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Discussion Starter #1
I've had to rescue my wife a couple times in the last few weeks. She has a 2007 S60R with the 6 speed manual transmission and 58,xxx adult driven "cream puff" miles (the car is very well maintained/never abused). Over the last few weeks she has recently gotten caught in heavy stop/go traffic twice. I've copied/pasted her input below regarding what happened that left her stranded on the side of the road.

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Incident #1

While in heavy creep and beep traffic, I was riding the clutch in 1st
gear. After about 30 minutes, the car got increasingly difficult to move.
When I let out the clutch and gave the car gas, the rpm's went to around
6,000 and the car would hardly move forward. I hobbled it to the edge of
the freeway, and by this time it was barely moving, smoking, and had a
terrible burning smell. After the car sat for a few hours, it was able to
be driven just fine. It ran fine for 2 weeks, but I was not in heavy stop
and go traffic again.

Incident #2

On the same stretch of freeway, two weeks later, I was once again stuck in
extremely heavy stop and go traffic. Again, I was riding the clutch
creeping along very slowly/stopping/going under 5 miles per hour. Again,
after a while, the car was having more and more difficulty getting rolling
after a stop, the engine was revving past 6,000 rpm's and while I could
shift into different gears, the car never moved faster than 5 miles per
hour. It sounded like I was trying to go 100 miles per hour in first gear,
but I was hardly moving. Once again, I pulled off the freeway, let the car
cool down for a few hours, then it drove fine.

FINALLY, I WAS NOT IN THE WRONG GEAR TRYING TO DRIVE!!!! I even tried
shifting from first to second and third and it didn't make any difference.
______________________

I've come to the rescue both times. On both occasions I simply waited a couple hours until traffic subsided, then I drove the car home with zero issues. In the weeks between both incidents, the car worked perfectly with no clutch slipping issues. In fact, we tried hard to make the clutch slip by putting the car in 5th at 20 miles and hour then floored it. We did this and other similar tests - the car would just build up speed with no slipping at all.

I know this is a great opportunity to take shots about how women drive manual transmission cars, but my wife has been driving a manual for about 30 years and does so very well. Something seems amiss with her R. I would appreciate any suggestions on what to try to resolve this issue.

Thanks in advance for any constructive input/suggestions.
 

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Sounds like the clutch is overheating. Im assuming you know the symptoms of slave cylinder failure. Unless you're losing brake fluid, I bet it's just a worn friction plate.

Does it smell like burning clutch?
 

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Most likely needs a new clutch, it's probably glazed beyond fixing itself. Clutch kit isn't too expensive, around $400 with a brand new LUK clutch with a volvo slave cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I do not know the symptoms of a slave cylinder failure. My guess is if the slave cylinder fails then the clutch does nothing when you push in the pedal. Is that accurate? If so it does not seem to be the problem. This sounds like the clutch is slipping.

It only smelled like burnt clutch the first time it did this. The second time there was not burnt clutch smell.

If the clutch is worn/needs to be replaced, why does it work properly when it is not hot from being in heavy traffic. We went weeks with no issues.

Thanks for the input. Please keep it coming!
 

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I do not know the symptoms of a slave cylinder failure. My guess is if the slave cylinder fails then the clutch does nothing when you push in the pedal. Is that accurate? If so it does not seem to be the problem. This sounds like the clutch is slipping.

It only smelled like burnt clutch the first time it did this. The second time there was not burnt clutch smell.

If the clutch is worn/needs to be replaced, why does it work properly when it is not hot from being in heavy traffic. We went weeks with no issues.

Thanks for the input. Please keep it coming!
First off, the biggest tell in slave cylinder problems is the loss of brake fluid. Your brake fluid light will come on and warn you about a low level. Chances are you will also notice a puddle under the car. As things get worse, your clutch pedal will not come up as fast or not at all. But it doesn't sound like this is the case.

Now, when a clutch plate is glazed over it has no more "bite" to it. Think of a sand paper that has lost all the abrasive material. When the friction plate is cold, it's surface is contracted and "tougher" because the molecules are not moving around as fast. You know how brakes start to overheat and fade if you slam on them at high speeds? That's because you've overheated the pads and they can't bite into the rotor anymore. The surface turns into a mirror like finish. Then it feels like your brakes are made out of cheese. Well the same happens to a clutch. All a clutch is, is pretty much a giant brake pad.

