2003 SLK230 Manual - Stiff Clutch - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 01-24-2014
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2003 SLK230 Manual - Stiff Clutch

Does anyone know what might be causing my clutch to become stiff and stick during the exceptionally cold winter. When it gets below 0, I can to press really hard to get it to go down, then it sticks for about 6-7 seconds before popping up. Once the warmed up and I drive for about 15 minutes, the clutch functions as normal.

In the summer, if I push the clutch down all the way, there is a millisecond delay before it comes back up. I have had people that have test driven my SLK state that it has a really heavy clutch.

I have never had clutch work done and all the parts are original to the vehicle. I am hoping I can just maintenance it vs having to replace it.
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#2 Old 01-24-2014
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Originally Posted by Erok View Post
Does anyone know what might be causing my clutch to become stiff and stick during the exceptionally cold winter. When it gets below 0, I can to press really hard to get it to go down, then it sticks for about 6-7 seconds before popping up. Once the warmed up and I drive for about 15 minutes, the clutch functions as normal.

In the summer, if I push the clutch down all the way, there is a millisecond delay before it comes back up. I have had people that have test driven my SLK state that it has a really heavy clutch.

I have never had clutch work done and all the parts are original to the vehicle. I am hoping I can just maintenance it vs having to replace it.
I have an automatic, but I drove a manual before. The problem is that your "throw-out bearing in the clutch" is probably old and worn-out. I had a friend with Nissan 350 Z with like 25,000 miles and his bearing was making noise. It all depends on the style of driving. He was driving that thing like a race car sometimes =)) The problem is that it won't get any better over time... You will have to replace the bearing and most people recommend replacing clutch at the same time since it's all in the same area, and clutch is probably also getting worn out too. This way you can save on labor. I don't know how much the clutch is for your car. Probably around $500. But it's easier to manage manual tranny vs automatic.

Here's the basic info about how clutch works. Very good explanation =)
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/clutch1.htm
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#3 Old 01-28-2014
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I have an 01 320 with a real transmission like you have. The other morning it was 6 degrees F. Pushed down on the clutch to start it and it took about 3 times the effort. The reason????????......It has a hydraulic clutch and that fluid must get really thick with the cold. Therefore, the pedal becomes stiff.........If you are really worried, do a fluid change and at least you will KNOW that you did your best..........God bless.......Dennis
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#4 Old 02-04-2014
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Originally Posted by slkDennis View Post
real transmission .......Dennis
I love it ...

I am hoping you are right Dennis. The clutch just feels spongy and doesn't make any noise. The colder it is, the more it sticks, and the harder it is to press down.

I called the dealer and they said they don't change the fluid, but they will work on the clutch. My guess is they will suggest to replace it like they suggest with almost everything else. They are really good at replacing parts but I don't think they are capable of repairing / servicing a part.

Thank "both" of you for your response. I will start with the fluid and if that isn't it, then have the bearing and the rest of the clutch checked out.
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#5 Old 02-04-2014
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Originally Posted by Erok View Post
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Thank "both" of you for your response. I will start with the fluid and if that isn't it, then have the bearing and the rest of the clutch checked out.
Take it to a good indy so they can change the fluid. Sometimes it Does make a change! After I changed the fluid in my tranny it got better, less warm up time on cold mornings and smoother shifts
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#6 Old 02-19-2014
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Fluid issue

Clutch fluid is the same as brake fluid. It will absorb moisture into it if it leaks, or the fluid gets low and you get condensation inside your reservoirs. Then when it gets cold, the moisture "gels" your fluid, and stiffens everything up. That's why after 10 mins of warming up, all is good. If it didn't get better after warming, it would be part related, but just CHANGE YOUR FLUID. And while you're at it, do your brake fluid also, it is just as old.
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#7 Old 02-19-2014
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#8 Old 02-20-2014
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The viscosity of the clutch fluid will change with temperature, also the tolerances of the master and slave cylinder get tighter and seals are stiffer. Cold makes everything work against you.
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#9 Old 02-20-2014
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I have the same problem and was planning on attacking it when the temperature gets a little warmer. Another component not mentioned is a bad slave cylinder. The boot could have broken and the grease is thicker until it starts getting used a lot. The throwout bearing would be making a sort of "chatter" if it was going bad.
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