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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys, just as I was sitting down to dinner, my phone rang and it was my neighbor with the cursed Sonic. He said his transmission made a popping noise and it popped out of gear and no matter what he tried, it wouldn't go into gear. With the engine off, he said he can shift into every gear, without using the clutch. If he starts it, it won't go into gear. I'm hoping it's because we don't have the linkage adjusted properly. He left a nut loose on the linkage and I THOUGHT once he tightened it Sunday night and took off, that everything was fine. He's driven it to work and home 3 days in a row and now this has happened again. If ANYONE has any suggestions, please let me know. I hate this dang car already. It's a 2016 Chevy Sonic, 1.8 engine and five speed manual shift. Other than the linkage, dry clutch slave cylinder/hydraulic leak, the only other thing I can think of is that the frigging clutch is shot. I have no money to lend him, he is flat busted until next week and we're SOL. All ideas and suggestions will be checked out this weekend. Sonic boys are absolutely useless. I don't know what those guys are even doing with a forum. Thanks for your assistance, AGAIN.
 
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. . . He said his transmission made a popping noise and it popped out of gear and no matter what he tried, it wouldn't go into gear. With the engine off, he said he can shift into every gear, without using the clutch. If he starts it, it won't go into gear. I'm hoping it's because we don't have the linkage adjusted properly. He left a nut loose on the linkage and I THOUGHT once he tightened it Sunday night and took off, that everything was fine. . . . .
Check the shift cables for secure attachment on the transmission case. See enclosed image. This is NOT a Chevy Sonic but shows the general idea and location and attachment.

S speed transmission shift cables.gif
 

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It sounds like the clutch is engaged all the time. Hopefully it's something simple and external. The clutch pedal may be flopping, like it isn't hooked up to anything?
 

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Thanks, Guys. I MIGHT check it out today after I take him to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I checked the linkage and it's together as it should be. I started the car and I noticed a growling, rumbling noise that sounds like it's coming from the bell housing. I'm guessing it's the clutch. Is it possible that it's not the clutch and maybe the transmission.? Either way, he's screwed because he doesn't have the money for either. I don't either, but even if I did, I won't lend $500 to someone I'm pretty sure could never pay it back. I told him it time to make some hard choices.
 

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Sounds like it has something to do with the throwout bearing. Manual transmission usually don't fail suddenly.
 

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I got to thinking about it yesterday and I'm wondering if there's air in the hydraulic line. He farted around about getting the new engine and hemmed and hawed about getting it in the car once we got it. That clutch master cylinder line to the slave cylinder was undone for about 6 weeks. I had him tie it up in a baggie and wrap a rubber band around it, but that didn't keep the slave cylinder from getting air in it, right? We're going to try bleeding the clutch master today according to the info he found online. Any of you guys think maybe air in that line could cause the popping sound and not allow the clutch to engage and disengage like it's supposed to? I'm beginning to wonder if he even got it lined up properly, but as it was driving and shifting properly for a few days, I'm not really sure what to think. Maybe a leaky slave cylinder?
 

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What about the pin that holds the clutch fork? The hydraulic slave cylinder pushes it, make sure it isn't doing funky things. If there was a popping noise, something most likely broke. Check the movement of the fork, watch what happens when the clutch is pressed, make sure it isn't doing goofy movements. If the clutch itself has gone completely out, usually the clutch pedal is at the very top of the movement, like , the last inch or two is where the clutch engages and disengages with the hydraulic clutches. There should also be indicators inside the bellhousing with excessive amounts of dust and debris if it has totally lost its surface (inspection plate removal to see debris). Hydraulic clutches are also self adjusting, so the clutch fork should be pretty stiff when you push on it from under the car, but you should be able to force move it a bit by hand or pry with a screwdriver or wrench/bar, just to ensure it is seated properly. I have never seen a throwout bearing break, they usually just squeak, but I have seen a misadjusted pressure plate eat the fingers and fail to engage/disengage afterwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Rick is 100% right. I hate to admit defeat, but this thing has beat me down. We tried bleeding the clutch master yesterday and that didn't help one bit. I even had him get in the car and put it in first gear and push the clutch in while I pushed it about 10 feet and told him to pop the clutch. The car just kept rolling, which to me means the clutch is not catching for some reason. I just don't know what it is. The guy at a salvage yard told me that he needed to put a pilot bearing in the crankshaft in order for the automatic engine to work with his manual transmission. Sean said since he didn't see a pilot bearing in his crankshaft, he didn't figure he needed it. NOW, he's going to have to pull the transmission back out and try to figure out what happened. I am out of ideas. I just don't understand how this hydraulic clutch works. Apparently the hydraulic line connects to a sensor inside the bell housing and engages the throw out bearing. I'm just wondering if it's not connected. I found a plug on the wiring harness that's not connected to anything and asked Sean where the heck it goes and he said he didn't know. It's clean and not full of sand and road grit like I'd expect if it had never been connected to something, so I THINK he missed a connector under to the trans somewhere. HE doesn't want to fool with it today because it's Sunday. Now, believe it or not, I'm a registered Minister in the State of Florida and have told him that God won't mind because he needs his car for work. He just doesn't want to do it today. He's off tomorrow and got a bonus day off Wednesday because of an insubordination discipline he got at work. Anyway, HE is going to have to step up because I'm stuck. My knowledge of these new cars is minimal. Dana, there is no clutch fork or clutch adjuster like back in the good old days. Unfortunately for me, he put the flywheel, clutch disc and bell housing back on the car without my being there to see what he was doing. I truly think he either left something out or didn't do it correctly and for some reason, I keep going back to no pilot bearing. I looked at the old crankshaft and there isn't one in there, but I never got the chance to measure the inside diameter of the automatic crankshaft because of the work he'd done while I wasn't there. That just keeps gnawing at me that he should have installed one and didn't. Bottom line is the clutch isn't catching and I don't have a clue as to why.
 

