Help me diagnose a persistent clutch hydraulics issue - mechanics? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 28th, 2016, 07:14 PM
agentmulder
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Help me diagnose a persistent clutch hydraulics issue - mechanics?

Hello all.

Persistent issue I'm trying to diagnose before sending it into the workshop.

The issue is cyclic so I'll start with it in the 'working fine' state:
  • Clutch fine, all good
  • Engine warms up, I stay in one gear for say 3-5 minutes (motorway for instance)
  • Clutch now feels like it's got air in it (not saying it necessarily does, just saying it feels like it), as in if I depress it it will not engage the clutch properly until the pedal is much further into its swing. (If I leave it for more than around 5 minutes, it wont even engage the clutch and the pedal will actually sit on the floor and not return.)
  • If I put defender in neutral and pump the pedal (pulling by hand if nessesary) the clutch actuation will return over about 5 pumps - i.e. each clutch pedal pump brings the point at which the clutch itself first activates closer and closer to 'normal'
  • I can now drive and clutch is magically like you'd expect it out of the shop - rinse and repeat ...
Some more notes:
  • I replaced the master cylinder - defender had no issues for about a week, action felt smoother compared to old MC (woohoo!) - then the problem then returned (grrrrr)
  • A few times I have purged the working fluid - best method is reverse bleed, of which I see some small bubbles hiccuping out. I try hard to minimise it but I cant be 100% sure they weren't simply introduced in the bleed process (attaching tubes etc.) - keep in mind that when the clutch is in its working state, it really does feel comparable to known working clutch on my mates defender (it actually feels better)
  • I see no fluid leaks or loss of level in the reservoir - but I do note, that the fluid gets dark.

It feels like driving with clutch clutching (i.e. pedal up) is introducing air into the line, and then pumping the hydraulics is releasing it again - but that doesn't make much sense to me (why aren't I losing fluid?).

As mentioned, the fluid is getting dark, am I losing clutch fluid to the transmission, and gaining transmission oil ??

Is the spring return on the slave working its way into compression (how?), getting stuck, and the pumping action is releasing it? (actually this doesn't make much sense...)

I don't know enough about this stuff, so my suggestions may make only partial (or zero) sense - keen to learn though...

It's a puma, the slave is internal to the transmission, so I personally cant access it.
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  #2  
Old January 28th, 2016, 07:49 PM
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Change the slave and flex line. The slave seal is probably letting air in.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 08:00 PM
agentmulder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
Change the slave and flex line. The slave seal is probably letting air in.
Gidday, that's what I'd love to avoid :P - it means full transmission access at mechanics and off the road for a week ... May as well replace clutch at the same time ( clutch apparently plays up around my odometer reading).

Air makes a lot sense when thinking about the symptom of the pedal not activating the clutch - but I'm wondering how is it that:
  • Pumping the system will make it work again (and feel completely fine)
  • Air is getting into the system when it isn't being activated
  • I'm not losing any fluid (unless I'm gaining the darker fluid in equal measure?)

?
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Old January 28th, 2016, 08:05 PM
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Are you saying you can't just unbolt the slave on a Puma? That would be very silly.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 09:17 PM
agentmulder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
Are you saying you can't just unbolt the slave on a Puma? That would be very silly.
Yes:



It's pretty fancy huh.

I wrote a letter to both Land Rover and Ford about it, but they said that they weren't planning on changing it.

At the risk of running out of bullet points, I'm interested in anyones ideas about:
  • Why pumping the system will return it to a working state
  • Why not using clutch and with engine warm will make it progressively faulty
  • Why the fluid is getting dark

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  #6  
Old January 28th, 2016, 09:29 PM
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Telling Land Rover does not help. It is a standard Getrag gearbox with a Ford engine. Land Rover has nothing to do with it.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 09:30 PM
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As to why it is failing. You are on the wrong site. This is a North American forum and very few people would have ever seen a Puma. You need to ask on a UK or Australian forum. Or any Ford forum. It is common Ford engine and gearbox.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 09:51 PM
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Yeah, I was surprised that LR didn't really want to know about it - like they were giving up on the Defender or something.

Anyways, a large component of this is simple hydraulics at play, and while it's true it might be a puma specific issue I can't rule out it being not puma related.

I've not even seen inside it - but I'm still thinking about what it could be - going back to basics, trying to use logic, basic mechanics and so on...

(p.s. I've asked this before, but did I miss some thing when I signed up that said this was a North American forum? no one has given me an answer on that yet...)
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  #9  
Old January 28th, 2016, 09:58 PM
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Most of the people on here are North American. There are much better forums for Puma questions.

The parts in question come direct from a Ford Transit and Land Rover has nothing to do with them. Millions of Transits out there and better places to ask the questions.
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  #10  
Old January 28th, 2016, 10:19 PM
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Thanks for your input. Top shelf.
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  #11  
Old January 29th, 2016, 01:52 PM
Departing90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentmulder View Post

  • Why pumping the system will return it to a working state
  • Why not using clutch and with engine warm will make it progressively faulty
  • Why the fluid is getting dark


There are ONLY 2 reasons why the hydraulic fluid would get dark. One is contamination from the outside and the other from the inside. As your fluid is getting dark very "quickly" & your not leaking any it can only be from the inside! The only parts capable of doing that are failing rubber seals that are generally black in color so it has be faulty seals in your slave since you've already changed the master as previously mensioned and that would explain your 1st & 2nd symptoms. If your unsure change out tye master again after opening it up and inspecting the seals since its easier, bleed tye system and if same symptoms return then you'll know for sure its tye slave.
Now go and join another forum! Hehehehehehe
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  #12  
Old January 29th, 2016, 03:51 PM
agentmulder
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There is also the flex hose, more likely the slave as it's a working part but I'd still swap the flex out at the same time.

Now why would I go and join another forum when:
  • I already have done
But most importantly:
  • I'm getting good and helpful general advice from people like you
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  #13  
Old January 29th, 2016, 08:59 PM
Departing90
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Red is right! Not too many people here have intimate puma knowledge. As you have a pain of a slave I would get a brand new slave, change tge seals in tge master, any rubber hoses and use DOT 5.1 brake fluid and be done with it! 5.1 is military grade silicone fluid that can take the temp from the north pole to the Sahara with no issues! As its silicone based it'll preserve your rubber seals / hoses and not attract moisture as the glycol fluids do!
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Old January 29th, 2016, 09:29 PM
agentmulder
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Well, I don't have intimate puma knowledge either, but ya know, in essence it's just plain hydraulics ...

As I have a pain of a slave I should get a new slave ?? I don't quite get the direct logic of that, unless I'm not reading between the lines... I mean it's looking likely that the slave is the issue (relatively complex symptoms tend to result from relatively more complex components) - but I'm really trying to rule everything out first.

Accessign it means open heart surgery - $$$ and time

While the defender is on the waiting list for shop time I'll swap out the flex line myself, after all it can only hurt my wallet, eyesight and forehead.

5.1 huh - not available in the local auto shops - only dot 5 (incompatible) - will search harder/ask
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  #15  
Old January 29th, 2016, 10:52 PM
Departing90
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I apolegize! !!!! I meant "DOT 5" NOT 5.1
If it isn't tye master or rubber lines contaminating tye fluid it has to be the slave.
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