My clutch is scraping, do I need to replace the whole thing?
August 23, 2006 10:32 AM   Subscribe

1997 VW clutch is making scraping sounds when fully depressed, but is working fine otherwise. Do I need a whole new clutch kit? Simultaneously, the interior fans (cooling) are dead, and the parking brake light is stuck on. Blown fuse?

Also, this is the third time I've had to repair this car in two years, so I'd like to trade it in. Do I fix it first, or just take what they give me for a broken car?
posted by juniper to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
You don't need an entirely new clutch kit if other parts are not damaged. But it sounds like you need a new clutch plate, definitely. The fans could be a fuse, yes. The parking brake light staying on could mean you need a brake adjustment.
posted by frogan at 11:45 AM on August 23, 2006

Oh, on the trade-in thing ... a 1997 VW is not going to be worth much of anything as a dealer trade-in if it's not already in immaculate condition. So, these repairs could be ultimately irrelevant to both you and the dealer -- you'd be wasting money, and the dealer wouldn't care anyway, because the dealer cannot make enough of a profit on a '97 vehicle to make it worth his while.

At best, you'd get a nominal amount, and then the dealer will sell the vehicle to a low-end used car lot, which will gleefully pass the problems onto some sucker.

If you really need to make money on this car, you'd make the repairs and sell it yourself, provided the repairs weren't terribly expensive so as to make the economics of that transaction silly.
posted by frogan at 11:53 AM on August 23, 2006

Welcome to the wonderful world of mid-90's era VWs. It's all blown fuses and broken door handles as far as the eye can see.

I can't comment on the clutch -- though frogan's clutch plate guess sounds good -- but I will say that electrical problems plague VWs like yours (and mine). Pull the cover off of the fusebox and you should see a list of which fuses correspond with which functions. That's a good place to start troubleshooting the fan problem.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:10 PM on August 23, 2006

Scraping when depressed is either pressure plate or throw out bearing. You wouldn't have to replace the friction disk at the same time but only the insane or starving wouldn't because of the labour involved. Clutches are fairly cheap. I've often paid less than $150 for the entire assembly (including alignment tool on my 440 last year) and rarely more than $200.
posted by Mitheral at 12:15 PM on August 23, 2006

This is a problem with the clutch throw-out bearing, not with the clutch plates. However most of the cost of repair will be for labour, so you may want to replace the entire clutch assembly while you're at it.
posted by randomstriker at 12:20 PM on August 23, 2006

Thanks, everyone. I'm taking it in for a repair estimate tomorrow. I guess I'll fix it so it's useable, if inexpensive, then take my time shopping for a new one or just trade it in if the price of repair is not worth it. I'm decidedly un-handy, but now I have some idea of what the problem might be.
posted by juniper at 2:37 PM on August 23, 2006

Having replaced the whole clutch assembly on a 2000 Golf 1.8T (my first car repair project!), I'd say that if you're gonna replace the bearing, follow others' advice and do the disk and plate too (and, more generally, if you're gonna replace any of the three, do the other two). All the work in the job is getting to where you can get at these pieces. You can get them all for <$150 online.
posted by rbs at 5:38 PM on August 23, 2006

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