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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
SAAB 900 (1992, manual, non-turbo)

Got into my car this morning.. pushed clutch pedal down - it went all the way to the floor with no resistance at all and, of course, was not able to shift any gear (everything worked great two days ago. Wasn't driving car for these past two days). After I release the pedal -- it goes back to normal position.

I checked breaks fluid -- dropped below MIN level.. added more fluid, pumped break pedal few times --> tried clutch pedal again, same story --- it's moving without any resistance (almost completely loose).

I know now fluid is leaking somewhere, although I didn't find any wet places around master cylinder, or on the carpet inside the car or any puddles underneath the car..
I was searching SAAB forums for similar problems and, unfortunately, it seems there is no consensus whether it's a master or slave cylinder failure.. or can be both..

Any thoughts on this issue, what's the likely problem here (I am leaning towards master cyl.)? Also, if you might have a link for a step-by-step instructions for master cylinder replacement - please, post it.
Any advice/thoughts/ideas are very much appreciated!!!

ps: will post here on the repairs progress :)
 

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Could be the master but more likely the fluid has leaked from the slave cylinder. Look for a leak at the front of the engine underneath the clutch.
 

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as a temp measure, make sure the level is above the inset in main reservior for clutch, and bleed it, then top back up, you may then get your clutch back (for a while,) but with it leaking?? it will eventually loose the fluid again so you have air in it again so no pedal pressure, so make sure it's level is checked if you do get pedal back to norm, till you have chance to repair/renew.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to peva and 16saabs for replies! Here's a quick update

1. looked around master (around the pedals inside the car and in the engine compartment) - everything looks dry.
2. put some old newspapers underneath the car to checked for leaks --- break fluid is leaking terribly, but not quite from the front of the car (seems like from somewhere in the middle - might be getting on the frame and then flowing towards the middle of engine compartment).

So, I think peva is correct - slave is toast.. Got new slave yesterday, waiting for spacing tool to arrive tomorrow. Don't have a PP pressure tool (there is one for $90 on thesaabsite - not buying it for this much).. Will try to do "bolts-and-nuts" approach instead..

Going to have a lot of fun on my parking lot this weekend!!!
 

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2. put some old newspapers underneath the car to checked for leaks --- break fluid is leaking terribly, but not quite from the front of the car (seems like from somewhere in the middle - might be getting on the frame and then flowing towards the middle of engine compartment).
!
There's front of the car and front of the engine. Sounds like it's leaking from the front of the engine, that's leaking slave cylinder or maybe hose going to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ashamed to be so stupid but... when pulled out the clutch - didn't pay attention how friction disc was positioned (shaft on the center hole is not symmetrical --- it's at the same level with the disc on one side and about inch long on the other side. Does this longer side stays towards pressure plate or away from it?)
Thanks in advance!

ps: quick update on repairs.. Got new slave and new release bearing yesterday.. Disassembling everything took about 3 hours, I used "bolts-nuts" method. No compression tools, but used pressure plate spacer (got it from europarts for $20). Now will be assembling everything back and bleeding the system.
btw, for clutch/cylinder work. these are the best resources, in my opinion:
http://www.twinsaabs.com/900_repair/clutchjob/step4.asp?nsteps=5
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14255
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry about asking this... but I didn't pay attention to the position of the friction plate when I was pulling out clutch assembly and slave.. Now I am confused how to put back friction disk --- shaft of the center hole is not symmetrical (it's is at the same level with disk on one end, and on the other side it is about inch long). This longer part goes towards pressure plate or away from it?
Thanks in advance for helping on this one!

ps: quick update on repairs.. Disassembled everything in about 3 hours, without any major pain. Used "bolts-nuts" method to compress PP, followed good advice to get space tool to keep teeth compressed (got it for $20 from europarts).. Got new slave cylinder and release bearing, now will be assembling everything back and will try bleeding the system.
 

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i got confused with that too

if i remember right you want the friction disk "long end" as you call it toward the PP so it is even and flat across the back

also there should be stamped on the friction disk words that say "engine side" or "transmission side"

put the "engine side" toward the flywheel--does that make sense

dont go totally on this info though as i cant 100% remember

someone else should help shortly---i remember finding a picture on here somewhere that showed the correct orientation and told you friction disk springs toward pressure plate or toward flywheel i cant remember

also remember the zip tie trick for holding it all together was a good idea and made the clutch shaft go right in no problem---but i had a hell of a time getting the zip tie pieces out of there---it was enough of a pain that i probably would try it without the zip ties next time--but then the clutch shaft prob would have been a pain----just my 2 cents

also did you get the flywheel machined?----or at least cleaned and roughed up with a scotch brite----and if you took the flywhhel off you may want to install a new crank seal

my motor was appearantly leaking a lot from this seal because once i got the new on in ive driven it for three months and only added like a 1/4 quart of oil

get the good seal from eeuroparts--the auto zone seal is crap and will squeeze back out on you--i tried

also can loan you a tool i made for installing the seal

to get the old one out screw a self tapping screw into it and yank it out with some vise grips

let me know if ya need any more info or anything at all--i will try to help


EDIT: hey found the thread here it is http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49725&highlight=friction+disc

looks like the fat springs go toward the PP which should also say transmission side----i know i went with what nutcase said about the guys picture at the end and it worked out for me
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for replying, esj001
1. I am re-using the old friction plate, I looked over it -- cannot see any labels saying "transmission" or "engine" side..
2. Not pulling flywheel out --- too much pain.. and I really need to get this car back to life asap.. So, going to change slave cylinder, bleed it and hopefully this will ok for now.
3. good idea with zip ties! I'll definitely put everything into a sandwich and strap it.. otherwise putting a shaft through entire assembly will be not so much fun.

