Clutch smell

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Chat and Discussion' started by AlanBDahl, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. AlanBDahl

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    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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  3. wash

    wash Active Member

    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).
  4. mamiata1

    mamiata1 Active Member

    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!
  5. AlanBDahl

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    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.
  6. Noah

    Noah Member

    Mine also seems to get very smelly very quickly.
  7. FordService

    FordService Official Ford Representative

    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.

  8. AlanBDahl

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    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.
  9. reddog99

    reddog99 Active Member

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

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    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.
  11. eRic

    eRic Active Member

    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.
  12. Rouse

    Rouse New Member

    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
  13. reddog99

    reddog99 Active Member

    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.
  14. rweidman

    rweidman New Member

    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.
  15. Noah

    Noah Member

    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
  16. reddog99

    reddog99 Active Member

    If you smell anything at all, then it's excessive.
    It may be the brakes, not the clutch giving off the odor.
  17. jariten

    jariten Member

    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.
  18. marc89gti

    marc89gti Active Member

    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.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  19. AlanBDahl

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    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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