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Help! Clutch Problem

6 July 2000
Scottsdale, Az / West Palm Beach, Fl
You guys seem to be great at helping troubled souls like me, so I thought I would check with you and see if I can get some help.

I have a 91 (42k miles) that I bought 4k miles and 7 months ago. I love it, but the transmission has become increasingly "notchy" in the last couple of months. It doesn't seem to slip. It has been sitting for a week or so and today(a beautiful day in New Mexico) I wanted to take it on a run.

I could barely force it into reverse and first was almost as hard. When the engine is off I can put it in gear fairly easily, then when I start it with the clutch in and no brake, it rolls. I'm hoping that it is anything else besides a clutch replacement, maybe an adjustment or dust or something.

The previous owner had a comptech clutch installed 16k miles ago, surely it hasn't worn out yet!!

I'm obviously not a mechanic, just a person who appreciates this wonderful machine and it's performance.

Before I take it in I would like to see what the forums opinions are.

91 black/black
By the comment you made about starting it with the clutch in and it rolls...... I'd definitely say your clutch is not disengaging... likely due to the throw-out bearing but may also be due to fluid... check fluid levels and slave cylinder.


Todd Arnold

Sure sounds like your clutch is not disengaging. I agree with NSXotic you should check your fluid system for the clutch first. Fliud OK? Check for wetness by the pedal, and also on top of the transmission by the slave cylinder. Does the clutch pedal feel normal (as in pressure to depress it)? If it seems to be really lite, then you probably have a fluid problem. If it feels normal, you may need the clutch looked at. Sorry for the bad news. Funny, this sounds more like a clutch problem from the stock clutch, but the single plate Comptech may also act this way.

Thanks for the advise. My slave was leaking, and the tech says it's because of the pedal pressure is high forcing the leak and the clutch probably needs to be replaced. I called comptech and they said they don't warrant them past two years (but 16k miles??).

Anyway I'm having the slave replaced and we will see what happens then.

If I do have to replace the clutch (hope not) should I go with an OEM this time? I feel a little burned by the after market one that I have now.

91 black/black
What other performance mods are on your car? An OEM clutch can handle the output of a slightly modified engine (read: headers, exhaust, even NO2). My car is making 271 rwhp and the OEM clutch works just great. It has a nice light pedal feel and good engagement height.
Ray before you have your tranny yanked out there are several easier things to check before you come to that conclusion.As the tech stated hi-perf clutches have stronger springs which require more pressure to compress.Regardless of miles,the car is ten years old.Rubber seals soaking in break fluid that long will slowly break down and eventually start leaking.The higher pressure merely exposes the already inevitable problem.After replacing the clutch slave cylinder the clutch master cylinder will soon follow if it hasn't been previously replaced. Since you have a hi-perf clutch change them both.
Brake fluid breaks down and becomes contaminated rather quickly which also accelerates the leaking.Brake fluid should changed once every 6 months-to a year regardless of low miles or vehicle.Not just topped off but changed, fluid should look somewhat golden clear.
Going on what you have mentioned,I agree, 16k miles physically couldn't wear out the clutch.Hard driving on a new clutch would cause "glazing" and just develop slipping problems, not engagement.
Inside attached to the clutch pedal there is a rod which goes through the firewall to the master cylinder.On the end of the rod where it attaches the pedal is a nut when loosened allows you to adjust the rod in or out.End of rod is threaded, so you must twist the rod toward the firewall,this will give you more clutch.A little turn gives you alot.Start the car and test... repeat.Once you find that sweet spot tighten the nut and get on down the road.

Just put the slave in and see what happens first. If the slave is leaking, I would not suspect the clutch YET. If after that things are still not correct, then inspect the clutch. I agree with Bruce about the the fluid flush also. Mainly my experience has been that brake fluid is hydroscopic (takes on water)which can lead to all the things Bruce mentions.

By virtue of doing the slave, you will get a fluid flush anyway.

Thanks so much for all of your input. We tried all of the above, and were left with pulling the clutch. The tech called me over to look at it this morning.

He showed me that the problem was that there was no grease applied when it was installed. He was absolutely sure that was the issue. Quote "definitely an installation error" They then called the Acura dealer in Texas who installed it and they are dancing around the issue at this time.

We will see how it works out, I'm hoping for some significant "goodwill" since Acura (locally anyway) has stated it was in error. Anyway, I decided to go with the OEM clutch.

Has anyone else had much luck getting help from Acura due to another dealers error?

Thanks again,


Can you elaborate on your experience. I, too, have a situation whereby the Acura dealer from whom I bought the car screwed up. However, I am now 2700 miles from that dealer.