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Pelican Technical Article:

Clutch Slave Cylinder Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hrs

Tab:

$50 to $100

Talent:

**

Tools:

T45 Torx bit, ratchet, extension, 13mm wrench (optional) flathead screwdriver, drain pan and rags, fluid bleed kit

Applicable Models:

VW Golf GTI (2000)
VW Golf GTI 1.8T (2002-05)
VW Golf GTI 20th Anniversary (2003)
VW Golf GTI 337 (2002)
VW Golf GTI GLS (2001)

Parts Required:

New slave cylinder, fresh brake fluid

Hot Tip:

Might as well install a new one anytime you replace your clutch

Performance Gain:

Will help the clutch operate properly, which can save gearbox parts in the long term

Complementary Modification:

Clutch replacement, Transmission fluid replacement

The clutch slave cylinder serves as the interface between the hydraulic clutch system and the mechanical parts that actually disengage the clutch. When you push on the clutch pedal, brake fluid translates that pedal movement into hydraulic pressure, the end result of which is the extension of a plunger within the clutch slave cylinder. When the plunger extends in your GTI MkIV, it pushes on the clutch release lever within the transmission. When the clutch is disengaged, it separates the engine and the transmission for a moment so that you can change gears.

When the clutch slave cylinder fails, it may leak hydraulic fluid (the clutch system uses brake fluid just as the brake system does), but you may first notice a problem when you seem to be grinding gears, or having trouble getting your car in or out of gear.

The clutch slave cylinder, and the clutch hydraulic system as a whole, is easier and cheaper to fix than the clutch, and certainly the transmission. Take a look at your clutch engagement system at the first sign of trouble, before you do any damage to these more expensive parts. Start by bleeding the hydraulic system; please see our article on bleeding you clutch.

Also, if you are replacing the clutch or doing other transmission related work, you might as well replace the clutch slave cylinder. This little device does a lot of important work, and it's not too expensive, so it won't hurt to have a fresh unit in place.

I removed the air box and MAF sensor to get better pictures of the slave cylinder; depending on how small your hands and forearms are you may be to replace it without removing any other components.

It's hard to get a good straight look at the clutch slave cylinder on the GTI MkIV.
Figure 1

It's hard to get a good straight look at the clutch slave cylinder on the GTI MkIV. The cylinder (red arrow) is below and behind the transmission shifting mechanism. It is held in place by two T45 and 13mm bolts (yellow arrows, one shown). The bolts are hollow in the center for a T45 Torx and 13mm on the outside.

At the end of the slave cylinder is a bleed nipple (yellow arrow) and the hydraulic input line (red arrow) regardless of whether you have drained the hydraulic system or not there is going to be some fluid that comes out of the supply nipple when you separate it.
Figure 2

At the end of the slave cylinder is a bleed nipple (yellow arrow) and the hydraulic input line (red arrow) regardless of whether you have drained the hydraulic system or not there is going to be some fluid that comes out of the supply nipple when you separate it. Be prepared with a rag below the nipple and a pan under the car. Use a small flat head screwdriver and pry up the retaining clip on the supply nipple (red arrow).

Wiggle the input nipple (yellow arrow) out from the slave cylinder (red arrow).
Figure 3

Wiggle the input nipple (yellow arrow) out from the slave cylinder (red arrow).

I used a T45 Torx on a small socket and extension (yellow arrow) to remove the bolts (red arrows).
Figure 4

I used a T45 Torx on a small socket and extension (yellow arrow) to remove the bolts (red arrows). If it is easier for you, you can use a 13mm wrench or socket on the bolts as well

Slip the slave cylinder (red arrow) up and out of the vehicle.
Figure 5

Slip the slave cylinder (red arrow) up and out of the vehicle.

Installation is the reverse of removal.
Figure 6

Installation is the reverse of removal. This photo illustrates the opening for the slave cylinder (red arrow), the hydraulic input line (yellow arrow) and do not forget to reinstall the line in the mounting clip on the shifter bracket (green arrow) if it slips out. After installation you must bleed the brake system. Please see our article on bleeding your clutch.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Akiona Comments: How do I put the fluid back in ?
November 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Volkswagen_Golf_GTI_Mk_IV/89-TRANS-Bleeding_CLutch_Slave_Cylinder/89-TRANS-Bleeding_CLutch_Slave_Cylinder.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Akiona Comments: Is there supposed to be fluid to be put inside after taking it out and when you put it back in?
November 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, you will need hydraulic brake fluid. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Shh...PelicanFarts Comments: Reading though your tutorial, I noticed that there isn't any mention of lubricant applied to the tip of the slave cylinder that contacts the clutch fork. I'm asking this for clarification purposes since I'm about to perform this maintenance myself.
June 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: VW does not mention in the repair procedure. I would assume none is applied. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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