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Pelican Technical Article:

Clutch Slave Cylinder Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$60

Talent:

****

Tools:

13mm/16mm sockets, pressure bleeder, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

VW Jetta (1998-05)

Parts Required:

Clutch master cylinder

Hot Tip:

Be sure to bleed the cylinder afterwards

Performance Gain:

A clutch that works

Complementary Modification:

Replace clutch master cylinder

A leaking or failing clutch slave cylinder is a frustrating situation to deal with, as it will prevent the clutch from working correctly. The good news is that the slave cylinder is easily replaced in about three hours. In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with changing the clutch cylinder yourself. I also recommend you change the clutch master cylinder at the same time. 

Also note that a few items will need to be replaced to gain access to the slave cylinder. Please see our articles on Battery Replacement, Battery Box Removal and Air Filter Housing Removal for more information.

Begin by pulling the snap clips off the gearshift cable ends (green arrows) .
Figure 1

Begin by pulling the snap clips off the gearshift cable ends (green arrows) . Pull the cables off the gearshift mechanism. This will allow you access to remove the slave cylinder underneath (yellow arrow).

Loosen and remove the three 16mm bolts (green arrows) holding the shift cable bracket to the transmission.
Figure 2

Loosen and remove the three 16mm bolts (green arrows) holding the shift cable bracket to the transmission. Lift the bracket up and out of the way.

Pull up on the retaining clip (green arrow) with a small pick and pull the hydraulic line fitting (yellow arrow) out of the slave cylinder.
Figure 3

Pull up on the retaining clip (green arrow) with a small pick and pull the hydraulic line fitting (yellow arrow) out of the slave cylinder.

Loosen and remove the 13mm bolt (green arrow) holding the slave cylinder to the transmission.
Figure 4

Loosen and remove the 13mm bolt (green arrow) holding the slave cylinder to the transmission. The left bolt (yellow arrow) will need to be accessed using an extension.

Shown here is the best way to access the left side bolt using the extension and a short 13mm socket.
Figure 5

Shown here is the best way to access the left side bolt using the extension and a short 13mm socket.

Carefully pull the old slave cylinder up and out of the transmission.
Figure 6

Carefully pull the old slave cylinder up and out of the transmission.

And here's the finished result with the slave cylinder removed.
Figure 7

And here's the finished result with the slave cylinder removed. Installing the new cylinder is the opposite order of removal.

Once the slave cylinder has been replaced, it will need to have the air bled from the system.
Figure 8

Once the slave cylinder has been replaced, it will need to have the air bled from the system. A pressure bleeder makes short work of these jobs. The process for bleeding the system is similar to bleeding the brakes, but you may want to spend a bit longer time checking and double-checking that all air has escaped the system. The clutch hydraulic circuit can be troublesome from time to time. Use some clear tubing over the bleed nipple and use a 11mm wrench to open the bleed valve. Make sure you have a suitable container to catch the escaping brake fluid. Watch the tubing for air bubbles in the line. Open the bleeder screw and let the system bleed until there are no more air bubbles coming out. It's also important to keep an eye on the reservoir level. If the level drops below the clutch feed line, you'll have to start bleeding all over again. You may also need to have a helper quickly push down and pull back on the clutch pedal to remove all the air from the circuit.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Dieselbusters Comments: I need to replace the hydraulic line between the clutch master and slave cylinder. How do I access the point where the hydraulic line plugs into the master cylinder? I can't quite see or reach it back where it is. Is there something I have to remove to get to it?
October 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Remove the master cylinder to access it. We should have that tech article posted soon.- Nick at Pelican Parts  

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