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I'm having an issue with my 2001 Solara, and I would like to check out a few things myself before I have a mechanic spend lots of time diagnosing the problem.

When the engine is under load -- I press hard on the gas pedal, or the car is in cruise and goes uphill -- the engine spikes from cruising power to 4-5000 RPM. As best as I can tell, the necessary load has dropped (the problem has gotten worse) over the past few months.

My car has about 130k miles; it's a manual transmission, and I'm due for an oil change anyway.

ETA: The check engine light has not lit up.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

99% that your clutch is beginning to give out. If you get spikes like that under load, it basically means that your clutch plates aren't gripping together. Basically what is happening is that the engine can't grip the plate that moves the wheels, so I just slides along.

If you get a funky-terrible smell, that is your clutch burning. You will probably notice it happening soon.

I'm not sure if ODB or ODBII monitors clutch status, but either way, you are going to need it replaced.

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Neither OBD nor OBDII can pick this up. –  Paulster2 Mar 28 '14 at 0:34
There's no funky smell yet. The car goes to the shop early next week, hopefully ahead of any funky smell. –  Codes with Hammer Mar 28 '14 at 13:49
Get it done asap - otherwise you'll find yourself stuck somewhere with no drive... –  Rory Alsop Mar 28 '14 at 18:24
Appointment scheduled for Monday morning. I don't use my car much on weekends. –  Codes with Hammer Mar 28 '14 at 19:01

If the RPM rises without a corresponding change in velocity in a vehicle with a manual transmission you've got a slipping clutch.

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Your clutch may be fine but your rear main bearing oil seal may have shrunk causing oil to be deposited on clutch components.Easy fix-pour a bottle or two of auto-trans stop leak into your engine (yes,your engine) which in a very short time will swell seals.Did it to my fj40 4 years ago and it has worked to date.If this does not work you have spent little and if it does you have saved a lot.

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How does a treatment for automatic transmissions help a manual transmission's clutch? –  Codes with Hammer Apr 7 '14 at 13:31

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