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Pelican Technical Article:

Bleeding Your Clutch Slave Cylinder

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$20

Talent:

**

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:

1 Quart of brake fluid

Hot Tip:

Use different-colored brake fluid so you know when your system is flushed

Performance Gain:

Proper working clutch

Complementary Modification:

Bleed brakes

If you are having any problems with your clutch; whether the pedal is feeling spongy or you are starting to grind gears when shifting, before you actually start working on the clutch or transmission it is a good idea to bleed your clutch system. The clutch in the GTI MkIV is hydraulic and gets its fluid from the brake reservoir. Just like your brake system the fluid can absorb water over time and affect the performance of the system. Like the brakes you should also bleed the clutch system every two years to keep fresh fluid in it and keep it running as designed.

The clutch system draws brake fluid from the brake reservoir down to a hydraulic pump that is activated by depressing the clutch pedal. This sends pressurized fluid to the slave cylinder which works the throw out bearing. Water or air in the system can cause the slave cylinder to not travel the correct distance or with the correct amount of force and effect the performance of the clutch.

Note; I have removed the air box along with the intake tube and MAF sensor to get better pictures. Depending on the size of your arms, hands and comfort working in tight spaces you may be able to perform this work without removing the components. If you want to make more room to work please see our articles on MAF and air filter removal.

There are few little tricks that you can use when changing your brake/clutch fluid or flushing your clutch.
Figure 1

There are few little tricks that you can use when changing your brake/clutch fluid or flushing your clutch. It's a smart idea to fill your reservoir (green arrow) with a different-colored fluid and then bleed the clutch. When the new-colored fluid exits out of the nipple, you will know that you have fresh fluid in your system. Make sure that you use DOT 4 brake fluid in your car. The use of silicone DOT 5 fluid is not recommended for street use, and never mix DOT 4 and DOT 5 fluid together or brake failure can occur. Never use DOT 5 in an ABS system, unless it is designed for it or brake failure can occur. Shown here is the Motive Products Power Bleeder (red arrow) attached to the reservoir (yellow arrow) by its hose and cap. Available from PelicanParts.com, it is a huge timesaver when it comes to bleeding your brakes. Pour a quart of fresh brake fluid into the power bleeder, attach it to the reservoir and pressurize the system. If you do not have a power bleeder you will need a friend to pump the clutch pedal and then hold it in while you crack the bleed nipple open. Do not let the clutch pedal retract while opening the nipple as this will cause air to be drawn back into the system and defeat the purpose of bleeding.

Located to the right of the transmission mount and behind and below the linkage is the clutch slave cylinder.
Figure 2

Located to the right of the transmission mount and behind and below the linkage is the clutch slave cylinder. On the end away from the clutch is the input line and bleed nipple (red arrow). Remove the cover from the bleed nipple if it has one.

Open the bleed nipple by loosening it by about a quarter of a turn (red arrow).
Figure 3

Open the bleed nipple by loosening it by about a quarter of a turn (red arrow). If you can fit a flare-nut wrench over the bleed nipple, then I recommend using one, to help avoid rounding out the nipple. Let the brake fluid run out of the caliper until no more bubbles appear. You should use a clear tube and catch bottle (yellow arrow) so you can see the fluid change color (if you are swapping colored fluids) and air bubbles escaping and when they stop. If you are working by yourself I always like to have a large drip pan or rubber container underneath my work area, brake fluid is very messy and will stain or ruin anything it comes in contact with.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Tone Comments: Hi just tried to bleed the clutch after changing front flexis then bleeding the brakes. The bleed screw was really tight and the plastic housing snapped. No fluid leaked out, I tried the brakes and clutch anyway and they both work fine, maybe a little spongey. I need to replace the plastic part presumably, what is it called?
November 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you share a photo of the broken part and tell me your vehicle make and model? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jim Comments: I did this to my golf after changing clutch but no fluid runs out when attaching 15psi motive bleeder. cant figure it out
June 2, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check if the clutch pedal is stuck down. If not,t he bleeder may be plugged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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