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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am completely out of ideas here please help me out. I took the time to write it, please take the time to read it.

I am doing a clutch job for a friend/client on a 2000 Accord Special Edition. 2.3L.

Everything went as planned...this was not my first clutch job, it all came apart fine, machined the flywheel, put the new rhinopac clutch in, and put it all back together to see fluid leaking out of the slave cylinder. Bought a "new" one and promptly broke the rubber seal and pin while attempting to relocate the swivel from the old cylinder. After much swearing and troubleshooting over this terrible design idea....and a phone call to Honda to "special order" this $8 seal and a $8 pin. I proceeded to wait 2 days.

When the parts finally arrived I carefully put it all back together and promptly found the master to be leaking as well....another day for that to come in and now the system was all installed and bled, after all this the clutch just would not engage, it wasn't close....I could not push and grind it into gear, and if I started it in gear the wheels just spun.

So I started the troubleshooting process and bled, and bled, and bled, and bled...and so on. I pulled from multiple sources, journeyman mechanics, old school mechanics, college automotive instructors as well as "certified techs from the honda dealership". I adjusted the pedal, I took all the fluid lines apart again (and promptly broke the stupid o-ring again, this time I ordered two more...fast forward 4 more days for the long weekend), found a faulty bleeder screw/slave cylinder and changed that again. Submerged the slave in fluid and bled just in case it was leaking at one of the multiple very sloppy joints (seriously Honda??? Very poor engineering on that one) I tried and tested absolutely everything and completely exhausted my resources and wasted 2 weeks...so the only thing left to do now was pull the clutch back out.

Got the clutch out and compared it to the old one...pressure plate looks the same...measures different depths. throw-out bearing is completely different looking but measures the same in all the critical dimensions. Fork and all the other goodies all appear to be functioning properly, The factory friction disc however is about a 1/4" smaller in diameter than the replacement, and the actual pad sat about an 1/8" higher when compared side by side...and the springs were at different heights. WTF?
Now pulling from my limited knowledge of clutch systems I have never seen one where the friction disc is smaller in diameter than the pressure plate disc....and subsequently the wear on the flywheel. It just shouldn't be at all. Anyways so I went back to the parts store and showed them my findings. We then decided that this couldn't be the proper kit. Maybe the engine had been changed...maybe the transmission is different. But according to the engine stamp and the tag on the trans and their supplier it was all correct. Anyways we ordered a kit in that had the same diameter friction disc....two more days later (are we sensing a pattern here?)

Finally the kit arrives (from a 2.0L BTW) and the friction disc has the right dimensions but of course the rest of the parts are smaller to match. Back to the book, he happens to have a kit in stock from a 93 Prelude (2.2, 2.3) which matches up much closer to the original (except the friction disc is actually the correct size.)

Now I am wondering just what was in this car in the first place and how/why it actually worked the way it sat. Off to Honda I go with 2 clutch kits and the original, this time I talk to an old tech. He looks at it all and says the original factory clutch does have a smaller disc, he also says the one that I put in and pulled out looks entirely wrong. Thanks tips. He also bashed rhinopac...which is to be expected. And then told me the prelude kit looks much closer and I should try that. So he didn't offer much help but they did check my vin and my codes and assured me that all the major bits I had in the car were the ones that came with it.....every little bit counts.

Off to a different parts store to have a look at their premium clutch kit just for comparison, (they said rhinopac is crap and they don't carry it btw). He comes out of the back with the premium kit and lo and behold It has the same box as my rhinopac, it has the same part number and sticker as well, and would you believe an identical clutch to the one I was holding, however the outer shell of the box (the slipcover) has some other brand on it. LOLZ.


Anyways, now I am confident I have the proper kit for the car. But still leery because the honda guy confidently shot down the clutch that I had already installed...and now was planning on reinstalling.

Back to my shop...I removed the flywheel again and sent it back to the machine shop just to be certain and called in 3 or 4 more professionals to advise. Nobody could offer an answer except to meticulously put the clutch back in again and make sure nothing gets overlooked.

So I did...very very carefully, by the book, going over again and again. Just finished this morning and guess what, I have the same issue but this time the clutch almost engages...it is very close but still not quite enough. The slave pushes about a half inch of travel ( which is comparable to a similar car I looked at).

My only nagging concern is this: On all the other hondas I saw in the scrapyard the clutch fork sat right tight up against the slave cylinder...like the boot on the slave was compressed fully. Mine sits much further out...like the slave is already an inch into its travel. I have measured and I'm certain it isn't maxing out....and that is the beauty of a hydraulic system is it adjusts automatically (I figure I can adjust the pivot bolt to fix this...but it worked before with the old clutch so it should now)

So here I sit, week 3 on a simple clutch job, sitting on hundreds of dollars in parts. I just don't know what else to possibly try.

This is posted on multiple forums...I am desperate for a solution
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
update. the hydraulic system is out of the picture. I have the car up on stands, engine running in gear. I can manually actuate the fork slowly up to an inch of travel (the slave only travels a half inch) and at no point does the clutch engage to stop the wheels from spinning. Methinks something is wrong with that brand new pressure plate, and I will probably have to pull the thing back out and try another one. Thoughts?
 

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Any possibility the fork could be bent or cracked which might allow some extra flex?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It is possible, I did inspect it but not super closely. I will be taking a closer look tonight...prob dropping the trans again
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dropped the trans out again. Pulled the Rhinopac clutch and measured the thickness/depth against the original one.

Original:


Rhinopac


That's a 5mm difference roughly. I picked up a napa clutch and the pp is the same as the oem. So I put it in (damn I'm getting good at this) and it works.

My guess is thinner pressure plate means not enough clearance for the friction disc to actually freewheel as it should when the splines are pushed. All I know is this "new" aftermarket clutch is no good
 
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