How to Bleed the Clutch of Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Ford car Motor Company utilized a mechanically operated clutch system on early truck models. Although the clutch system was reliable, it required routine maintenance and adjustments to keep the system operational due to its multitude of linkages and moving mechanical parts. The introduction of the hydraulic clutch system was a breakthrough in clutch technology, offering the automotive consumer less maintenance and extended reliability. As with any automotive component, regular service is required to maintain proper function of the clutch system. When any hydraulic clutch component is serviced or removed, bleeding of the clutch system is required. Ford car clutch bleeding can be performed with moderate automotive-repair knowledge and common tools.

Under The Hood:

 How to Bleed the Clutch of a 1996 Ford Ranger

Set the parking brake. Lift the front of the vehicle with a jack. Support the vehicle with jack stands.

Open the hood. Locate the clutch master cylinder reservoir cap on the driver's side of the engine compartment firewall. Wipe the cap off with a clean rag.

Remove the clutch master cylinder reservoir cap by hand. Top off the fluid level in the reservoir with fresh DOT 3 brake fluid.

Get under the truck. Locate the bleeder screw in the bleeder port near the top of the transmission on the driver's side. Slide a small, clear rubber hose onto the bleeder screw nipple. Route the hose into a catch pan.

Have your helper watch the level in the reservoir and add fluid as needed to prevent the reservoir from running dry as you loosen the bleeder screw with a wrench and observe the fluid coming out. Drain the system until the fluid stream is solid and free of air bubbles. Tighten down the bleeder screw with a wrench.

Push the clutch lever all the way down, hold it a few seconds and quickly release it fully. Repeat this process 10 times.

Check the reservoir fluid level. Fluid level should be even with the full mark with the cap and diaphragm seal removed. Repeat the process in steps 5 and 6 eight times.

Have your helper hold medium pressure on the clutch pedal. Loosen the bleeder screw slightly to allow any remaining air to escape. Tighten the bleeder screw.

Repeat step 8 until the fluid is free of air bubbles and comes out in a solid stream. Remove the rubber hose.

Check and top off the fluid level in the reservoir. Install the diaphragm seal and cap onto the reservoir.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Shop rag

  • Small, clear rubber hose

  • Catch pan

  • Brake fluid, DOT (Department of Transportation) 3

  • Helper

  • Wrench set

 How to Bleed the Clutch on a 1995 F-150

Open the F-150's hood and pull the lid from the clutch master cylinder reservoir. Pull the rubber diaphragm from inside the master cylinder reservoir. Fill the master cylinder reservoir with DOT 3 brake fluid until it reaches the "Max" line. Set the diaphragm back in the reservoir and press the lid back on.

Raise the front of the truck, using a floor jack. Set jack stands under the frame rails and lower the truck onto the jack stands.

Crawl beneath the front of the vehicle until you are just behind the transmission bell-housing. Locate the clutch slave cylinder bleeder valve on the passenger's side of the transmission, just below the metal hydraulic line going into the transmission.

Press one end of a 2-foot-long length of 1/4-inch rubber hose onto the bleeder valve, and put the other end of the hose into a clear container.

Open the bleeder valve by turning it counterclockwise about a 1/2-turn with a combination wrench. Watch for fluid to start flowing from the tube into the container. If the fluid is not a steady stream, then there is air in the clutch's hydraulic system.

Close the bleeder valve once a steady, uninterrupted flow of fluid flows from the rubber hose, using a combination wrench.

Raise the F-150 off the jack stands, using a floor jack, and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground.

Check the fluid level in the master cylinder. Add more fluid by following the process in Step 1, if the fluid level is not within the "Min" and "Max" lines on the master cylinder reservoir.

Items you will need

  • 1 qt. DOT 3 brake fluid

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • 1/4-inch rubber hose, 2 feet long

  • Small, clear container

  • Combination wrench set

 How to Bleed the Clutch on a Ford Ranger Pickup

Raise the Ford Ranger about 6 inches off the ground with a jack. You can drive the truck on ramps if you have them. Lifting the truck will make it easier to bleed the clutch.

