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Subaru Forester, 2002, clutch pedal sticks to the floor

after replacement 2 times, slave cylinder replaced. Don’t know what to do now.

And the clutch master cylinder? Did you replace that too?

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Hi not yet. The mechanic said that it does not lose fluids. But I have been thinking that I will go somewhere else and have that done.

Thanks for your interest.


It doesn’t have to to fail. A bad piston seal in the master cylinder can allow the piston to simply move through the fluid without pushing it down the line. The piston could then hold the pedal down, preventing it from moving back to the null position.

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I don’t know but will put this out there for someone with more Subaru knowledge. Is there a clutch pedal return spring? Could it be binding in the mechanical linkcage to the master cylinder?

Just for the heck of it, if you have floor mats, take the driver’s mat out and see if the sticking stops.

Typically there’ll be a spring in the pedal assembly, but it won’t be strong. It works in concert with the pressure plate assembly springs, which when you release the pedal push the release bearing, which in turn pushes the fork, which in turn forces fluid back through the hydraulic line, which pushes the master cylinder piston and on back to the pedal. I don’t know Subies speceifically, but this is a typical arrangement.

Sure. Anything is possible.
But it sure sounds to me like the MC is leaking past its piston seal.

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Thank you for this feedback. I will be replacing that master cylinder!! Do
you have any recommendations for mechanics in the Boston area?


It is odd that the mechanics could not figure this one out. Maybe it is
something in the pedal assembly. I am going to look at the costs now and
figure out the best way to proceed.

Thanks, Jenn

Are you saying that actual clutch assembly was replaced twice? Just verifying that.

Assuming this is not a clutch hydraulic problem, it could be related to what is called the guide sleeve that holds the throwout bearing. This sleeve is mounted on the aluminum nose of the transmission mainshaft snout.

Over time the guide sleeve can wear a lip on the snout and cause the sleeve to hang up. This is something that should be checked with every clutch job. There is even a snout repair kit that consists of a stainless steel sleeve. Unfortunately, a number of mechanics are not aware of this. Hope it helps.

Excellent input as always.
Is there a way to test for this without pulling the tranny?

No, it’s pretty much a sort of educated guess.

The guide sleeve is steel and the snout is aluminum. The constant movement of the sleeve starts eating into the aluminum; ergo, the use of an aftermarket stainless sleeve. This is what it looks like.

As long as this issue has been around *40ish years…) one would have thought that at some point Subaru would have added a sleeve at the factory. They hold up until the warranty is up so… :wink:

Thank you for this information. I am still needing to rule out the master
cylinder. The clutch assembly was replaced twice! I hope it is the master
cylinder and not this part.

I appreciate you writing.

Thanks again.


A failed clutch MC could cause the clutch pedal to stick to the floor, but that would be an unusual symptom. There’s a couple of springs that should return the clutch pedal to the up position – possibly abnormally slowly — even if the MC was faulty. But you could have multiple problems, so the clutch MC remains a suspect. As posted above a faulty clutch MC usually doesn’t leak externally, no loss of fluid. Do you notice any loss of clutch hydraulic fluid?

The usual symptom of a failed clutch MC is you begin to have a difficult time to engage 1st or reverse from neutral, and soon the only way you can do it is pump the pedal a couple of times to build up the hydraulic pressure, and after a while even that doesn’t work.

I’m guessing this is something more complicated than a simple hydraulic problem. Some part or another in the actual clutch ass’y is loose or worn out or installed backwards or something.

The clutch slave cylinder could be removed. If the throwout bearing fork is still in the fully disengaged position this means the guide sleeve is probably hanging on the transmission snout.

Hopefully this is a hydraulic issue and not related to the guide sleeve.

A shop should be aware of this kind of issue and resolve it while the transmission is out and the new clutch is being installed.
Even someone who is not familiar with this kind of problem should assume based on the design appearance that it may need some service.

Should look for a new mechanic after this gets resolved.

Thank you Chris,

I am going to do that!


I replaced the Master Cylinder and that was the problem! Thanks everyone for your help. I love problem-solving in a community setting like this.

Take good care,


THANK YOU for providing the result of your labor and our suggestions.

Glad you are shifting with ease again. Good for you.