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Old 4th May 2009, 22:18   #1
gpa
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Exclamation Alto Clutch failure!!!

Guys,

I have had the first problems with my Alto. Just so that you can correctly diagnose my problem, I'll be giving you a little bit of back ground info.

The car is 11 months old and has covered just 14,300 kms as of today and has a 4 year (2+2years given by dealer) warranty period. It is maintained extremly well and I am the only driver. My daily drive is not strained as I leave before the peak hour to beat traffic both in the morning and evening. My daily commute is about 55 kms totally. The car has been consistently delivering a mileage of 18+ kmpl with only city driving with minimal usage of the AC. I do not ride the clutch, always depress fully before changing gears and do not use half clutch.

This evening, as I was returning from work, I got stuck behind a truck and to clear the green signal, I acclerated in second gear to about 50 kmph only to get stuck as the lights turned red. Switched off the engine as waiting time was over 3 mins and then just as the timer counted down to 20 seconds, I depressed the clutch to start the car when BANG, I heard a loud sound and the clutch sank to the floor. Yet, the clutch did engage and I was able to change into first gear without a fuss and move away.

My initial reaction was that the cable was cut! The clutch felt really tight when depressed, but somehow the gears fell into place without any grinding noise. I did struggle to drive back in the peak evening traffic as the clutch felt really hard.

I called up my mechanic at the MASS where I service my car and mentioned this to him, he said he'll come home to my house first thing tomorrow morning and check it.

Guys, what do you think is the problem. Has the cable cut (is what I suspect) or has the clutch plate worn out. I remember akroy mentioning something similar happening to his Alto a few months back.

Will be taking the car to my MASS tomorrow morning to get the problem rectified. But, the best thing to do in my opinion was to post this here and get inputs from all the gurus.

Just before I close, I must say that I have been feeling and hearing a slight grinding noise and sensation when the engine was revved (especially with the AC on) and the gears changed since the past few weeks but the clutch has been smooth, the play has not changed and it had not shown any signs of snapping which is why I chose to ignore the problem.

Kindly give me your inputs.

Thanks in advance,
gpa
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Old 4th May 2009, 22:31   #2
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wait till he inspects and see what he says, speculation could be dangerous.
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Old 4th May 2009, 22:42   #3
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maybe , the clutch is hydraulically activated, and what you heard was the hydraulic-actuation mechanism going bust. That also probably explains why the clutch felt hard later.

Clutch-plate wear-out will be very different : the effect will be felt over a longer period of time, and not so sudden.

Last edited by Blue Thunder : 4th May 2009 at 22:44.
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Old 4th May 2009, 22:48   #4
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Question The Alto is a very simple car

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Originally Posted by Blue Thunder View Post
maybe, the clutch is hydraulically activated, and what you heard was the hydraulic-actuation mechanism going bust. That also probably explains why the clutch felt hard later.
Hi BlueThunder, no, the Alto Lx shares a lot of its underpinnings with the M800, in other words, the Alto clutch is cable activated.

Hi GPA, a suggestion, you could ask somebody to depress the clutch & see if you notice anything untoward with respect to the clutch lever (in the engine-bay). If your cable is indeed cut, it would be near impossible to change gears. Other than the hard clutch, are you able to engage reverse without any issues ?

P.S. - I'm wondering if it could be something as simple as the helper spring on the clutch lever being broken ?

Last edited by im_srini : 4th May 2009 at 22:54.
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Old 4th May 2009, 23:00   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
you could ask somebody to depress the clutch & see if you notice anything untoward with respect to the clutch lever (in the engine-bay). If your cable is indeed cut, it would be near impossible to change gears. Other than the hard clutch, are you able to engage reverse without any issues ?

P.S. - I'm wondering if it could be something as simple as the helper spring on the clutch lever being broken?
Hi srini,

Reached home in heavy rains so didn't want to look under the car. Yes, will try what you said and check and see tomorrow morning. Suprisingly, I did not have to engage reverse gear at all since this happened.

I also suspect the spring, considering the loud bang that accompanied the snap. The other thing as I have mentioned is that the slight noise and grinding sensation when depressing the clutch was present since the past 10 days or so.

So it just might something else altogther. Thanks much for your inputs. Will keep you posted.

Cheers,
gpa
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Old 7th May 2009, 11:23   #6
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Default Problem solved-Clutch replaced under warranty

Hi All,

Here's a major update. Following the failure of the clutch on Monday, I decided to take the car to the MASS outlet where it was serviced since last year.

My driver came in the morning and while backing the car out from our driveway, he made a crucial comment - the clutch had eased up a bit but was noticeably very hard when depressed.