Use a turkey baster to suck the brake fluid out of the brake fluid reservoir located at the top of the master cylinder.

Fill the pump style oil can with brake fluid and attach the flex line to the opening on the oil can. Use a new can. You do not want to pump dirt particles or another fluid into the clutch line.

Pump the flex line with brake fluid to remove all the air. You do not want to add additional air to the clutch system.

Open the bleeder valve located on the internal cylinder with a 7mm wrench and quickly attach the flex line to the valve.

Pump the can to move brake fluid up the clutch line. Stop when you no longer see bubbles coming out of the brake fluid reservoir. It should take about 1 minute to remove all the air.

Use the wrench to close the bleeder valve and remove the flex line from the bleeder.

Items you will need

  • 7mm wrench

  • brake fluid

  • pump style oil can

  • 3mm flex line tube

  • turkey baster

  • car jack

 How to Bleed the Clutch on a 93 Ford F-150

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the vehicle's battery.

Raise the front of the vehicle with a jack. Place a jack stand under each "A" arm, which is located directly behind each front wheel assembly. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is safely supported. Remove the jack.

Locate the master cylinder reservoir. The reservoir is located on the driver side of the vehicle, in the engine compartment, against the firewall. Wipe all of the dirt and debris off the master cylinder and master cylinder cap with a clean, dry cloth. Engine cleaner can be used if the unit is extremely dirty.

Remove the master cylinder cap and diaphragm and set them aside.

Locate the clutch slave cylinder. The slave cylinder is located under the vehicle on the driver side of the transmission bell housing.

Place a 6-inch piece of rubber tubing onto the bleed screw. The bleed screw is located on the side of the slave cylinder and will have a hole in the center of the screw. Place an empty bucket or container under the slave cylinder and put the loose end of the rubber tubing into the bucket to catch any used hydraulic fluids.

Loosen the bleed screw by turning it counterclockwise with a box-end wrench until hydraulic fluid starts to flow out of the rubber tubing into the bucket. Once all of the air bubbles stop coming from the rubber tubing and a solid stream of hydraulic fluid is present, close the bleed screw by turning it clockwise with a box-end wrench. Do not completely remove the bleed screw during this process.

Add "D.O.T.3" brake fluid to the master cylinder reservoir to the fill line. Leave the master cylinder cap and diaphragm off at this time.

Place a second person inside the vehicle. Fully depress the clutch pedal all the way to the floor and quickly release. Repeat this process until the clutch pedal has been fully depressed and released 10 times. This process forces any remaining air down toward the slave cylinder. Do not let the clutch master cylinder run dry during this process. Add "D.O.T. 3" brake fluid as needed.

Press and hold the clutch pedal to the floor.

Loosen the bleed screw on the clutch slave cylinder and leave the bleed screw open until all of the air is evacuated from the system through the rubber tubing and a steady flow of hydraulic fluid is coming out. Tighten the bleed screw, using a box-end wrench, and turn the bleed screw clockwise. Remove the rubber tubing.

Release the clutch pedal inside the vehicle.

Fill the clutch master cylinder reservoir with "D.O.T. 3" brake fluid to the fill line.

Insert the diaphragm into the clutch master cylinder and tighten the master cylinder cap by turning the cap clockwise.

Raise the front of the vehicle with a jack. Remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground.

Connect the negative battery cable to the vehicle's battery.

