How to Bleed the Clutch on Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

A hydraulic clutch consists of a brake fluid reservoir, a master cylinder and a hydraulic brake servo called a slave cylinder. On most cars, the slave cylinder is located on the outside of the transmission, but on some it is located in the bellhousing and is shaped like a bellows. In any event when the clutch is pushed, fluid under pressure travels from the master cylinder to the slave cylinder, which pushes a rod outward and applies pressure to the throwout bearing arm and disengages the clutch. Note that if a clutch is replaced and the flywheel turned, the hydraulic slave cylinder is not likely to have enough travel to properly disengage the clutch. It could ruin your day when the job is complete and it doesn't work. The hydraulic slave cylinder only moves so much and is not adjustable like non-hydraulic models. Taking just a few thousandths off does not seem like enough to make a difference, but it makes a huge difference. If the flywheel is scored up, replace it and the slave cylinder.

Under The Hood:

 How to Bleed the Clutch on a 2002 Lancer

Jack the front of the Mitsubishi Lancer up. Use a a car jack to lift the car up and jack stands to hold the front up. Use one stand on each side. Locate the the slave cylinder the moves the clutch into contact with the flywheel, it will look like a hydraulic ram. Slide an oil pan under the slave cylinder to collect the oil.

Unscrew the bleeder plug on the slave cylinder and let it drain into the oil pan. It can take up to ten minutes for hydraulics to fully drain. You can help the drain along by pumping the clutch pedal in the Lancer. Once the draining is done, push the clutch all the way down with a brick and screw the plug back down.

Take the brick off of the clutch pedal and then fill the brake reservoir up with brake fluid. Pumping the clutch pedal can help suck the brake fluid down but do not do it unless the fluid is up to the lip of the reservoir. Bleed the slave cylinder again, this helps catch any leftover air. Screw the plug down once it drips.

Fill the reservoir again and stop when it is full. Lower the jack stands and turn the Lancer on. Test the clutch by trying to shift gears, if there is any play while in gear then there are air bubbles in the hydraulics and the clutch needs to be re-bled.

Items you will need

  • Car jack

  • Jack stands

  • Oil pan

  • Screwdriver set

  • Brick

 How to Bleed a Clutch on a Chevy Truck

Slide the 10mm wrench over the clutch slave cylinder valve nut. The slave cylinder is located on the backside of the engine on most Chevy trucks near the transmission and clutch assembly. This cylinder pumps fluid to the clutch assembly for engagement and disengagement.

Fit the clutch bleeder line over the end of the valve on the clutch slave cylinder.

Place the clutch bleeder line into the catch pan.

Ask an assistant to pump the clutch pedal several times and then hold the clutch pedal to the floor. Do not let up on the clutch pedal.

Turn the valve nut counterclockwise to open it. Air and clutch fluid will escape. When the flow of air bubbles and clutch fluid stops, retighten the valve.

Repeat steps 4 and 5 until there are no more air bubbles in the clutch line. Periodically check the clutch fluid level and add clutch fluid so that the fluid level stays between the upper and lower marks on the clutch reservoir tank mounted on the driver's side of the firewall.

Items you will need

  • 10mm box end wrench

  • Clutch bleeder line

  • Catch pan or container

  • Clutch fluid

 How to Bleed the Clutch for the Z24 Cavalier

Pop the hood of your Z24 Cavalier and prop it up so you can work.

Find the slave cylinder located underneath the battery of the car. It is a plug about three inches long that has springs and a small screw attached.

Allow one person, either you or your partner, to sit in the driver's side of the vehicle. The person in the car should push down on the clutch with their foot, holding it all the way down.

Loosen the short screw in the slave valve. At first, air will release from the valve. As your partner keeps holding it, fluid should begin leaking. Use the shop rag to soak up any fluid that drains from the valve as a result.

Re-tighten the screw. Repeat the above steps until only fluid is released and no air.

Close the hood of the car.

Items you will need

  • A helper

  • Wrenches

  • Shop rags

 How to Bleed a Clutch on the 91 Nissan 300ZX

Unscrew the cap from the clutch master cylinder and fill it to the “Max” line with new DOT 3 brake fluid. Screw the cap back onto the master cylinder.

Lift the front of the 300ZX with a floor jack and position jack stands under its frame rails. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.

Crawl under the driver’s side of the vehicle and find the clutch slave cylinder on the driver’s side of the transmission. Find the bleeder valve – the 1/4-inch metal valve near the rear of the slave cylinder.

