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Old 11-04-2011, 10:41 PM
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Solved: Clutch Pedal - Low Engagement Point

So it was brought to my attention last week that my clutch engages super low in the pedal travel. If I was in gear, as soon as I started letting the clutch pedal out the clutch started to grab and the car would start to move. I did tons of research on here and couldn't seem to come up with a definitive answer of what was wrong. Until now.

Symptoms
1) Clutch engagement point is nearly at the floor.

2) The clutch is not slipping. You can test slippage by conducting a stress test. Drive at 45mph in 4th gear at WOT (wide open throttle). Then push the clutch in quickly and release it quickly a single time while maintaining WOT. If the clutch is able to fully reengage and the engine doesn't slip to redline, your clutch surface should be in good shape.

3)Your clutch fluid reservoir is filled correctly. The reservoir location is circled in red in the picture below. If the reservoir low, you won't get proper hydraulic pressure when pushing in the pedal and there won't be enough force to fully disengage the clutch. You can top it off with standard brake fluid.

FluidRes by ssrrstuart, on Flickr



4) Your clutch pedal bracket is intact. You'll have to get up under the driver side dash to check this out. Remove the lower plastic panel by removing the single screw about where your right knee would be. Then pull on the plastic panel to disengage the 3 clips that hold it in place. This requires a little force.

5) Your master and slave cylinders are not leaking fluid. (I don't know the details on this, but the dealer checked and said they were in good shape).


The Findings
I checked as much as I could and couldn't figure out what was going on so I took it to the dealerTook them ab. out 3 hours, and they determined....that my clutch surface was worn. And it would cost $2000 parts and labor to put in the new clutch and flywheel. Holy hell!

At the same time I was wondering, if the clutch surface is worn, how come it ain't slippin'? From what I've read the clutch will slip or engage high when the surface is worn out. I was a bit perplexed, so I came back to the board. I finally stumbled upon a thread where Jtso had recommended the following trick.

The TSX clutch is self adjusting; however, there is a small adjustment you can still make yourself. Here's what you do.


The Fix
Here's a rough diagram of the pedal and the push rod that it attaches to:

index.php by ssrrstuart, on Flickr



Look near the hinge of the clutch pedal as shown in the picture below:

index.php by ssrrstuart, on Flickr



Notice the brass bracket. On the back side of the bracket is a 12mm nut:

2 by ssrrstuart, on Flickr



Use a crescent wrench turning clockwise to loose this nut. It took a bit of force to loosen. Once the nut is loosened you can twist the push rod clockwise to change the engagement point of the clutch pedal.
I found the easiest way to turn the rod is to spin the 12mm nut all the way to the end and use it to turn the rod with your fingers. Then use a pair of pliers to hold the rod from counter-rotating, loosen the nut from the end and tighten the nut back down against the bracket.

I would guess I gave the rod about 2 complete twists. The engagement point is now a decent ways off the floor and feels very normal. Be careful not to move the engagement point too far out as this may lead to the clutch not fully engaging when you let the pedal all the way out. I haven't had time to test this for myself, but I plan on doing the clutch stress test tomorrow to ensure I'm not getting any slippage. As long as I don't have any slippage I'm going to assume I'm ok.

So I'm fairly confident that I have a long term, reliable fix in place, I saved two grand, and I'm once again shooting to keep the clutch for 200k+ miles!

I'd like to thank everyone from the threads that I read and summarized, but mostly JTso who once again has improved my driving experience with his simple recommendation.

Please let me know if you need further pictures or explanations or if I have gotten something wrong. I'll be updating once I've conducted further road testing.

Last edited by stewie20068; 11-04-2011 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:43 AM
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Nice find - keep us posted please.
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:27 AM
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Did some further testing this morning and all is well. The clutch behaved normally during the stress test and did not slip. Having the engagement point farther up definitely helps to smooth my shifts out.
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:43 PM
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Question: How did your clutch pedal get out of adjustment? It is set from the factory and cannot change on its own. I ask because there is a risk your fix is really a band-aid.

Also note, to adjust using the OEM procedure there is a detailed outline in the factory service manual. The couple occasions where I did have this problem it was due to the bracket flexing due to cracking, usually accompanied by some creaking or popping sounds from under the dash (PST, replacement brackets are available on heeltoeauto.com
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:19 PM
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I think it's likely that the hydraulic system has lost some pressure over the 7.5 years I've had the car. Bleeding helped a bit, and adjusting the clutch added a bit more force to the system which has it feeling like new. But I suppose it could be a bandaid. As long as the clutch isn't slipping and prematurely wearing the surface (which i tested) what other side effects might I see? What else might wear out from adjust the pedal?

My clutch doesn't currently creak and I didn't notice any damage to the bracket. I'm going to lower the engagement point a bit tonight though, so I'll take another look.
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:52 PM
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I honestly cannot say what the issue could be with the pedal engagement moving for any reason besides the pedal adjustment being off or disc wear. Hydraulics could play a role but I would think this would only be because a part might have changed spec or something.

Not saying what you did was wrong, just that it seems odd.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:04 AM
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I don't know if starting a new thread on a preexisting subject is frowned upon here so I'll just ask it here. I have adjusted my clutch to engage at a higher point however it is still relatively low in the travel of the clutch (I think). Where should the clutch start to bite exactly?
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:30 AM
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Old-ish thread, sorry. But the symptoms you've described sound like a worn slave cylinder. It could be the master or slave, but typically the slave cylinder fails first/more frequently because it is under the most thermal stress. It need not leak externally either... there are two o-rings inside. The outer one can still be good and prevent external fluid leaks, but if the inner one is worn or leaking, you will have a very low clutch that barely disengages with full pedal travel.

