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Old 1st March 2014, 16:49   #1
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Angry Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

Need urgent help with my Laura.

I own a '08 Laura Diesel (1.9 PD L&K) which has done ~33k kms. It has been running in great shape with original clutch / brake etc until now, with services done in due time at A**. The car is under no warranty or maintenance cover whatsoever since it's been 6 years.

Last week, the clutch pedal suddenly sank while driving. Strange as there was no clutch hardness or slippage (enganging nor disengaging) at all, and the clutch felt just right upto the incident.

The pedal can now be pulled up by hand but sinks in the moment you press it (with no spring action). My first reaction was, "the cable's snapped," until I reminded myself that it's not a Santro - there's a complex hydraulic system instead, so it's bound to be oil leakage somewhere or a damaged link between the pedal / actuator and the clutch.

Was away for 4-5 days and couldn't do much except tow the car home and park it.

Towed it to Farenheit Automobiles (Okhla) today, and this is what they have diagnosed:

1) Various seals around the master/slave cylinder in the clutch hydraulic system have broken, causing a leak.

This sounds correct, and was what I had expected.

2) The master and slave cylinder themselves have both leaked.

Now, this could be true, but I'm a little skeptical due to Skoda's reputation in the service department. If these were to get damaged, would it happen in one second, unnoticable at all prior to that?

So I'm not sure if these really need replacement. How do I find out?

3) The clutch set needs to be replaced as the damage to the cylinders/seals "probably happened" due to a hard clutch. If I don't replace it, it may happen again.

I'm sorry but I don't buy that. I am a regular driver who understands cars - if not from an expert's but a driver's point of view. I know my clutch was not hard or slipping at all. I understand that there is no other apparent reason for the damage to the hydraulics, but is it okay to risk another incident and further expenses by driving on the same clutch, or should I trust Skoda completely and just change it? It's a decison which costs ~Rs.50k, so it has to be well thought out.

4) The brake/clutch oil has leaked and needs replacement.

Of course it does. This one is a non-issue

---

Now for the costs. The rough estimate is as follows:

- Master Cylinder + Brake Cylinder + Seals - Rs. 10k approx
- Labor for the above - Rs. 4k approx

- New clutch set - Rs.41-43k approx
- Labor for above - Rs. 6-7k approx

Plus taxes.

That comes to about 65-70k in all. Which makes me really upset, as can be imagined

---

The other question I have is, should I trust these guys and pay them this kind of money for a 6 year old car (I do love the car though - it's beautifully maintained and more or less a daily drive), or consult a FNG?

The same set of parts comes for about 20k in the outside market. I have been told it is OEM (Clutch set - 16k, 5k for both cylinders/seals etc). Add labor and contingencies, and it doesn't cross 30k. I'm worried about what OEM really means here, but I'm not worried about the quality of work as I know the mechs myself. They regularly work on my w124.

Thanks for any inputs! The car is sitting in the Skoda workshop and I'd be really obliged if someone can help soon!
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Old 1st March 2014, 17:08   #2
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

Last week, the same clutch sinking happened to my 2008 Safari 2.2 (~90,000 kms) and it cost Rs.5500 including labour. Yes, it was the clutch master cylinder, probably slave too.

1. Since you're a knowledgeable car guy and your logic is right, you can safely get just the clutch master and slave cylinders replaced, fill the clutch fluid up and be good to go. Don't bother with the clutch replacement scare story that the stealership's selling you.
2. Why go to the stealershipfor a 6 year old, out-of-warranty car and get your wallet molested? You can get the job done at a highly rated independent service centre in your city.

Develop a good customer-seller relationship with the shop owner/ foreman and your life will be much better financially and mentally.

Last edited by nitrous : 1st March 2014 at 17:19.
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Old 1st March 2014, 17:12   #3
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

I don't think you need to change the clutch. Just change the master cylinder and brake cylinder. Seals would probably be made of rubber which would harden over time, so I'm not surprised it would give away in a second. Also since you think your clutch is fine, keep it and you can change it later at some point.
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Old 1st March 2014, 18:24   #4
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

Just remembered another thing. For the last couple of days, there was a little wetness around the pedals area - dripping fluid inside the car. Since it had been raining, and I know of a leak from the door rubber seal around the A pillar area as well, I attributed it to the rain (maybe some water leakage from the engine bay/firewall into the cabin).

