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Clutch/Transmission/Gearbox - Brewing Storm

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Old 03-10-2014, 05:33 AM   #1
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Default Clutch/Transmission/Gearbox - Brewing Storm

I am worried about my 04 2.7T (113k) and I'm not sure if mechanic is being straight. Here's the story:

1) About 3mo ago, I dropped our good running car off at our parking garage and walked home. Walked in the door and there was a call from the garage that the clutch pedal is against the floor and they can't drive the car. Run back to garage, see the clutch resting on the mat and there's a small pool of greenish fluid (with sporadic drips continuing) from the center, say, 3/5 forward portion of the car. Called a flatbed and took the car to a nearby mechanic.

2) Mechanic ultimately says the clutch needs to be replaced. Forget exact cost, but around $2,700. After the repair and on my first drive outside the city, there was an obvious buzzing sound on the downshift and a faint, high-pitched whir the became noticeable at higher speeds. When we arrived at our destination and got out, there was a noticeable smell of smoke. After pulling out of the place where the car sat for a day after this drive, there was also a spot on the ground from about the exact location of the initial leak at the parking garage at the initial failure.

3) Brought the car back to the mechanic who "fixed the leak" and said all seemed ok. I told him about the buzzing sound on the downshift when I dropped it off, but on pickup he said it sounded ok.

4) Drive off again and the damn buzzing sound on the downshift is still there, but since the mechanic seemed to think all was ok, I decided to continue driving.

5) Fast forward two months and the sounds seemingly coming from inside below the shifter are getting worse. The buzzing sound on the downshift is now happening on the upshift. When the gas pedal is pressed there is a whirring sound, but when depressed there is a loud buzzing sound. It generally sounds like the I'm driving an old POS yellow cab, but worse.

6) Bring the car back to the mechanic and we drive it together. He can't ignore the sounds and he believes its coming from the gearbox. He also believes that whatever happened to the car at the garage to cause the clutch pedal to drop to the floor (he believes someone there tried to force the car in gear and the screwed everything up) is now the reason the sounds are coming from the gearbox.

I've done a little searching and I see this is potentially another very expensive issue. What I don't know is if the mechanic could be right, that whatever I'm hearing now from "the gearbox" is the result of what happened in the garage to make the clutch fail. Or, could the problem with the gearbox be related to the work done by the garage to replace the clutch.

In defense of the parking garage people, I've had the car with them since it was new to me at 30k miles and never had an issue with how they drove it.

If anyone has insight on the interrelatedness of the clutch/transmission/gearbox that could help get a sense of who I should trust here, it would be massively appreciated. I'll even upload a short clip I recorded of the sounds coming from the car.

-Peter

Last edited by nyallrhode; 03-11-2014 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:00 AM   #2
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The greenish fluid (and the fallen pedal) was due to the failed "working cylinder" (underneath, mounted directly to the gearbox) which is quite simple to repair and it fails above 200.000 km at any car. The working cylinder always uses the brake fluid and has nothing to do with the gearbox oil. BTW such work schould not be too expensive, though. Approx 100-120 usd plus the labor (in Europe!) in case you buy an aftermarket working (slave-cylinder? in english) cylinder. It is also possible to seal it down with a new set of rubber parts. Material cost should be about 20-40 usd.

The whining sound: it is a completely different issue, it is a mechanical noise from the drivechain but I have no idea from its source or reason.
Hopefully, they did not fill up the gearbox with a nonspecific gearbox oil (?) causing excessive wear. That would be bad.

Last edited by PetrolBear; 03-10-2014 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:10 AM   #3
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Thank you for the reply. The leak which occurred after the mechanic's initial job was fixed for no charge and there has been no leak since then.

What I'm trying to figure out is if the leak, or a potentially poor clutch/transmission repair, could be the cause of what sounds like a failing gearbox. Or, if a gearbox failure of some sort is a completely unrelated issue that could very well have been caused by the parking garage person who, the mechanic assumes, tried to force the car into gear ultimately causing the clutch/transmission failure.

Uploading the clip with the buzzing sounds as I type...
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:49 AM   #4
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I hate to say this, but I think you got taken to the cleaners by your mechanic. A failed slave cylinder does not require a transmission rebuild. So, IMHO, it looks like he did unnecessary work and did it poorly.
I think you need a new mechanic.
It's possible that the garage caused the gearbox damage by trying to force it into gear when the slave cylinder failed. However, I think that few people are that stupid. The noise from trying to engage the gear without the clutch would have stopped someone, I think.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:33 AM   #5
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Thanks for the heads up. So I've got two questions then,

1) can the crappy work on transmission/clutch contribute to the gearbox issues?
2) if so, is there any way for me to prove it through the chain of events?

