Aug 14, 2016
When I accelerated out of a roundabout, I heard a loud noise, a CLANG! The car didn’t stop, but the noise was there at every gear change. Gears changes were also much harder. So I limped home with the wounded car.
Inspecting the clutch hole in the bell housing, there were lots of small rubber bits. Diagnostic confirmed: it’s a dead clutch. Turns out the clutch’s rubber hub blew up to bits, it looks like it’s pretty common after 25 years. The loud noise I heard while changing gears was a security system so the clutch wouldn’t free-wheel and leave the car stranded.
The clutch was pretty worn out anyway, so I bought a new Sachs clutch kit. The new clutch doesn’t have the rubber hub anymore, it’s the traditional hub with metal springs.
The clutch job is infamous in transaxles, you have to lift the car, remove the exhaust, disconnect both axles, remove the gearbox, remove the rear suspension cross member, dislocate the torque tube backwards, and finally get to the clutch. It’s a notoriously expensive job mostly because of the cost of labour.
With my father it took a few days to install the new clutch (working on it a few hours each day), and it works great.
But, not all was perfect. I ignored the recommendation to change the rear crankshaft seal and pilot bearing, and of course, it started leaking oil soon after the clutch job, so we’ll have to do it all over again… It’s not a big leak, but still. I’m an idiot!