I suppose it may be clutch fluid leaking from the master cylinder? In that case, I suppose, it is the master cylinder at fault, so I can leave the clutch diagnosis to later. But does this mean the slave will be affected too, or is the leak usually at one place?

I have not visited the workshop since they opened the car, and we all know how responsive they are! All I heard was, replace master, slave, oil, seals, and then clutch. They did not explain to me whether they found the leak in the footwell area or the gearbox area, so I don't know if it's master or slave at fault. Maybe they just replace both as a set! They did mention that all the oil has leaked out, thankfully.

So I'm going to get the vehicle towed to my trusted FNG and get my mechanic to inspect the damage. We'll then decide what all to change - master, slave or both. Plus oil and all seals of course.

I have a strong feeling the clutch is fine, as felt by all of you as well. Let's see how it goes! That's anyway the last step after the rest is done.

Thanks!
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Old 1st March 2014, 18:53   #5
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

Hey, some questions and suggestions from me.

Do you find the hardness of your current clutch acceptable ? If yes, Tell whomsoever you take the car to, to just replace the master cylinder and slave cylinder, bleed the entire system and if the reservoir for the brakes and clutch is the same, bleed the brakes too. You are good to go now.

What is this 'seals' that you mention in the description ? There are no seals, all the seals are present in the master and slave cylinder itself which wear out over time and spring a leak.
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Old 1st March 2014, 19:16   #6
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

I doubt your car has a very complex hydraulic system. It tends to be pretty basic and simple.

The actual state of your clutch and the state of your master and or slave cylinder have absolutely nothing to do with one another. The changes of both your master and slave cylinder starting to leak at the exact same time is remote at best. It's one or the other, very rarely both at the same time.

Im not familiar with this car, but there are very few cars where you actually measure the state of the clutch. Either it works or it doesn't. There are a few test you could do, but they all involve actually driving the car and the way I read it, that is not possible at this time. Just because one or both cylinders fails doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your clutch. Again, ask them how they measured it, ask them to show you in the workshop manual how it's done. Not sure if they are able to show you.

There are two way you can have a leakage problem with a Master and or slave cylinder. Either you have internal leakage or external leakage. In theory you could have both, but again, that is very rare indeed. If you have external leakage it's obvious, you will find hydraulic fluid around the cylinder. Pull the various rubber braces etc. should give you some idea.

The other option is internal leakage. In essence the piston won't seal properly anymore, fluid transfer around the piston. Testing this is a bit more tricky. The way to test this is to disconnect the rod of the piston and see if you can move the piston in or out whilst the circuit are plugged off. Start with the slave.

I'd say, based on what you're telling us, you should run a mile from the guys who told you what was wrong in the first place.

So my take on this is that one of your cylinders has failed that's all. Easy and simple job to fix. I don't believe various seals have broken. Seals break one at a time. Nothing to do with the clutch as such.

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Old 1st March 2014, 19:55   #7
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Same thing happened to me once. In my case, just replaced the cylinders. I was returning from an Ooty trip and had to drive it for some 15 kms like this in the mid night before reaching home. That damaged the second cylinder I guess.

Please reconfirm before touching clutch.

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Last edited by coolclouds : 1st March 2014 at 19:59.
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Old 1st March 2014, 20:19   #8
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

I have faced the same problem in my Scorpio once.

The clutch pedal suddenly started feeling funny, and then just sank at a traffic intersection after a few km. Clutch was running perfectly prior to that. The cylinder had leaked. It was changed, along with the oil.

The diagnosis seems to be correct. However, I don't see why you are being asked to change the clutch set as well. There is no need to change the clutch here unless of course it is worn out.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 1st March 2014 at 20:21.
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Old 1st March 2014, 21:42   #9
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

Thanks everyone! This helps a lot.

