Issues with getting refund from garage? - uhk191
Dear all,

I may have a problem with a garage that I've used. I took my car to them last year for a new clutch and replacement for the Dual-Mass Flywheel. It's turned into a bit of a nightmare. They changed the clutch etc and then the pedal started sticking down, which they diagnosed as knackered master-cylinder. I coughed up another £300ish to replace that, which fixed the problem. However, after a while, I got an intermittent problem with the clutch slipping after being stuck in traffic for a while. The chap who runs the garage couldn't get it to slip and even borrowed the car for a week to use it to try and provoke it.

Anyway, eventually I managed to demonstrate the problem to one of his colleagues, and they took the car back and did some work - don't really know what they did though. This seemed to help. But then in June it started slipping again. I emailed him, but got no response. Then it didn't slip until a couple of weeks ago when it started doing it really badly on the way into and out of London. I took the car back to the garage and they said they would just change the clutch. I disagreed with them and said, "please investigate it before you just change the clutch". They called me a few days later to say they had found the problem - an oil leak from the rocker cover gasket dripping tiny amounts of oil onto the clutch. They said that as this wasn't their fault, they would have to charge me. They fixed the leak, and charged my £550 for another new clutch.

I went to pick it up and within 10 miles, the clutch was slipping again. They ummed and aahed and took the car back. They then changed the master cylinder again. This final bit of work SEEMS to fixed the problem for now.

Question is - should they refund me the work for the latest replacement clutch? I'm happy to pay for the oil leak, but it seems that was not causing the problem. They've sent me photos of my old clutch while it was still attached to the car and there are no signs of any oil on it. The car could have been fixed by putting a new master cylinder on and the clutch change was unnecessary....

Please - any advice very welcome!

Many thanks
Issues with getting refund from garage? - oilrag
Hi Uhk,

Are you sure it`s the master cylinder that`s been leaking? Does this car have a coaxial slave cylinder inside the housing? If so, surely it would more likely be that? (if not an engine or gearbox oil leak)

But it`s over a year? since the first clutch was fitted. The garage couldn`t make it slip , although it was slipping on and off for you.

That almost seems like certain driving conditions... as it was fine for months in between slipping sessions (If I have that correct)

If it was oil from the rocker gasket - it`s not the garages fault a year+? later.

They should have spotted a leak from the (surely) slave cylinder - it would not be in their interests not to.
In summary, without the removed parts there is nothing to go on regarding evidence - put it down to experience.

Some cars have very visible external clutch slave cylinders - and along with the master cylinder can be kept under observation.

How long do you usually `get` out of your previous cars clutches, by the way?


Issues with getting refund from garage? - uhk191
Don't think anything's been leaking. They fitted a dodgy master cylinder in December last year, and I've been complaining about slipping clutch ever since. The slave is on top of the gearbox- easily seen.
It seems the master cylinder may have been allowing the pedal to return to its proper place, but somehow still allowing the clutch to not have full 'lock'. Basically their diagnosis of pre-existing oil leak causing the problem was wrong, and I've paid £550 for that. The actual fault seems to have been with a part they replaced and they've been aware of the slipping problem for ages.
Never had to replace a clutch before.
Issues with getting refund from garage? - oilrag
First, I`m really sorry to hear of your situation. But without any actual proof, I don`t see what you can do. It`s your opinion that it was the master cylinder - but i don`t see how that would actually wear the clutch lining.
If there was somehow residual pressure in the clutch hydraulics it would surely have had the release bearing engaged and spinning before the massive increase in pressure needed to force the plates apart. If that were happening regularly, your bearing would have worn out.
It`s just a personal opinion, but I think the master cylinder (making the clutch slip - as opposed to not seperating the plates fully) is a red herring.

Issues with getting refund from garage? - uhk191
Thanks for the replies people.

The only proof I have is that since they changed the master cylinder again, the problem is fixed!

They replaced the clutch at the same time as they fixed the oil leak since they said that if it had had oil on it it ought to be changed, but within about 10 miles it was slipping again - a brand new clutch. I can only conclude from that the oil leak wasn't causing the clutch to slip - from the photos they sent me of the oil leak, the clutch and flywheel are completely clean anyway. So I returned the car to them and they changed the master cylinder again and now - no slipping clutch! I don't have the old clutch to be able to inspect the release bearing.

Hope it makes sense! I'm happy to pay them for fixing the oil leak - it was only a few tiny drops, but the engine bay looked filthy after the three years it had been doing it. Interesting that the oil NEVER made my first and original clutch slip in the 85,000 miles the car had done when I took it in because the clutch was very heavy - that is a apparently a sign of a worn clutch on v6 Alfas.

Edited by uhk191 on 18/11/2009 at 09:00

Issues with getting refund from garage? - PR {P}
Not neccessarily. THe clutch on my GTA is heavy, and has been since it was new (to me @6k miles). Its now nearing 90k and its the same stiffness. The bite point is higher but thats the only difference. I also had a GTA from new before this one and the clutch on that was heavy aswell.