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I have a '98 Rodeo and the clutch catches extremely high up the pedal. It's probably 1-2" down (90% up in the travel). The clutch does not slip at all and the car runs great. Is this indicative of anything going wrong? The clutch has about 50k miles on it.

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Has it always been like that or is this something new? –  Troggy Apr 21 '11 at 5:18
    
It's been like that since it was installed. –  jcm Apr 21 '11 at 6:34
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Mechanics sometimes have opinions about where the clutch "should" take up. I know of one who adjusted it unasked on a relative's car because he was "certain" it should take up right at the top of the travel. The owner disagreed as she was used to it being lower down. She forced him to restore it to much lower down because it was work that wasn't agreed on or asked for. –  staticsan May 4 '11 at 0:23
    
The clutch on my truck does this as well. I can shift by depressing the clutch 1/4 inch. I have from time to time made the mistake of not turning the truck off when parking, and the truck will lurch forward and stall immediately. So I would say to try this test. With the car is on depress the clutch all the way; while, holding your foot firmly on the brake let the clutch out rapidly and if the car stalls immediately it is fine, but if the clutch slips their is something wrong with it. –  user3875 Oct 22 '13 at 23:34
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2 Answers 2

The short answer is probably no, this is not bad. Inconvenient at times but likely just fine.

The longer answer requires a little more information:

Is the clutch fully disengaged after it's depressed past that 2 inch mark? Or is that just the point at which it really catches? It's possible that the clutch is still slipping at that point, making for a very non-linear feel.

My old diesel VW Rabbit was like that, making it very hard to teach my future wife how to drive a manual transmission....

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Every clutch is a little bit different.

As long as you understand where the clutch engages, you will be fine. I believe the biggest factor in whether a clutch will last a long time is:

  1. Riding the clutch, driving for long distances with the clutch partially engaged
  2. Dropping the clutch, i.e.- racing starts
  3. Slowing down the vehicle by downshifting and using the engine backpressure to slow the car down.

I have had a clutch that grabs a 1/4" off the floorboard and a clutch that grabs 1/4" from the top. As long as you know where it grabs and you adjust your clutching style to match it, you shouldn't have any problems.

Now, if the clutch grabs close to the top, you can do quicker shifts, but I doubt that is important in a Rodeo.

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Could this lead to any problems down-the-line? Will it move even higher as it wears resulting in it never fully engaging? –  jcm Apr 21 '11 at 16:07
    
@jcm I do not believe there will be any down-the-line problems. The variance in where the clutch grabs is wholly dependent on the levers in the clutch-pedal mechanism. Only if the levers that actually cause the clutch plate to engage got out of alignment with each other would the clutch plate not be engaged with the clutch pedal all the way out. –  Patrick Apr 21 '11 at 17:57
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Point #3 which is known as Engine Braking is a normal and perfectly fine operation to do and doesn't cause additional wear on the clutch as long as it is done well. The human element of the downshifting is where additional wear can come into play, if you don't match your revs well when engaging the clutch (be it up or down shifting) the clutch and flywheel meeting at two different speeds is what wears down on the friction material. The further off in RPMS you are, the more wear you will cause. –  ManiacZX Apr 21 '11 at 21:37
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