Noob with plenty of questions...don't ya hate me already!! Lol
I am going into my 5th year owning an '03 that is triple black, mostly original except for minor upgrades(I will list them later), and a few things I need answers to. So please be patient with me, and in return I will do my best to not sound like a dumba$$! I also am a former member of a well known club of America that I won't mention here. I am here to find answers and share my experiences without drama and smarta$$es. So enough for the intro, if anyone can answer the questions below that I have not been able to resolve I would greatly appreciate it!
BTW, the car was a one owner with 35000 miles when I bought it. It now has about 52000 on it. Always garage kept. Played with, but not abused, and has had a couple major repairs since I've had it such as a new tranny (the original one exploded 2nd gear 3 months after I bought it) and a new firewall-forward wiring harness after chipmunks ate my coil pack wires. A short list of upgrades are: Borla catbacks, high flow cats, K&N CAI, Spec Stage 2+ clutch, Fidanza flywheel, B&M short throw, and Michelin PS2's all around.
1. Ever since I have owned it there is a lot of pressure inside the valve covers that causes oil to leak out the oil fill cap. It doesn't do it during normal driving, but when I get in the gas it will leak down on the headers and smoke. Scared the hell out of me when it first happened! I have replaced the oil fill cap and oring from the dealer but did not fix the issue. I checked the fill port for warpage with a machinists level, checked for deform inside the opening with an inside dial caliper and it is round not oval, checked the PCV and EGR systems and they appear normal, and wrapped the oring with Teflon tape to seal it better but it still weeps oil. For now I pop the twist cap off and tighten the main threads with channel locks and snap the cap back on. Anybody else ever heard of this being a problem? Is it normal to have that much pressure to build up in the valve covers under load, or is it a sign of another problem? If so, what should I consider?
2. When the tranny was replaced, I upgraded to a Spec Stage 2+ clutch, lightweight flywheel, new TOB, and a B&M short throw shifter. I do not recall if the pivot fork was replaced or not. That was around 15000 miles and 4 years ago. I got in the car last week and it would not go into gear. The clutch pedal feels like it has normal resistance but the clutch apparently isn't disengaging. If I kill the car and try to start in gear it is under full load like its 100% engaged. There are no oil leaks in the bellhousing or outside the transmission, the reservoir is full with fairly clear fluid (doesn't appear burnt), and like I said the TOB was replaced with the clutch. I was about to order a new master cylinder until I saw threads about the fork failures, pedal and cable adjustments, etc. I will try to verify the system is trying to actuate the TOB before wasting money, and also try adjusting the pedals to see if that helps. They have never been adjusted since I had the car, and I know if the adjustment helps it just means my fork is wearing and needs replacing. Also, the pedal adjustment to make the pedals closer/further is not working. When I hit the button under the dash to adjust them the pedal assembly jumps like it tries to move but acts like it is in a bind and wont move(another problem i have to fix).
Would this be a factor in my clutch issue? Anything else I need to do or consider in troubleshooting the problem? How do you test the hydraulic system to see if its working when you cant see the TOB? The pedal being firm is what throws me off to think it may be wear that needs adjustment.
3. The pedal adjustment problem.....what are the common issues with these units? The actuator is working as you can see the pedals jump when the button is pressed. It's just like it is in a bind. What could cause this?
4. The valvetrain has always been very loud when at operating temps. Is this normal or should i be adjusting the valve lash at some frequency? I know the tolerances are set tight when cold and can expand a lot when hot. But should it be sounding like a diesel when it is at temp?
5. My power steering to radiator fan hose is leaking very bad where it comes out the top of the PS reservoir. I found and replaced a bad oring at that fitting,, and the flared flange nut is tight as I can get it, but the line wobbles inside the fitting and leaks a lot of fluid. Is it possible to get it to seal better by modifying the flange at the fitting or by installing an oversized oring? Or is the fix to just replace the hose? I know the PS lines on these cars have a history of failure, and I had the dealership "supposedly" replaced them when they changed the tranny, but this looks like an older line.
6. Especially with the top and windows up, I have a lot of gear noise in the rear diff. It sounds like the backlash is too sloppy and the noise is both a 'bump-bump' when giving and letting off the gas and a constant hum/whine while under steady throttle. I want to install 3:55's soon anyway, but is this normal sounds for our cars?
