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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Last weekend when I drove my Esprit everything was just fine, fired it up to drive Friday and the clutch felt like a sponge and it only would disengage at the very bottom when depressed. I thought that was kinda funny and as I drove the clutch pedal continued to get more and more spongy so I turned around and put it in the garage.

A while back, this felt exactly like when the clutch cable would come loose or needs to be tightened up, but the 97 manual says this is a self adjusting clutch and needs no adjustment. Does this mean I need to replace it??? It really does feel like I need to go in and tighten the clutch cable, but that may be something of the 70's and 80's type cars. The other thing it feels like is when you have a power assist clutch and you need to refil the fluid, but I can't find something like that either.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Darin
 

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The other thing it feels like is when you have a power assist clutch and you need to refil the fluid, but I can't find something like that either.

Any suggestions would be helpful.
I never heard of a power assist clutch.

You have a hydraulic operated clutch - there is no adjustment for wear of the clutch.

If the slave (or the master) cylinder is leaking fluid (or the clutch has worn sufficiently that it needs the fluid topped off), you may have sucked in air. If you get air in the system, the clutch will be "spongy". You need to fill up the master cylinder reservoir and bleed the old fluid (and air) out of the system. That should fix the spongy pedal. You also need to check for leaks, and repair whatever is leaking. By the way, Lotus indicates that the clutch fluid (and I assume brake fluid) should be flushed and replaced yearly).

Another possibility (probability) is the "Dreaded Red Hose". Esprits (and Elans) have a red plastic hose between the master and slave cylinders. The plastic is known to get soft with age and heat. When it gets soft, it expands when you press on the clutch, which then creates a spongy pedal. The cure is to replace the hose or better yet (what I did to my Elan) replace the red plastic clutch hose with a braided stainless steel version. It a common "upgrade" for the red hose.

Just like for the Elise, the factory Shop Manual for the Esprit is available from LCU for download for $25. Look for the sticky in the maintenance forum on how to download the manual...
 

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my 98 behaved like that when the slave failed. not sure that the v-8's had the red hose.
 

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my 98 behaved like that when the slave failed. not sure that the v-8's had the red hose.
Not sure either, but the manual (that covers them all) mentions the plastic hose... :shrug:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So, I have looked in the Lotus Manual for the Clutch Master and Slave cyclinder locations, no such luck. It shows me where my power assist steering (PAS) and Break Master Cyclinder are at, but no mention of a Clutch Master or Slave cyclinder.

I'll look for the sticky to download the manual you are talking about, someone sent me one but it was for 87's and earlier.

Think you can give me a hint as to where to look for the Clutch Master Cyclinder might be so I can check the fluid and hose? Or does it go off the Master Brake Cyclinder, which I doubt but should ask.

Darin

I never heard of a power assist clutch.

You have a hydraulic operated clutch - there is no adjustment for wear of the clutch.

If the slave (or the master) cylinder is leaking fluid (or the clutch has worn sufficiently that it needs the fluid topped off), you may have sucked in air. If you get air in the system, the clutch will be "spongy". You need to fill up the master cylinder reservoir and bleed the old fluid (and air) out of the system. That should fix the spongy pedal. You also need to check for leaks, and repair whatever is leaking. By the way, Lotus indicates that the clutch fluid (and I assume brake fluid) should be flushed and replaced yearly).

Another possibility (probability) is the "Dreaded Red Hose". Esprits (and Elans) have a red plastic hose between the master and slave cylinders. The plastic is known to get soft with age and heat. When it gets soft, it expands when you press on the clutch, which then creates a spongy pedal. The cure is to replace the hose or better yet (what I did to my Elan) replace the red plastic clutch hose with a braided stainless steel version. It a common "upgrade" for the red hose.

Just like for the Elise, the factory Shop Manual for the Esprit is available from LCU for download for $25. Look for the sticky in the maintenance forum on how to download the manual...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Maz, can you clue me in as to where to look for the Clutch Cyclinder?

Darin
my 98 behaved like that when the slave failed. not sure that the v-8's had the red hose.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hello,

I think I may have found it, maybe someone could tell me if I am right, it appears to be right next and slight behind the Brake Master Cyclinder? (towards the driver). Of is that a slave cyclinder to the brakes? What ever it is, it is just about empty, so I am thinking that is it. There is a RED line exiting the bottom of this cyclinder, so I am thinking this is it.

Darin

Maz, can you clue me in as to where to look for the Clutch Cyclinder?

Darin
 

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check your p/m
 

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So, I have looked in the Lotus Manual for the Clutch Master and Slave cylinder locations, no such luck. It shows me where my power assist steering (PAS) and Break Master Cylinder are at, but no mention of a Clutch Master or Slave cylinder.
The master cylinder should be located next to the brake master cylinder - in the Elise, they share the same fluid reservoir, but it doesn't sound like they do on the Esprit. It should be located up front, on the pedal box. The clutch pedal linkage pushes directly on the master cylinder (similar to the brake, except that the brakes may have a power brake booster between the pedal and the brake master cylinder.

