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first off, I have an 83 280zxt with 5spd tranny. I had never opened the cap on the clutch fluid before...just checked it from the side...I noticed the other day I was just a hair low (I've never had to add any the whole time I've had the car.) So I popped the cap...and stuck my finger in and noticed a lot of black sludge towards the bottom and and what looked like clean fluid floating on top of it. Is my clutch getting close to being worn out? tranny goin bad? I haven't experienced any problems yet but I know sludge isn't a good sign...what do I need to do to fix this problem before it gets worse? by the way, I've only had the car for less than 10,000 miles so I'm not sure if the clutch has ever been replaced. The car currently has 152,XXX miles on it
 

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I had a simular problem. I let it go for about 2 months, and my clutch gave out on me. I had to buy a slave cylinder ($14.00) and threw that in until I could afford a clutch.

I would recommend looking at your slave cylinder, give a good drain and fill, over and over again until the stuff comes out. It may just be a dirty line, shes almost 20, thats about 60 in our years...

Sooner or later your probably gonna have to replace your clutch. Is your gears slipping yet?
 

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I doubt the condition of the fluid has any bearing on the grip, or lifespan of the clutch itself.
Sorry I can't help with what that sludge is. I've seen the same thing. I guess it's residue from the slave cylinder (piston and seals) that have floated up into the reservoir over the years. (that's just a guess)
But if you are racing, I would definitely flush the system
 

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Agreed

The sludge is just dirt/gunk accumulating over 20 years. I had it mine. When I replaced the clutch (no bearing on the sludge) I noticed a leak when I put my slave cylinder back on. So I took it off and saw just how bad the sludge was. Got a $5 rebuild kit from Advance Auto (the rubber pieces for the slave cyl.) and some spray cleaner and went to town cleaning it out. Ran fresh fluid thru the lines until it came out clean and that's it. Just make sure you bleed it good. It feels more limber now (the pedal that is) after the cleaning.
-zakaron
 

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I have an '82 zxt and had the exact same problem, I changed everythin, master slave, lines, and little rubber boot thingy's. cost me in all less than a hundred bucks. and about an hour to install. good luck.
 
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