Clutch Housing Weep Hole Photo - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 12:40 am Thread Starter
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Clutch Housing Weep Hole Photo

There was some discussion a few weeks ago where another forum member had a seal leak that caused oil to collect in the bottom of his clutch housing, ultimately ruining the clutch. The dealer drilled a hole in his clutch housing.

There was some discussion about whether this was really necessary, but I decided to drill mine. I don't really think it will hurt anything. It was also discussed if it should be drilled big enough to allow an inspection with a bore scope or fiber optic scope. Since I don't have an inspection scope, I decided to drill a 3/32" hole... just big enough that I would know if there was a problem.

It just takes a few minutes... remove the skid plate... drill the hole...re-install the skid plate. I used a right angle air power drill because there isn't much ground clearance. If you use a traditional drill, you might have to raise the bike a few inches to gain enough clearance to get the drill motor in there.

The good news... no oil ran out of my houisng after I made the hole!

I know you guy's like pics.. so here's you a pic...

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post #2 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 12:52 am
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I don't think that will do much good, I think you have to get the hole into the slave cylinder but I'll let other's weigh in.

Ghaison (Jason)
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post #3 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 1:04 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atrovarious
I don't think that will do much good, I think you have to get the hole into the slave cylinder but I'll let other's weigh in.
I have a hole in my slave cylinder housing also. This is a different issue entirely. I am not sure how necessary it is, or if it is even a real issue. I just didn't think it would hurt anything, so I drilled it for my peace of mind. I can see if the seal between the clutch housing and the gear box is tight, you could have an oil leak in either seal that would collect in the bottom, so I decided to drill it.
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post #4 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 1:14 am
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Right on, now I gotcha!

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post #5 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 3:58 am
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I can confirm. That is where the dealer drilled my weep hole after replacing the rear main seal. He did not drill the slave cylinder even though I asked. I do not know how effective it will be, but only time will tell.

Mike Trevelino
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post #6 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 11:08 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrevelino
I can confirm. That is where the dealer drilled my weep hole after replacing the rear main seal. He did not drill the slave cylinder even though I asked. I do not know how effective it will be, but only time will tell.
Is it possible that the dealer just misunderstood what you wanted and drilled the hole in the clutch housing instead of the slave cylinder housing? If your experience with oil in the bottom of the clutch housing occurs only occasionally, I can see a value in having a hole down there just to make sure the oil runs out and that you are aware of the oil leak. Your better off with the hole in the clutch housing than you are without it. At the very least, you might become aware of oil leaks that are contaminating the clutch area sooner.
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post #7 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 12:18 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean_BMW
Is it possible that the dealer just misunderstood what you wanted and drilled the hole in the clutch housing instead of the slave cylinder housing?
I specifically asked for the weep hole for the slave cylinder. The service manager gave me some "bull shit" line refusing to drill the slave cylinder housing and said that in "his" experience he will drill the hole for the bell housing. At the time, since this was a new service manager, I do not think that he was aware of all the slave cylinders failing. I could say though that in my case, the slave cylinder was not leaking, but the rear main seal was. So the weep hole in the slave cylinder housing would not have shown anything.

Mike Trevelino
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post #8 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 8:21 pm
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May I Question Something????

It is my hypothesis (after repairing two contaminated clutches) that this hole will make little difference in actually PROTECTING the clutch. Now..I certainly could be wrong but let me put forth this argument:

Any leak into this area, whether coming from the Slave Cylinder, Input Shaft Seal or Main seal will enter the clutch area from the CENTER of the clutch plate and then be SPUN/THROWN outward by the centrifugal force of the rotating clutch where it contaminates the plate and would then and only then collect in the bottom of the clutch housing. My thinking is that by the time it comes out of the drain hole you have drilled, your clutch will already be ruined. You have saved nothing.

The Slave Cylinder Drain Hole works only because it drains the fluid BEFORE it ever gets into this area. If the fluid ever makes it this far....as Emeril says, "BAM!" The clutch is fried!

Chime in anyone????

Jack Homesley
Cornelius, NC USA
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post #9 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 8:47 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cccpastorjack
It is my hypothesis (after repairing two contaminated clutches) that this hole will make little difference in actually PROTECTING the clutch....
My thinking is that by the time it comes out of the drain hole you have drilled, your clutch will already be ruined. You have saved nothing.
Chime in anyone????
Sorry, but I have to disagree with your thinking. When my rear main seal went out at 64k, it was starting to leak oil drops from the front part of the bell housing. It was probably leaking for at least three weeks. I thought that it was the oil (filter access plate) gasket leaking. If the hole was there I may have noticed it sooner (or not). Anyway, the clutch was in good shape, but since it was torn down, they went ahead and changed the clutch and slave cylinder.

