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1994 Clutch Pedal Too Much Freeplay, But Clutch Slipping

by minidanas, February 17, 2009 in Pre-1997 Toyota Corolla and Geo Prizm

Hi everyone,

My 1994 Corolla's clutch started slipping a month ago. I thought the disk lining was worn. Yesterday I took it to a dealership for general checkup, and told them about the clutch. The mechanic came back saying that the pedal freeplay is too great, and that adjusting it may solve the slippage issue. I always noticed the above average free play, but now that he said that, the free play indeed seems to have increased in the last few months. Now it's about 1.5" vs recommended 0.6".

I googled about the pedal free play, and everyone is saying that as the clutch disk wears off, pedal free play should decrease/tighten. What gives?

I bought this car with 120K miles; now it has 178K. Don't know about driving habits of previous owners, but I consider myself generally easy on the clutch.

Hello and Welcome to the forums.

You are correct in that typically, a worn clutch will result in less pedal free play - as the clutch disk wears, the pressure plate fingers rise and free play between the fingers and the clutch release bearing is reduced. But you might be seeing something like a loose adjustment nut on the back of the pedal affect free play or even the control cables starting to stretch out - increasing free play.

First need to take out the free play and work on one issue at at time. Inspect the cable free play and adjust it as necessary. If the clutch pedal adjustment is near the end of its travel - could indicate an excessively stretched cable may be indicated (must replace it or fix the offending issue causing it).

If the free play has been too excessive - it could cause excessive clutch wear (i.e. car will crawl in gear, even with the clutch fully pushed in, experience rough shifting, aggressive takeup, etc.)

I assume that the clutch master cylinder is in good shape and fluid looks clean, still within reservoir min/max levels. Double check that there isn't any leaks around the clutch slave cylinder.


Adjust the clutch freeplay and see if the clutch action improves.

The cable does stretch and could increase the freeplay.

I had to adjust my daughter's clutch freeplay because it would not go into gear.

Her car seems fine now and you may have a similar condition.

Thank you, guys. As far as I know, the fluid is clear and topped off. Didn't notice any leaks, but will double check the master cylinder. Next I'll deal with the free play.

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