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Clutch smell

9560 Views 17 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  AlanBDahl
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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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.
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.
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.
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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