and the sooner you have it fixed the better. If it’s not a linkage problem, then the entire clutch assembly gets replaced as a unit…

Assuming you have a hydrolic operated clutch. The Hydroylic fluid level checking as full doesn’t necessarily mean master cylinder is working properly. As Tester says above, it can leak between compartments. The symptoms – especially that pumping the clutch improves shifting – described are consistent with a faulty clutch master cylinder. It could be worse in cold weather due to thermal contraction of the sealing parts which are failing. A faulty clutch master cylinder can show some leaking fluid running down the firewall on the insided of the passenger compartment, but often doesn’t show any signs of leaks.

It could be the slave too, or it might have nothing to do with the clutch hydraulics at all. Maybe there is something wrong with the clutch pedal hinge or something is preventing it from freely moving, like a broken spring. Or the clutch itself could be failing. An experienced mechanic can probably tell just by the way the clutch pedal feels. The force shouldn’t vary over time as you hold the clutch halfway to 3/4 down. When the master cylinder is leaking, the amount of force needed to press the clutch will decrease over a period of a a few seconds to minute or so, depending how bad the leak is, and that’s a clear sign to a mechanic either the master cylinder or the slave cylinder is leaking.

Thank you for being honest. I Can you explain what you mean by linkage problem? Is that when the pedal has too much play due to a sort of connection (linkage) issue?

Change the master AND slave cylinders, they’re 13+ years old and not very expensive.
If you got 202k out of the original clutch congratulations, you’re doing it right.

The “linkage” is hydraulic…Movement of the clutch master must result in movement of the clutch slave…If you press the clutch pedal to the floor and hold it, the slave should move it’s full distance AND HOLD THAT POSITION without slowly bleeding down…But at 200K miles, ALL this stuff is ready for replacement…

I’d suspect a bad slave cylinder. I’ve had the same problem in the past on a couple vehicles, both times it was the slave cylinder.

Thanks for all the comments! Between here and side research I’m learning a lot.

It doesn’t look like a simple problem like pedal hinge or spring (to check the obvious). The ‘play’, the pedal has could be described as a minimal amount of resistance for the first 4 inches then a regular or form amount of resistance for the last 3 inches.

I’m going to get in looked at after the first of the year by a family friend and am planning on changing the master and slave provided I don’t have to drop the tranny to get to it on my next check.

I noticed today that when it is difficult to get into gear with clutch pedal pressed in, if I rev the engine I can find a certain rpm which makes it fluidly go into gear. Ring any bells?
Synchronizer going too?

 Dcarter  says,     " It doesn't look like a simple problem like pedal hinge or spring ".   Yes, it is simple, the clutch master or slave cylinder is bad.

That truck appears to use a Peugeot slave cylinder which is quite costly to replace due to the labor required to R&R the transmission. The problem certainly seems to be caused by the clutch master and replacing that part might hopefully take care of the problem. Continuing to force the lever into gear will certainly damage the transmission.

There is, however, the possibility that the clutch pilot bearing is dragging. If the temperature is well below freezing the grease in the needle style pilot bearing could be dragging the input enough to prevent shifting. If the engine is started with the lever in any gear and the clutch held down while the engine idles for a minute or so, remaining in gear, the pilot would be spun enough to possibly ease shifting. It might be worth a try if the problem has developed as temperatures have dropped well below freezing.

Hey guys I have a 95 wrangler, my CMC is leaking down the fire wall. I thought it was just bad so I replaced it. After I bled it it ran for a day no problems shifting at all. Next day started it and it wouldn’t shift into gears, and the leak is bad. It’s not a big like but it’s loosing pressure obviously bc of the leak. In guessing the leak is coming from the plunger maybe not sealing? Hope ya can help me out thanks