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Thread: Clutch issue?

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    Clutch issue?

    So, my T has had various shifting issues since new. Around 8k, I started having a problem where the shifter refused to go in 1st gear at a stop. It was intermittent and the dealer claimed nothing was wrong. It continued to get worse to the point I'd often have to shift into 3rd before being able to shift to 1st. It felt like the shifter was binding or the clutch was stuck engaged. Then one day, around 28k or so, it miraculously cured itself and now goes into gear smoothly again. However, once the binding issue stopped, it now was much easier to grind gears when shifting to 2nd or 3rd, especially if done semi quickly, almost as if the clutch wasn't disengaging.

    Fast forward to 38.5k. While slowing for a light, I forgot to put the shifter in neutral. It was in 4th gear. Once the car reached about 15mph, I heard the engine struggle a bit and then a metallic "clicking" sound, alerting me that I was still in gear. I pushed the clutch in, but it didn't seem to disengage immediately as the clicking continued for a few seconds after depressing the clutch. Ever since I heard that "clicking" noise, the clutch now chatters lightly from a dead stop and feels "weak", like its slipping. Before this, it was always a smooth engagement. So, I guess my question is, does it sound like I have a bent pressure plate finger (like the infamous non turbo clutch failure) or did a clutch spring break or something? Could the pressure plate have been causing all these various issues the whole time??
    2013 Fiat 500T Rosso
    RRM rear sway bar, Koni front struts, El Gato front chassis braces, 500Madness GoPedal, NeuF muffler delete, EC V4.1 intake, Gofastbits DV+, RRM lightweight crankshaft pulley

    2016 Fiat 500X Pop Arancio
    500Madness GoPedal, custom Abarth style exhaust (resonator/muffler delete.), Gofastbits DV+, LED interior lights.

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    Fiat Top Care Specialist FiatCares's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carfreak09 View Post
    So, my T has had various shifting issues since new. Around 8k, I started having a problem where the shifter refused to go in 1st gear at a stop. It was intermittent and the dealer claimed nothing was wrong. It continued to get worse to the point I'd often have to shift into 3rd before being able to shift to 1st. It felt like the shifter was binding or the clutch was stuck engaged. Then one day, around 28k or so, it miraculously cured itself and now goes into gear smoothly again. However, once the binding issue stopped, it now was much easier to grind gears when shifting to 2nd or 3rd, especially if done semi quickly, almost as if the clutch wasn't disengaging.

    Fast forward to 38.5k. While slowing for a light, I forgot to put the shifter in neutral. It was in 4th gear. Once the car reached about 15mph, I heard the engine struggle a bit and then a metallic "clicking" sound, alerting me that I was still in gear. I pushed the clutch in, but it didn't seem to disengage immediately as the clicking continued for a few seconds after depressing the clutch. Ever since I heard that "clicking" noise, the clutch now chatters lightly from a dead stop and feels "weak", like its slipping. Before this, it was always a smooth engagement. So, I guess my question is, does it sound like I have a bent pressure plate finger (like the infamous non turbo clutch failure) or did a clutch spring break or something? Could the pressure plate have been causing all these various issues the whole time??
    Hi carfreak09,

    I'm sorry to hear about the experience with your Fiat. If you decide to go back to the Studio for further diagnosis, please feel free to let us know. We're always happy to reach out on your behalf for additional support.

    Kori
    Fiat Social Care Specialist

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    I've had a similar experience with my Abarth, including the "miracle" self-cure. It happened to me twice. Both times the only evidence I could find afterwards was some fluid leaking down from around the back side of the engine/transmission area of the car, most of which had been caught and contained by the plastic under-engine tray. When I looked around under the hood to try and determine where this fluid might be coming from the only reservior that was at all low was the one that holds the fluid for the clutch. So I topped it up.

    I think that the clutch fluid boiled. Both times it happened to me it was a hot day and I was in stop-and-go traffic in Denver. I think the car is well designed enough so that just a hot day isn't enough to cause the clutch fluid to boil (because I've driven in some very hot conditions), I'm betting there has to be something else that adds to the situation, like The driver being hard on the clutch.

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    Senior Member Fabio13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewflyer View Post
    I've had a similar experience with my Abarth, including the "miracle" self-cure. It happened to me twice. Both times the only evidence I could find afterwards was some fluid leaking down from around the back side of the engine/transmission area of the car, most of which had been caught and contained by the plastic under-engine tray. When I looked around under the hood to try and determine where this fluid might be coming from the only reservior that was at all low was the one that holds the fluid for the clutch. So I topped it up.

