Bleeding the Clutch

You bleed the clutch just like doing the brakes.

Here's how:

  1. Get a helper who can follow instructions like "UP" and "DOWN" reliably and to the letter.
  2. Put them in the driver's seat and take out the floor mats. Tell them to sit quietly and don't talk until spoken to.
  3. Get the correct sized 6 point socket for the bleeder screw on the slave cylinder and loosen the screw and then retighten it - gently. You want to be sure that it is not seized.
  4. Put the socket away and get a box end wrench the same size as the socket (I think that it is 10 mm but I'm not sure) and put it on the screw so that it will sit there.
  5. Put a 1 foot long piece of clear tubing on the little bleeder screw and put the other end of it in a clean glass jar of clean brake fluid from a new can.
  6. Find a place to set the can where it won't tip over and you can see it clearly.
  7. Clean around the cap of the clutch master cylinder carefully.
  8. Remove the cap and fill the reservoir to the top line with brake fluid from a new can. - now put the cap back on.
  9. Go to the back of the car and tell your helper to pump the clutch right to the floor a couple of times and let it come back up. This is where the "UP" and "DOWN" instructions come in handy.
  10. Open the bleeder screw about 1/2-3/4 of a turn and tell your helper to push the clutch down - not too fast, but all the way to the floor and hold it there.
  11. You will see some fluid expelled into the clear hose and into the glass jar. If it is cloudy or milky - you have air in the line and need to continue bleeding until the fluid in the plastic tube looks the same as that coming out the brake fluid can.
  12. Retighten the bleeder screw gently and tell the helper to let the clutch up.
  13. Go to the front of the car and check that the fluid in the master cyl. reservoir is still above the bottom line. If not add more fluid and repeat.
  14. Do not repeat step 10 more than 2-3 times before checking the level. If it drops too low you will simply be forcing more air into the system and you'll have to start all over again.
    Do not use the fluid from the glass jar - throw it away (safely) after finishing the job. It has been through your clutch hydraulic system and is now contaminated and is therefore useless for anything.
    Always add to the master cyl. reservoir only from a new clean can of brake fluid.
  15. Continue until fluid comes out nice and clear - it shouldn't take too long - maybe 1/2 hour or so.
  16. When done - gently snug up the bleeder screw and check that reservoir is full and cap is on snugly. Remove the glass jar and discard fluid in an environmentally safe fashion.
Do not get brake fluid on your clothes or skin or on anything painted - it strips paint and skin like fury and will wreck most fabrics.
It is extremely hard on eyes so don't splash it around.
Brake fluid is essentially a light hydraulic oil with all sorts of anti-wear/anti-corrosion/temperature & viscosity stability additives which are very nasty chemicals.
You do not want to get it dirty or allow any water into the system. This is the reason for the new clean can of brake fluid every time you service hydraulics on a car. It isn't expensive and these are safety items so don't go cheap on it!
The hydraulic system (brake or clutch) has very small clearances in many parts (master and slave cylinders/calipers/wheel cylinders just like a power hydraulic system on an aircraft or bulldozer. Any contamination in the fluid will cause wear and sticking leading to leaks or faliure or both - usually at 5:30 pm on the freeway in a traffic jam or at 3:00 am on a back road in January in Northern Ontario in a blizzard.
Bleeding the brakes is exactly the same process except that instead of one slave cylinder - you have 4 calipers. You start with the one farthest away from the brake master cyl. (right rear, I think but check the manual) and finish with the one closest to it (likely the left front).
If you do this carefully and observe the above cautions this will all seem very simple after it is all done and the car will work great.
From: Peter Frise

I found that if I raised the left side of the car 6" I could get a whole lot of bubles out of the slave and another 0.125" travel. This is after a very careful bleeding with the car level. The slave is too close to horizontal for all the air to escape.

From: Joe Hilbig

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