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Clutch Failure

5993 Views 16 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  STALKER20
My new Antarra broke down last year with a failed clutch, it was only 4 weeks with 590 miles on the clock, it took 2 weeks to repair. Then 2 months later the gear cable broke 2526 miles on the clock and needed replacing, Both were done under warranty.

Last week, the car broke down again with clutch failure with 9000 miles on the clock, it is less than 12 months since the repair to the first clutch but 13 months from purchase.

They have informed that the damage is 'wear and tear' and therefore not under their lifetime warranty, £2000 to repair. I have spoken to Vauxhall Care who are reassessing my claim.

Note, I have been driving for 44 years and never had a new clutch brfore.

Anyone have any advise on the best course of action. if my claim is unsuccessful.
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Do you tow with it or has it got a tow bar fitted that vauxhall can see.?
If they won't replace it I would take it to a garage you can trust and get the clutch out. If you have worn it down it will be easy to see. If the clutch has broken up then show it to vauxhall.
I think they will replace it with only that mileage on it but if you want them to do it and you pay ask to see it when it is all stripped down and show you what is worn.
Is the clutch slipping?
I don't tow.

The car is stripped down on ramps in the local Vauxhall garage, they showed me the damage and stated that it was 'wear & tear'. The mechanic said he replaced the clutch last year and that you cannot put in a faulty clutch!!!

Taking the car to another garage would be difficult and expensive as they have taken the gear box out to assess the damage.

Note, there was no advanced warning that the clutch was slipping or damaged.
Were both failures under the same driving conditions, i.e were you travelling at speed or pulling away from a stand still ?, a clutch to last 590 miles initially then less than 12 months for a replacment suggests something else is wrong for sure.
What was the damage? Has the plate worn down?
The cover plate can come losse if not done up correct if so you should see damage to the fixing hole.
I would ask vauxhall to send someone down to take a look even if you have to wait as if it was the same garage as did the first one they could be having you on.
I am going to Paris in are antara on Wednesday so done like hearing things like this.
I haven't seen a lot of clutch trouble on this forum so does sound strange.
The 1st instance was coming upto a roundabout changing from 3rd to 2nd gear and the latest was joining a motorway at average speed in 4th gear going upto 5th gear.
I know that the duel mass flywheels have issues on many new cars, Antara included.
Any examples I can use in my discussion with Vauxhall care?
I only know what I have read on this forum,that would be applicable. If you read other forums like freel2 (land rover) there are many instances, but they are LR not VX.
You haven't said what is worn or broken and what happened when it went. Did it not release?
I would want them to show me the damage I did to it by driving and how I did it.
I have been in cars driven by friends and family with stop start and have seen them sitting at the lights with car in gear and clutch down to stop the stop start cutting in. This is really bad for the clutch and bearing. Turn off the stop and start ever time you start the engine as it will cause wear to engine parts ever time it starts and as you said the warrantie does not cover wear and tear.
I am not an engineer, so when they showed me the damage it didn't mean anything.

The clutch pedal would not spring back into place, ie limp, the AA man thought it was the hydralic system.

The stop & start feature was always on and for 99% of the time it was active when stationary.

The lifetime warranty offered by Vauxhall seems to at the whim of their customer care department.
That sounds more like a failed pressure plate. You could drain the hydraulics and the pedal would still spring back up. It's the pressure from the plate that returns the pedal assisted usually by a spring somewhere. It doesn't sound like a worn out clutch. I'd be staggered even with poor driving if you could wear one out in that time. Even with towing.

Odd but I put a new clutch in my Land Cruiser the other week and had the same symptoms. Turned out to be a rubbish after market unit. The pedal wouldn't come back up and it slipped even in 3rd gear. Simply no clamping force. Put a new Valeo in and drove to France in it.

Wouldn't you think that a major manufacturer with their combined knowledge bank would know what this was immediately rather then try to wriggle out of it. Could it be that they simply don't care? If they put the shutters up, people will back down and pay for someone else's mistakes?
Totally agree with above, I wonder if it's possible for a faulty slave cylinder to apply too much pressure to the springs on the clutch plate... Edited by: SJG
Never thought of that. They are (should be) hugely strong and outlast the friction plate in an ideal world. The stroke of the pedal and the slave cylinder are limited of course but only work as well as their design. If there is a fault in the 'sums' as it were then maybe you could actually press too hard as it were. But I'd think you have to go some to actually distort the spring fingers on the cover plate. I took my clutch back and compared it to the original. There were twice ans many fingers, they were half the thickness and I could bend them on the counter. Not actuate them as you would with the release bearing but bend them! Clearly they weren't going to hold against a 4.2L lump. There are manufacturing defects in all things I guess, but to have two go like this, it points to something on the car really not the consumable parts. I guess it could be a collapsing release bearing. We need to see the bits really.
Personally I'd stick at it with Vauxhall direct, there is clearly something wrong with car / clutch - the technical boys seem to concur above.
Do thoroughly read thro' any Warranty paperwork that you have, check the Ts & Cs & be prepared to be rebuffed, but be familiar with the Warranty, it won't be so much agro' when they quote clauses at you, you can be prepared with any counter-argument.Stick to your guns, don't lose the rag (if you can help it) & keep all communication documented, preferably with one-point-of-contact, confirm any & all communication with a follow-up email.

If not already done so summarise the problem & dates of incidents previous repairs etc etc & clearly state your opinion over the failure of the clutches in such a short space of time is not reasonable wear or tear or Driver fault& that you expect Vauxhall to honour theirWarranty / Customer Service obligations.
Challenge their assertion over wear & tear or Driver fault - demand that the clutch is independently checked etc etc. Note; it's your clutch so if necessary ask for it to be returned to you for independent assessment etc etc.
Don't be afraid to have a go, once they see that your prepared to challenge their decision they may back-off (not always), but nothing ventured...

If you get no joy you can always seek further advice, Trading Standards or seek redress Small Claims Court, unfortunately that may incur expense & time that you don'thave - your call.

If you bought the car thro' a Finance / LeaseCompany, talk to them as they may ultimately "own" the car!

Best of British,
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I would agree with whats been said ie. pressure plate gone (probably rivets given up), as for the defective item .I'll put money that they say it went into the skip.
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mines just packed in today , trying to drive out at aroundabout , burning smell as well
in the garage being assesed thanks to the AA , 14OO MILES and a month old , service manger was talking of driver error does not sound promising for repair costs
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