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On the release system, a lot of newer manual transmission vehicles have a hydraulic release bearing so there is no external slave cylinder, just the throwout bearing and cylinder combined.

If the starter is removed, is it possible to put your fingers in and feel if the clutch has come off the flywheel, with his track record, I'll almost be willing to bet he didn't tighten the clutch bolts fully. and with the self adjusting hydraulic system it wouldn't be as noticeable as a mechanical release system.

Many FWD cars do not use a pilot bearing as the transaxle input shaft is supported at the clutch end and the outboard end in roller bearings, the short section into the clutch really doesn't need extra support like a RWD system.
 
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Rick is 100% right. I hate to admit defeat, but this thing has beat me down. We tried bleeding the clutch master yesterday and that didn't help one bit. I even had him get in the car and put it in first gear and push the clutch in while I pushed it about 10 feet and told him to pop the clutch. The car just kept rolling, which to me means the clutch is not catching for some reason. I just don't know what it is. The guy at a salvage yard told me that he needed to put a pilot bearing in the crankshaft in order for the automatic engine to work with his manual transmission. Sean said since he didn't see a pilot bearing in his crankshaft, he didn't figure he needed it. NOW, he's going to have to pull the transmission back out and try to figure out what happened. I am out of ideas. I just don't understand how this hydraulic clutch works. Apparently the hydraulic line connects to a sensor inside the bell housing and engages the throw out bearing. I'm just wondering if it's not connected. I found a plug on the wiring harness that's not connected to anything and asked Sean where the heck it goes and he said he didn't know. It's clean and not full of sand and road grit like I'd expect if it had never been connected to something, so I THINK he missed a connector under to the trans somewhere. HE doesn't want to fool with it today because it's Sunday. Now, believe it or not, I'm a registered Minister in the State of Florida and have told him that God won't mind because he needs his car for work. He just doesn't want to do it today. He's off tomorrow and got a bonus day off Wednesday because of an insubordination discipline he got at work. Anyway, HE is going to have to step up because I'm stuck. My knowledge of these new cars is minimal. Dana, there is no clutch fork or clutch adjuster like back in the good old days. Unfortunately for me, he put the flywheel, clutch disc and bell housing back on the car without my being there to see what he was doing. I truly think he either left something out or didn't do it correctly and for some reason, I keep going back to no pilot bearing. I looked at the old crankshaft and there isn't one in there, but I never got the chance to measure the inside diameter of the automatic crankshaft because of the work he'd done while I wasn't there. That just keeps gnawing at me that he should have installed one and didn't. Bottom line is the clutch isn't catching and I don't have a clue as to why.
Charlie-

I know you really have a kind heart, you really want to help your neighbor and hate defeat. :)

But it almost appears that your neighbor, a hard-headed USMC, is taking advantage of you. You are almost more concerned with fixing his car than he is, because as long as you continue to give him rides, fixing his car is just not a priority for him. Maybe you just need to tell him a few more no's that you can't give him a ride, and when he has to walk for a while, maybe then will he be concerned with fixing his own car. Then when he gets around to working on it, you can help him, if you want. But in the meantime, if you do give him rides, I hope that he's at least paying for the gas. ;)
 