Start the Ford F-150 and check the system for any leaks.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • Engine cleaner

  • 6-inch piece of rubber tubing

  • Box-end wrench

  • Bucket

  • D.O.T. 3 brake fluid

  • Clean rag or towel

 How to Bleed a Clutch in a 1991 Ford Ranger

Locate the clutch master cylinder reservoir. Follow the pushrod connected to the upper part of the clutch pedal underneath the dashboard of your Ranger. The pushrod connects to the master cylinder, which goes through the firewall, right in front of the pedal. From the engine bay, the master cylinder has an upper line that goes directly to the cylinder reservoir. The bottom line goes through the transmission bell housing to connect with the salve cylinder. Above this line, at the bell housing, you will see the clutch system bleeder screw.

Clean the cylinder reservoir of grease and dirt with a shop rag. Remove the cap and diaphragm underneath. Top the reservoir with new C6AZ-19542-AA or C6AZ-19542-BA brake fluid.

Install 1-foot vinyl tubing over the small valve on top of the clutch bleeder screw. The tubing should fit snugly over the valve.

Insert the other end of the vinyl tubing into a clear plastic container.

Loosen the bleeder screw with an open-end wrench and watch the fluid go through the vinyl tubing. When you see a continuous stream of brake fluid going through the vinyl tubing, tighten the bleeder screw. During this step, ask an assistant to keep the fluid in the cylinder reservoir up to the “Full” level by adding C6AZ-19542-AA or C6AZ-19542-BA brake fluid when necessary.

Ask your assistant to depress the clutch pedal to the floor for 2 seconds and release the pedal as quickly as possible. Wait for 2 seconds and repeat this step again 10 times.

Check the fluid level in the reservoir and add if necessary.

Repeat steps 6 and 7 five times.

Replace the diaphragm and tighten the reservoir cap.

Ask your assistant to depress the clutch pedal to the floor and hold it in that position.

Loosen the clutch bleeder screw just enough to let out any trapped air. Tighten the bleeder screw and remove the clear vinyl tubing.

Start the engine, make sure the clutch works properly and turn off the engine.

Items you will need

  • Shop rag

  • New C6AZ-19542-AA or C6AZ-19542-BA brake fluid

  • 1-foot long vinyl tubing

  • Plastic container

  • Open-end wrench

  • Assistant's help

 How to Bleed the Clutch in a Ford Focus

Remove the rubber air duct that connects the throttle body to the air filter housing using a screwdriver to loosen the hose clamps before twisting and pulling the hose. Locate the bleeder screw, found on the line between the clutch master cylinder and the clutch slave cylinder, and unscrew the dust cap covering it..

Top off the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir. Instruct a helper to place his foot under the clutch pedal to prevent bottoming the clutch master cylinder piston in its bore.

Slip an 8 mm wrench into the bleeder screw and momentarily open and then close the bleeder screw as a helper pushes the clutch pedal down a few inches. Repeat this step until clean brake fluid, free of air, escapes.

Tighten the bleeder screw and reinstall the dust cover. Reinstall the air duct and tighten the clamps securely. Test drive the Focus to verify that the clutch functions properly.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Screwdriver set

  • Brake fluid

 How to Bleed the Clutch on a Ford Truck

Jack up the Ford truck and place on jack stands. Ford trucks are usually high enough off the ground for you to get under them to bleed the clutch, but some trucks such as the Ford Ranger may not have enough ground clearance and will require jacking.

Push down on the clutch pedal, and while pushing down count 1, 2 and 3, and on 3 verbally say "holding." This will inform your helper when the clutch pedal is fully depressed.

The helper attaches a clear rubber tube to the clutch slave cylinder bleeder and uses an 8-mm wrench to open it when the clutch pedal is being depressed. Start opening the bleeder at count 1 and close shortly after the clutch pedal is fully depressed.

Repeat steps two and three until you don't see any bubbles of air going through the clear rubber hose. At that point you should feel the clutch pedal to be a little harder to press down than before.

Lower the Ford truck to the ground and test the clutch system for proper operation. If the clutch remains "mushy" or "soft," then you may have to repeat the entire process again until all the air has exited the system.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • A helper

  • Clear rubber tube

  • 8mm wrench

  • Small drain pan

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.