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  #1  
Old November 27th, 2013, 03:28 PM
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Leaking clutch fluid

A few weeks ago I did some off-road driving that involved a lot of deep water crossings. I drove the 300km or so back home and parked the truck for a couple days.

When I got into the truck to drive it somewhere, my clutch travel told me the fluid had all leaded out. I park my truck on a slight downhill, and upon looking under the vehicle I noticed a pool of "something" right about under the front diff. For the life of me though, I can't really see how clutch fluid could leak out and end up there. Some more possibly pertinent pieces of information:

- I realized in all this that I don't have a transmission bellhousing wading plug. I was driving in muddy water up over my headlights, so I assume this would be bad for something. Would this possibly damage my clutch? What else might I have damaged?

- I'd had the clutch bled a month or two earlier, as I'd broken into the clutch system when replacing the bulkhead.

- The clutch is probably 15-20k miles old.

- Years ago I had the clutch line replaced with a hydraulic hose. There's no indication of any leakage along the length of the hose.

- The mechanic I took it to (same people who did the clutch bleed) said there's brake fluid around the bellhousing drain hole.

- There's no brake/clutch fluid around the master cylinder or inside the driver's footwell.

The bummer here is that I don't have a workshop, and I'm not about to do the work in my driveway at this time of year. Nobody around here that I've found in 6 years of living here knows anything about these vehicles. The people at the shop it's at are an OK bunch of people, but they've never done any clutch or transmission work on a Land Rover before and have no idea of any LT77 specifics or idiosyncracies. In short, this sucks.

I'm just wondering what to do next. I don't know if I should just get them to bleed it and hope it works, pull the transmission since I ruined everything by driving without the drain plug in, or what.

My poor 3 year old saw the truck being flat-bed hauled away and started bawling. She thought it was never coming back. BUT I LIKE THE TRUCK!!! Boo hoo. Poor kid, but right now I'm not a very happy Land Rover owner.

Thanks for any pointers,
- Andrew.
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  #2  
Old November 27th, 2013, 03:37 PM
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Clutch slave packed in it sounds like.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 03:40 PM
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well the wading plug hole is just to allow water and oil to drain out of the bell housing area as needed, and the purpose of the plug is just keep mud out of the flywheel housing. having your bell housing fill with water shouldn't be an issue, but mud can make the flywheel slip for a while, which is why it's good practice to plug it before fording, but not a crisis.

if you have indeed lost your clutch hydraulic fluid, it's either at your master, along the line to the slave, or the slave, which is bolted to the bellhousing. if you don't see leaking around your clutch master, it's probably your slave that gave out, which means it was just time. I doubt the water had any contributing factor to it. This time of year, we all tend to have small leaks as the cold shrinks up rubber o-rings all over the powertrain. maybe the winter cold cause yours to go. no matter. I would have the clutch filled back up and bleed, which is an easy job, like bleeding just one brake caliper, and then have the shop work it and figure out where the leak is. again, it's either the master or the slave most likely, and all are easily visible.

As mentioned many times on this forum, if you have to replace one, replace both and be done, including the lines. just sounds like you were due. That shop should be able to replace it. if they baulk at it, and the leak is in the slave (my guess), then have them replace the slave and bleed, and do the master in the spring yourself when it warms up.

THIS IS NOT A CRISIS!
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  #4  
Old November 27th, 2013, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by evilfij View Post
Clutch slave packed in it sounds like.
Yeah, that sounds like the default answer, and maybe even right It's just that because I don't really know what I'm doing, and the mechanics know nothing specific about this application, I want to make sure I have a handle on things before I potentially tell them to open it up.

It just occurred to me that you don't have to take the transmission out to replace the slave cylinder. The mechanic said "we may have to take out the transmission to see what's wrong", so I guess I subconsciously assumed that that was somehow required to do the slave cylinder. I've actually replaced the slave cylinder myself, but I guess it's been a few years...

Would leaving the drain plug out and getting things wet have possibly wrecked the slave cylinder somehow? Could it have messed anything else in there, and is there anything I could/should do about it at this point?

Thanks again,
- Andrew.

Edit:

Thanks Mark for the reply too. It seems like a crisis to me, because I spent SO MUCH TIME this summer and fall working on this &^&% truck, and I don't have a workshop to fix stuff in when things get cold. It's just demoralizing to have a problem at this time of year, and after all the time and money I've spent so far this year, with so little time to actually drive and enjoy it. I appreciate the encouragement.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 03:47 PM
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No. My 2.8 has a V8 bellhousing as part of the M&D conversion kit, mated to my R380. I don't even have a wading plug, there is a smaller hole in mine that is never sealed. It's a weep hole. the internals of the bell housing are completely sealed on the engien and transmission side. it's a big empty. Getting wet doesn't hurt anything.

This is just your slave most likely, and it's like 3 bolts mounted to the outside. this is like a 30 minutes job and a $50 part. Your mechanic might be smoking crack. Is he from Toronto?
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Old November 27th, 2013, 03:53 PM
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This is just your slave most likely, and it's like 3 bolts mounted to the outside. this is like a 30 minutes job and a $50 part. Your mechanic might be smoking crack. Is he from Toronto?
LOL. Crack's in pretty short supply around here, or so I hear. It appears there's a "big player" with heavy demand.