    I think that the clutch fluid boiled. Both times it happened to me it was a hot day and I was in stop-and-go traffic in Denver. I think the car is well designed enough so that just a hot day isn't enough to cause the clutch fluid to boil (because I've driven in some very hot conditions), I'm betting there has to be something else that adds to the situation, like The driver being hard on the clutch.
    I thought there were issues with the clutch slave cylinder leaking, not boiling. I'd bet on that.
    2013 Fiat 500 Sport AT, Xpel Ultimate Clear Bra, 3M Crystalline Window Tint, Black top stripes, Black "500" (wide) side stripes. Fiat "500" Stainless door sills by Mopar. BlueTooth music streaming. OBDII BlueTooth Torque gauges streaming to smart phone. BF Goodrich Sport Comp II tires, STS rear sway bar, Euro+Drive NA 500 Tune, BMC reusable air filter and Spare Tyre with cover.

    Blast to drive! 25 years newer than last car!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabio13 View Post
    I thought there were issues with the clutch slave cylinder leaking, not boiling. I'd bet on that.
    Yeah, but... My Abarth is a 2012 (over 5 years old now) and neither the clutch slave cylinder nor the reservior has shown any sign of regular leaking. As I said, just those two instances of leaking accompanied by clutch issues that magically solved itself after sitting in a parking lot for a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewflyer View Post
    I've had a similar experience with my Abarth, including the "miracle" self-cure. It happened to me twice. Both times the only evidence I could find afterwards was some fluid leaking down from around the back side of the engine/transmission area of the car, most of which had been caught and contained by the plastic under-engine tray. When I looked around under the hood to try and determine where this fluid might be coming from the only reservior that was at all low was the one that holds the fluid for the clutch. So I topped it up.

    I think that the clutch fluid boiled. Both times it happened to me it was a hot day and I was in stop-and-go traffic in Denver. I think the car is well designed enough so that just a hot day isn't enough to cause the clutch fluid to boil (because I've driven in some very hot conditions), I'm betting there has to be something else that adds to the situation, like The driver being hard on the clutch.
    I have noticed the fluid drop in the master cylinder reservoir and have added some but I think it has more to do with the brake pads wearing because the fluid loss has not been constant. I'm not hard on the clutch. In fact, I've never had to replace one in 22 years of driving manual.

    What I'm most concerned about is the metallic clicking I heard followed by clutch shudder and weakness and what that likely points to.
    2013 Fiat 500T Rosso
    RRM rear sway bar, Koni front struts, El Gato front chassis braces, 500Madness GoPedal, NeuF muffler delete, EC V4.1 intake, Gofastbits DV+, RRM lightweight crankshaft pulley

    2016 Fiat 500X Pop Arancio
    500Madness GoPedal, custom Abarth style exhaust (resonator/muffler delete.), Gofastbits DV+, LED interior lights.

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    Well I'll just STFU then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewflyer View Post
    Well I'll just STFU then.
    LOL. Your suggestion of a leaking slave cylinder does bear further investigation. Do others feel that's a more likely scenario then the pressure plate?

    I actually had the slave cylinder fail on my 2012 Pop. But when it started leaking, it continued to leak and the pedal felt lighter, although I do remember the clutch shuddering. I'm not noticing a lighter pedal on my T and have only added fluid once in 39k but the clutch definitely started shuddering out of the blue.
    2013 Fiat 500T Rosso
    RRM rear sway bar, Koni front struts, El Gato front chassis braces, 500Madness GoPedal, NeuF muffler delete, EC V4.1 intake, Gofastbits DV+, RRM lightweight crankshaft pulley

    2016 Fiat 500X Pop Arancio
    500Madness GoPedal, custom Abarth style exhaust (resonator/muffler delete.), Gofastbits DV+, LED interior lights.

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    My car has the "first gear hard to engage" issue, but VERY rarely. And usually I can force it past. I never heard any synchro grinding either. I think in my case it's more likely to be a linkage cable binding up somewhere. In your case it sounds like you've had a bent pressure plate finger for a while, and now it finally broke off. I would bet the pressure plate was faulty from the beginning and just went through various stages of failure until you've gotten here. The clutch will probably stop disengaging entirely soon.

    Just my non expert opinion though.
    2013 Fiat 500 Abarth in Grigio - Veruca
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    Senior Member Trunkout's Avatar
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    I remember not being able to find first gear.... with the stock assembly, then a Madness adaptor.
    I installed the Cravenspeed SS kit and the shifting has been FLAWLESS since.
    2013 Rosso Abarth 5spd Bianco 17s Cooper Zeon RS3-A
    "It feels like you have no suspension! Why does it explode when you shift? IS YOUR CAR ILLEGAL??" ~ My Mom

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