The slave cylinder is on the side of the transmission. The slave cylinder pushes on a rod that in turn pushes on the clutch fork, that in turn pushes on the throw-out bearing that pushes on the clutch. In any case, it's on the side of the transmission near the flywheel/clutch "bell housing".

From the description in the manual, the 4 cylinder cars had the plastic hose. The V8s had a plastic hose to a metal hose the connected to a braided hose - a combination hose...

Here's a bit from the manual:
 

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Hello,

I think I may have found it, maybe someone could tell me if I am right, it appears to be right next and slight behind the Brake Master Cyclinder? (towards the driver). Of is that a slave cyclinder to the brakes? What ever it is, it is just about empty, so I am thinking that is it. There is a RED line exiting the bottom of this cyclinder, so I am thinking this is it.

Darin
That sounds like it. :up:

Almost empty is not a good sign. I bet that if you get under your car, and check the slave cylinder (assuming that you can get to it from below), you will find fluid on the outside of the slave. A common check is to pull the rubber boot off the cylinder (it should "grip" the rod and snap over the end of the cylinder). If there is fluid in there, then the slave cylinder seal is leaking. You can replace the cylinder, or rebuild it. Rebuilding it will pretty much consist of removing the cylinder, and removing the piston in the cylinder. The piston will have a rubber seal on it. Rebuilding it consists of removing and replacing the rubber seal and putting things back together. Then you bleed the system.

You have to get to the slave cylinder to bleed the system in any case - it sounds like you may have gotten air in the system ("the fluid is almost empty"). If it's dry down there, it may just need topping off and bleeding.

Good luck!
 

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it is in the top of the gearbox
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hello,

So, after talking with Maz, I found the Master Cyclinder for the Clutch and I will access the Slave by pulling off the bottom of the trunk and taking a look. I inspect it to see if it is leaking, it could be that things just got a little low. However, it is more likely by the way you all sound that it is probably leaking and I need to rebuild/replace the unit. I may think about doing it myself, but I will also contact the local guy here in San Jose that works on Lotus cars and get a quote from him. This way I can guage how much money I'd be saving if I give it a good ole shot. If the slave is bad and the system needs to be blead, I guess I can't do much harm by giving it a go! :crazyeyes

Darin

That sounds like it. :up:

Almost empty is not a good sign. I bet that if you get under your car, and check the slave cylinder (assuming that you can get to it from below), you will find fluid on the outside of the slave. A common check is to pull the rubber boot off the cylinder (it should "grip" the rod and snap over the end of the cylinder). If there is fluid in there, then the slave cylinder seal is leaking. You can replace the cylinder, or rebuild it. Rebuilding it will pretty much consist of removing the cylinder, and removing the piston in the cylinder. The piston will have a rubber seal on it. Rebuilding it consists of removing and replacing the rubber seal and putting things back together. Then you bleed the system.

You have to get to the slave cylinder to bleed the system in any case - it sounds like you may have gotten air in the system ("the fluid is almost empty"). If it's dry down there, it may just need topping off and bleeding.

Good luck!
 

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it is very easy to rebuild the slave. pnm engineering(uk) has a kit, but specify your model year. prepare to spend time bleeding your clutch. it is a two person job and it took me about 45 minutes to get pedal feel back. if you get stuck, give me a call.
 

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So, after talking with Maz, I found the Master Cyclinder for the Clutch and I will access the Slave by pulling off the bottom of the trunk and taking a look. I inspect it to see if it is leaking, it could be that things just got a little low.
Great. I figured it would be accessable from the bottom. The top is even easier I would imagine (I've never worked on an Esprit, but I downloaded the manuals).




However, it is more likely by the way you all sound that it is probably leaking and I need to rebuild/replace the unit. I may think about doing it myself, but I will also contact the local guy here in San Jose that works on Lotus cars and get a quote from him. This way I can guage how much money I'd be saving if I give it a good ole shot. If the slave is bad and the system needs to be blead, I guess I can't do much harm by giving it a go! :crazyeyes

Darin
As maz says, it's not hard to rebuild.

I've bought the "rebuild kit" (an new seal) from my Elan for a couple of bucks, but it's been a while.

But as an example of cost savings, I rebuilt my Miata's slave cylinder with a $7 factory rebuild kit (new rubber seal and boot). Most people replace the master cylinder ($50 - 75 for a cheap after market version). The "rebuild" lasts as long as a new one.

Most shops won't rebuild a slave - they will just install a new one. It saves them some time, and if there is a defect in the cylinder (very rarely), they won't have to do the job again.

Anyone working on a Lotus is going to charge you a premium for labor (at least another $100? ), so you have a lot to gain by doing it your self. Besides, rebuilding the slave is one of the easiest things you can do on a car. The hard part is bleeding it, and that's not difficult, just a bit time consuming. And it should be done yearly, so doing it your self can save a lot over the years...
 

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Sorry little late to this thread, how did you get on? This is the slave cylinder at the rear of the car, please be careful when removing it, shearing off the top bolt is common and try no to disrupt anything inside or you will add air into the system.

 
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