Saturn S Series Sedan SL, SL1, and SL2

Clutch burnt up?

  #1  
Old 02-02-2019, 02:34 AM
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Default Clutch burnt up?

living in the Midwest I inevitably got stuck in the snow after doing a sick drift around a corner. While trying to get out I was alternating between clutch and throttle to begin rocking. While doing so I was heating the clutch up significantly (as I could smell after) and it was slipping...BAD. As I was going home to grab another vehicle from the fleet it began hooking more and more. Is there any way when the clutch cools off itíll return to normal operation or is it toast?
 
  #2  
Old 02-02-2019, 07:58 AM
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I wouldn't trust it for too long because the heat could have crystallized some of the disc material. If it were mine, I'd go ahead and buy a new one and be ready to replace it as soon as possible. BUT, I'm not a mechanic, just an old hillbilly shade tree.
 
  #3  
Old 02-02-2019, 08:59 AM
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Once you've smoked the clutch good several things happen that cause it to be the beginning of the end for that clutch.
1. Obviously there's significant wear that occurs when the clutch is overheated. The materials are pushed beyond their limits and there's a breakdown of the material in several ways. The "glue" that holds the friction material together tends to melt at the surface and cools into hard, low friction glaze. Sometimes if you're careful you can wear this glaze off (normal, gentle driving and patience) and restore some of the friction level of the surface, though that makes this only help for a while. The other thing that happens, is that the friction material itself usually develops cracks from the expansion and contraction that results from the extreme heating. This severely reduces the clutch life and makes it more susceptible to a clutch explosion (not the 1/4 mile sparks and fire version but the kind that will still leave you either stranded with no clutch or having to get home with a clutch that won't disengage).
2. Anytime you overheat the clutch, you are also overheating the flywheel. This creates hard spots in the flywheel surface that will wear more slowly than the rest resulting in a chattering clutch engagement that is almost impossible to fix by resurfacing the flywheel. Usually it takes replacing the flywheel to fix it. A rough or uneven surface on the flywheel, besides making clutch engagement rough, will also wear out the clutch faster (even a new clutch) and is harder on the rest of the drivetrain.
3. Ditto #2 for the clutch pressure plate.

While I've had the occasion to heat up a clutch (pulling a full load in an F150 up a steep grade) and have it keep going after it's had a chance to cool down, I've never had a clutch last more than a few months after such an event if it heated up to the point it was slipping.
 

Last edited by jamnar; 02-02-2019 at 09:01 AM.
  #4  
Old 02-02-2019, 09:10 AM
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Not the news I wanted to hear ): haha. Is it a pain to replace the clutch? Iíve never done it before. Can I drop the trans out the bottom or is it better to rent a cherry picker and take it out with the motor? Also, crazy idea...I have a come-along (manual winch) rated up to 2 tons, could I suspend that above me in the garage and pull the motor up with it?
 
  #5  
Old 02-02-2019, 01:47 PM
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I can only say that I've used a come along to pull an engine and while crude it will work. Two things to be careful about if you do: be sure the structure you hook to can take the weight (I've pulled down the entire framework before), second - it's a little tricky when it comes time to lower the engine without breaking something (including yourself).
 
  #6  
Old 02-02-2019, 04:14 PM
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I have changed several engines that way over the years. Realize that they are NOT rated for overhead loads! For the last 30 years or so I only use come-a-longs to secure cars to my car trailer. I use proper lifting devices to lift loads of any kind.
Andy
 
  #7  
Old 02-02-2019, 10:53 PM
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Umm...yeah....

Don't be doing that, please
 
  #8  
Old 02-04-2019, 01:10 PM
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All but one engine I ever replaced was pulled out by a chain come along,not one of the pissy little cable ones. The last engine I pulled was with a cherry picker. Pain in the ***. Give me a come along and a good sturdy oak or maple tree to chain it to anyday!
 
  #9  
Old 02-04-2019, 04:39 PM
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Rube the rube
 
  #10  
Old 02-04-2019, 08:18 PM
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Guys! Saturday jumped in and she wasnít mad at me anymore! I havent noticed any slipping so looks like I wonít be pulling a motor anytime soon (hopefully). I am thinking about setting up a pulley, cable system for pulling motors with ease in my garage as I have a bunch of projects on going. Just need to figuire our sizes and ratings on different materials needed. I will say this Saturn is the most resilient car Iíve owned!
 

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