The mechanics are honest people, but it's the sort of shop that is more likely to be doing oil changes on 2005 Oldsmobiles than slave cylinders on a Land Rover 110. They have been doing odds and ends on the truck though now for several years, so at least they're past the point where they kept calling it a Toyota.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 03:57 PM
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Good luck. I'd say have them refill and bleed it, but also order a new part. If it drains out again, then park it until you get the part. When the new part comes in, hand them printouts of the rave pages for replacing the slave, the part and tell them to get busy and you'll be back in an hour to pick it up. Or you can do it yourself as it's a 1 beer job.

And replace the remaining bits in the spring!

------ Follow up post added November 27th, 2013 03:59 PM ------

BTW, lots of vehicles have hydraulic clutches, not just defenders, so this is not rocket science. IIR, Jeep Wranglers are setup the same way.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 04:00 PM
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Thanks a lot. That's what I'm going to get them to do. Except if it still leaks after a refill & bleed, I'm going to pay them to do the master and slave. I'm not doing it in my driveway. The forecast HIGH for the next 5 days is 2 celsius.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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like Overlander said, the slave cyl is easy. not a big deal at all, but I would suggest that you start searching your region for a Defender specialist. This won't be the last time your baby is hauled away on a flatbed so it would be nice to know with peace of mind where it's going will be able to properly diagnose and fix whatever comes up next.

FWIW, my R380 bellhousing has never had a wading plug and the bellhousing has been underwater enough times. Again, what Overlander said.....it's not the water.....its what's IN the water (i.e. MUD) that would be an issue.

One last thing - make sure the shop uses the proper spec hydraulic fluid, or order some yourself and make sure they use the proper stuff (Rovers North or Atlantic British)

EDIT: I can't tell from your avitar (if that's your truck) but if its RHD it is much easier to replace the Master. If they go by the book and lookup replacement for any NAS-spec Defender it will likely be more hours. Just something to be aware of.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 04:10 PM
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Changing the clutch slave is simple and no different than any other vehicle. No special Rover knowledge is required. You just need to be carefully to NOT pull the push rod off of the clutch fork. It is held on with a crappy plastic clip that is nearly impossible to get back on. On a lift, remove the exhaust downpipe and it is easy to access.

The master is easy if it is RHD and serious pain in the ass if LHD. If LHD, take the wing off.

Make sure you get OEM branded cylinders. The failure rate on no-name units is very high.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 04:12 PM
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You just need to be carefully to NOT pull the push rod off of the clutch fork. It is held on with a crappy plastic clip that is nearly impossible to get back on.
I certaintly learned that the hard way
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Old November 27th, 2013, 04:14 PM
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like Overlander said, the slave cyl is easy. not a big deal at all, but I would suggest that you start searching your region for a Defender specialist. This won't be the last time your baby is hauled away on a flatbed so it would be nice to know with peace of mind where it's going will be able to properly diagnose and fix whatever comes up next.

FWIW, my R380 bellhousing has never had a wading plug and the bellhousing has been underwater enough times. Again, what Overlander said.....it's not the water.....its what's IN the water (i.e. MUD) that would be an issue.

One last thing - make sure the shop uses the proper spec hydraulic fluid, or order some yourself and make sure they use the proper stuff (Rovers North or Atlantic British)
There is no such thing as a "Defender specialist" around here. Well, I'm sure there are some in the Toronto region if I was willing to drive 1.5-2 hours to go to a mechanic. Even then though, I can't think of one offhand.

When I needed to have my engine pulled apart, I took it the 2.5 hours away to someone who knows what they're doing and had it done. Similarly for having my transmission rebuilt. In the spring/summer/fall I try to do as much as I can myself, and then plan to coast through the winter without any major problems.

I did find someone about an hour away a year and a half ago who claimed to be a Land Rover specialist. However, he was the kind of guy who claimed to know everything about everything. Because I could see he never said "I don't know" even when I clearly didn't, I decided I couldn't trust him for anything and stopped going there.

I thought any DOT-3 or 4 brake fluid was fine, but it can't hurt to get some Genuine brake fluid. Would a modern Land Rover dealer sell this or do I have to order it online? No offence to you Americans, but I try to avoid cross-border shopping if I can due to the shipping and duty fees.

Thanks again,
- Andrew.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 04:17 PM
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Normal brake fluid is fine, IMO. This is not a Series 3....
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Old November 27th, 2013, 04:17 PM
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Changing the clutch slave is simple and no different than any other vehicle. No special Rover knowledge is required. You just need to be carefully to NOT pull the push rod off of the clutch fork. It is held on with a crappy plastic clip that is nearly impossible to get back on. On a lift, remove the exhaust downpipe and it is easy to access.

The master is easy if it is RHD and serious pain in the ass if LHD. If LHD, take the wing off.

Make sure you get OEM branded cylinders. The failure rate on no-name units is very high.
I have done the slave before, although I can't remember if the master's been changed since I've owned the vehicle. I'm just not going to do it myself at this time of year.

