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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
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Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'88 Pontiac Fiero, Clutch Problems

Q: I am having clutch problems with my ‘88 Pontiac Fiero and can't find the proper troubleshooting guide that describes the symptoms my car is having! I replaced the slave cylinder and bled the clutch lines, real good! The master clutch cylinder seems to be functioning properly! When I go to put the car in gear it starts to move before it’s all the way in gear, when I get near where reverse is supposed to be it starts to roll back as if already in gear, same with first, second, etc...! Can you help me please?

- David H.

A: For starters, your Fiero, has just about the hardest clutch system made to bleed correctly. The clutch master is in the front of the vehicle and the clutch slave is in the rear with about 10 feet of twisted line that carries the fluid from the front to the rear. There are plenty of places for air to be trapped in that system. If you pump the clutch pedal quickly 2 times, can you put the transmission in reverse without grinding the gears? If yes, with your foot still on the clutch pedal, after 2 quick pumps, and the vehicle in reverse does it start moving by itself? If it does, it is likely you need a clutch master cylinder. If a clutch master cylinder is leaking internally, it will act like you’re taking your foot off the clutch pedal because the pressure in the system is leaking back into the reservoir. If you’re having trouble getting the vehicle into a gear and/or it is binding between shifts then there is air in the system. The best way I have found to deal with this, short of standing the vehicle on end, is to open the bleeder at the slave cylinder and have a helper quickly push the clutch pedal down and hold it there. Then close the bleeder screw and repeat. This method allows for quick movement of the fluid and the air trapped in the system.

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