The clutch is fine (or was until the pedal didn't sink). I know I may be a layman, but I am also a passionate enthusiast when it comes to driving. I know a slipping clutch when I drive one. I know the slightest of over-revving sounds and weakness in pulling power in a car if the clutch goes even a bit. There is no play. The clutch is as soft as it should be. And there is no slippage - all the engine power (to the limits of efficiency / friction) is being transmitted to the wheels as usual. Gears are nice and easy to engage. The clutch releases completely and naturally. Car drives like a dream

Having said that, I believe this is all just a Skoda gimmick to get me to buy new parts. Sad, but we all know this sometimes happens - so I've decided I'm not letting them touch the clutch set.

What is bugging me is - the headache and cost of towing the car again to my FNG, spending a day supervising the work, sourcing parts etc - I'm not sure this is worth it.

If I do not touch the clutch set, the difference in cost for changing the cylinders and topping up the oil (parts + labor + tax) is probably a few thousand rupees - say 5k at the most - between the A** and the FNG. So, I've resolved to just let the workshop go ahead and change the cylinders, save me towing and a full day, and leave the clutch alone as it is. Plus, unlike an FNG, I can go back to them with some kind of a goodwill warranty / expectation if a repeat issue happens.

I will visit them before they start work on the car to make sure that both cylinders are indeed leaking, and need replacement. My trust level with Skoda isn't too high either!
As mentioned in preceding posts, I agree with the opinion here - it seems rare that both would fail at the same time.

If they have, then it's okay to get the work done at Skoda rather than an FNG, as the cost difference isn't that high. Also, what they sell as "OEM" in the outside market is never branded Skoda, and the chance of a duplicate arises. I do get aftermarket parts for say, the w124, as there's sometimes no choice unless you want to spend 6x the cost (and cosmetic parts are okay. In this case it's a very functional part of the car).

Well, so a visit beckons tomorrow morning. I will keep everyone updated on what I find when I take a look at the car!
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Old 2nd March 2014, 13:35   #10
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

So looks like both cylinders were indeed damaged. I have instructed Farenheit Auto to replace both. Including the two cylinders + oil + labor + taxes, the estimate has come to Rs. 16k approx. Makes sense as it would have cost me 10K for the parts and labor + additional towing + estimate charges from Skoda if I had gone to my FNG.

I could not visit them before the work started due to other appointments, but the SA has kept both cylinders removed from my car for my inspection.

After "recommending" a clutch change yesterday as they felt it was hard, today they had a different story.

I called them this morning and told them that the logical diagnosis procedure would be to change the cylinders and refill the oil, test the car, and then decide if the clutch may have caused it. Even so, we could figure out whether the clutch needed an immediate replacement or should we try it out and see - the call could only be made after solving the core problem, driving the car once fixed, and then attacking the cause. Why were they advising me to replace the clutch, and scaring me with lame stories like this issue might reoccur if you don't get it done?

The answer I got was ridiculous. "Sir, we were just advising because sometimes clutch hardness is the reason for cylinder failiure. Of course the first step is to solve the symptomatic problem by replacing the cylinders. We feel it is always better to replace clutch as well in this case, but I am not saying you have to."

Wow. So for a minor repair which costs ~15k, we do an additional step "just to be safe" which costs another 50, because that is one of many possible causes for the fault? If it was a bunch of minor things added in to safeguard a running repair which cost upto 20% of the repair itself, I would consider it for peace of mind (assuming it was relevant of course).

Why would they recommend a clutch replacement without trying the clutch out, just because a bad clutch could be one of the reasons for cylinder failiure? Amazes me what lengths these guys can go. I guess it works... not everyone understands technology and is scared of further expenses. This almost amounts to cheating ignorant customers - if I am a customer who knows nothing about his car, say, I will take the SA's recommendation. Being uninformed about a car's mechanics is not really being an irresponsible customer, even though I as a customer would personally choose to be informed before paying for anything - but giving flaky advice in order to make a quick buck is quite unethical.

