I'm looking at an '86 Olds Calais with the little 4 banger and 5 speed. It
grinds when you put it in reverse, less severely when you pump the clutch a
little. You can also sometimes feel the clutch dragging in forward gears
when the pedal is to the floor.
Before I buy the car I want to try bleeding the clutch and ensuring the
fluid is full. What type of fluid does this car take for the clutch? I would
guess DOT 3 brake fluid, but I want to be sure first. Also, what is the
procedure for bleeding a clutch (I would assume it's the same as bleeding
brakes, but want to be sure) and where are the valves on this car to bleed
it? Also, is there any way that if after bleeding and filling the clutch
hydraulics the problem is still there that I can identify if it's the slave
or master cylinder? The master cylinder ought to be quite easy to change,
but what is involved in changing the slave cylinder? Thanks a lot for any
Also, the shifter is kind of hard to get into and out of gear. It's not
smooth and easy to shift like my Prelude is. What may be causing this? Is
there anything in the shift linkage that may need to be tightened up and/or
This will most likely be a waste of your time.....you have some
sort of hydraulic problem that will not be be resolved by
Just use regular brake fluid for the clutch. If you can find the slave
(it should be toward the front side of the transmission) there should be
a bleed screw on the slave cylinder itself. The best way to bleed clutches
is to have an assistant push the clutch pedal to the floor, then you crack
the bleed screw and allow the pressure plate to do the work of pushing
the slave cylinder piston back in it's bore.Then tighten the bleed screw
"before" your assistant releases the pedal....release the pedal...check
your fluid level and adjust...then repeat.
On a vehicle that old....it's not a good idea to replace the master
or slave by themselves. It's best to just replace them as a set...and
in fact, often GM only sold them as a set. If the slave is an external
slave...(which I believe it is on that year of car)...then the slave is
actually easier to change then the master. Two nuts and off she
It would be a mistake to try to compare the shift qualities of
a Honda Prelude and a shitbox like the Olds Calais.
I'm pretty sure it's just old/dried/cracked seals in one or both of the
cylinders which are leaking and don't hold pressure. I'd rather use a
logical process of elimination first though, to be sure I'm not wasting
money on parts I don't need. This car is strictly a beater. I will be
getting it for $250 and I should it end up costing me more than $500 I'm
gonna try to get rid of it for whatever I've got in it so far. I had the
same idea about the Prelude, but unfortunately that needs several hundred
dollars worth of parts now, so I'm looking fora replacement econo-box. The
main idea here is cheap. This car is from the original owner who ordered it
from the factory (not drive off the lot) and I know has taken good care of
it. He parked it 1-2 years ago.. When he parked it everything was working
well and it had passed inspection without a hitch. From my preliminary
inspection the only things I see that it needs fixed are the clutch issue,
and possibly a new set of front brake pads which is no big deal as they are
Sounds easy enough... Very similar to bleeding brakes.
As I said, the idea with this $250 car is cheap. I want to put as little
into it as possible. If my fiance wasn't going to be driving it too I'd say
to hell with the clutch and just shift without it. Anyway, the slave
cylinder appears to be external, as I remember seeing it on the transmission
and I also saw pictures of the both cylinders when I priced them online. If
there is any way to be sure which one is the problem it would be great as I
hate to spend $125+ on parts for an econo-box/beater if I don't need to.
That's more than I'd like to spend to 'get it running', but if I see nthing
else wrong with the car it's probably worth it.
I would think that one should be able to shift into and out of gear easily
on any properly functioning transmission+shifter, even if it is a little
sloppy. I doubt the car would have sold too well if it shifted like it does
now when new. Now that I think about it though a big part of the problem may
be that the clutch drags a bit, which could make it a little difficult to
get out of gear.
Your method sounds like it will be logical....but in the long
run it's not. Often the cheap way of fixing things ends up
being the most expensive. Even if you do figure out which
one is the culprit, replacing one is never a good idea in
the long run, as you risk cross contamination from the old
part to the new. And this is even if you flush the brake fluid
right out. This is one of the reasons that GM either recommends
replacing slave/master as a set, or they simply only sell them
as a set.
Well, I certainly can't fault you for not wanting to spend any
money on a beater. I have the same philosophy with my own
beaters (all I've personally driven for 20 years). But certain
systems on the car often cannot be cheaped out on.
Obviously...get the clutch working properly and then see how it
compares. But I've been working on GM vehicles for over 20
years....and GM shifting qualities on their front wheel drive cars
has always been marginal. Even when new.
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