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Old 21 September 2020, 15:00   #1
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Smoked clutch

Evening all,

Had a bit of a faux-pas with my dad at the wheel of the car, trying to recover the boat whilst it was up to its sills in the harbour water... The traction control was being a d*ck and not letting him go anywhere, it was just lifting the clutch slightly.

Long story short, car going nowhere, clutch smoking a lot.... I took over, turned off traction control and it pulled away no bother.

8 weeks on, i've launched and recovered on steep slipways, towed the boat on hilly roads at a variety of speeds and in the highest gear. The clutch seems to be performing as normal, not slipping at all, but it still absolutely stinks.

The wife is at me to "get it checked" but i've explained once or twice that you can't really get a clutch "checked".

Is the continuing smell likely to be lasting damage or are the clutch plates just polished/is there some powder residue in there that's still kicking out a stink?

cheeeeers!

Si
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Old 21 September 2020, 15:33   #2
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No idea but what car?
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Old 21 September 2020, 15:38   #3
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nissan x-trail. manual transmission
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Old 21 September 2020, 15:44   #4
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I wouldn't expect the smell to linger, although the smell is a good indication you've glazed the friction plate.

If you're still smelling it 8 weeks on, you might not have any choice but to drop it, as something is clearly not right. Danger with a suspect clutch is it will leave you high and dry when you actually need it.

What's the plate and mileage?

A few threads I've read are related to some of the sound insulation materials holding the smell. You could try checking the pollen filter, just in case it's that - that's absorbed the smell and is recirculating. Just a thought.

What's the damage if you go down the clutch route, £1k?
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Old 21 September 2020, 15:46   #5
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It’ll be a fair amount of dust in the bell housing getting thrown around, should slowly dissipate.

You may have glazed the flywheel or caused some heat spots but it’s driving as normal I personally wouldn’t worry a huge amount, probably just knocked a few thousand miles off it’s life! It’s difficult to tell the health of modern clutches being so distanced from the mechanicals as people like these days. Only good indication is a squeaky or vibrating flywheel.
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Old 21 September 2020, 16:10   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spartacus View Post
I wouldn't expect the smell to linger, although the smell is a good indication you've glazed the friction plate.

If you're still smelling it 8 weeks on, you might not have any choice but to drop it, as something is clearly not right. Danger with a suspect clutch is it will leave you high and dry when you actually need it.

What's the plate and mileage?

A few threads I've read are related to some of the sound insulation materials holding the smell. You could try checking the pollen filter, just in case it's that - that's absorbed the smell and is recirculating. Just a thought.

What's the damage if you go down the clutch route, £1k?
i think about £600 for a new clutch. car is a few years old with 33k miles.
i’m not a motor mechanic but i work on a variety of mechanical equipment, and understanding how it works, my heart tells me it shouldn’t still smell but also tells me that it’s a component that either works well or doesn’t. take away the smell and it’s fine!
i don’t think it’s the pollen filter as the smell is coming from the engine bay... will have a look tomorrow for insulating material in the region of the clutch though, that’s something i hadn’t thought about!
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Old 21 September 2020, 16:34   #7
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Get rolling down the road at about 40-45km in 4th gear. Put the gas peddle to the floor and "POP" the clutch quickly keeping the gas peddle mashed to the floor. What happens? Does it grab immediately and drop in RPM? Or does it slip and take a few seconds to come back down in RPM?

^If it slips it needs a new clutch. If your not sure do what I ask while filming the tachometer so I can see it and hear what is going on. To me it is routine, but without understanding what you are seeing and hearing it may not be as obvious.

There is nothing to see or inspect without tear down, but the smell tells the story. It is smoked. The flywheel surface is now glazed, as is the clutch plate. It could start chattering at some point. The smell probably will never fully go away, at least for the guy tearing it down in the future will get a snoot full.