Anyway, so my next question to the SA was - are you sure that both cylinders are leaking? I am surprised at the fact that one wouldn't give way before the other, causing the leak and clutch depression. The moment any one gives way, the clutch would sink anyway. Chances of them both leaking at the same time are rare!

He's sure that both are damaged though.

I think these relevant questions have made him understand that I am more informed than he assumed before, and he has not since mentioned clutch replacement

In fact, he is the one who offered that I should come visit and take a look at both cylinders before he commences the work. I am finally satisfied that I am getting the right work done on the car!

----

On a side note, I asked for the little TDi monogram that goes on the back in the newer Lauras. The dealership called me to tell me it's arrived and it costs Rs. 1600 + taxes. I politely told them to please take it back. Free market I respect. But I'm not paying that much money for a metallic sticker!

----

Skoda is beginning to scare me now. My last service cost 30k due to a minor leak in the radiator (which they didn't attempt to repair at all, as expected. Full replacement).
A little water leak around the A pillar is being looked at right now - SA says it's probably just blocked channels around the sunroof. A little rattling in the rear from the shelf means they'll add labor for that too. This means I'm looking at a ~50k bill including one paid service, over a period of the last 3 months.

What's sad is that the car by itself is usually reliable, and a lot of fun. Great to drive, engine / suspension / body is in great shape. Feels new after 6 years. Built to last like a true Euro. The challenge? Unavailability of parts in the open market, and ridiculous pricing by the A**. Also, lack of trust in their ethics and quality of work. 6 year old machines will have minor niggles. The way they're handled makes the brand. No brand can guarantee the very absence of niggles or failures of any kind.

But then, we're talking Skoda here, and all this has been said before. I'm just ranting! I'm probably one of the luckier customers (touchwood) who hasn't really faced a major issue with reliability or service in the past.
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Old 2nd March 2014, 15:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ayushagarwal26
......."Sir, we were just advising because sometimes clutch hardness is the reason for cylinder failiure.
In my case, the rubber parts in cylinder hardened because of age and extreme weather (open parking). It was too hot during day time and cold in night.
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Old 2nd March 2014, 16:48   #12
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

Just got the car back from the workshop. Clutch is perfectly fine, and they have changed both cylinders as required. I will shortly post pictures of the cylinders that came out of the car so we can establish the damage - there's not much I can see from the exterior!

I've about had it with these guys at Farenheit Okhla.

First, they blow up the estimate. I was told 15-16k including tax, whereas the bill was above 18k. Reason?
1) They had forgotten to tell me about the charges for lubricating the seals or whatever. Parts + labor ~ 1.3k.
2) Some of the water leakage was due to the sunroof channels being blocked. Cleaning charges - Rs. 650. This is okay as although it was not part of the estimate, I had asked them to do it without confirming the cost.

Now, yesterday, while deciding whether to go ahead with the repair or tow the car to my FNG, I had explicitly asked the SA for details - all parts required, labor, tax estimate - everything, and was told 16k in all. I understand that when one opens up a machine, certain unexpected things may crop up and cause expenditure, which cannot be forseen.
However, in this case, the lubrication was a part of standard procedure while replacing the cylinders, and the very reason I wanted a clear estimate was to make sure it's worth it to go ahead with repairs at the workshop.

Anyway, so I discussed with the manager, complained about the clutch replacement being advised to me unnecessarily, and conveyed the fact that this is unethical and I am upset as a customer who owns cars from various other brands which may or may not be reliable, but are at least ethical with their dealings. If my car needs repair, it needs repair. It is bound to cost money. Parts may be expensive. It is a free market and original parts can be priced high. But at least tell me in the estimate so I can make an informed decision! Anyway, they agreed to cut down the extra labor and charged me 17k for the entire bill. No big deal, but it's a matter of principle.


What's more? This isn't it. They have caused another mess up they initially refused to acknowledge.


When I got back home, about 15 minutes ago, and reversed into the parking slot, I realized the sensors didn't work. Pressed the sensor button, tried again, but in vain. There was a constant beep from the system while the parking sensors were at on position, and no car display on the screen.

I called the SA, Gaurav Kumar and told him about the issue. His reaction - "Sir, it was like that when your car came in. We did a road test and it didn't work."

