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Old 11-30-2005, 19:12   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 191
04 Civic Clutch Problems

Let me start for the beginning. I was driving home from work on back country roads not doing much more than 40MPH the whole way. Half was through my journey I went to press the clutch in to come to a stop and the clutch pedal went loose like it lost connection with the clutch although the pedal still recoils to the engaged position. I turned the car off for a second and turned it back on to see if this would fix it and still the car would not go into gear. At this point I know that the pedal is no longer “connected” to the clutch and assumed the hydraulic system is broken.

After Honda service had a chance to look at it they said they were going to replace the clutch master cylinder. After replacing it they said the hydraulic system wasn’t the cause and they had to take the trainee out and it would take a few days to diagnose the problem.

Today Honda calls me and says the clutch is burned out and the massive heat damaged the pressure plate, bent the tabs (?) and the clutch needed to be replaced. He informed me that Honda doesn’t warrantee a clutch after 16000 miles and he had to call HNA to see if they would pick up the $1300 tab.

I completely understand them not wanting to replace burnt out clutches since that is drivers fault. The problem with the situation is my clutch couldn’t be burnt out and caused massive heat damage since my clutch never slipped on me and was running the same since the day I got the car. Also the clutch is making perfect connection with the pressure plate since the gears grind when trying to put it into gear (service rep tried to move the car after it was taken off the tow truck).

I am waiting to see waiting to see what Honda has to say about them picking up the tab and then I will be forced to complain, but I don’t want to start an argument with HNA with incorrect data.

If the clutch is burnt out then:
Why does my clutch still make contact with the pressure plate causing the car to not go into gear?
How could my car stall when I was coming to a stop and the pressing the clutch peddle did noting?
If the clutch was burnt to nothing it still shouldn’t have a problem putting it into first gear and slip all the way.

I don’t feel that a burnt out clutch could be the cause of my clutch engaging and disengaging, correct myif I am wrong.

04 Civic with 25000 miles
I had manual cars before with much more mileage and no problems with the clutch.
I don’t drive like a maniac and don’t go higher than 80 MPH on the highway.
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Old 11-30-2005, 20:02   #2
Boolit Hoze
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Racing Capital, USA
Posts: 14,373

Take it to another Honda dealership and get a second opinion.

My brother had taken his Mercury to the dealership 3 times for the same problem. Each time it was something different. Now they completely tried to BS him on the phone with some phony reason. My brother is a motorcycle mechanic and knows these things and know right when he said it that it was BS and called him on it. He quickly changed his tune. His whole reasoning for taking his car to teh dealership for repairs is that they are the "experts" on those cars since they only work on one make usually. Turns out some are far from experts. His one buddy who is also a mechanic (both cars and bikes) who has some more car experience under his belt, told him what he thought it was. Turns out, his buddy was spot on without even seeing the car!

Some places like to BS the owners with non-problems to get extra money. One thing with your story is how the clutch plates are the issue and it is rather convenient that they aren't covered under warranty. Warranty work is a loser for both the dealership and the mechanic. I bet there is a warranty issue (since it does not sound liek a clutch plate issue), but they want to say it is something else to seperate you from your cash.

Sounds shady and some of these places have some shady people working there.
What are you having trouble with? I'll teach it some respect.
Epsylum (EE-SAI-LUM)

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Last edited by epsylum; 11-30-2005 at 20:05..
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Old 12-01-2005, 14:46   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Prosser, WA
Posts: 736
The reason that the clutch is still holding is that the actual clutch disc is clamped between the pressure plate and flywheel. The throw out bearing is forced into tabs in the pressure plate when you push in the clutch pedal, the tabs act like little levers that cam the pressure plate away from the clutch allowing it to spin independantly. If the tabs are destroyed from heat, they don't have the strength to do the work, so the clutch will stay engaged all the time. It sounds like your clutch disc is still in good enough shape to hold okay, but the pressure plate is just wrecked. Getting enough heat to damage the pressure plate can only come from the clutch slipping, unless there is a lack of fluid in the trans or engine, which I don't think is the case. It's possible that the clutch could nave been slipping just slightly ever since you bought it, maybe the flywheel or pressure plate didn't get cleaned properly before being installed. It's also possible that the rear main seal or trans input seat had seeped a little bit at one time getting oil on the clutch disc.

As far as the warranty only lasting 16,000 miles on the clutch, that is pretty common. Just like the brakes the clutch is a wear item that is going to where out someday, and can be abused and caused to wear out at an accelerated rate. Whether or not you are using the clutcth properly, I can't say, but it did wear out prematurely and it sounds like the dealer is doing what he can to help you out. It is not up to the dealer as to what gets covered under warranty or not, manufacturers don't like paying warranty claims any more than you want to pay for a new clutch so they can be very picky. Wait to see what happens with the bill, I bet that you at least get some help with it, if they don't cover it completely.
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Old 12-01-2005, 17:56   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Tampa Bay
Posts: 214

Re: 04 Civic Clutch Problems

Originally posted by colin8651
After replacing it they said the hydraulic system wasn’t the cause and they had to take the trainee out and it would take a few days to diagnose the problem.

Today Honda calls me and says the clutch is burned out and the massive heat damaged the pressure plate, bent the tabs (?) and the clutch needed to be replaced. He informed me that Honda doesn’t warrantee a clutch after 16000 miles and he had to call HNA to see if they would pick up the $1300 tab.
Okay, let's try this. I say the master cylinder was the problem and the clutch failed as a result. As the master was "bypassing internally" it allowed the disc to stay in contact with the flywheel and pressure plate just enough to not be noticed until meltdown.

A secondary course would depend on how much money you spent in their service department. If you have had all your major maintenances (or even 1 or 2 major services) I would ask them to take care of you as a valued and paying customer.

Lastly, If they say "no, you gotta pay"......negotiate. Try to get them to pay as high a percentage as you can.

Good luck!


Glock 36
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Old 12-03-2005, 15:22   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 2,022
Honda is supposed to have a 3 year 36k mile bumper to bumper warranty. The fact that they won't honor that is crap imo. Having said that my '02 civic Si has 117,000 on the orignal clutch and it works fine, and I drive like a bat out of hell.
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