Clutch failure -2001 Nissan Maxima


Old 04-23-07, 06:08 AM
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Location: Jackson, NJ
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Clutch failure -2001 Nissan Maxima

2001 Nissan Maxima:

My clutch pedal sank to the floor this morning and never sprang back. The other day I noticed it was a little on the soft side. So car is on it's way to the dealer, but I am nervous about what they will tell me is wrong.

Just before the flatbed truck arrived, I checked the clutch reservoir, which seemed nearly empty. The only brake fluid I have is prob. from 1995 and is not sealed, so I did NOT try adding this to the reservoir.

Could it be just a lack of fluid? If so, there may be a leak somewhere so hopefully that's what the dealer will find. The tow driver said it was probably a snapped cable, even after I told him about the fluid level, but I never heard a snap or pop.

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Old 04-23-07, 10:50 AM
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First response from dealer - lines are leaking and he wants to replace the lines plus the "slave" cylinder?? Never heard of that before, but since car was prob. running with low fluid, there is likely damage to the slave cylinder. Estimate of over $500 which includes the 120 diagnostic charge.

If this doesn't work they will look at master cylinder, worst case clutch kit.

Any comments would be appreciated.
Old 04-23-07, 11:15 AM
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Cool what if this dont work?

What did they charge you the $120 for, if all they can say is "If this dont work", then what try something else? Do they have trained monkeys at this shop? If they can't tell you flat out what will fix your vehicle than take it somewhere else. I would ask for my $120 back. Sounds like a shade-tree mechanic willing to replace everything hoping it will fix it, then use the ole' words, "well, you needed a new whatchamaholic".
Old 04-23-07, 12:18 PM
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Loss of clutch fluid will make the pedal spongie. Hopefully there is no leak....

I do not trust dealer service places anyways after a few months ago. Dealer charged me $80 to diagnose a A/C problem, and said it was a $15 sensor. Had it replaced and still didn't fix my problem. They then charged me $300 more to find out it was just a control panel.

I do agree with you that if they charge a diagnostic fee, and replace that defective part, and that still doesn't fix it, they should refund you the money.
Old 04-23-07, 12:31 PM
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I agree to a certain degree. I too am very sceptical of dealers, being that a year ago I was charged $400 for an O2 sensor (part cost less than $100).

Anyway, the dealer is really saying they diagnostic fee is only to bring the car into the shop, not necessarily diagnose the problem. Trust me, I don't like the idea of this either, but what they could do is simply replace the leaky hoses and send me on my way. Technically that WAS the diagnosis. Could work, but they say there's a good chance some other parts got damaged. and the incremental cost is only a few hundred dollars. Mostly labor.
Old 04-23-07, 01:35 PM
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Talking mechanic inspections

Most of the shops I worked in, the company always wants the mechanic to perform a basic inspection for things that the service manager can sell. Even cars that came in for an oil change had at least 2 tires removed to check the brakes, then check exhaust, belts and hoses, fluids, any visable leaks anywhere, check front end parts, tires, etc etc etc. That is how they make there money. Personally I never sold anyone anything that he or she didn't actually need but there were a few times other Mechanics really used to tick me off. One had a free alignment check up on the machine and the boss looked at the specs all in the green and he told the mechanic to bump the tire and put it into the red, and the boss ran and got the customer and said he needed a $69.95 alignment. I didn't like to see that. I told the boss, you better not do that and he threatened me and so did the mechanic saying its his money. I said, no it ain't and I told the customer and let me tell you I was glad I did. I took my new truck I bought from a goverment auction to Goodyear to get it state inspected and of course I dont tell anyone there I am a retired auto-mechanic and they give me a work order for over $1,000 already filled out ready to roll on it. I said what is wrong with this? Why do I need 4 shocks? He said one was leaking. So I said then I need 1 shock. Why do I need an alignment? He said cause it pulls. I looked at the odometer and it had .2 miles more than when I took it there. They also wanted to replace my idler arm that only had like 1/4 inch play and 4 tires. Well, I took it to someone else and come to find out Goodyear missed the fact that the truck started in drive. Not good. It took me $120 to get it inspected. All I needed was 2 front tires and a serpintine belt and a neutral switch. I dont like dishonest mechanics!!!
Old 04-23-07, 01:51 PM
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I don't think I can get the diagnostic fee back, however, I could call the dealer in the morning and tell him just to replace the leaky hose and check to see if the clutch is then operational. However, I have no idea if that's all that's needed, and what's to stop them from doing just that and then telling me the slave cylinder still needs replacing? They will then want additional labor $$.

Not sure what to do.
Old 04-23-07, 04:32 PM
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Couple of observations:

Echoing what the others have already said, it cost $120 for them to find a leaking hose?

Running a hydraulic clutch system out of fluid will not cause any damage to either the master or the slave.

It's either a hydraulic clutch (which we're assuming, since you said you checked the fluid level) or it's a cable. Cables sometimes break, but a hydraulic clutch system has no cable to break. Boo on the tow truck driver for running his mouth about things he doesn't know.

I'm a little skeptical of a line leaking in the first place. My experience with hydraulic clutch systems (mostly Toyota) is that the usual part to fail is the slave cylinder.

Might want to consider shopping for another garage; might cost less to have it repaired elsewhere even if you have to pay another tow bill (don't know about your tow guy, but when I tow one in somewhere and then do a second tow I give the customer a discount on the second).
Old 04-23-07, 04:46 PM
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Two things to look for/at...........One is the slave........peel the dust boot back and observe if there is fluid leaking behind it.........The dust boot exists to keet trash and water OUT......If there's fluid back there it's cause the piston seal took a digger.........Then stick your head under the dash and look where the clutuch pedal rod goes through the firewall.........If brake fluid has left a trail down the inside of the firewall, the master cyl went bye-bye.........Kinda rare that the lines would go.......but not impossible
and $120 to diag this simple problem?????........Where are these guys..... I need to go work for THEM!!!
Old 04-23-07, 05:17 PM
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Well, it's the DCH Nissan dealer in Freehold, NJ. I would think they would be "somewhat" reputable, as opposed to a privately run garage, where you can find real honesty or real crooks.

I did speak with the service manager, who checked with the mechanic and told me the slave was corroded where the "leaky" lines entered the slave, and that the best thing to do was replace it since it is 7 years old and 160 miles of "wear". He also said the lines were starting to dry out from age, which, again, don't know whether to believe or not. I know rubber dry's out, but I still have plenty of original "rubber" on my 79 TA which has been sitting in my garage for the past 9 years.

The tow was courtesy of AAA. I don't have "plus" so first 3 miles is free and then 3.50 per mile thereafter, and only 1 tow per incident. Will cost me aprox. $41 for the 12 additional miles.

I believe that is a standard charge for diagnosing problems, at least for Freehold Nissan. Not sure about DCH corporate. I will talk to them tomorrow and see about having that waived, since they really didn't do much "diagnostic" work.

Wrench47 - I will check tomorrow, but I believe they have a long list of job applicants!!

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