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post #10 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 9:34 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cccpastorjack
It is my hypothesis (after repairing two contaminated clutches) that this hole will make little difference in actually PROTECTING the clutch. Now..I certainly could be wrong but let me put forth this argument:

Any leak into this area, whether coming from the Slave Cylinder, Input Shaft Seal or Main seal will enter the clutch area from the CENTER of the clutch plate and then be SPUN/THROWN outward by the centrifugal force of the rotating clutch where it contaminates the plate and would then and only then collect in the bottom of the clutch housing. My thinking is that by the time it comes out of the drain hole you have drilled, your clutch will already be ruined. You have saved nothing.

The Slave Cylinder Drain Hole works only because it drains the fluid BEFORE it ever gets into this area. If the fluid ever makes it this far....as Emeril says, "BAM!" The clutch is fried!

Chime in anyone????
Hey Jack,

Not sure if you saw the results of my visit to the dealer, but I too had a faint seep shadow at the front of the bellhousing, very faint. In fact the rear main seal was leaking and no clutch contamination. It appears that in the case of the rear main seal the oil trickles down the back of the engine case at the start and then either fills the bottom of the bellhousing or with a heavier leak it probably travels along the engine output shaft into the center of the clutch as you mentioned.

Not sure if a drain hole is any quicker notification than just looking at the seam periodically, but it can't hurt.

BTW, I had the slave drilled also and it was dry.

John

2004 - LT - Anthracite
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post #11 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 10:43 pm
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Interesting.... I was wondering if a leak from the main seal could do that.

After looking at the attached photos, I realize that the O-ring would stop the oil from getting through the engine main shaft to the center of the Plate and I suppose it would just leak downward and build up until it came in contact with the clutch plate and contaminated it. From the clearances, (bottom of the clutch plate to the "bell-housing") it would have to build up quite a bit. SO I stand corrected.

If you drill that hole...be REAL careful with a pressure washer or even washing the bike. Not sure what water would do in there...but probably not good!

For your edification...the attached photos show an LT clutch housing with an assembled AND disassembled clutch...then one photo of engine main shaft with all clutch parts removed. Interesting.
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post #12 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 11:04 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cccpastorjack
If you drill that hole...be REAL careful with a pressure washer or even washing the bike. Not sure what water would do in there...but probably not good!
Remember that the skid plate should stop water from splashing in. I am not sure how big of a deal water would be, but I would think a little wouldn't hurt much as it would just drain back out.

If you plan on using some low water crossings, you might want to tap the hole and put a small plug in it or just drill in the right size for a rubber plug.

I drilled mine because I am driving from OK to FL and back (leaving tomorrow) and I wanted to know if there was any oil in the bottom.
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post #13 of 31 Old May 24th, 2007, 11:58 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cccpastorjack
Interesting.... I was wondering if a leak from the main seal could do that.

After looking at the attached photos, I realize that the O-ring would stop the oil from getting through the engine main shaft to the center of the Plate and I suppose it would just leak downward and build up until it came in contact with the clutch plate and contaminated it. From the clearances, (bottom of the clutch plate to the "bell-housing") it would have to build up quite a bit. SO I stand corrected.

If you drill that hole...be REAL careful with a pressure washer or even washing the bike. Not sure what water would do in there...but probably not good!

For your edification...the attached photos show an LT clutch housing with an assembled AND disassembled clutch...then one photo of engine main shaft with all clutch parts removed. Interesting.
Two weeks ago I had my complete clutch assembly, rear main seal & O ring plus all trannie seals replaced. When they opened it up, out came about 1/2 quart of oil. My rear seal had been leaking I am guessing for about 1500+ miles. It was one of the worse leaks they have seen at Ironhorse in Tucson. Per their description, BIG MESS. They drilled a weep hole in the center of the clutch housing, Looks like the same size for the clutch slave cylinder. After a nice discount for parts and labor total was $1674.24. So I would recommend the hole because even if you do not save the clutch itself, you might save the rest of the clutch assembly.

