Last Monday night, the car's clutch failed again. The clutch pedal sank to the floor and in spite of Doc Mike's valiant bleeding efforts, it would not recover. I was forced to use the "starter motor abusive trick" to get the car home.
On Tuesday, I didn't go to work (again! really quite irresponsible and I often fear for my future..) and instead went to Malugay Street to buy a clutch master cylinder. I had this notion that I'd repair it myself rather than abuse the starter again to get the car to a decent repair shop. Anyway, the clutch master cost rather more than I expected (1,750 pesos versus 1,100 pesos in Banawe) but it was getting late and I didn't want to go to Banawe.
Fool's errand. The clutch master was of the wrong type. The high-pressure connection was in the wrong place (rotated 90 degrees clockwise from where it should be). So I bent the hard line in order to make it fit. Eventually that hard line will break and I'll have to replace it with braided steel line.. but I digress.
Replacing the clutch master did not help. The clutch stiffened up, but it still wouldn't go into gear.
So Lalai and I commuted on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Commuting to and from Makati isn't so bad, if slightly annoying. What was terribly annoying was running errands with no car. Yesterday I took an extended lunch break to go to Banawe and buy a clutch slave cylinder (like, duh..) under the unrelenting heat, it was quite unpleasant. I was drenched with sweat by the time I got back to Makati.
Anyhow, I installed the clutch slave last night. Bled quite a bit from catching my hands and arms on sharp objects in the engine bay and sweated a whole lot. I have such lousy tools: a bunch of cheap (as in 30-peso) KYK wrenches, a cheap hammer.. those famous "there are only two bolts holding the clutch slave!" were quite stuck. I had to give them a lot of whacks with the hammer and even so, I nearly busted my fingers unbolting them. And one of the bolts is round now. Will have to replace it.
The marginal good news is, the clutch works now. Oh frabjous day, calloo, callay! and I have obtained a good bit of confidence in myself: I can replace a clutch master cylinder and a clutch slave! and I can bleed it! I want a decent socket driver set (but the Stanley costs several thousand pesos.. rats!) So we have a car again..
I realized two things:
- the clutch master failed after only six months and 7,000 kilometers because in a vain attempt to eliminate squeaking, I sprayed the whole area with silicon lubricant. I distinctly remember it becoming hard to shift gears a few days after that. Turns out oil-based lubricants destroy rubber. Oops..
- the clutch slave was really on the way out; never been replaced in the history of our ownership. In fact Gilbert (who replaced the clutch master last October) said it needed replacement but I didn't do anything about it. For lack of that lousy 400-peso part we were deprived of transport for almost a work week.
Pat Goss: From a purely financial perspective it is always better to repair than to replace. However virtually every replacement vehicle purchase is based on desire rather than economics.
People get tired of what they're driving.To which Lalai's answer was
Lalai: From a purely practical perspective, it is a better idea to junk that crap and get a new one. hee hee hee
The 2006 Civic has a wheelbase that's an inch longer than the Mazda6! and the entry-level "bare" version (with no ABS or SRS) is sub-800,000 pesos and has a 1.8-liter i-VTEC, 140-horsepower engine. Pretty darn smart of Honda, their entry-level sedan competes on price with the upper-end sedans of Mazda and Toyota.
It is quite a tempting piece of gear. But I was telling Lalai, after the wedding and after paying for our multifarious payables, if we ever opt for such a path, we can kiss our immigration savings goodbye. So it's always better to repair than to replace.