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Clutch Fluid and towing?

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Is it normal to use/lose clutch fluid when towing with a manual transmission?

Twice now, I have been low on clutch fluid after towing...I drop the trailer, everything's fine, then on the first really cold morning my clutch fluid is low. So there seem to be two contributing factors to clutch fluid loss: Cold and towing.

Should I have it checked or just add fluid after towing and/or cold.

Stuck In Baltimore,


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Brake fluid is usually what is used for "clutch fluid". Grab a bottle to have with you just in case.

I don't know that towing would have any special effect, unless you are increasing pressure somehow...causing fluid to leak out faster.

Check for leaks.

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Yea Flex,

The second time I took my 4 runner in and told them to replace the line they said it wasn't leaking. I responded "Where did all the fluid go?" They replaced it no problems now. The pin holes are real tiny. I noticed it after towing my motorcyle trailer to Dumont. I don't know why that made any difference tho-


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The system will leak when it is under pressure. The system is only under pressure when you have the clutch pedal depressed. It is possible that you are seeing a leak under a heavy load simply because the clutch pedal is depressed for a much longer period of time.


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Also, the seals in either the clutch master cylinder or the clutch slave cylinder (or brake master cylinder as well) may leak fluid (seep) even when at rest, and, if the seals are borderline, they may leak more in colder weather. (A cold, rubber seal is less effective than a hotter one.) If the seals are in this semi-worn state, often, as soon as you apply pressure on the pedal the worn seals will flare out and expand to seal the cylinder, then when the seals are at rest they "relax" and allow some brake fluid to seep past. In any case, a mechanic should be easily able to detect the leak and repair the problem. Under no circumstances is it ever "normal" or acceptable to lose brake fluid. All leaks should be repaired as soon as possible.

Especially with clutch hydraulics, it's not a bad idea to rebuild or replace both the master and slave cylinder at the same time. Even if only one is leaking, often, after repairing it, the remaining cylinder will begin leaking.

But of course it could be a line or connection leaking as well, but in any case leaking break fluid always leaves behind a trail.


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You think the guy would be happy enough being the all knowing all seeing of the reloading and pistol shooting world, but nooooo he has to be a master mechanic too. :D

What BE said. Trust me I just went through this with my 93 trooper. I was adding a little fluid here and there trying to postpone taking it in and then bango no clutch at all. Also get the whole sytem done at once.

Good luck, Craig

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