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87 Camry question About strange Clutch problem
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April 2, 2010, 5:57:57 AM
Hello to all,
I have a 87 Camry 2.0 5 speed and the clutch plate was worn too low (long story). So I had the whole kit i.e. clutch, plate, and everything else that comes in kit replaced. The car ran fine for a while (about 7 months) then one day after driving a long time the clutch would not come out of gear. After forcing it out of gear it would then would not go back into any gear. If I would force it into a gear it then would have extreme problems going out of gear. So I went back to the mechanic who installed the clutch and he sent me to a neighbor mechanic who installed a entire NEW clutch and kit again. In the end the mechanic did not say what happened or what caused this but they were mad at each other. So I am guessing here that perhaps some bolt or something was not tightened down or done correctly causing the job to be redone again.

My ? is what would cause this to happen (described above about not coming out or going into gear)? Next ? is when you are doing the job of installing a whole clutch kit are there some sensitive bolts/areas that if not done correctly would cause serious problems in the future such as what happened to me? Please advise me here thanks so much for your help in this matter. I am sure someone on here knows and has had a similar experience please share.

April 7, 2010, 7:27:44 PM
When you say stuck in gear - do you mean the car will not change gears (shifter moves freely, selected gear does not engage) or the shifter is also affected (shifter cannot move)?

Could be a number of things that could cause the transaxle to become stuck in gear. This is mainly caused if the engine and transaxle cannot fully decouple as you step on the clutch. Possible problem areas would includee:

- clutch itself, pressure plate, flywheel are contaminated with oil or grease
- not enough or wrong lubraction on the major pivot points, clutch release fork
- broken "fingers" on pressure plate
- broken damping spings on clutch disk
- bad clutch slave cylinder
- air in clutch slave cylinder
- clutch master cylinder fluid (DOT 3 brake fluid) is heavily contaminated
- guide pin or shifter control cable is out of adjustment
- clutch pedal is out of adjustment
- clutch release bearing is damaged

April 8, 2010, 2:17:48 AM
I mean the the shifter would get stuck in gear then not come out and if you forced it out of gear then you cant get it to go back into gear.

April 9, 2010, 9:38:54 PM
I take it does this in any gear (sounds like it in your description) - classic case of the transaxle not fully decoupled from the engine.

That could be an issue related with the clutch, pressure plate, shifter linkage, slave cylinder, or transaxle itself (bearing, guides, syncros).

Since it was fine before and that you got it repaired - sounds to me like a botched clutch replacement job. First mechanic might have reused the old bolts (not recommended), didnt torque them down correctly, mis-aligned the clutch pressure plate, used too much or the wrong grease on the main pivot points, etc.

Fluid in the reservoir should be clear to a light amber color. The real way to check it is through chemical testing - but given that most owners cannot get access to those testing supplies, changing the clutch master cylinder and brake master cylinder (both take DOT 3 brake fluid) is good insurance against problems down the road. Moisture contaminated fluid can damage the seals on the clutch slave cylinder - which will effectively make clutch non-operational (cannot pull away from the flywheel), same with air in the clutch lines. Just like with the brakes - air will cause a spongy pedal feel and poor operation.

I take it the second mechanic fixed it? These transaxles are pretty stout in most normal instances. Not sure if they offered to let you have your old parts back - but if you have the disc right infront of you, you can see if there was any damage to the friction material on the clutch disc. Some clutches get glazed (shiny look) or have a "rainbow" color tint to them - that is a sign of overheating and/or disc contamination. Any physical damage usually indicates an aligntment issue.

April 9, 2010, 10:48:39 PM
Wow thanks for all the info. I think it was a mistake with some bolts and other things as the 1st mechanic did not seem that good. The 2nd one was much more experienced so I think he fixed it right as i am driving it now. Hopeful everything is okay just very strange when it happened to me as I could not get it in or out of any gear.

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