As I was busy with work on Tuesday (May 5), I entrusted the task of getting this checked with my driver and my dad (as he had taken a day off from work)

Both of them go to the service station and meet my mechanic who inadvertently directed him to a suspicious service advisor, I've been keeping away from. That guy took the car for a test drive, tightened the cable even more and said everything is ok. But, both my dad insisted that the mechanic I spoke to yesterday check the car. So, finally the mechanic arrives, takes the car for a test drive and tells my dad that the clutch has failed!

My dad called me up and conveyed the message and I was horror struck. A clutch failure after just 14,325 and 11 months of driving!!!! The mechanic then replaced the whole clutch assembly under warranty. In the mean time, the suspicious service advisor comes and tells my dad that it was due to bad driving that clutch failed. I would have punched the guy silly, if he had told me that as I never abuse my car.

Fortunately, the mechanic, brought the clutch plate and showed it to the SA and mentioned that it failed only because the whole assembly was defective and that failures at such low mileage could only happen if something was indeed defective. The car was washed and then handed back in the evening at 5.30 pm.

We didn’t pay a single rupee as everything (parts & labor) was covered under warranty! Have been driving the car yesterday and today and it feels new. Acceleration is noticeably smoother especially with the AC on. The car seemed to have a drag earlier which is now gone.

Cheers,
gpa

Last edited by gpa : 7th May 2009 at 11:25.
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Old 7th May 2009, 11:42   #7
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surprising u still had such a good average (fuel efficiency). I guess it should improve slightly now given that the earlier clutch assembly was defective.
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Old 7th May 2009, 11:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takumi-san View Post
surprising u still had such a good average (fuel efficiency). I guess it should improve slightly now given that the earlier clutch assembly was defective.
Yes, theoretically it should.Will see how much an improvement I get. Currently, I average about 18.5 to 19 kmpl in the city.

Cheers,
gpa
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Old 7th May 2009, 12:34   #9
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Generally the clutch is not replaced under warranty. Atleast our 800's wasn't which has failed around 2500 kms.
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Old 7th May 2009, 13:33   #10
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Looks like Maruti has a generic problem with newer batches of Alto. Clutch of my car failed at 1400 KM. it was replaced under warranty.
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Old 7th May 2009, 13:53   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anupamsinha View Post
Generally the clutch is not replaced under warranty. Atleast our 800's wasn't which has failed around 2500 kms.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
Looks like Maruti has a generic problem with newer batches of Alto. Clutch of my car failed at 1400 KM. it was replaced under warranty.
That seems to be the case - Netfreak! Which year was your model? Mine is May 2008.

@anupamsinha- Why wasn't it replaced under warranty? If you had a problem within 2,500 kms, it should have been replaced for free.

Cheers,
gpa
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Old 23rd February 2014, 15:19   #12
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Default Re: Alto Clutch failure!!!

Today, I drove my 2010 Alto about 0.5 km from home, stopped at a signal, and then when I depressed the clutch to change to second from first gear, there was a sudden strange feeling from the clutch pedal; it did not come back as smoothly as before. However, I was able to engage gears and get the car back home, though the clutch was completely opposite to the earlier smoothness; I don't know whether to call it spongy or hard! The car has done only 18,500 kms out of which more 50% is highway driving, the butter smooth B'lore-HYD route. Also, I do not ride the clutch, always depress cluth fully before changing gears, do not use half clutch, and not much of bumper-to-bumper driving as the car comes out only on Sundays.

Before taking the car to MASS in a day or two, would like to know if this is indeed clutch failure or something minor. If it is a clutch failure, on what basis would it be covered/not covered under the extended warranty (I remember opting for an extended warranty, but not sure until when the coverage is there - need to check).
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Old 23rd February 2014, 17:38   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sada View Post
Today, I drove my 2010 Alto about 0.5 km from home, stopped at a signal, and then when I depressed the clutch to change to second from first gear, there was a sudden strange feeling from the clutch pedal; it did not come back as smoothly as before.
Check the clutch fluid. There is a fluid container in the engine area.. It may be low or even leaking. Happened to my Qualis few years back.
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Old 24th February 2014, 09:20   #14
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Default Re: Alto Clutch failure!!!

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Originally Posted by diyguy View Post
Check the clutch fluid. There is a fluid container in the engine area.. It may be low or even leaking. Happened to my Qualis few years back.
The Alto has a cable operated clutch, not a hydraulic one. Hence there would be no fluid.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 24th February 2014, 09:28   #15
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Default Re: Alto Clutch failure!!!

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Originally Posted by swarnava.m View Post
The Alto has a cable operated clutch, not a hydraulic one. Hence there would be no fluid.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
Quite possible. I just shared something similar that happened to me. Apologies, if it didnt apply here!
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