Rob Asay
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post #14 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 12:07 am
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It would be interesting to hear what Dave Shealey has to say about this, whether it would be a good idea or not, if so then maybe we all should drill the hole as a preventative measure along with the weep hole in the slave..
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post #15 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 12:18 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robasay
Two weeks ago I had my complete clutch assembly, rear main seal & O ring plus all trannie seals replaced. When they opened it up, out came about 1/2 quart of oil. My rear seal had been leaking I am guessing for about 1500+ miles. It was one of the worse leaks they have seen at Ironhorse in Tucson. Per their description, BIG MESS. They drilled a weep hole in the center of the clutch housing, Looks like the same size for the clutch slave cylinder. After a nice discount for parts and labor total was $1674.24. So I would recommend the hole because even if you do not save the clutch itself, you might save the rest of the clutch assembly.
Your the third person that has told a similar story in the last few weeks. While the actual failure rate may be very low, I am glad I drilled the hole. At least I have the peace of mind of knowing there isn't a half a quart of oil laying in the bottom of the clutch housing waiting to attack my clutch. There hasn't been too many reports of loosing a clutch because oil was building up in the bottom of the clutch housing, but if we do start hearing of others, I am sure a lot of people will drill them a hole.

Another thing. Ironhorse is one of the most respected dealers in the country. If they drilled a hole in the bottom of your clutch housing, I would say it's not a bad idea. I have a feeling before long, drilling the slave cylinder housing and the clutch housing at the same time will become the rule of the day.

Edit Reason: My edit was only to fix a typo. No content change.

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post #16 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 9:28 am
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One would think BMW would actually look into this and create an action item, rather than let all of us muddle around with half-fixes and educated guesswork. What a let down.
I hope my LT never fails again and ruins another vacation, or causes some unforeseen problem like an accident from jumping out into an intersection or whatnot. What a let down the LT, and BMW in general has been for me. Prior to this I have always owned American cars and Japanese bikes. I've never seen such abhorrent treatment of customers as I have with the LT, and in light of it being the "flagship", a stark warning about future purchases.

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post #17 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 9:37 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean_BMW
There was some discussion a few weeks ago where another forum member had a seal leak that caused oil to collect in the bottom of his clutch housing, ultimately ruining the clutch. The dealer drilled a hole in his clutch housing.

There was some discussion about whether this was really necessary, but I decided to drill mine. I don't really think it will hurt anything. It was also discussed if it should be drilled big enough to allow an inspection with a bore scope or fiber optic scope. Since I don't have an inspection scope, I decided to drill a 3/32" hole... just big enough that I would know if there was a problem.

It just takes a few minutes... remove the skid plate... drill the hole...re-install the skid plate. I used a right angle air power drill because there isn't much ground clearance. If you use a traditional drill, you might have to raise the bike a few inches to gain enough clearance to get the drill motor in there.

The good news... no oil ran out of my houisng after I made the hole!

I know you guy's like pics.. so here's you a pic...

Good effort dean. Unfortunately the damage will already have been done by the time oil drips.
The intermediate case will weep and tell the story just as quickly
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post #18 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 10:10 am
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My experience is that you do not always ruin a clutch from a leak. My transmission input shaft bearing failed, followed of course by the seal. Copious amounts of transmission grease came out, but did not foul the clutch. BTW, brake cleaner will clean a clutch plate just fine. I only change something like that if it is worn enough to warrant it. My $.02
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post #19 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 11:37 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murray
Good effort dean. Unfortunately the damage will already have been done by the time oil drips.
The intermediate case will weep and tell the story just as quickly
This modification has no way to help you with a salve cylinder leak... because the path that the clutch fluid takes when the slave cylinder leaks will contaminate the clutch before it ever gets to the bottom of the clutch housing.

We have had reports where the case seal didn't leak all that much, and the leak was not detected. I am sure it is quite possible for there to be many different scenarios. If you have a rear main seal leak, the evidence is that you might be able to save ruining the clutch because the oil simply runs down the back of the motor into the lower clutch housing. If it leaks long enough, oil can actually build up in the lower clutch housing and then it will ruin the clutch. Nothing here keeps you from having to tear the bike down to fix the leak, but it might keep you from being stranded out on the highway. Actually, if the rear seal only leaks down the back of the motor and then runs out of the weep hole that has been added, you could probably go a long time with a rear main seal leak (but I wouldn't push my luck).
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post #20 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 11:51 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cccpastorjack
After looking at the attached photos, I realize that the O-ring would stop the oil from getting through the engine main shaft to the center of the Plate and I suppose it would just leak downward and build up until it came in contact with the clutch plate and contaminated it.
Hi Jack!

Herein lies yet another problem. Said O-ring becomes very brittle and completely useless after a time. Fragmentization when removed.



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post #21 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 6:16 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000klticon
My experience is that you do not always ruin a clutch from a leak. My transmission input shaft bearing failed, followed of course by the seal. Copious amounts of transmission grease came out, but did not foul the clutch. BTW, brake cleaner will clean a clutch plate just fine. I only change something like that if it is worn enough to warrant it. My $.02
I agree but the fiber plate is dark to begin with. Why risk it? It would suck to go back in there 2 days later.