And Genuine is the way to go on this stuff, for sure. Thanks for the tip on the fork; that's absolutely worth mentioning to the mechanic. I remember being terrified of that when I did it last time, but fortunately it worked out fine.

The truck's LHD. I just had the wings off when I did the bulkhead but didn't think to change the master cylinder. Then again, why would I as it was working. And that's a good reason to leave the top end as it is now. Why mess with a good thing.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 05:12 PM
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My other advice... Bleed the slave before attaching to the bellhousing. When it hangs straight down from the hose, it bleeds by gravity just by opening the bleed screw. when installed, it is on an angle and it is harder to get the air out.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 04:06 PM
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So I picked up the truck this morning after the shop put in a new slave cylinder. This is not a specialist shop and this may be the only Land Rover they have ever worked on.

I drove about 30km and it all seemed good, but when I got in the truck this afternoon, things went bad quickly. I got about 6km and when I put my foot on the clutch, the truck kept going. I limped into the local "Castle Kilbride" where we were going, but upon trying to drive back to the shop, ive had all sorts of things happen in the 200m or so I managed to travel.

In neutral or with the clutch in, the vehicle still travels forward sometimes. Sometimes I could get it into a gear, sometimes I couldn't. I got it into first and it wouldn't move at all, but in neutral it drove like 4th. Could just be a slipping clutch though.

In 2nd hear position I got about 20m, and then the wheels locked up and I heard a horrible grinding noise like it suddenly decided to be in reverse. So I tried reverse, to get out of the road, and after maybe 30m the same thing happened. By then I was on a side street and was able to coast to a good stopping point.

A friend picked up the kids and I'm waiting for a flatbed. I'm trying to understand what could cause this, and am having a hard time. I can't really see how it could be just the clutch. Is there anything I should be suggesting they look at?

I'm asking here because, like I said, these guys are honest, but they're not transmission experts, let alone LAN Rover experts. I'm also not saying the vehicle is going to stay there if major work is required.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aclarke View Post
So I picked up the truck this morning after the shop put in a new slave cylinder. This is not a specialist shop and this may be the only Land Rover they have ever worked on.

I drove about 30km and it all seemed good, but when I got in the truck this afternoon, things went bad quickly. I got about 6km and when I put my foot on the clutch, the truck kept going. I limped into the local "Castle Kilbride" where we were going, but upon trying to drive back to the shop, ive had all sorts of things happen in the 200m or so I managed to travel.

In neutral or with the clutch in, the vehicle still travels forward sometimes. Sometimes I could get it into a gear, sometimes I couldn't. I got it into first and it wouldn't move at all, but in neutral it drove like 4th. Could just be a slipping clutch though.

In 2nd hear position I got about 20m, and then the wheels locked up and I heard a horrible grinding noise like it suddenly decided to be in reverse. So I tried reverse, to get out of the road, and after maybe 30m the same thing happened. By then I was on a side street and was able to coast to a good stopping point.

A friend picked up the kids and I'm waiting for a flatbed. I'm trying to understand what could cause this, and am having a hard time. I can't really see how it could be just the clutch. Is there anything I should be suggesting they look at?

I'm asking here because, like I said, these guys are honest, but they're not transmission experts, let alone LAN Rover experts. I'm also not saying the vehicle is going to stay there if major work is required.
You may have two separate problems going off how you describe the issues. Firstly the slave cylinder itself as a simple hydraulic cylinder so it cannot itself make any mechanical grinding noises, was it the correct part for the vehicle as thel stroke length varies between models. Possible issues with the change out could be residual air in the system causing it not to fully stroke so you are not getting the required stroke to disengage the clutch or the clutch engagement setting needs re adjusting at the pedal box. One common error is to install the slave cylinder with the bleed nipple on the bottom, if this is done you can never get out any residual air in the system. The second issue you describe the mechanical noise is much more concerning unless it was a product of the gears meshing whilst you were trying to shift gear as a result of clutch drag. That may be a gearbox or differential problem but what the guys have done has nothing directly to do with these. Hope this helps Fraser
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Old December 7th, 2013, 08:04 PM
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Could possibly be the clutch fork has gone. That could produce some mechanical grinding I would think. Whe I put my tdi in I welded the brace on there. That wouldn't explain any fluid loss though.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 09:17 PM
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Could possibly be the clutch fork has gone. That could produce some mechanical grinding I would think. Whe I put my tdi in I welded the brace on there. That wouldn't explain any fluid loss though.
I was wondering along the same lines. Like maybe when they put the slave cylinder on, they weren't very careful and pushed things out of place. Things were fine for a bit but then either fell apart internally, or that one piece on the fork rolled around loose somewhere else I there and started causing problems. I've only replaced my clutch once and it was a few years ago so I can't populate up from memory which part in there and what it does.

I did specifically mention to them to be very careful. We'll see, I guess.

Andrew.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 09:35 PM
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If you can still push the pedal the fork is not broken. When the fork fail you won't be able to push the pedal at all.

May just be an unrelated clutch or gearbox failure.
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