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2000 base 5sp, 95,000 mi.

Removed the slave cilynder after finding a puddle of brake fluid under the car, dripping from the bellhousing.

Inspecting the part I found that the plastic tabs the cap / seal retainer (original Sachs part, all plastic) are broken and allow the piston and seal retainer to slide out of the cilynder.

This can happen if the clutch arm is cracked allowing the piston to overextend and break the retaining tabs, it was hard to disingage the clutch a few days before.

I've seen pictures of this here and on other fourums, I am reluctant to brake a new slave cyl. I bought.

What do the expert think about this?

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It is clear that there is somewhat wrong with the clutch, i would take of the gearbox and change the clutch assy, inclusive the bearing and clutch arm, a stiff clutch operation is never right. A new cylinder assy on this old clutch is a waste of money IMO.

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The more research I make is seems more likely that the clucth arm is broken or the throw out bearing is worn, a leaking slave cylinder would make the pedal spongy, instead the pedal required very high effort, all the way to the floor to disingage.

I have read two examples on this on forums when a replacement slave ends up over extending due to a bad arm or release bearing.

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An update,

Yes the clutch arm was cracked, removing the transmission is beyond what I can do with jackstands a floor jack and a job. This was fixed by the usual mechanic, I asked him to keep the parts and in fact saw the damaged arm. Overextension of the slave cilynder is what caused it to fail, machanic installs my part, it breaks due to the clutch arm I pay for a new one.

Replaced clutch and the rear two transmission mounts. Damage is $ 2,000 something, in reflectong on the fact that the car has 97,000 miles, and this is the firts time it sees a mechanic since I bought it in 2004, (2000 base BTW).

On to new projects for the car, new two front Pirellis, the wheels need refinishing the local shop, in Los Angeles wants $250 per wheel, any better possibilities araoud here?

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