PickyBiker

Manual Transmission shifts okay but doesn't move

15 posts in this topic

My son just called about his 2014 Spark. He stopped the car and when he went to go again, it would not move. He said the manual transmission feels like it is shifting okay, but when he releases the clutch, nothing happens. It just sits there.

Sounds to me like something in the drive train let go but i have never worked on a Spark.

 

Any Ideas on whet this might be or if there is something he can check?

 

Thanks

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I had frequent problems with clutch wearing out and throw out bearings wearing out on manual transmissions. DO not recall a single problem with automatics in all the cars I have owned. The automatic transmission is basically a fluid clutch and fluid does not wear like 2 friction disks rubbing with each other.

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Sounds like his clutch is toast. Bobby, all automatics including CVT's have clutch plates and/or friction bands that can and do wear out eventually and are much more expensive and labor intensive to replace than a manual clutch would be. You might be thinking of the torque converter that is between the engine and transmission which kind of does the job of a manual clutch when idling, coasting, and accelerating smoothly from a dead stop. Those rarely give problems because like you said they are just a fluid coupler without any wear points besides the bearings. The clutch in a lock up torque converter can wear out however. 

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1 hour ago, Fire Spark said:

Sounds like his clutch is toast. Bobby, all automatics including CVT's have clutch plates and/or friction bands that can and do wear out eventually and are much more expensive and labor intensive to replace than a manual clutch would be. You might be thinking of the torque converter that is between the engine and transmission which kind of does the job of a manual clutch when idling, coasting, and accelerating smoothly from a dead stop. Those rarely give problems because like you said they are just a fluid coupler without any wear points besides the bearings. The clutch in a lock up torque converter can wear out however. 

Thanks for clearing that up, since I have not opened a car manual in 20 years. Without actually studying the mechanics of how the friction bands work, my guess is they may not be transmitting full load of moving the weight of whole automobile from standstill to match engine speed in the next gear, which is what the clutch in a manual transmission has to do. I am amazed with all the cars I have owned and driven from new to 100k miles, never had a problem with the automatics.

 

I think even the A/C has a mechanical clutch to engage and disengage. That is why I avoid engaging A/C at high motor RPM. Because engaging the compressor load through the clutch at higher RPM's has to be harder on the clutch.

Edited by Bobby MSME

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True. The torque converter takes a lot of the "abuse" off of the transmission when you put the hammer down or don't come to a complete stop when going from F to R or vice versa :shift: whereas on a manual the full load is on the clutch.  The clutch packs in an automatic are more for just the shifting between gears. Performance shift kits that give a "firm" shift between gears allow the clutch packs and bands to last a long time because there is very little slippage. Luxury cars that give super smooth shifts that you barely notice are more prone to wear out clutch plates and bands faster. I've never had any issue with my automatics either. A friend of mine runs a rebuild service and can tell you exactly which makes, models, and years will give premature trouble because they weren't engineered right or strong enough from the factory. 

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We put this car in 1st gear and then we are able to push it along with no resistance. The is absolutely the worst case of "slipping clutch" I ever hear of. I suspect there is something other than a worn, slipping clutch. 

We can see in the engine compartment the 2 shift levers do move with the gear shift movement. That means the shift cables are intact and connected on both ends. We can see the main shift shaft moving up and down and rotating with the gear shift movement. Whatever is wrong is either inside the transmission, a complete clutch failure, or a CV joint or similar. Anyone esle ever see this type of failure on a 2014 with only 70k miles?

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9 hours ago, PickyBiker said:

Whatever is wrong is either inside the transmission, a complete clutch failure, or a CV joint or similar. Anyone esle ever see this type of failure on a 2014 with only 70k miles?

 

Clutch failures are really related to driving habits, so it could have failed sooner.

Cv joints crunch before they fail rule that one out.

A transmission would give you a few signs before failing like that and Im pretty sure the spark doesnt have enough torque to break one.

I would focus on the clutch or shift linkage. If the levers are held by roll pins one of them could have sheared and now the lever is just moving on the shaft without actually engaging anything in the transmission.

