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A couple of months ago I noticed some problems starting with the clutch; the pedal became extremely spongy and the biting point was right down at the bottom, expecially on cold starts first thing in the morning. As the car warms up, the biting point seems to go back to its normal position.

After a long journey I was slowing down to go through a toll and the clutch was completely unresponsive; I couldn't get it out of gear without stalling and couldn't get it back into gear when it was running - thus I had to be recovered and taken home.

I was informed that it could be the master or slave cylinder, so I've had a new master cylinder fitted, and the clutch has been bled, which seemed to work for a short while, however after another long journey, the same thing happened. This time I was lucky enough to keep it in gear long enough to get myself home.

I've been told it's unlikely to be the slave cylinder since I would notice the brake/clutch fluid reservior level dropping, which it isn't (I'm also desperately hoping it's not the slave cylinder because that's a lot of money to sort out)

After reading some articles on the internet I've found that a lot of people have had problems bleeding the clutch on Astras so I'm wondering if there are any techniques to try.

Car details


Vauxhall Astra H SRi
1.8 Petrol
5 Speed Manual Gearbox

  • i had same problem, and all i did was lift my clutch pedal by hand and it stayed there, just the bite is halfway up but can get my gears now – user13382 Nov 26 '15 at 16:33
  • In my case the slave cylinder was leaking oil through the seal so getting no clutch pressure – series0ne Nov 26 '15 at 16:35
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The Astra H has a concentric clutch slave cylinder which means the gearbox has to be removed to replace it, 5 to 6 hour job. Try holding the clutch pedal down on the floor, engine idling - car in first - handbrake firmly on. Just keep it held down for a while and wait. If the slave is faulty, after a little time the clutch will try to take up the drive and will stall the engine as the slave slowly releases. If the slave cylinder is worn it can fail in two ways. Letting fluid out or letting air in. Afterwards check the bottom of the gearbox where it is attached to the engine, engine off, for any fluid and decide if it is brake fluid or not if any is found. Your symptoms point to a defective/worn seal/bore on the slave.

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If lots of people are having trouble bleeding the clutch, I would suggest buying a bleeding kit. Here is a random product that will help. Your car has a hydraulic clutch and the only thing that will make a hydraulic clutch feel spongy is a lack of hydraulic pressure. Either because the fluid is low or because you have a leak somewhere. Or in extreme conditions where your clutch fluid is boiling, which is highly unlikely.

  • In what conditions would clutch fluid boil? – series0ne Dec 2 '14 at 10:18
  • I don't think it would ever happen unless there was an actual fire. But a fire is one of those things you'll immediately notice;) I just mentioned boiling for the sake of completeness because it's one of the reasons a hydraulic system (like your brakes) could lose pressure. Brakes get MUCH hotter than clutches, which is why it is extremely unlikely. – Captain Kenpachi Dec 2 '14 at 11:33

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