Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

My clutch pedal doesn't catch until it's almost at the firewall

I drive a 4 cyl. 1995 Jeep Wrangler. I noticed how lose my clutch pedal was the other day ago. The pedal has no resistance and doesn’t catch until it is almost to the firewall. When I start the car after it has been sitting a while, I can’t put it in any gear. I physically can’t force it into 1st-5th, and when I attempt to put it in reverse, it just grinds. I’ve been told I need to have my clutch master cylinder replaced. What do you think? Thanks for the advice.

Could be the Master cylinder, but you are talking about a 13 year old car. How many miles are on it and has the clutch ever been replaced?

It sure sounds to me like the clutch is just plain worn out, but it is possible that it is just a bad clutch master cylinder. I would suggest that you have it checked and repaired before you get stranded somewhere.

Sounds right. I’m assuming you were told this by someone who actually looked at the vehicle?

Replace the slave cylinder too. When one goes, the other often follows.

It sounds like a bad clutch master cylinder. If the master cylinder is leaking internally, it doesn’t provide enough hydraulic pressure to release the pressure plate from the clutch disk. So the clutch is basically still engaged. And if it’s still engaged the gears in the transmission are still spinning. So if you try to shift the gears grind.

Have someone step on the clutch pedal while you observe the slave cylinder operation. If the slave cylinder hardly moves or doesn’t move the clutch fork when the pedal is depressed, there’s no hydraulic pressure. And that has to be from a bad master cylinder.


It could be a clutch master cylinder, but one other thing to check is the linkage itself. I’m not sure how a Jeep’s linkage is set up, but I have had problems with a couple Fords over the years of slop getting into the clutch linkage. There’s pins, bushings, etc that can wear causing slop. A fraction of an inch of slop can cause what you are describing. It could also be that the clutch cylinder is loose on the firewall and physically moving in and out when you push the clutch in.

There’s also usually a splined arm that operates the linkage. It’s extremely rare, but one could slip and cause you to not be able to push the arm far enough to drive the piston in.


It has almost 130,000 miles on it. I bought it from a guy who bought it from a guy so I’m not sure if it has been replaced.

Try bleeding the slave cylinder. The slave is likely in the bell housing with a bleeder at the end of an extension just above the pressue line on the driver’s side of the transmission. If that doesn’t solve the problem remove the pressure line from the master cylinder and while holding your thumb on the outlet have someone press the clutch pedal. Pressure should be on the outlet the entire stroke of the pedal. Of course, if there is edidence of leakage anywhere, that would indicate the problem.

A buddy and I are going to bleed the system first. But if that doesn’t work I’ll replace the master and slave cylinder. But is there a specific type of hydraulic linkage that I need to get? I can’t seem to find that information anywhere.

There is no linkage for the clutch because it’s a hydraulic clutch.


I can almost garentee that it’s the master cylnder I had a truck that was doing the same thing replaced the master cylnder and had no more trouble with it and like the one guy said replace the slave clynder too saves alot of trouble down the road.

There was an issue with factory carpets plus owner added floor mats on mid and late 80s Wranglers. This might still be an issue. The pedal was held several inches away from the floor by the carpet because of the relationship of the floor/bulkhead angles.

Look at the pedal’s connection to the clutch cylinder sometime. There’s all sorts of linkage under the dash. Generally, the cylinder is behind the gas pedal on the firewall, since the clutch pedal is on the left 2 pedals over, there has to be linkage to move the clutch cylinder plunger.


Did you ever find the answer