I will stop here for now. I look forward to getting some much needed answers here. And I thank everyone in advance for anything you may have to help me. I also apologize for the long post (something I am known for and need to correct!)lol!! For any typos. I am typing this from my phone and apologize for having fat fingers. Hopefully everyone can decipher what I'm saying though.
My valvetrain was always loud, it's a big engine with thin valvecovers and vents in the hood that don't muffle the noise. I would normally not worry about it, but then again you are having increased pressure enough to cause leaking through the oil cap and that shouldn't be happening.
Never had any rear end noise issues until I blew the rear end. I think you may have an issue there and if you are thinking about 3.55s just do it (3.55s are the best mod you can do, really wakes up the driving experience).
1. get a catch can and route the oil lines to it. Make sure it has a breather on top.
2. Check clutch fluid. Look under the car, is there a puddle? Sounds like a bad slave.
3. No fucking idea, engine/trans mounts bad/
4. Oil change with 15w-50 Mobile 1.
5. oil line leaking is common. Best fix is aftermarket lines from RSI or Dan Lesser
6. Replace or rebuild. 3.55s would be best. Gen 4/5 rear even better
1. Too much crankcase pressure (blow by) or your pcv system is not working correctly.
2. There is no fork. You have a master and a slave they directly pushes the tob onto the pressure plate fingers. Try and bleed the system first. (The pedal adjuster only moves the pedal assy back and forth).
3. Something may be broken or in a bind.
4. These engines have fast bleed lifters and sound like a sewing machine when hot. You also may want to check the drivers side exhaust manifold for cracks. While your at it check the motor mounts too!
5. The o-ring that is bad is behind the nut and virtually impossible to replace without cutting the nut off. Do a search, there are aftermarket options or stock replacements.
6. The Dana 44HD tends to have a bit of backlash and a clunk is normal but you should not have any whine. 3.55’s will make it feel like a totally different car, you may want to get rid of the stock hydra-lok as that is a weak point.
Gun control means hitting what you are aiming at!
Okay....so I just got out from under it. I have full clutch pedal pressure. The p/p is moving, from inspection with the dust cover off and a buddy working the pedal, to what Spec said it needs to in order to release the clutch disc pressure. There is a lot of surface rust on the friction plate of the flywheel. So I'm thinking the disc has seized to the p/p from sitting a couple weeks. I tried jacking the rear end and starting in gear and gently pressing the brakes while holding the clutch in to see if it would turn loose, but it didn't and I didn't want to do more damage than a clutch. But now I am wondering....is it possible for the TOB to not be traveling as far as it should? Would either the master or slave cylinder possibly failing cause the stroke to be less? The reason I'm asking this is because the last time I drove it I did notice it seemed harder to get in gear. Like the pressure plate was not being pressed as far. Does this put me back to the master cylinder going out and not stroking as far?
It takes hardly any movement of the pressure plate to release, can you “pump” the clutch pedal to get it to free up? It shouldn’t rust solid in a couple of weeks.
Did you actually pull the cover for the reservoir off?
I crawled back under to get a measurement for the Spec tech. The pp is visibly moving 1/32", which should be within the .024" minimum the tech mentioned. This was checked at all three tabs. The thing is after my earlier trial on jacks using brakes after starting in gear weare now hearing a loud squeaking noise inside the bellhousing as the clutch is actuated. It doesnt seem to be air moving through the lines, but rather a dry rubber sliding on metal sound. I know whatever the cause this is gonna cause me to pull the tranny, so i shut it down for the day. I may order the MC and SC as cheap insurance and replace the clutch as well. Its a shame that after spending a couple grand i am replacing it all after 15000 miles. I am not bashing the Spec equipment, and hopefully may not even need to change it yet, but if do yeah....a shame. Especially when the car only sees car shows and mild driving. If anyone can think of anything i can try in the meantime i am still appreciating the feedback. But at this point idk if the MC is leaking internally and not stroking enough, the slave is going out, the disc is rust-welded to the flywheel, or if there could be something else i am missing. All i know is to pull the tranny.
But while i am at it i can update my initial list above...
1. May not need motor without trans if i cant fix this clutch issue so blowback isnt what im willing to tackle right now
2. Ugh.....more beer needed
3. Fixed the pedal adjustment issue. Weak actuator motor and lack of lube causing it to drag. Found by helping the cables turn by hand and it started working again.