If you ever replace the slave cylinder (or master cylinder for that matter), be prepared to re-adjust that threaded rod.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:02 PM
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Stewie,

I was having the exact same problem with my 07 TL Type S, but it happened all of a sudden in stop and go traffic. I'm not that mechanically inclined, so I took it to my mechanic to fix the problem. After doing some tests, he said the clutch needs to be replaced. I agreed for him to do the work, but when I got my car back today, the engagement point was still very close to the floor and there was still play in the clutch at the top. I started looking at the clutch mechanics under the dash and could see the wiggle room in the push rod. I did a quick search on Acura clutch pedal schematic, and this post came up. Seems like you were having the exact same issue as me. I know your post is over a year old now, so did your quick fix work in the long term?
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:07 AM
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I used my fix for about a year, but after driving some other manuals I decided that it wasn't so bad having the clutch start to engage right off the floor. So I undid my fix. The regular setup seems ok to me at this point. I've actually been meaning to do a clutch test (45mph in 4th, WOT, pop the clutch in and out fast, and check for any slippage) to make sure there wasn't any premature clutch wear, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:45 PM
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Mine seems to be doing this as well.... literally it engages the second the pedal comes off the floor and acts like its either on or off. the last 90-95%% of pedal travel on mine seems to do absolutely nothing.

Driving it is fine you just have to lift it barely off the floor and very slowly for a smooth take off and gear shift. It acts like a Zo6 with a stage 3 clutch that I once drove. (Not really but it sure acts like it)

Anyways.... i've been driving it like this since I bought it. I figured it was normal but it is kinda annoying.
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Old 11-13-2013, 05:58 PM
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I had pedal creak. Acura replaced clutch master and its gone. I had them move up engagement but had them put it back to spec due to the fact it could cause premature wear issues . Been 15k miles no creak. 08 tls manual trans
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:24 AM
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Just wanted to say thanks. My wife's 2004 Acura TSX was grinding in reverse, hard to go in first, and occasional would grind in other gears. I've read you're not suppose to adjust hydraulic clutches, but I was hoping this had an adjustment. I backed it out 1.5 turns and it shifts smoothly with some room for engagement off the floor. Her car has 150k miles on it.
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:11 AM
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Glad this thread is still helpful!
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Old 08-01-2015, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by stewie20068 View Post
Glad this thread is still helpful!
I'm curious how much time this buys for those that have done this several years ago. I'm dreading pulling the transmission apart to service the clutch, flywheel, pressure plate, etc. I'm not sure what is wearing that causes this. Fork, slave cylinder wear, or some other related wear.
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bcr4977 View Post
I'm curious how much time this buys for those that have done this several years ago. I'm dreading pulling the transmission apart to service the clutch, flywheel, pressure plate, etc. I'm not sure what is wearing that causes this. Fork, slave cylinder wear, or some other related wear.
All these guys are doing is moving the pressure plate (AKA the "clutch") in relation to the flywheel. They're not fixing anything, they're just delaying the inevitable (they need a new clutch). And at that time, the "clutch adjustment" will have to be restored to where it belongs (umm . . . one of the beauties of a hydraulic clutch is that you don't have to adjust it). The dealer was right (see first post), and Heeltoe was gently suggesting what I've suggested too. As far as what is actually wearing, it is certainly the clutch, and it could be the flywheel, and more. You're right, it's a huge job, but you'll most likely only do it once, so you might want to replace all the other stuff too, anyway.
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:50 PM
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I'm going through this with my son's 04 TSX. One thing that we have found is to look at the clutch mounts. The top one was shot, so it would shift properly for a while, then it wouldn't. We replace it, but are still having reverse grind and low clutch engagement (just done today). We're also looking into replace the bottom transmission mounts.

Before we adjust the clutch bracket, How long does it take for the "self-adjusting" clutch to adjust?

Will keep everyone posted on our progress.

Dan
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Old 04-16-2017, 04:57 PM
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It's been 2 weeks from changing the top mount and haven't had a chance to replace the bottom mounts. While the top mount replacement improved it, we were still having problems with reverse, so we backed the clutch bracket first 2 turns, then tested. Finally made one more full turn (3 in total) and it it's engaging just right.

Will update on progress.

Dan
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Old 04-16-2017, 07:11 PM
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I didn't read all the way through... curious... are you using an oem clutch master cylinder, or an aftermarket one?

If it's oem, you're actually not supposed to adjust it. It's set from the factory. The bigger issue would then be that you have air in the lines still.

If it's an aftermarket CMC.... you do have to adjust those. And it's a bit of a pain. I'm still 99% sure it's because you have air in your lines. Did you restrict the movement of the CSC with a block of wood, as the factory service manual suggests? Otherwise some air will remain in he system.

Also, it's important you bleed the clutch properly... I did a writeup on it in my thread I created when I was having issues with my CMC... until I ultimately had a friend of mine who's a certified honda mechanic show me the ways. If he wasn't out of town he would've saved me a lot of grief earlier.
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Old 04-16-2017, 07:18 PM
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See post #11 for proper bleeding technique:

/forums/3g-tl-p...system-954199/
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