Press a 1/4-inch inside diameter clear vinyl hose onto the bleeder valve. Place the other end of the hose into a clean and clear container. Pour DOT 3 brake fluid into the container until the fluid submerges the open end of the hose.

Instruct an assistant to press and release the clutch pedal five times, then hold it to the floor. Turn the bleeder valve a full turn counterclockwise with a combination wrench and watch the submerged end of the clear hose for bubbles. Tighten the bleeder valve. Repeat this step until no bubbles come from the hose.

Remove the hose from the slave cylinder. Raise the 300ZX off of the jack stands and remove the stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground.

Refill the clutch master cylinder with DOT 3 brake fluid, then find the clutch pipe junction bolted to the passenger’s side fender. Find the bleeder valve on the front of the junction and press the 1/4-inch inside diameter clear vinyl hose onto the bleeder valve.

Place the other end of the clear hose in the clean and clear container and submerge the hose in the container with DOT 3 brake fluid.

Repeat step 5 to bleed the air from the clutch pipe junction.

Pull the hose from the bleeder valve and refill the clutch master cylinder with DOT 3 brake fluid. Test the operation of the clutch and bleed it again, if it feels spongy or soft.

Take any old clutch fluid to a used automotive fluid recycler for disposal. Some auto parts stores take old fluids free of charge.

Items you will need

  • DOT 3 brake fluid

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • 1/4-inch inside diameter clear vinyl hose

  • Clean and clear container

  • Combination wrench set

 How to Bleed the Clutch on a Ram

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.

Items you will need

  • Clear plastic tubing

  • Syringe/turkey baster

  • DOT 3 brake fluid

  • Box-end wrench

  • Jars/bottles

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

 How to Bleed the Clutch on a Car

Raise and support the front of the vehicle with jack stands. Check the clutch reservoir and make sure it is full of fluid. Loosen the bleeder screw on the slave cylinder and let it gravity-bleed to start with. When it has a steady drip, close the bleeder screw.

Push the clutch in and out several times and feel the pressure. If the clutch feels good start the car and see if it will go into gear. If it does, it is finished. If it does not go into gear, then a helper is needed to push the clutch.

Fill the clutch reservoir as needed and loosen the bleeder screw once more. Have the helper push the clutch down one time to the floor and do not let it up until he is told to do so. Once he says the clutch is to the floor, close the bleeder screw. Have the helper pump the pedal five or six times and leave it all the way up.

Repeat Step 3. If the pedal is left up with the bleeder open, it will suck in air and complicate things. Do this several times, checking the fluid level in between until the clutch goes properly into gear and all the air is exhausted.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack Jack stands Set of small metric wrenches One can of Dot-III brake fluid

 How to Bleed the Clutch in a Mazda Miata

Open your hood and locate the clutch slave cylinder. It is usually toward the front of the car, near the bumper.

Place a container underneath the slave cylinder.

Open the bleeder valve by unscrewing it slightly. The bleeder valve should be under the slave cylinder and distinguishable because of the rubber cap on its end. You will have to remove this cap when opening the valve.

Let the fluid drip out until it eventually pours out in a steady stream. Keep an eye on the clutch fluid level; do not let it dip below the minimum line. If it is gets low use new fluid to top it off.

Close the bleeder valve as soon as the fluid begins to pour out continuously and replace the rubber cap.

Slowly pump the clutch a few times. If after a few pumps the clutch feels normal, then you are finished. If the clutch still feels too soft, you will have to repeat the process.

Top off the clutch fluid in the reservoir.

Items you will need

  • Clutch Fluid

  • A Small Container

  • A Wrench

 How to Bleed the Clutch on a 1993 Honda Accord

Fill the clutch master cylinder reservoir with brake fluid.

Have someone pump the clutch pedal several times, then hold it to the floor.

Locate the clutch slave cylinder on the side of the transmission, toward the front of the car.

Use the wrench to open the bleeder valve located on the side of the clutch slave cylinder. Open it only enough for fluid and air to escape.

Close the bleeder once fluid stops running out. Release the clutch pedal.

Push the clutch pedal to the floor and hold it.

Open the bleeder valve until fluid stops running out. Close the bleeder valve.

Repeat the steps several times until the clutch pedal no longer feels spongy.

Start the vehicle and make sure that it shifts properly.

Items you will need

  • Brake fluid

  • Wrench

  • Rags

  • Brake parts cleaner

About the Author

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