They did a road test on a car with a sunken/dead clutch pedal? My parking sensors worked fine. Until the moment the clutch sank.

I told him it is impossible. Anyway, if it was so, why did he not tell me? He called me to inform me of a meek horn and wanted to change it. Were the sensors less important? The input job card doesn't mention defective parking sensors. Aren't they supposed to check the car for all defects and list them in the presence of the customer?

Anyway, on pushing, he agreed that they didn't drive the car (obviously) and that he may have misunderstood about some other car. He says they weren't working today, and they have not touched it, but maybe it's some minor issue. He says they'll pick the car, repair it, and drop it back at my convenience without charges. Let's hope so.

It's not the niggles that bother me. Nor the fact that a bunch of sensors can stop working when you're working on a car, even if it's unrelated to the original problem.

The problem is "chalta hai" attitude. The SA admitted he knew the parking sensors weren't working, and didn't bother to tell me. He bothered to call and ask about the horn though. Why? Because he thought they may have messed up the sensors and wanted to stay quiet about it? I can only assume.

That's anyway the only reason they agreed to take my car back and fix it. If it was not their fault, or if the sensors were defective before they took the car in, why would they agree to fix it for me?

Plus, the estimate discrepancy. The lack of information. The incorrect advice to sell parts. And the absolute lack of integrity and honesty with the parking sensor issue.

Thanks, Skoda and Farenheit. You just lost a future customer (and a present one). I'll stick to Hondas from now on!
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Old 4th March 2014, 22:08   #13
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

It took some work and an email / fb post to Skoda India, but I'm presently surprised that the workshop responded in one day. The SA called me with apologies and explanations for each inconvenience I faced (and had his own random explanations for the incorrect suggestions / parking sensor issue but I guess that's okay). They picked up my car, fixed all issues, and delivered it back in a few hours.

I still don't know how far to trust Skoda when it comes to overall QOS, but at least Farenheit (Satman Automobiles) Okhla took corrective steps and quick enough.

I'm finally at peace.
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Old 6th March 2014, 16:01   #14
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Default re: Clutch Pedal sinks - now what?

Despite issues being fixed in this particular case, I don't think any kudos are required for the dealer or the company.

The thread clearly demonstrates that the dealer's A.S.S. setup actively tried to make a fast buck at every available opportunity by blatant lies or willful misinformation (this is admittedly not isolated to Skoda alone, but that's no excuse). They backed off once they realized the customer is informed and won't be taken for a ride, but for every such customer, there are hundreds willing to take A.S.S. advice at face value.

The point isn't the escalations were handled promptly. The point is why were the escalations required in the first place, when proper diagnosis and rectification was possible? Doesn't it give the impression nothing works without escalations at Skoda (and rarely after)?

The company's blame comes from the fact they continue to do business with such dealers. Contrast this with someone like Maruti: their products are arguably neither the best engineered nor the cheapest on the market, but they'll probably skin a dealer alive if such fraudulent activity was reported, while Skoda continues to pretend nothing's really wrong with their India operations.

Like GTO's thread on monthly sales notes, Skoda narrowly missed out on the bottom spot to Fiat (by a handful of cars?). Says all that needs to be said.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 6th March 2014 at 16:03.
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Old 10th October 2016, 18:32   #15
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Default Ssangyong Rexton clutch sinking

While driving on the expressway, suddenly my 2014 Rexton Rx6 's (40k kms) clutch pedal sank to the floor and stayed there. The gear was stuck too.

After towing it away the Mahindra mechanics stated it was a minor problem and would be fixed.
Now they call and say the clutch has BURNT and would cost over a lakh to fix! Now i sense pure BS on the clutch burning part.

It is not news that the dealership loves looting people and there was nothing to suggest the clutch had burnt. Later after arguing , they changed their statement to the clutch had WORN OUT. Again , i only sense BS.

So can anyone help me to identify the cause? It seems like a issue of fluid. Should i bleed the brakes and the clutch or replace the master and slave cylinders?

Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2016 at 10:29. Reason: Poorly typed post
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