How to tell clutch is worn?

Hi all,
I have a '96 Civic with 160k mostly freeway miles. Recently it started to stutter on take off. It feels like the clutch is catching, slipping,
catching, then slipping for the first 3 or 4 feet of the car's travel.
Is there a way to be sure it is the clutch before I start to disassemble the transmission? Given the age of the car, I'm incline to think the clutch is worn, but I want to be sure. It is a chore to replace the clutch.
Thanks in advance
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It really doesn't sound like the clutch. It could be that oil has somehow made its way inside the clutch, but that is rare. Other than that, worn clutches behave just as though you were keeping the clutch pedal depressed to the point the clutch was slipping a bit. Of course, if you hear the engine race when the car is slowing it really does point to the clutch.
From your description I suspect the engine is getting balky when you try to come off the line. On a manual transmission car that feels just like a juddery clutch. A good place to start is with a bottle of fuel injector cleaner in the tank; lots of people favor Techron but I've had good results with the cheap brands, too. If there is no improvement in the next 100-200 miles (or if it's been a really long time since you last did a tune-up) move on to replacing plugs, wires, cap and rotor. NGK plugs are okay, but for the rest use genuine Honda parts. Several of us can tell you from personal experience why :-( And, while we are at making the basics right, make sure the coolant level is up to the cap in the radiator. Low coolant can make Hondas squirrely... and I like doing cheap and easy things first.
Mike
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sam wrote:

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What Michael said, plus you need to make sure there's enough coolant in the reservoir as well. Injector cleaner should be employed seasonally unless you're in California, use it four times a year (joke).
'Curly'
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motsco_ wrote:

that's no joke. california gasoline is dreadful stuff. highest octane is 91R+M. if you have an egr problem, as i used to, the car is /much/ more susceptible to fuel delivery and clean combustion and you'll need to run cleaner through it pretty much monthly.
as an aside, shell are jumping on the chevron bandwagon for fuel detergency - they say their branded regular gas has twice the detergency of federal minimum and "v-power" has 5 times the detergency.
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<snip>

Is the Shell "V-Power" similar to Techron? A couple of Texaco stations opened up near me now - and they have Techron in their fuel which is what Chevron uses. Nearest Chevron is way out of the way, so it's not worth driving there.
-Dave
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Dave L wrote:

no idea. and it's not like /any/ oilco is going out of their way to publish /any/ meaningful information on their products either.
unless we change product information laws to require publication of things like calorific values and chemical content, the consumer has nothing with which to make informed decisions - we're simply sheep waiting to be fleeced.

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I had to replace a clutch on an 94 Accord for this. My '96 is starting to experience this after 186k, but not so bad I can't drive it. Is it worse when cold or damp?
I've never pulled a Honda clutch apart (do it on motorcycles all the time). I was told on the '94 it was some kind of warpage in the plates after over heating it (maybe slipping it when backing up a hill). The car was pretty new when it started, and I complained.
After about 60k it got unbearable, and since I complained early on, they actually replaced it and split the cost. Usually the clutch is considered a wear item.
G-Man

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