Whining sound from clutch pedal and pedal sticking to floor...two problems or one?

Hi all,

This question is regarding my brother-in- law’s 2002 Chevy Cavalier, 100k miles, manual tranny, 2.2L engine.

A couple days ago, a sound (similar to the whining sound of a power steering system that’s low on fluid, or when at full lock) started when you press on the clutch pedal. Doesn’t matter if hot or cold, and the sound is only there when the pedal is being pushed/held to the floor. It shifts fine, doesn’t slip, it’s not doing anything else differently, just now has that noise.

Now today, the pedal has started to “stick” to the floor…Not every time, but randomly decides not to come back up after being pressed down to shift. I don’t see any obvious leaks near the pedal or anything getting in the way, etc.

It stalled out pretty quick when I had it in first gear and the pedal decided to stick down, and then released itself while I was still in gear…so it seems to me that there no slippage.

Any ideas? Is this all one problem or two separate issues? Anything we can check?



Sounds like a throwout bearing is tearing up. Since the trans has to be pulled to change it check the pressure plate and the clutch disc. They may be on their last legs too.

Throwout and pressure plate fingers sure sound like the problem here. It’s usually best to replace it all and the sooner the better.

Ditto, ditto, ditto: replace throw-out bearing, clutch, pressure plate. Of course whoever’s gonna do job should verify all this once they get transmission out. Good to machine flywheel and replace pilot bearing. When’s the next time your gonna have trans out? Judgement call.

Agreed that it’s a throw-out bearing making the noise. The entire clutch assembly should be replaced, slippage or not.
While it’s apart you should also replace the flywheel pilot bearing and the engine rear main seal. Those are 2 cheap items you do not want to ignore and have them go bad a week after you put it all back together.

Thanks for all the advice. Not what I wanted to hear…sooo how long do you think this throwout bearing will last if he just keeps driving, if the sound just started a couple days ago? Is it something that can make noise for a long time but still work before catastrophically failing?

Also, can someone explain the pedal itself sticking? What’s causing that, and is there anything we can do about that for now?

Again, thanks a ton everyone.

My dos centavos: the two problems are not only related, they are the one and the same. The throwout bearing allows the clutch pressure plate to move relative to the flywheel. It is worn out and the debris are catching on the input shaft stopping the pressure plate from completing full movement. You see this as the pedal not returning to the up position. A clutch job should rememdy all problems. I wouldn’t drive it beyond the shop where you’re getting it done; could cause trans problems if you try to shift without full disengagement of the clutch.

Agreed that it’s a throw-out bearing making the noise. The entire clutch assembly should be replaced, slippage or not.

I agree 100%…it makes no sense to pull the transmission just to replace the throw-out bearing and INSPECT the clutch and preasure-plate.

The slave cylinder of the clutch release hydraulics is inside the transmission bell housing right behind the throwout bearing. It appears the damaged throwout bearing is doing something to the slave cylinder to cause it to leak fluid. You might look to see if the clutch master cylinder reservoir is low on fluid. If it is look under the car at the bell housing to see if you can spot fluid leaking. In any case you are going to have to R&R the transmission to get to the throwout bearing and the mechanic can inspect the slave cylinder at the same time – maybe even replace it just on suspicion. Unless there is very low mileage on this clutch you should also replace the pressure plate and disc because most of the cost of this job is going to be getting the transmission out and in.

Let us know what the mechanic finds and replaces.

Well, I have to apologise regarding the pedal sticking issue. My sister (of all people!) checked it out last night and found there was a bit of carpeting that was getting caught in the pedal. Pedal does not stick anymore…and I am humbled. :slight_smile:

So it looks like it’s just the throwout bearing (hopefully) we’re dealing with. Brother-in-law is going to check the clutch m/c fluid level to make sure it’s ok…They don’t have much money now to do a clutch job and are moving out west at the end of the month, driving this car with a small trailer in tow. When they get there, a mechanic friend of my brother-in-law can help him do the whole clutch job so I think they are going to risk it and hope it gets them there, even if the clutch destroys itself on the way…as long as they arrive, he’ll do the repairs there for just the cost of parts.

Not the best scenario, but what else can you do without the cash?

As an aside, is it somewhat normal for a throwout bearing to go on a vehicle this age and mileage?