What are the symptoms of a bad clutch master cylinder?
Have you noticed that your clutch fluid reservoir constantly requires more fluid? Perhaps you have noticed that it is difficult to shift gears in your manual transmission. Does your clutch pedal sink all the way to the floor when it is depressed? Maybe your clutch just no longer disengages, leaving you stuck on the side of the road. These are all signs and symptoms of a faulty or failed clutch master cylinder. This can also be a very dangerous situation if you are out on the road and suddenly experience that you cannot disengage your clutch. There are many parts of your clutch that can fail, but one of the common and the most problematic part failure is that of a leaking clutch master cylinder.
What does your clutch master cylinder do?
The manual transmission, also called a standard transmission, is much older than the automatic transmission that inhabits most vehicles today. The manual transmission is also colloquially called a "stick shift," because of the gear selector stick that is most often mounted to the floor of a vehicle between the driver and the passenger. The clutch is an integral part of the manual transmission, allowing gears to be selected when the clutch is disengaged. There are a few types of clutch linkages, the most common being a cable, similar to the accelerator, and the other being a hydraulic system, similar to brakes. In the hydraulic system, the clutch pedal pushes a shaft into the clutch master cylinder. This master cylinder then sends hydraulic fluid to a slave cylinder mounted directly on the clutch, which allows it to be disengaged when the clutch pedal is depressed, or engaged when the clutch pedal is let loose. When there is a leak in the master cylinder, air can get into the hydraulic line causing a "soft" pedal or allowing all of the hydraulic fluid to spill from the system.
Get ready for a fun job.
If you find yourself with a leaking clutch master cylinder, it is always best to bring it to a seasoned professional with the experience to correctly install your new part. However, with just a little know-how, the correct tools, and a mind for safety, you too can very easily replace your own master cylinder.
First, take a turkey baster and suck out all of any hydraulic fluid from the clutch master cylinder reservoir.
Next, disconnect the line running to the slave cylinder at the master cylinder, and then you can unbolt the master cylinder from the firewall.
Then, you will want to prime your new clutch master cylinder. It is best to do this in a vise. Clamp the cylinder, and fill up the reservoir. Run a tube from the clutch line opening up into the reservoir, and pump the cylinder by pushing a screwdriver in the end that the clutch pedal would push on. This should remove any air bubbles.
Keeping the tube in your primed master cylinder, bolt the new cylinder to the firewall. Then you can quickly remove the tube and re-bolt the clutch line.
Finally, you will want a friend to help you bleed the clutch system. Have your friend first pump the clutch pedal a few times, and then have them hold the pedal down. You will want to open up the bleed valve close to the clutch. The clutch pedal should go down to the floor. Continue until all of the air is bled from the clutch system.
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Look to Car Parts Discount if you want to find a clutch master cylinder at the right price. We have OEM and aftermarket parts, and our super knowledgeable sales staff will be able to cross reference part numbers to make sure you get just the right clutch master cylinder for your vehicle.