Hope somebody will reply on correct positioning of friction plate shortly.. Thanks for reply again!


posted a minute ago.. and saw you added link to your earlier post. thanks a lot! I'll go check things now.. Although --- see on the picture in that thread: it does not seem to be any labelling there.. cannot see "engine/transmission" labels there.. Anyways, thanks for the link!
 

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Be careful to ensure the flex hose/steel line to the slave is sitting without strain when you resecure the pressure line.
When aged and then resettled into a new working position, the hose can easily let go if the change of angle is too agressive.
This happened to me recently, even after I tried to make sure it was not strained.................. my clutch can be a bit grabby, the engine can be jump a little too much for the line to absorb. Goodbye clutch...........
 

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i think that thread was basically saying to find the side of the friction plate with the big springs more exposed and put that side towards the pressure plate
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok. as an update on repairs. Got very disappointed today - put everything back and was bleeding the system (was doing old fashion - put a latex pipe on slave bleeder, other end goes into the bottle, then was pumping with a pedal).. Soon the pedal started getting pressure back, but then at some point all pressure was lost at once..
Looked underneath the car --- fluid was gushing from underneath the slave and reservoir got empty in a few seconds..
Pipe goint to slave is intact and it seems leak was from some place where slave is attached with 3 bolts...
Did I attach anything incorrectly or damaged anything in the slave when was putting everything back together???
 

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Ok. as an update on repairs. Got very disappointed today - put everything back and was bleeding the system (was doing old fashion - put a latex pipe on slave bleeder, other end goes into the bottle, then was pumping with a pedal).. Soon the pedal started getting pressure back, but then at some point all pressure was lost at once..
Looked underneath the car --- fluid was gushing from underneath the slave and reservoir got empty in a few seconds..
Pipe goint to slave is intact and it seems leak was from some place where slave is attached with 3 bolts...
Did I attach anything incorrectly or damaged anything in the slave when was putting everything back together???
It sounds that by accident, before slave was fully installed properly, you may have pumped the pedal. The rear of the slave is sealed by an 'O' ring and it is held in place when it is bolted up by the three bolts. Or it may have come partially out during assembly and you have damaged the seal by bolting up before it was re-installed properly. It is not immediately obvious, but you must remove the slave and inspect the rear of the assembly where it bolts up. That rear disc in the slave is sealed by an 'O'ring which you may now need to replace.
 

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sorry to hear what happened--ive been gone a few days

sounds like you overextended the slave like i was afraid of doing

take it back out like peva said and replace that oring if thats it

when you go to bleed it though

take a large plastic syringe full of brake fluid and connect it to slave with a piece of tubing

just push the fluid into the slave bleeder and up to the reservoir---should only take like one syringe full--and you are done

top off the reservoir

then go pump on the pedal
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hopefully, last update on repairs :)
Disassembled everything again - surely enough, rubber ring was torn apart, but this was not a large O-ring, where cylinder is attached with 3 bolts to the engine.. It was a middle ring (one you put over the piston - i.e., it stays between the piston and the body of the cylinder itself).

My guess what happened: I assembled everything and started bleeding, once pressure started building up in the system I should have taken out spacer tool to release PP teeth.. but I didn't do this immediately - so that excessive pressure over-extended cylinder and it shoot piston out of the cylinder, tearing o-ring into pieces.

Replaced ring, put everything back together. Once started bleeding air out and after getting some pressure on the pedal - removed spacer tool, so that PP teeth created pressure against the slave and will not let the piston get ejected again and continued pumping the pedal to finish bleeding.
Clutch works ok now. Although pedal feels a bit soft at the beginning (but pressure is good when pedal gets close to the floor) -- don't know if this is a sign that some air is still in the system.. or this is how everything should feel with a new cylinder.
Anyways, went for a 5-7 mile ride and, so far, happy how things work.

Thanks everyone sharing your thoughts on repairs and giving advice! This is very much appreciated ;)
 

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yep you over extended-----you should have pulled the tool out before you ever started bleeding---

the tool is only to make it easy to fit everything in there for assembly

did you ever try back bleeding from the slave up to the reservoir with a big plastic syringe?

or you can gravity bleed by opening the bleeder on the slave and topping off the reservoir good and just waiting like 30 mins or so

if pedal feels soft you may still have an air bubble in there

glad you got it going though,,, nothing ever goes according to plan when it comes to car maintenance
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
yep you over extended-----you should have pulled the tool out before you ever started bleeding---

the tool is only to make it easy to fit everything in there for assembly

did you ever try back bleeding from the slave up to the reservoir with a big plastic syringe?

or you can gravity bleed by opening the bleeder on the slave and topping off the reservoir good and just waiting like 30 mins or so

if pedal feels soft you may still have an air bubble in there

glad you got it going though,,, nothing ever goes according to plan when it comes to car maintenance
Nope. I haven't tried bleeding it bottom to top yet. Needed to get a syringe or pump.. and I just needed the car going asap. So, did bleeding with pumping the pedal and that's all.
Might leave it to gravity bleed overnight today and see what happens. If it still feels soft or has occasional gaps in pressure --- then might need to do something more serious.

There are so small tricks that you wanted to know ahead of time. Lack of experience fixing cars almost got me into heart attack, when I overextended the cylinder and busted the rings.
Well, that was a good lesson for the next time anyways ;)
 

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I haven't tried bleeding it bottom to top yet. Needed to get a syringe or pump.
No you don't.
Reach through the inspection hole with a pair of long screwdrivers (or the like), and compress the Slave Cylinder, forcing the fluid (and air) back up. You'll need a good flashlight too. It works perfectly 100% of the time.
 
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