4. Will make note to turn up the radio
5. Hose upgrade kit ordered today
6. 3:55's in near future. Hard to feel added oomph while sitting in driveway revving engine with no clutch
And yes, the best advice i have gotten....i WILL be buying a service manual asap!!
I will update if i find a viable answer to my clutch issue. Thanks to all who have helped with your advice!
i vote no on the idea that your clutch is rusted to the flywheel. sounds like a bad slave cylinder. like someone else said, there is no fork, the slave cylinder is circular and on the transmission input shaft and has the throwout bearing attached as one assembly. so yes the transmission has to come out.
i have only done 3 repairs on my car in 6 years of ownership. clutch slave cylinder, PS lines (bought mine from JTSVP- looks like $259 now) and my passenger side window regulator. that's it besides flipping my parking brake pads to even out the wear.
try the thicker oil, that might help, but vipers do sound like a loud sewing machine. do you live someplace hot? Either way i would let that oil get warm before stomping on the gas pedal. I'm assuming your car has good oil pressure?
i see that Doug shelby engineering has a Gen 3 catch can kit for $395
I did check the fluid in the clutch reservoir by pulling the cap. I have, btw, ran Dodges all my life and am used to the stained fluid giving a false sense of being full! lol
I do apologize for the lapse of brains about the slave/TOB. I did know that, since I am the one that shopped around to find the one that is in my car now. It was replaced when the tranny went south and decided to grenade 2nd gear 3 months after I had it in city stop and go traffic. However, due to said lapse of brains, I can't for the life of me remember who's TOB it is. This in all does not help still though. Because now I don't have a weak/worn fork to blame it all on...
I did speak to Spec, as I mentioned in my previous post. I could not get the exact measurement of travel before they closed so I am waiting to talk to them again tomorrow. I am torn between the disc stuck and the travel not being adequate due to failure symptoms of the MC or SC. Either way, I don't want to pull the tranny to unstick a clutch disc that I will end up having to replace anyway, and NOT change the MC and SC while in there ONLY to kick myself in the a$$ in the near future for not doing it now. Given today's prices....I like cheap insurance.
I do live in SE Louisiana and it is HOT in the winter and HOTTER in the summer with 90-100% humidity most of the time. Throw in a few gentle breezes (we call them that, you call them hurricanes) and yeah.....moisture is an issue. Driving a triple black car, with leaking exhaust insulation wraps that I also need to change, in this heat and humidity, and I think I surpass any/all OEM recommendations for 'Normal' use!! This may explain why the edge surfaces when viewed from the inspection plate on the bellhousing has A LOT of surface rust. When the Spec tech said the discs can stick but it is very rare and would take the ideal combination of heat and humidity....yeah, I knew I was a candidate!
I would like to run a thought by y'all (that's you all, better known as 'you guys' for the yanks) of an idea I have. Would it be acceptable, not recommended, or downright redneck stupid to try to have a buddy hold the clutch pedal down while I use a slim tool (butter knife) to try to unstick the disc? I'm thinking the damage is already done and whether I do that or attempt to pull the trans first, I will still have to pry it loose and replace regardless. My thoughts are that if I try this and see the disc is actually not frozen I can then focus on the MC, SC, and fluid flush. And with that, should I try a fluid flush first to see if I get release, or at least slippage? The fluid is a dark, almost blackish color like it has definitely been burnt. This is different than what I first posted because the clutch reservoir is the LITTLE bottle, not the BIG one that is the brake reservoir.....now, where's that darn service manual again?!! And I promised to not look like a dumbass!! Sorry....
Yes...but I like his gett'er done attitude and willingness to listen...Unlike that "other guy". Keep on it. You are making progress and asking the right questions. I have a SPEC 3+ with a Findaza aluminum flywheel. No problems for over 40K miles in the humid Florida heat/humidity. Car sits for weeks/months at a time without clutch freezing issues. FWIW. The blowby issue is concerning nonetheless. The other stuff just mechanical gremlins.
Y'all crack me up! Loving this site already! No progress today, so no long post! However some good news....the fucking service manual is on its way! See, I do listen...sometimes. its getting me to shut up thats a problem!🤫
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