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My red 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce isn't letting me get into 1st, 2nd gear, or into reverse when the car is on. However I'm able to once the car is off. If I attempt to get into these gears it grinds and I need to apply great force to actually get it into gear. But of course I haven't done that, as I don't want to further damage my car. Please help this is my primary car and was given to me as a gift so I'm not very knowledgeable in them. :frown2::|:crying2:
 

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Welcome to the BB.

It is likely the clutch hydraulic system needs to be bled. Air in the system reduces the amount of travel at the clutch slave cylinder (because the air is compressible unlike the brake fluid). However, bleeding is not a 'routine' maintenance item - air in the system likely means there is a fault somewhere. A good general rule is that once one part goes, the rest is about to give up so good advice is to repair/replace the entire system - master cylinder, slave cylinder & flex hose.
 

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Hi Eric,
Thank you so much for replying.
My uncle, whom unfortunately lives far from me, said something about having air in the system and me needing to bled it out. ("Worst case senario") can I have preform this myself?
Also the clutch is the same level as the brake and doesn't feel loose.
 

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My uncle, whom unfortunately lives far from me, said something about having air in the system and me needing to bled it out. ("Worst case senario") can I have preform this myself?
If there is air in the clutch hydraulic system, you will need to get it out before the clutch will fully disengage from the flywheel so that you can freely shift into all gears. Another possible reason for the clutch failing to release is a worn/weak rubber hose between the hard line and slave that bubbles or expands when pressure is applied.

If you are reasonably handy, and have performed some minor auto maintenance (like changing oil in a car) in the past, there is no reason why you can't bleed the air out of your hydraulic clutch system yourself.

Here are some of the basics:

Removing the air is done by "bleeding" the system, which means forcing the air out of the master and slave cylinders as well as the tubing in between them by pushing hydraulic fluid through all of the parts of the system. This can be done top to bottom, or bottom to top.

Air can get introduced to the system via the installation of a new cylinder, a break in the hard line, a break in the rubber hose, or by loose joint connections. If continuous bleeding fails to produce air-free fluid at the exit point, chances are an opening exists somewhere in the system that is allowing air to still get in. In this case double check the integrity of all the connections (MC push rod, MC to hard line joint, hard line to soft line joint, soft line to slave joint, slave push rod, bleed screw) by carefully examining each one for tiny fluid leaks whilst a helper presses on the clutch pedal with the bleed screw closed. You may need to remove the rubber boot on the slave (see photo) to check for fluid leaking there.

While some swear by the "back bleeding" method (forcing new fluid up from the slave to the master cylinder), I have not had any real difficulty doing it the old fashioned way (top off master with fresh fluid and have a helper pump the clutch pedal whilst I evacuate old fluid and air at the slave cyclinder).

1. Put bleed screw at 12:00 o'clock.
The slave cyclinder can rotate in the bellhousing, and the bleed screw on the slave cylinder is offset to one edge, so it is important to rotate the slave to position the bleed screw at the top or highermost point (12:00 o'clock), and make sure it stays there during the bleeding process, otherwise air can remained trapped in the slave cylinder.

2. Attach a hose to the bleed valve nipple.
Submerge the other end of the hose in a cup half full of hydraulic fluid.

3. Clear air out of slave first.
Sometimes a bit of air gets trapped in the rear, or push rod end of the slave cylinder, and since the feed inlet and bleed screw are both on the opposite end, merely bleeding from the master alone does not always get all the air out of the slave, so it's helpful to try and force it out first by pushing the slave's push rod all the way back into the slave body while the bleed screw is open, to eliminate that potentiality.

4. Bleed the system.
The person under the car opens the bleed screw while the helper (wife or friend) pushes the clutch pedal to floor and holds it there, then the person under the car tightens the bleed screw before allowing the helper to release clutch pedal. Repeat this step many times, until no more bubbles are seen coming out of the exit tube.

Keep in mind that if the bleed screw is opened too far, air will get sucked in from around the bleed screw threads, so try to open it only 1/4 to 1/2 turn when bleeding. Maybe even put some teflon tape or putty-type sealant on the bleed screw threads.
 

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Is it grinding or will it just not go into gear. If it is grinding just depress the clutch and move the gear lever towards 3rd gear to engage the synchro, then with your foot still on the clutch shift into first or reverse. That's how I do it as my 1st gear and reverse synchros are worn. If it will just not go into gear I agree with all the prior posts as those guys know much more than me.
 

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If you have bled the system and still not getting travel, it could be that the slave hose is expanding when you push the clutch pedal.

Not a difficult change with a few basic tools or a mechanic.

Good luck,

Vin
 

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After completing the bleed, when the clutch is depressed, does the slave push the clutch fork the full 11- 13 mm? if not, does the clutch pedal match the height of the brake pedal? If no, then the clutch pivot pin/arm weld is likely weak, and needs replacing. This is what I just finished doing, and it fixed it all.
IF the pedals are equal, the then perhaps the seals in the slave or the master cylinder are leaking. May need to rebuild or replace them.
 
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