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Clutch replaced by Mazda -- engages too early?

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Clutch replaced by Mazda -- engages too early?

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Old 09-12-2018, 05:08 PM
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BC Clutch replaced by Mazda -- engages too early?

I'll try to keep it quick.
- 2005 RX8, maybe 175k km's.
- Clutch worn out, needed it replaced (probably never been done before).
- Ordered "EXEDY MZK1002 OEM Replacement Clutch Kit" , seems all good.
- Got Mazda dealership to do it because couldn't get access to a friend's lift, figured I'd just have them deal with it. Easier, right?

I went to pick it up yesterday, started up the car (was a bit "notchy" to get it into 1st even with pedal fully depressed). I basically stalled it instantly, because the clutch engaged pretty much completely as soon as I let up the pedal at all. I probably stalled it 3 more times just trying to be more careful and drive it around in the parking lot a bit.

So I called the dealership, talked to asst mgr and shop foreman. They tell me it's completely normal when you put a new clutch in. Foreman insists his techs test drove it and he personally test drove it. He says it's great, loves it like that. I wanted him to adjust it and he said you can't, that's just how it is.

Can anyone lend some advice here? Am I crazy, or should there be at least SOME distance of pedal movement before the clutch engages? This seems completely ridiculous to me. I have driven numerous brand new vehicles (rentals and purchased my own) and NEVER driven a MT car like this in NA, Japan or Europe. I never stall them, except in the obvious super rare occasions, I just drove over 7000km in Europe in a car I had never driven before, stalled it maybe once. There's no freakin' possible way this is normal.
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:22 PM
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A few things jump out as replies...
  1. You can't trust dealers. Ever.
  2. They are right that it WILL engage faster when brand new, grabby
  3. It should still grab at a similar point to where it did before, because the point of grabbing is entirely about the geometry ... and the fluid.
  4. They probably didn't get a clean and correct clutch line bleed. It's a PITA to bleed correctly, and easy to get more air in than you get out. Any tiny bit of air in the line means that with the pedal to the floor, some of the effort has gone into compressing that air, rather than moving the clutch disc off the flywheel.
  5. If there is no air at all in the line, then the next candidate is that they probably adjusted the clutch pedal play wrong, or right, but way off from where you are used to. It is in the manual to adjust the pedal play, and it is REALLY easy to get it wrong.
  6. If they didn't mess with the pedal play then it is a problem in the hydraulic hardware*


So on this last point, not all clutch slave cylinders are the same, and some "OE fit" slave cylinders are not actually quite right, and can throw off engagement point due to how it handles the fluid. I'm not an expert on exactly why, but having been through 4 clutches with 3 of them premature failure, 3 slave cylinders, and related problems ... i'm confident saying that an OE slave cylinder is the only one i'd trust at this point. If there is an alternate source slave cylinder on your car, then the engagement point will change based on how hot the fluid is (which is related to the temperature of the engine, but not strictly dependent).

Don't pursue that route until you know your free play is correct and your clutch line has ZERO air in it.

(and if someone else stumbles on this thread with a search in the future, this is the short list if you have a brand new clutch. If you have an older clutch, 5k miles or more, then there are more failure points to add)
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:26 PM
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Thanks so much for quick response. It has a new master cylinder (OEM) as the prev one was damaged when the clutch pedal assembly broke a couple years ago (nice, right?). Slave cylinder, no clue. I asked them to check those to make sure they're operating correctly. I have left the vehicle w/them still, because if they messed up, they need to make it right.

Yeah, I expect it to be more grippy/responsive, but the "bite point" is basically right on the floor, not even remotely close to how it was before. To be fair the old clutch was slipping badly and to the point where the pedal wouldn't push back fully, which I understand will happen when the clutch is so far gone. I mentioned this to them, and asked them to check the cylinders, so... /shrug

I'm guessing they may have done everything correctly, and simply adjusted it to be like that. I recall the shop foreman saying something like "I love it like that", "it's great" ... yeah well the two drivers who own the vehicle _don't_ love it like that. It makes me think it's adjusted like that by choice.

Last edited by AndrewM; 09-12-2018 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:32 PM
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BTW not sure if relevant, I gave them Motorcraft XT-M5-QS gear oil to use for the transmission, after reading countless threads on the subject and hearing rave reviews.
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:36 PM
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https://www.rx8club.com/series-i-do-...stment-245742/
I would start here and then bleed the clutch
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:37 PM
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Yeah the idea is the dealership charged me $1k for this work, I expect it to be done properly. I'm not fixing it myself if they did it wrong.
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:39 PM
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Yea i mean they did do it kinda wrong and they told you that you can't adjust it when you can. I would adjust the peddle if it was me, It take like 2 min's with the tools
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:42 PM
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Yeah that looks insanely easy to do, so I don't understand why the shop foreman was literally arguing with me and saying it can't be adjusted and has to be like that. WTF?
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:22 PM
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This is crazy, apparently between this morning when I talked to them and now, they actually supposedly went ahead and adjusted the pedal despite saying they weren't going to (I argued with the foreman for like 5min+ about it and the conclusion at that time was that no action would be taken). I mean, when the clutch is actuating so close to the floor that there's resistance trying to get into 1st (when it was smooth as butter before), there's zero argument to be had IMO... Stay tuned for when I actually give it a try lol
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:15 AM
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Yeah, resistance getting into 1st gear with the pedal the whole way down = the disc isn't disengaging from the flywheel completely = premature clutch failure not too far down the road.

If you are happy with where it is adjusted to, and then find that the engagement point moves around, then there is air in the clutch line. Bleed it out, and then re-adjust the pedal.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:49 PM
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Which dealership was this?
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Old 09-16-2018, 01:39 PM
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Both times that I've replaced the clutch in my RX-8's, I have had to adjust the clutch pedal rod a bit. I think this is fairly normal with the RX-8.
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