Now sometimes you can "deglaze" the clutch friction plate by removing the glazed surface. This involves slipping the clutch at higher speeds and then letting the clutch cool off. It's sort of like bedding the brake pads/rotors.

This may help. I mean the clutch is toast anyway, not like you can really hurt anything.

http://community.cartalk.com/discus...utch-to-remove-glaze-and-stop-slipping-issues
 

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I had a slip months before the clutch actually wouldn't work at all anymore in any gear. Then it was 4th gear all the time, then it was 3rd gear all the time. That's when I parked it. It was a matter of days once the 4th gear started slipping for it to decline rapidly.
 

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I realize this doesn't help with your potential immediate issue, but for future reference, let her know to minimize how much she rides the clutch in traffic. It should be more of an on/off pattern (clutches aren't designed to be slipped for extended periods). Since she stated that she was riding the clutch, I can only imagine that she had pressure on the clutch the duration of her movement in traffic, which not only wears your clutch, but puts a lot of strain on your throwout bearing as well.

In order to minimize clutch heat/wear, give some space to the car in front of you, and then let the clutch all the way out and roll up at idle speed. Then once you catch up, push the clutch in and coast... Once you fall back again, let it all the way back out, rinse, repeat. You can basically roll along at just around 5 mph with the car idling and in first gear. It kind of sucks, particularly when traffic is really slow, but it will save you time, money, and heartache.
 

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I realize this doesn't help with your potential immediate issue, but for future reference, let her know to minimize how much she rides the clutch in traffic. It should be more of an on/off pattern (clutches aren't designed to be slipped for extended periods). Since she stated that she was riding the clutch, I can only imagine that she had pressure on the clutch the duration of her movement in traffic, which not only wears your clutch, but puts a lot of strain on your throwout bearing as well.

In order to minimize clutch heat/wear, give some space to the car in front of you, and then let the clutch all the way out and roll up at idle speed. Then once you catch up, push the clutch in and coast... Once you fall back again, let it all the way back out, rinse, repeat. You can basically roll along at just around 5 mph with the car idling and in first gear. It kind of sucks, particularly when traffic is really slow, but it will save you time, money, and heartache.

^This... given this "58,xxx adult driven "cream puff" miles (the car is very well maintained/never abused)"
 

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I realize this doesn't help with your potential immediate issue, but for future reference, let her know to minimize how much she rides the clutch in traffic. It should be more of an on/off pattern (clutches aren't designed to be slipped for extended periods). Since she stated that she was riding the clutch, I can only imagine that she had pressure on the clutch the duration of her movement in traffic, which not only wears your clutch, but puts a lot of strain on your throwout bearing as well.

In order to minimize clutch heat/wear, give some space to the car in front of you, and then let the clutch all the way out and roll up at idle speed. Then once you catch up, push the clutch in and coast... Once you fall back again, let it all the way back out, rinse, repeat. You can basically roll along at just around 5 mph with the car idling and in first gear. It kind of sucks, particularly when traffic is really slow, but it will save you time, money, and heartache.
QFT!
V704me, you might want to ride with your dear wife to see what she actually does in heavy traffic. SectorNine50 has spot on advice for how to do it without ruining the clutch. Only thing I would add is if traffic is this slow (average speed <5 MPH) you should not be touching the gas pedal at all. Just idle up to 5 MPH, coast, repeat. These cars will do zero-to-5 MPH or so in about 2-3 seconds without any gas pedal input. If you're doing it right you should not be anywhere near overheating your clutch even if you do this for an hour on a 100F summer day.

If you can't do 0-5MPH in an MT R in 3 seconds or so without touching the gas pedal, you need to work on your clutch pedal technique. Frankly the ECM makes it pretty easy to do without stalling. :)
 

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It only smelled like burnt clutch the first time it did this. The second time there was not burnt clutch smell.

If the clutch is worn/needs to be replaced, why does it work properly when it is not hot from being in heavy traffic. We went weeks with no issues.

Thanks for the input. Please keep it coming!
Guessing the 2nd time there was a breeze blowing the clutch smell away, and/or it cooled off enough by the time you got there.

Clutch material is kinda like a brake pad. When the maximum-operating-temperature is exceeded, friction levels fall off rapidly and the friction material will wear away quickly. But once it cools down, assuming you still have some friction material left, it will operate basically as normal again.
 

