'86 Olds Calais hydraulic clutch problem...

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 information.
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 greased?
Cory
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"Cory Dunkle" wrote

This will most likely be a waste of your time.....you have some sort of hydraulic problem that will not be be resolved by bleeding.

Just use regular brake fluid for the clutch. If you can find the slave cylinder, (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 comes.

It would be a mistake to try to compare the shift qualities of a Honda Prelude and a shitbox like the Olds Calais.
Ian
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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 only $15-$20.

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.
Cory
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"Cory Dunkle" wrote

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.
Ian
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