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Old November 25th, 2008, 06:45 PM   #1
mcluucy
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Clutch pedal catching high

Hi Babblers,

This past weekend, I had a few friends who own manual transmission cars (e.g. BMW Z4, Honda Civic, Mini Cooper) test drove my 2001 Boxster base. Afterward, they all said that the clutch pedal of the Boxster catches pretty high, in comparison to other cars they've experienced. They all suggest that I should adjust the pedal so that the catch point is a little earlier. I've read that high clutch pedal may be signs of worn out clutch, but my car has only 21K miles on it and does not exhibit any signs of slippage.

I gave Walnut Creek Posche (Stead) a call this afternoon to see how much they would charge to adjust clutch pedal height, and the service guy said that the 2001 Boxster model clutch is hydrolic and cannot be adjusted. I then called an indie here near Berkeley (Holleran's, in Pinole), and he said the clutch height is adjustable for the cost of ~$100.

Is this true that the 2001 Boxster's clutch height cannot be adjusted? If the service guy at Porsche is wrong, is this an easy DIY effort? Could there be an inherent problem that causes the clutch to catch high (and not caused by worn clutch)?

Thanks for reading and hopefully provide a clue to this problem. Babblers folks have always been very patient and helpful, and the postings have always been an interesting read.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 08:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcluucy View Post
Hi Babblers,

This past weekend, I had a few friends who own manual transmission cars (e.g. BMW Z4, Honda Civic, Mini Cooper) test drove my 2001 Boxster base. Afterward, they all said that the clutch pedal of the Boxster catches pretty high, in comparison to other cars they've experienced. They all suggest that I should adjust the pedal so that the catch point is a little earlier. I've read that high clutch pedal may be signs of worn out clutch, but my car has only 21K miles on it and does not exhibit any signs of slippage.

I gave Walnut Creek Posche (Stead) a call this afternoon to see how much they would charge to adjust clutch pedal height, and the service guy said that the 2001 Boxster model clutch is hydrolic and cannot be adjusted. I then called an indie here near Berkeley (Holleran's, in Pinole), and he said the clutch height is adjustable for the cost of ~$100.

Is this true that the 2001 Boxster's clutch height cannot be adjusted? If the service guy at Porsche is wrong, is this an easy DIY effort? Could there be an inherent problem that causes the clutch to catch high (and not caused by worn clutch)?

Thanks for reading and hopefully provide a clue to this problem. Babblers folks have always been very patient and helpful, and the postings have always been an interesting read.
I have heard of self-adjusting clutches (over the years, there's no need to adjust), and seems to be true for my 93 BWM 5-series, still at original clutch at 207k.

My experience with Stead Porsche has been very good, from buying the car from them and then getting it serviced there.

Without having the knowledge to back it up, I would rather believe the authorized guy - he's been pretty honest with me including refusing to do stuff that can be done (change the locale of the car to unlock some features).

I'm sure Pedro and/or Loren will answer your question based on knowledge and experience
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Old November 25th, 2008, 08:33 PM   #3
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i too will wait for loren or pedro, but for what it is worth, i have always felt like the clutch on my car catches further out than i expect. i am use to it now, but maybe this is porsche thing.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 10:36 PM   #4
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After driving the car for more than half a year now, the clutch height doesn't bother me any more too (never did in the beginning anyway). I am able to shift pretty smoothly. Since this is my first manual tranny car, I just thought the catch point is normal until this past weekend experience.

One thing I forgot to mention is that another friend who owns a '99 Boxster base test drove my car the first week I bought it, and he said everything works fine or even better than his car. So maybe this is a Porsche thing. I have to admit that I sided more with the guy I spoke with Steade, trusting that he has more experiences with dealing with purely Porsche cars.

Will wait to see if Loren or Pedro reply back with their insights.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 11:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcluucy View Post
After driving the car for more than half a year now, the clutch height doesn't bother me any more too (never did in the beginning anyway). I am able to shift pretty smoothly. Since this is my first manual tranny car, I just thought the catch point is normal until this past weekend experience.

One thing I forgot to mention is that another friend who owns a '99 Boxster base test drove my car the first week I bought it, and he said everything works fine or even better than his car. So maybe this is a Porsche thing. I have to admit that I sided more with the guy I spoke with Steade, trusting that he has more experiences with dealing with purely Porsche cars.