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Rick is 100% right. I hate to admit defeat, but this thing has beat me down. We tried bleeding the clutch master yesterday and that didn't help one bit. I even had him get in the car and put it in first gear and push the clutch in while I pushed it about 10 feet and told him to pop the clutch. The car just kept rolling, which to me means the clutch is not catching for some reason. I just don't know what it is. The guy at a salvage yard told me that he needed to put a pilot bearing in the crankshaft in order for the automatic engine to work with his manual transmission. Sean said since he didn't see a pilot bearing in his crankshaft, he didn't figure he needed it. NOW, he's going to have to pull the transmission back out and try to figure out what happened. I am out of ideas. I just don't understand how this hydraulic clutch works. Apparently the hydraulic line connects to a sensor inside the bell housing and engages the throw out bearing. I'm just wondering if it's not connected. I found a plug on the wiring harness that's not connected to anything and asked Sean where the heck it goes and he said he didn't know. It's clean and not full of sand and road grit like I'd expect if it had never been connected to something, so I THINK he missed a connector under to the trans somewhere. HE doesn't want to fool with it today because it's Sunday. Now, believe it or not, I'm a registered Minister in the State of Florida and have told him that God won't mind because he needs his car for work. He just doesn't want to do it today. He's off tomorrow and got a bonus day off Wednesday because of an insubordination discipline he got at work. Anyway, HE is going to have to step up because I'm stuck. My knowledge of these new cars is minimal. Dana, there is no clutch fork or clutch adjuster like back in the good old days. Unfortunately for me, he put the flywheel, clutch disc and bell housing back on the car without my being there to see what he was doing. I truly think he either left something out or didn't do it correctly and for some reason, I keep going back to no pilot bearing. I looked at the old crankshaft and there isn't one in there, but I never got the chance to measure the inside diameter of the automatic crankshaft because of the work he'd done while I wasn't there. That just keeps gnawing at me that he should have installed one and didn't. Bottom line is the clutch isn't catching and I don't have a clue as to why.
Understood and misunderstood at the same time, it is a hydraulic throwout bearing and not the old style. If that's the case, was it properly adjusted/shimmed, to work properly? Odd that it worked for three days and then quit. There are plenty of videos that can show the proper adjustment and shimming procedure. The other odd thing is the popping noise from the transmission. Question: does the transmission grind when the engine is running and trans being shifted from neutral to any gear? Next: If in gear, clutch depressed, does the car move when starting the engine? Does the starter engage without the clutch being depressed? If so, that might be what your odd wire is, the neutral safety switch. If not, no idea. You also said pulled transmission, so take it there were problems with either an engine or trans when all this happened, not totally clear on that.
Good luck on this one.
 

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If it needed a pilot and it was left out, you may have broken the inner part of the disc between the hub and the lining. It may also have damaged the front bearing areas of the transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Okay guys, I'm HOPEFULLY done with the Sonic. I went over a couple of hours ago and had Sean jack the car up, remove the wheels and the axle nuts. Once he did that, I took a 2x4 block and 3 pound hammer and drove both axles in until I could see them bounce. Then, I had him put the axle nuts back on, start the car and put it in gear. Viola! Both axles were turning. I told him to torque the axle nuts down and we'd check it again. Torqued them down to the spec plus the 1/6th turn and tried it again. Axles were still turning both in forward gears and reverse. We put the wheels on, torqued the lug nuts and I told him to drive it. He went around the block and said it wouldn't shift into 2nd gear, but all other gears were good. We looked at the linkage, made a slight adjustment and he took off. Came back and said he could get 2nd but had to pull a little harder than normal. I told him that was good enough for me and he said he might tinker with it some, but I doubt it. He and his faithful companion, Boots, (dog) have decided to run to the Dollar General for a few items and I'm at home telling you guys about it. Thanks for all of the input and suggestions. You guys are awesome!
 

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Update. He made it back safe and sound from the DG and said it was shifting into 2nd better than at first. He's happy, I'm happy and Boots is ecstatic. He loves to ride and it had been a while for him! LOL
 
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Awesome. Never really thought axles not seating properly could be such an issue. I don't have a ton of experience with the FWD stuff, but everything I have worked on always went together without this kind of issue. Glad you got it figured out, I would have removed everything, checked it again, reinstalled it and the issue would have fixed itself when reinstalling the second time, so good on you.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I can't take the credit for it, Dana. I've got a buddy who's a professional mechanic on another forum and Andy is the one who suggested it. He's a Saturn nut and has tons of experience working on and reselling used Saturns. He's the one that suggested I check the axles. It's just aggravating to have to go back over someone elses work that SHOULD have been done correctly but wasn't. Sean had actually installed the axles and put the suspension and brakes back on the car while I was at a doctors appointment with my wife. I never once thought to ask him if he was sure the axles were in all the way. I should have suspected it because he had a hard time getting them out. He said he couldn't get a pry bar in there no matter how he tried and I just reached down and gave them a good hard yank and they came out pretty easily. All he said was "That'll work for me."
 

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Yeah, the Mazda 6 I did with the son-in-law had a bit of an issue when I removed the axles, one hell of a fight trying to get them out after 200K miles on the drivetrain (and no maintenance). I actually replaced both axles because they were rather inexpensive, and new bearings (and of course seals in the transaxle itself) are always a good thing. Since they were difficult to remove, I made sure the snap ring did the "click" thing when I put them back into the transaxle. A learning experience for sure.
 
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