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Clutch takeup or feel can change during the same drive

749 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  khnitz
I have a 2004 Passat GLX V6 5spd. One thing I have noticed lately is that the engagement point of the clutch can vary, sometimes during the same drive.

Normally, the clutch starts engaging 1.5-2 inches from the floor. But occasionally I notice it engaging much faster - like within .75-1 inch from the floor. And then within a few presses it returns to the usual take-up.

Anyone else experience this? If I bleed the clutch line, would I then expect it to change to the faster engagement? That's about the only thing I can think of.

The clutch is not slipping. It was replaced about 20k miles and 18 months ago (due to wear from the previous owner).
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I would indeed try to bleed the clutch line and see if that helps.
When was the last time the fluid was changed in the manual transmission ?
Might be a good time to do that while you are at it.
We sell the fluid for your transmission at ECS Tuning.
Here is a link to it:

I'll look into bleeding the clutch when I install my winter tires this weekend.

The manual transmission fluid was changed this past Spring (about 5k miles ago). I have a noise from the transmission which, best as I can determine, is an input shaft bearing that is going bad. At some point I know I will need to swap the transmission - I have the spare sitting in my garage already, but I'd really like to get the taller 5th gear put in there when I do the swap, too.
One other thing to keep in mind:
That clutch hydraulic hose is now >13 years old - and, they can (and do) get soft with age. Soft hose = hose (basically) absorbs some of the hydraulic pressure (because it balloons out slightly under pressure) = clutch feels "weird."

I would suggest "replace the clutch hose, and bleed it."
While you're at that.... When was the last time that the car had an actual brake fluid change? It does age, and does need to be replaced (flushed with new fluid), every 2 years.
And, over the years, I've actually fixed quite a few "transmission problems", with a simple brake fluid change (because there was so much crap in the fluid that the clutch wouldn't quite fully disengage. The crap compresses.)
The fluid was flushed and changed ~ 2years ago when I installed ECS braided brake lines at the front corners. Replacing the clutch hose is a good idea to tackle, too.
A little update on this one. The clutch behavior in recent days got to the point where shifting into first and reverse when the engine was cold could become difficult, and even with the clutch pedal depressed, there could be a little creep when in gear.

I was replacing all the brake pads this weekend, so I also bled the brake lines and finally was able to bleed the clutch line to the slave cylinder, too. This is probably the first time in the car's 14year life that the clutch fluid was came out a dark bluish tone until the fresh fluid came through. The clutch is fully releasing now, but the engagement is very tight to the fully depressed level.

So, as mentioned by <cuppie>, I will look to replace the clutch hydraulic line in the near future if the clutch feel goes wonky, again.
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