Will wait to see if Loren or Pedro reply back with their insights.
I live in the East Bay as well. If you'd like, we can meet for coffee and I can drive your car and give my opinion.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 10:42 AM   #6
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Hi Akif,

Thanks for personally offering to check my car. I rarely go over to Pleasanton area, but if I have a chance one of these days, I may take your offer and will PM you.

The clutch seriously does not bother me at all. My friends' comments just made me curious if the car can be even more improved. The calls to the dealer service and indie shop were just a check to see if the cost of adjustment is worth doing. If it costs at least $100 from what I found out, I think I'll spend it on something else this coming Friday instead since the height is not a problem for me anyway.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 07:29 PM   #7
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Porsche dealers in different States had told me that a higher catching clutch was a sign of clutch wear.
I noticed my clutch catching higher than when new maybe a year into my ownership.
Now at 11 years of ownership, with the original clutch and 176K miles, the clutch still catches high.
My second Boxster ('99) has the same feel as well.
If your clutch is not chattering and or slipping i higher gears, forget about it and enjoy.
And it's true, the clutch pedal height is not adjustable.
Happy Boxstering,
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Old November 26th, 2008, 09:37 PM   #8
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The main concern about clutch pedal engagement is when you no longer have free play at the beginning of depressing the pedal. Ideally any car should exhibit 1 inch of free play before the throw out bearing begins to contact the pressure plate. My 2000S showed definite signs of the previous owner/driver having ridden the pedal (keeping your foot on the pedal between shifts - which accelerates clutch wear); but by carefully releasing the clutch while applying extra throttle, I've managed to improve the clutch engagement during the 24,000 miles I've put on it this past 13 months. All in all I'd agree that the clutch engages towards the high side, but this seems fairly normal for stiffer clutch pedals, whereas lighter pedals typically engage lower in the pedal travel.

My experience in replacing something like 100+ clutches over the years as a professional mechanic is that the pressure plate determines to the greatest extent where the clutch will engage within the range of pedal travel. I totally agree with Pedro that as long as your clutch doesn't slip or chatter you're fine, with one caveat that once the free play on the pedal is less than one inch you're nearing the time for clutch replacement. But since you'll always replace the throwout bearing, clutch disc, and pressure plate, the only extra danger you face if continuing until it slips is the likelihood of having to resurface or replace the flywheel, and even this isn't too scary, as one would be foolish not to replace the rear main seal (located behind the flywheel) while doing all the above.

My sense is that the Boxster has a very robust clutch assembly, and from my experience of smoothing out the disengagement of the pedal (which engages the clutch) on my likely abused clutch assembly; I'm quite confident that as long as you don't ride the clutch it's likely to last as long as the rings/rod bearings in the engine, which at some point will require replacement anyway. At that point one would obviously install a new clutch assembly.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 12:00 AM   #9
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Hi Pedro and TypeS,

Thank you for your detailed insights on the Boxster clutch and mechanics of it. I believe there is definitely more than 1 inch of free play at the beginning of the clutch depression, and I do not experience any clutch chatter or slippage at high gear. From your explanations, I am more relieved and believe that my clutch is fine. I will go back and enjoy the experience of driving such special handling car.

Thank you again for contributing and helping me out, everyone!
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Old December 7th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcluucy View Post
Hi Pedro and TypeS,

Thank you for your detailed insights on the Boxster clutch and mechanics of it. I believe there is definitely more than 1 inch of free play at the beginning of the clutch depression, and I do not experience any clutch chatter or slippage at high gear. From your explanations, I am more relieved and believe that my clutch is fine. I will go back and enjoy the experience of driving such special handling car.

Thank you again for contributing and helping me out, everyone!
I just bought a 2002S that the clutch is high -

But it did not slip -

I had the local local Porsche dealer Stevens Creek comment that it needed to be replaced when I went there to get a key for my wife -

I used to have a TR-6 that never went to the shop but was guaranteed to be on jack stands for at least one week a year -

Tuned the carbs with a short piece of radiator hose -

And had clutch cars since 1972 -

TR - 6 was hydraulic clutch which is what I've been told Boxsters are -

As long as I use the emergency brake on hills like in SF at stop signs to help and not be too stupid -

And the throwout bearing and pressure plate are ok -

I bet I make this clutch go to close to 100K (bought at 41K)

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Last edited by kirkreid; December 7th, 2008 at 07:02 PM.
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