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If the levers are held by roll pins one of them could have sheared and now the lever is just moving on the shaft without actually engaging anything in the transmission.

We checked this on the outside of the transmission by placing a mark on the shaft and then going through the gears. The shaft is turning and rising up and down as the shift levers move. That doesn't mean it is doing anything inside the transmission.

 

Since most are convinced it's the clutch, we are going to bite the bullet and pull the transmission back so we can examine the clutch. 

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Could be an issue where the clutch plate is not making contact with the flywheel due to somehow coming to be completely out of adjustment. If that is the case the adjustment mechanism could be out of place or damaged and would be a far less expensive fix than if it was a broken gear laying on the tranny bottom...just a though as this is something I have seen only once on a '65 corvette. Adjustment unit had just come loose and was not connected causing the adjustment to go to maximum clearance. Sounds like you are doing the right things by process of elimination..good luck and pls keep us in the loop as this is certainly interesting.

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I think Mr Tozzi has a good point. 84 HP is probably not going to break the transmission. According to the manual  the engine and transmission need to come out to access the clutch. We are about 95% of the way there but are currently hung up on the shift linkages. It is not obvious how these disconnect from the transmission or the transmission bracket. 

On the bracket there is an orange plastic part that looks like some sort of retainer. We are trying to figure out how to get both disconnected. 

 

Never had to pull an engine/transmission to replace a clutch before.  Here's a picture if the orange retainer. 

Clipboard01.jpg

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Okay this is resolved. The clutch is the problem.  All of the material on the pressure plate side was gone. It was shredded and looks like a black birds nest. The pressure plate was not moving far enough to even squeeze the clutch plate. It was barely touching the metal so almost zero friction.

 

Thanks for all of you pointing me to the clutch even when I thought it couldn't be worn that bad. 

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14 hours ago, PickyBiker said:

Okay this is resolved. The clutch is the problem.  All of the material on the pressure plate side was gone. It was shredded and looks like a black birds nest. The pressure plate was not moving far enough to even squeeze the clutch plate. It was barely touching the metal so almost zero friction.

 

Thanks for all of you pointing me to the clutch even when I thought it couldn't be worn that bad. 

they make little power and little torque, and gm pairs them with low cost wear parts. When the driver rides the clutch to compensare for the lack of torque it just tears itself to shreds at some point.

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Your experience is a good reason to buy the 1.4 Liter 2017 model with CVT auto tranny with a friction belt swimming in oily fluid. The 1.4L has adequate torque for the CVT so it does not have to rev like crazy to generate the needed horse power. Occasionally I floor the gas pedal on my 2017 and the CVT takes it in stride and makes that sporty noise to make me feel macho if just for 15 seconds.

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On 8/5/2017 at 11:30 PM, PickyBiker said:

Okay this is resolved. The clutch is the problem.  All of the material on the pressure plate side was gone. It was shredded and looks like a black birds nest. The pressure plate was not moving far enough to even squeeze the clutch plate. It was barely touching the metal so almost zero friction.

 

Thanks for all of you pointing me to the clutch even when I thought it couldn't be worn that bad. 

As I thought and suggested in my previous post..no clutch contact. Surprised it was so difficult to replace with an engine pull required. ....Nice work PickyBiker!!

Edited by Retired old Gearhead
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On 8/5/2017 at 11:30 PM, PickyBiker said:

Okay this is resolved. The clutch is the problem.  All of the material on the pressure plate side was gone. It was shredded and looks like a black birds nest. The pressure plate was not moving far enough to even squeeze the clutch plate. It was barely touching the metal so almost zero friction.

 

Thanks for all of you pointing me to the clutch even when I thought it couldn't be worn that bad. 

Making a note to myself not to buy another Spark with manual tranny. You saved a lot of dough by doing all the work yourself.. I would hate to think what the dealer would have charged to remove the engine and all just to repair a worn out clutch disk. Besides I really do not like stick shift in town driving :shift: rather keep both hands on the steering wheel.

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