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Discussion Starter #1
I have about 3500 miles on my ST, mostly freeway driving but here in Seattle that means much of it is bumper to bumper slow going. Twice in the last week I've gotten a stinky clutch smell, once when starting on a steep hill but just today it happened traveling slow in a parking lot. Is it possible my clutch could be failing after such a short time? My SES had 60k on it when I sold it and the clutch was just fine. Color me confused and a bit worried.
 

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Are you riding the clutch?

I've smelled some friction material smell but thought it was brakes, possibly due to torque vectoring.

In my opinion a stock clutch should last nearly 100,000 miles if you aren't doing clutch drops or slipping it too much.

I'm not too worried about mine because I seem to get about 90,000 miles out of my clutches on the street.

I'll start worrying once I pop one in a car still under warranty (without extenuating circumstances).
 

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Many moons ago I lost a clutch in an Escort GT at about 32,000 miles. Luckily the warranty was 36,000 miles. As far as yours? Jeez, I hope the clutch isn't going at 3500 miles!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know my way around a clutch which is why the smell is baffling. I've almost always gotten good clutch life out of my vehicles including putting 70,000 miles on the OEM clutch of a '99 Miata while doing a half-dozen ProSolo autocrosses every year for 5 years with probably 16 drag race starts per event.

This makes me think that something else is going on here, perhaps a hydraulic issue or a rear main seal leak. I'll have the dealer give it a once-over and see if there's anything obviously wrong.
 

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I know my way around a clutch which is why the smell is baffling. I've almost always gotten good clutch life out of my vehicles including putting 70,000 miles on the OEM clutch of a '99 Miata while doing a half-dozen ProSolo autocrosses every year for 5 years with probably 16 drag race starts per event.

This makes me think that something else is going on here, perhaps a hydraulic issue or a rear main seal leak. I'll have the dealer give it a once-over and see if there's anything obviously wrong.
Mine also seems to get very smelly very quickly.
 

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I have about 3500 miles on my ST, mostly freeway driving but here in Seattle that means much of it is bumper to bumper slow going. Twice in the last week I've gotten a stinky clutch smell, once when starting on a steep hill but just today it happened traveling slow in a parking lot. Is it possible my clutch could be failing after such a short time? My SES had 60k on it when I sold it and the clutch was just fine. Color me confused and a bit worried.
Mine also seems to get very smelly very quickly.
Hi guys,

I'm glad to look into this; shoot me a private message with your VIN, mileage, best daytime phone number, full name, and dealer name/location.

Meagan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think a friend of mine diagnosed the problem, it's the hill-assist and the smell was brakes not clutch. I toggled the setting off and haven't had the smell appear since.
 

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Well, that can't be good. It sounds as if the brakes weren't being released all the way. To the dealer with you!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think it's a software problem with the hill assist thinking it needs to hold the brakes while I'm slipping the clutch. I am not sure the dealer can do much if there's not a software update available.
 

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hmm... hill start assist holds the brakes for two or three seconds. maybe are you taking off quicker than it can release? at least we can switch it off.
 

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I think it's a software problem with the hill assist thinking it needs to hold the brakes while I'm slipping the clutch. I am not sure the dealer can do much if there's not a software update available.
it could possibly be that whatever senses that the car is pointed uphill is not working right...have mine on and it seems to work OK but think I'll switch it off
 

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I think it's a software problem with the hill assist thinking it needs to hold the brakes while I'm slipping the clutch. I am not sure the dealer can do much if there's not a software update available.
If it was just a matter of software, then all the ST Fiestas would have the problem. I don't think yours has special software.

Like eRic says, the hill start assist is supposed to hold for only a couple seconds after the brakes are released, I think it says this in the owners manual. Slipping the clutch for a couple of seconds shouldn't make it overheat to the point of smelling. So you have a problem that needs a dealer's warranty attention. If you keep ignoring it, then the repair cost could fall to you.
 

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Are you sure it is the clutch that you are smelling. I have only smelled clutch burning after some serious attempts at burn outs with a pickup and and some bald tires. I have smelled the catalytic converter after some spirited driving, but figured that was normal for a new car.
 

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Part of me just thinks I haven't driven enough manual transmission cars other than my own to know if its excessive or not.

Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk
 

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I had a very light smell for about a month in a very specific situation. When going home some day I have to pass my house, go down a fairly steep grade, pull a u-turn at a cross st, drive back up the grade and park (no stopping). A number of times when doing this I got a very light smell which I assumed was either the brakes doing something during the U-turn or maybe the clutch if I slipped it too much going down to second (which I highly doubt). I never got any smell when going through my work parking garage (U-turns, slightly less grade). Anyhow, it completely resolved itself on its own so I figure it was some sort of bedding in issue.
 

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I have smelled this similar rubber burning smell. I found out with a previous vehicle, if your driving roads were they have put down chemicals for icy conditions this can cause this smell. It's probably the chemical burning up against the hot exhaust.


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Discussion Starter #18
FWIW the smell has not returned since I switched off the hill holder. It's quite possible that the smell was brakes not clutch, one friction material pretty much smells like another. I already have 4k on it and plan on getting the oil changed next week so I'll have them take a peak at the smell issue at the same time.
 
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