As of our brief conversation this morning, I can tell he's going to blame any gearbox issues on the garage...

For what it's worth, here's a clip of the sound made while down shifting:

After each shift I am not pressing the gas at all...

Also attached are photos of the clutch that was replaced.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Clutch1.jpg (75.6 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Clutch2.jpg (83.2 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg Clutch3.jpg (105.1 KB, 38 views)
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:51 PM   #6
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OMG. Never heard such noises.
Anyway, the clutch plate was not at the wear limit. Approx 20-30.000km material "remained", seemingly.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:34 PM   #7
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I agree. That clutch didn't need replacing yet. It's possible that that noise is from a failing throwout bearing. Just a guess. I hope you find a good and fairly inexpensive solution.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:42 PM   #8
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Ugh...appreciate the responses and will update when I speak to mechanic again tomorrow.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:52 PM   #9
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Default Noise from transmission

Is there noise even in neutral? Try to press the clutch without shif the gear.is the noise cam up?
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amiram View Post
Is there noise even in neutral? Try to press the clutch without shif the gear.is the noise cam up?
As the problem has gotten worse, there is a noise in neutral now that doesn't go away, or change, when the clutch pedal is depressed. The only time noise is anywhere near normal (but still far from right) is during acceleration or generally when engaged and given gas.
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:00 AM   #11
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Then it might be a faulty way assembled clutch kit (or broken parts within the clutch) possibly not the gearbox I assume. But only an assumption.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:57 AM   #12
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Default Clutch slave cylinder

There is a possibility that the Clutch slave cylinder Connected off line and Constantly presses on the clutch Release bearing.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:26 AM   #13
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Interesting, thank you.

Again, the evolution after new clutch was:
1) Leak in similar area to where slave initially failed, brought back, fixed.
2) High pitched, yet faint hum at higher speeds (always there after new clutch, never before, his explanation was "possibly wheel bearing")
3) Glaringly obvious "ZZZzzzzt" sound when downshifting as clutch pedal is depressed (always there after new clutch)
4) Smoky smell (visible smoke shortly after new clutch) for more than 1,000 mi after new clutch.
5) Increased intensity of both 2&3, plus rapid intermittent "zz"/"hmm" out of gear.
6) Essentially afraid to drive as all sounds are loud and as if something is about to fall out of the bottom of the car.
7) Despite all these issues, it sounds closest to normal during acceleration.

FWIW, I notified the mechanic of the "Zzzzt" sound on the downshift before both return visits. Both times he returned the car stating it sounds ok, only for the sound to be unchanged.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:46 AM   #14
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Looking at the extreme labor costs and the desperate evasion from the indy plus your "outsider" situation, it might be a solution.. to turn to an independent (judicature) expert to examine the car summarize the findings. That would be a ground prior to further steps and a legal way... In Europe we would do so.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:06 PM   #15
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I will look into that idea, thanks.

Just spoke to mechanic again. He says that in the two times I brought the car back he did not hear the "zzzzt" sound on the downshift. We went back and forth as to why I think there is something wrong between us if he could not identify a sound even our 4&5 year old children commented on.

That BS aside, he said there were "metal fragments in fluid in the gearbox." he denies that his work on the clutch would have caused any of this and that it is likely due to "wear" and "whatever force was applied via the shifter who was at the helm when the clutch initially failed." ie the garage, as they did nothing to the gearbox during their repair

While this all sounds plausible, I just don't know how to prove it's not, particularly after the fact. What enrages me is that he admitted the sound I was describing to have heard would indicate something was wrong in the gearbox then.

What is impossible to tell now is what damage, if any, the gearbox sustained at the time of the clutch failure. Since the car wasn't drivable at the time, there was no way to tell, and perhaps whoever was driving it in the garage could have forced the clutch when the slave failed. Lastly, he did say when he removed the clutch, despite there being wear left, that it had "completely seized up" and was not usable.

Next communication will be an estimate to replace the gearbox.

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Old 03-11-2014, 11:22 PM   #16
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Default Not reliable

Request more diagnosis from someone else
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:29 AM   #17
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Clutch pedal on the floor is a failure of the clutch master or slave cylinder and should not have required clutch replacement.

Those sounds could be clutch, throwout bearing or pilot bearing noises, or possibly a bent fork in the transmission. Any mechanic who let the car go back to you with a leaking slave cylinder and strange noises probably isn't as thorough as he should be.

If the parking garage people tried to shift with no clutch, the noise should have scared them off. There is some metal in every gear box. If the gear lube contains big chunks of metal, there is significant damage.

I'd want an independent, qualified mechanic to determine what's wrong in a forensic disassembly with photographic evidence at every step.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:29 AM
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