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How to Bleed the Clutch on a Ram

by Clayton Yuetter

It is necessary to bleed the hydraulic clutch if the pedal in your Ram starts to feel spongy or experiences improper release. This can result from excessive fluid loss, a leak in the hydraulic lines, or if you have installed a new clutch. The clutch on a Ram can be bled by removing the slave clutch cylinder from the transaxle and depressing the slave cylinder pushrod. Nonetheless, a simpler method involves plastic tubing and an assistant.

Begin by pumping the clutch pedal 60 to 100 times. If the pedal still feels spongy, continue to Step 2.

Raise the Ram on a hoist, or if you do not have access to a hydraulic lift, use a jack and jack stands. Fit the jack under a secure part of the Ram's undercarriage and pump the lever until the Ram is raised high enough to slip the jack stands under a solid part of the undercarriage. Release the hydraulic pressure in the jack until the car rests on the jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is secure before getting under it.

Draw out the old brake fluid in the master clutch reservoir with the syringe or turkey baster. Add fresh DOT 3 brake fluid until it reaches the max fill line. Do not let the fluid level fall below half full during the bleeding process to avoid additional air from entering the system.

Locate the bleeder nut on the master clutch cylinder, using your Ram's manual, if necessary. It will look similar to a grease fitting, although it may have a plastic dust cap on it. Make sure it can be loosened with the box-end wrench, but leave it closed for now.

Slip clear plastic tubing over the bleeder nut as far as it will go. Make sure it is a snug fit to prevent it from falling off during the bleeding process. Insert the other end of the tube in a jar or bottle with several inches of fresh DOT 3 brake fluid. This prevents air from sucking back into the clutch system.

Instruct an assistant to depress the clutch pedal. Open the bleeder nut and allow the old, bubbly brake fluid to run down the tubing. Once flow has ceased close the bleeder nut and have the assistant release the peddle. He may have to manually lift it off the floor.

Repeat Step 6 until only fresh brake fluid flows down the tubing. It will be lighter in color and free of air or bubbles.

Depress the pedal several times. It should feel firm. Take the Ram on a short test drive to confirm the clutch's effectiveness.

Tips

  • Aquarium tubing typically has the appropriate diameter for a snug fit over the bleeder screw, and it is generally inexpensive.
  • Apply WD-40 on the bleeder nut if it is proving difficult to loosen.

Warnings

  • Never reuse brake fluid or add brake fluid with specifications not recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Immediately wipe away any brake fluid that comes in contact with a painted surface, as it will eat away at your Ram's coat.

Items you will need

About the Author

Clayton Yuetter has worked as a professional writer since 1999. His writing has appeared in many journals and websites such as The Milk House, The Country Folks, Progressive Dairyman and Three Times Daily. He received a Master of Arts in writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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