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post #22 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 6:39 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean_BMW
>> 1-This modification has no way to help you with a salve cylinder leak...
2>>We have had reports where the case seal didn't leak all that much, and the leak was not detected. .
First issue # 1 - I never discussed slave cylinder I do not know where you got that from. ??
# 2 -Exactly my point , the intermediate housing that mates up to the engine block is sealed with ATV sealant above the clutch housing.
Perhaps your orientation of the IH to the trans is at the rear of the IH not the front .BTW the rear IH to trans is mounted dry. The front was my reference point.

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post #23 of 31 Old May 25th, 2007, 6:43 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grifscoots
Hi Jack!

Herein lies yet another problem. Said O-ring becomes very brittle and completely useless after a time. Fragmentization when removed.
10-4 ! If it wasn't for that cheap oring these problems would be minimal. I bet 90 % of the RM failures are oring. Go with viton as Sheely suggests.

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post #24 of 31 Old May 26th, 2007, 9:23 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murray
10-4 ! If it wasn't for that cheap oring these problems would be minimal. I bet 90 % of the RM failures are oring. Go with viton as Sheely suggests.

Well, if it is the O-ring - then the chances of it coming out at the center of the plate and contaminating it are almost 100%! Only a leaking main seal, and not the O-ring itself would truly benefit from a hole in the housing. AND...as we have seen...this has been the case with some.

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post #25 of 31 Old Mar 18th, 2008, 7:43 pm
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Re: Clutch Housing Weep Hole Photo

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000klticon
My experience is that you do not always ruin a clutch from a leak. My transmission input shaft bearing failed, followed of course by the seal. Copious amounts of transmission grease came out, but did not foul the clutch. BTW, brake cleaner will clean a clutch plate just fine. I only change something like that if it is worn enough to warrant it. My $.02
I love it. Somebody that fixes something instead of replacing it. I've "washed" quite a few clutches in my time. Works fine. Cudos.

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post #26 of 31 Old Jul 20th, 2011, 10:13 am
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Re: Clutch Housing Weep Hole Photo

Moral to the story about housing drilling is drill hole insert tiny hose of brake fluid and spray away till clucth grabs and keep on trucking.
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post #27 of 31 Old Jul 20th, 2011, 11:59 am
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Re: Clutch Housing Weep Hole Photo

Hopefully you meant to say brake cleaning fluid and not dot4 as that would contaminate the clutch.



As you can see here there is little merit to drill the hole to drain anything as it would take about a quart of accumulation before the clutch would be in it. You can see my hole that I inserted a white pipe cleaner into before I tore it down for the clutch job. The pipe cleaner did not show anything. There was wet clutch material (oily) on the engine side of the housing but no drips out the hole.
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post #28 of 31 Old Jul 20th, 2011, 4:00 pm
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Sorry the operative word being( cleaning) was left out of my last post.
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post #29 of 31 Old Jul 20th, 2011, 4:22 pm
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Re: Clutch Housing Weep Hole Photo

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesslick
Moral to the story about housing drilling is drill hole insert tiny hose of brake fluid and spray away till clucth grabs and keep on trucking.
I love it when a newbee discovers thread that is years old and offers a fix to an old problem. Wow, if spraying brake cleaner through a hole in the clutch housing will fix a slipping clutch, that's a significant contribution to the Hall of Wisdom.

Worth trying, no doubt. Squirting brake (cleaning) fluid through a hole in the intermediate case sure would be lots easier than tearing the bike down for a clutch replacement.

Has it been done? Did it work? I'd love to see pictures and a step by step description of the process. Also, and objective test of the resolution of the problem, i.e. A previously slipping clutch and as an objective as possible proof that the problem has been fixed: what gear, what speed, what RPM, level road? No more slipping under all conditions?

I've learned a lot from folks who have posted to this board, but I'm always suspicious of folks who post, "shooting from the hip", about theoretical fixes to problems they themselves have never had.

...Just trying to keep the process "honest".
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post #30 of 31 Old Jul 20th, 2011, 9:37 pm
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Re: Clutch Housing Weep Hole Photo

It would not have done me much good as mine was a bit oily but it was also darn near at the wear limit.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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jzeiler is offline  
post #31 of 31 Old Jul 24th, 2011, 4:14 pm
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Re: Clutch Housing Weep Hole Photo

I will carry a can of brake cleaning fluid from now on. If nothing else it may just get you home.
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