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I was going to say it, but SectorNine and Warpedcow beat me to it. Creeping is probably the toughest skill for a normal driving of a stick. Without understanding what going on, anyone will burn up a clutch. Most people just don't understand that slipping the clutch at any speed just adds more and more heat. It's all about the on and off time. Heat cycling it a bit may get it back a bit, but if it doesn't slip use it until it does.

My personal opinion about being good at driving stick is always seeking to improve. :)
 

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I drove stick for 25 years before someone taught me about rev matching on downshifts. I used to just use the clutch to force the engine speed up. Now I tap the gas and it feels like an automatic with how smooth I downshift. But the same guy who taught me that, also sits through entire red lights in gear with the pedal in, wearing out his throwout bearing.

Everyone always has room to learn something new that they've been doing wrong. Absolutely has nothing to do with being a woman driver etc, it sounds like someone just taught her the wrong technique for traffic creeping and she has been lucky enough to not kill the clutch in past cars using it. But from your description she is dragging the clutch waaaay too much. Definitely treat it like an on off switch if possible.

Unfortunately what will happen is that if she leaves ample room to buffer the gap with the car in front of her by maintaining a constant creep speed, other jerks in traffic will constantly jump into the gap causing her to have to stop and reset that gap. Happens to me every single time I'm in a slow commute. Two car lengths is enough for idiots to be like A HOLE THAT LANE MUST BE FASTER and swerve into it.
 

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Creeping is probably the toughest skill for a normal driving of a stick.
Sorry, it may be hard on your 740 with it's physical throttle cable, but it's effing easy on any P2 or P1 MT Volvo with throttle-by-wire. As long as someone tells you what to do, execution is stupid simple because of how good the ECM is at preventing the engine from stalling. It's also the first thing you should learn when you are first learning stick - how to get moving without touching the gas pedal.
 

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Unfortunately what will happen is that if she leaves ample room to buffer the gap with the car in front of her by maintaining a constant creep speed, other jerks in traffic will constantly jump into the gap causing her to have to stop and reset that gap. Happens to me every single time I'm in a slow commute. Two car lengths is enough for idiots to be like A HOLE THAT LANE MUST BE FASTER and swerve into it.
I have seen this behavior, but it's actually rather rare to see this happen in MN when traffic has gotten below 10MPH. At that point it seems like everyone just gives up and stays in their lane (thankfully).
When it's cycling between 20-40 MPH though, yeah there can be a lot of cut-offs happening.
(EDIT: this is relevant because V704me is here in MN)
 

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Sorry, it may be hard on your 740 with it's physical throttle cable, but it's effing easy on any P2 or P1 MT Volvo with throttle-by-wire. As long as someone tells you what to do, execution is stupid simple because of how good the ECM is at preventing the engine from stalling. It's also the first thing you should learn when you are first learning stick - how to get moving without touching the gas pedal.

Haha, I didn't mean like that. It's just not easy to learn if you dont know what to look for or understand how a clutch does it's job. It's a classic black box.

As a side note, that 740 gas and clutch combo is really the best I've driven as far as ease of learning. The throttle plate is designed to open slower in the beginning. It's really well engineered.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So this car has been working fine for the last month. The clutch has worked fine and I have had the wife drive the 96 850 we use as a back up car when she has to drive to her class after work (thereby missing stop/go traffic with the manual tranny R). However, I took the car for a drive tonight and noticed some odd noises. Can anyone describe what a car with a bad clutch sounds like? The car still works perfectly but I am starting to hear a chatter/squeal after the clutch is engaged. Maybe the throw out bearing?

Thanks for all the constructive input!
 

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A worn-out clutch generally doesn't make any noise, it just begins to slip when under load. That said, my old Saab had a dampening spring fail on the clutch, and that resulted in scraping and squeeling. Sounded pretty nasty.

You can see the springs I'm referencing in this picture:


I suppose it's also possible that the clutch material has worn down to the rivets, and you're hearing the rivets slide against the flywheel.

Throw-out bearing could also be the culprit; but it usually sounds "rotational," like pulsating or roaring/grinding.

At what point in engagement does the sound occur? When slipping? Does it still occur after the clutch is fully engaged? Diagnosing sounds over the forum can be a little challenging.
 

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Another hot tip, when your clutch is slipping revving up the engine to high RPMs only makes matters worse.

My first clutch lasted about 145,000 miles, and I'm not that easy on them. Assuming that the problem wasn't your slave cylinder dumping brake fluid into the clutch causing it to slip, make sure your wife learns to drive a stick so she doesn't toast the new one in short order as well.
 
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