If you have a heavy boat, use 4 low to pull it out.
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Old 21 September 2020, 16:35   #8
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There's only a few things that stink like clutch and I can't list them here. One might sound like clutch. I attended what I initially took to be an engine bay fire while wearing a rather nice suit. It turned out to be a smoking clutch and a rather bad outcome for the suit! Deffo investigate for dust and materials holding the stank. Maybe a gentle wash down? Mind the ECU
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Old 21 September 2020, 20:58   #9
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Deffo investigate for dust and materials holding the stank. Maybe a gentle wash down? Mind the ECU
Most all of it will be emanating from inside the bell housing. There are only so many smells that one remembers clearly. Burnt clutches and branding calves between ones legs are pretty high up there. You got your face right up in both of them.

Even if you sprayed water into the bell housing, the chances of causing other issues like rust, and getting water in the throwout or pilot bearing outweigh the benefits. The smell will dissipate over time.

If having the clutch replaced offer to pay a little extra to extra clean the bell housing, and engine block. Who knows they might have a "dishwasher" parts cleaner they could throw the entire trans/transfer case into.
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Old 22 September 2020, 00:27   #10
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i actually tried this and the revs came down pretty much instantly.

thanks for the info gents, i’ll sit on it for now and see what happens in the coming months. no doubt it will pack in as soon as i go offshore and i’ll get the “phone me” text from the wife which could mean anything from the house having burned down, to the tv not switching on...

i appreciate all your advice and expertise!
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Old 22 September 2020, 01:47   #11
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i actually tried this and the revs came down pretty much instantly.
Drive it. The smell will dissipate over time inside. Run that 4th gear test every once in a while to make sure it still grabs (Not while towing). 4 low pulling up steep grades from a stop, while loaded, will help the clutch last longer. Any slipping, go get it replaced, but being that it has low miles it could last awhile before needing replacement.


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Old 22 September 2020, 01:49   #12
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We had a Corolla T Sport and these red line at 8100 rpm and have notoriously weak and smelly clutches.

We had one changed and it smelled during normal driving. Problem was the mechanic didn't clear dust from the bellhousing properly. Took it back to them, 5 minutes with an airline and all sorted!
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Old 22 September 2020, 14:38   #13
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Evening all,

Had a bit of a faux-pas with my dad at the wheel of the car, trying to recover the boat whilst it was up to its sills in the harbour water... The traction control was being a d*ck and not letting him go anywhere, it was just lifting the clutch slightly.

Long story short, car going nowhere, clutch smoking a lot.... I took over, turned off traction control and it pulled away no bother.

8 weeks on, i've launched and recovered on steep slipways, towed the boat on hilly roads at a variety of speeds and in the highest gear. The clutch seems to be performing as normal, not slipping at all, but it still absolutely stinks.

The wife is at me to "get it checked" but i've explained once or twice that you can't really get a clutch "checked".

Is the continuing smell likely to be lasting damage or are the clutch plates just polished/is there some powder residue in there that's still kicking out a stink?

cheeeeers!

Si
I had to reverse my 1.5 ton boat 200m up the road against the gradient and into my drive using my 1.6 Volvo C30!!! No smoke but the smell was horrendous, it lasted about 6 weeks before it went. The clutch covered another 60k miles without any trouble before I sold it.

Andy
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Old 23 September 2020, 13:01   #14
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With my X-Trail - 59plate, 250k miles when I traded it in in Jan 2018,
the original clutch lasted until 185k miles - despite towing and launching / recovering my RC5.3 and RC 585 countless times - including on steep slips like Brixham.

Not sure my Kodiaq will do as well - but at least I'm not launching from the trailer every trip now
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Old 23 September 2020, 14:23   #15
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This is a 2007 X-trail, and this guys knows his stuff, so not a DIY job unless you have access to a 2-post lift and cups of tea on tap.

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Old 23 September 2020, 14:27   #16
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This is a 2007 X-trail, and this guys knows his stuff, so not a DIY job unless you have access to a 2-post lift and cups of tea on tap.

A 6 minute video where he basically shows you a hole in an engine bay and tries to describe what a ballache it's been to get that far... A job for the pros I think!
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