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Brake Master Cylinder and Reservoir Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Brake Master Cylinder and Reservoir Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$75 to $200

Talent:

**

Tools:

13mm deep socket, 11mm flare nut wrenches, power bleeder

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

Parts Required:

New master cylinder

Hot Tip:

Use paper towels and plastic bags to contain any fluid leaks

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

Replace brake booster

Like many modern manufacturers, Volkswagen shares components and even platforms across its many model lines. This article is based on one of those shared components but the work may have been performed on a different model than your vehicle. While some fasteners and other hardware types and sizes may be different, all of the information you need to safely complete the project is included in this article. If you have any questions, comments or feedback please contact us using the comment section below or join us on one of the world's best automotive forums for additional assistance.

Without a doubt, your brakes are the most important systems on the car. The heart of the brake system is the master cylinder, which controls the hydraulic pressure of the entire system. Unfortunately, over many years, the master cylinder and reservoir have a tendency to wear out and leak. The leakage can occur internally or externally, resulting in a weakened braking system. If you have any problems with your brakes, and you think that it's related to the master cylinder or reservoir, you should probably replace it.

Replacing the master cylinder on the GTI MkV is not difficult, it is just a tight fit, but it should take no more than three hours including bleeding the brakes. The first step is to disconnect and remove the battery and tray. Remove the air box or after market air induction system. Please see our articles on how to perform these tasks.

Note; some master cylinders will have brake pressure senders and brake light switch attached to the cylinder you will need to disconnect the wiring from the senders before removing the Master.

When you are finished you will need to completely bleed the brakes. DO NOT drive the car without completely bleeding the brakes.

The heart of the brake system is the master cylinder (red arrow), which controls the hydraulic pressure of the entire system.
Figure 1

The heart of the brake system is the master cylinder (red arrow), which controls the hydraulic pressure of the entire system. Unfortunately, over many years, the master cylinder and reservoir have a tendency to wear out and leak. The leakage can occur internally or externally, resulting in a weakened braking system.

Begin by removing the vacuum line from the brake booster (red arrow, if vehicle is so equipped) and move it aside.
Figure 2

Begin by removing the vacuum line from the brake booster (red arrow, if vehicle is so equipped) and move it aside. The vacuum line just pulls straight up off the booster (red arrow).

You'll want to try and get as much brake fluid as you can out of the fluid reservoir (red arrow) on top of the master cylinder.
Figure 3

You'll want to try and get as much brake fluid as you can out of the fluid reservoir (red arrow) on top of the master cylinder. Open the cap on the reservoir and remove the strainer. Using a fluid pump or turkey baster, get as much of the old fluid out as you can. This helps prevent excessive spilling of brake fluid inside the engine compartment. It's also helpful to stuff a bunch of old rags or paper towels under the master cylinder to absorb any spills.

Remove the supply line for the clutch from the reservoir (red arrow, if your vehicle is so equipped).
Figure 4

Remove the supply line for the clutch from the reservoir (red arrow, if your vehicle is so equipped). Make sure you plug this line (yellow arrow) to prevent anything from getting into the clutch hydraulic system.

Remove the two brake lines attached to the right side of the master cylinder (red arrows).
Figure 5

Remove the two brake lines attached to the right side of the master cylinder (red arrows).

If your car is has a heat shield you will need to remove the two 13mm nuts holding it on (red arrows).
Figure 6

If your car is has a heat shield you will need to remove the two 13mm nuts holding it on (red arrows).

With the nuts removed remove the heat shield (red arrow) from the brake booster.
Figure 7

With the nuts removed remove the heat shield (red arrow) from the brake booster.

Use a deep socket 13mm and remove the two 13mm nuts holding the master cylinder to the booster (red arrow, one shown).
Figure 8

Use a deep socket 13mm and remove the two 13mm nuts holding the master cylinder to the booster (red arrow, one shown).

Pull the master cylinder (red arrow) from the brake booster (yellow arrow) and take it to your bench.
Figure 9

Pull the master cylinder (red arrow) from the brake booster (yellow arrow) and take it to your bench.

If you are reusing the lines and reservoir, begin by removing the two supply lines (red arrows, if still attached) from the master cylinder.
Figure 10

If you are reusing the lines and reservoir, begin by removing the two supply lines (red arrows, if still attached) from the master cylinder. There are plastic tabs over a retaining pin (yellow arrow) assisting in holding the reservoir on.

Fold the tab (red arrow) out of the way and push the retaining pin out (yellow arrow).
Figure 11

Fold the tab (red arrow) out of the way and push the retaining pin out (yellow arrow). You will need to install the pin in the new master cylinder. Next pry the reservoir out of the rubber grommets in the master cylinder.

This should be how your new master cylinder looks out of the box.
Figure 12

This should be how your new master cylinder looks out of the box. Make sure it has a new gasket (green arrow). Remove the two red plugs for the supply lines (red arrows) and install the lines. I find it easier to remove the rubber grommets from the master cylinder (yellow arrows) install them on the fluid reservoir and then use a little clean brake fluid as lubricant and install the reservoir to the cylinder. Make sure to install the retaining pin.

Installation is the reverse of removal.
Figure 13

Installation is the reverse of removal. Make sure when installing the master cylinder that the push rod (red arrow) is installed correctly in the master cylinder. Reinstall everything and bleed the brakes. DO NOT drive your car until you have completely bled your brakes!

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:37:02 AM