So there I was, sitting at a traffic light on the quiet side of an intersection. I’d just had dinner with my buddy Stoly (not at Taco Bell, at a much nicer nearby tavern) and was ready to go home and kick back. And…. THUD.
I must have jumped a foot in my seat. I immediately looked in the mirror expecting to see that someone had hit me. But no, no one was around. Sharka had just… died. No reason. So I hit the start button and he fired right back up. I went to put the clutch in and…. nothin. Nothing at all. No pressure. Just a clutch on the floor.
The puddle under the right front tire confirmed my theory: I lost my clutch hydraulic fluid. And pressure. No fluid, no clutch.
I called my darling wife an got the name of a good tow company. I called the tow company and requested a flatbed. Then I called Stoly and he kindly agreed to come and wait for the tow truck with me. A few minutes later, Sharka was pushed into a nearby parking lot.
A quick check under the hood showed the problem right away. My clutch hose somehow came apart. Half was connected to the hardline on the firewall and half was dangling free.
This has happened to me before. Sharka lost a clutch hose when supercharged. The manifold cooked the stock clutch hose really well and it burst. Fortunately, it burst about a half mile from my house and I was able to putt back without stopping and shifting without a clutch. But this time, I was 17 miles from home and didn’t want to even try it.
Sorry about the crappy pix. They come from my phone, a Droid Incredible. Decent little phone, but not too great at high ISO night shots.
Anyways, Flatbed. I was due. I’ve been into cars for all of my adult life and have never needed to be towed home before.
A few words about the tow company, Duggers of Albuquerque: Awesome, careful, competent, amazing, and actually into cars. Seriously, the best tow experience a guy could ask for. The driver knew his shit cold. Planks and boards were used to get Sharka onto the flatbed without a scrape. Tie downs were used on all four wheels. And the driver even helped push Sharka up the driveway once we got home.
I’ll put it this way, I now have Duggers listed on my contact list for any future towing needs. I was blown away. Thank you, Duggers, for taking care of me and my car.
Anyways. I finally got home.
And here’s what I found when I got things apart. My Flyin’ Miata clutch hose had just magically come apart. The end closest to the slave cylinder just decided to let go. The inner tube came out like it was never crimped in place.
But it WAS crimped in place. I’ve used this clutch hose for 30,000-40,000 miles across TWO cars. As I said before, I lost a clutch hose once due to a supercharger cooking it. I replaced it with this steel braided hose. When the 97 died, I saved this hose for the next car. Then, when I did the engine swap and turbo install on my 95, I again installed this hose.
I installed this FM hose because I never wanted to have one break again.
I assumed this hose would be something like a million mile item. Or at least a few hundred thousand miles.
Nope. It was a bit less than that.
So. I’ve had this damn part fail twice now in 11ish years of Roadster driving. I guess I can read the writing on the wall. I should just plan to use a stock Mazda clutch line and replace it every 30,000 miles. $15 worth of preventative maintenance. In the meantime, I swapped out the broken FM hose with my stock 95 part that actually had no need to be replaced. That made it a zero dollar repair.
Can you tell I’m less than happy about all of this? I’d really like to rant for a few pages, but I honestly like Flyin Miata as a company. They’re maybe my favorite Miata aftermarket company and they don’t deserve abuse for something small like this. I just got a bum clutch hose from them. Shit happens.
The one part I am extremely pleased about is my little RS Factory Stage tow hook. IT WORKED! This is actual cause for praise. Many tow hooks like this are for decoration only. In fact, the tow dude made a point of asking me if it was a real tow hook that could pull the car up the flatbed. I said “Um. It should…”
The tow hook had no problems. It took Sharka up the inclined flatbed and then back down. No problems. No scratched finish. Just a very slight indention made by the tow cable. And maybe I’m a little strange, but I consider that a bit of extra character.
In the end, everything worked out for the best. I found a great tow service, I learned that the RS Factory hook is the real deal, and I was able to repair my car for free. Yay! And thanks again, Stoly, for hanging out with me during this whole ordeal. You’re a great friend.
(psst! Can anyone out there recommend an actually trustworthy aftermarket clutch hose?)