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Discussion Starter #1
50 degrees in Denver today, and after 3 weeks of cold weather I was really looking forward to a drive. No go.

My 86 Spider started just fine, but the tranny won't engage a gear.

Upon inspection in my dark garage, I see a puddle of what appears to be brake fluid under the front of the car - particularly to the passenger side.

Clutch pedal is soft, so I'm thinking either a blown clutch slave cylinder, or a hose to it....Agreed?

Probably a pretty easy fix, except that it's in a very dark, no power outlet garage at my work.

Should I just top off the clutch MC, pump a few time, top off again, and hope I'll make it to the repair shop 3 blocks away?

I think I could replace this myself, but I'm being lazy.

Thanks - Dickson
 

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Should I just top off the clutch MC, pump a few time, top off again, and hope I'll make it to the repair shop 3 blocks away?
That's what I'd do. Well, what I'd do is replace it myself, but that's a close second :D

Top off the MC and repeatedly and rapidly push the pedal partially up and down, kind of jiggling it. This'll probably get enough air out of the MC for it to actuate. Once you do that start working the pedal fully and see if it's just dripping out or pouring out: that'll give you some idea whether you'll make it to the shop.

Plan to replace both the hose and slave at minimum. Some folks'll tell you to replace the master at the same time, but it's your call (I've had a crapload of slaves go bad on the Milano and Spider but no masters yet...)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I'd like to do it myself too...and probably would if the car had broken down at home.

As it is, it's a 10-15 minute drive home, so too many start/stops IMHO to risk it.

Even the numbskulls at the downtown Goodyear service center can r&r the hose & slave...Thanks - Dickson
 

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I would rather pay to tow my Spider home than risk some spotty teenager working on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No teenagers, but rather lazy techs. I think this is within their "dim bulb" capacity though.
 

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Um, er... not if they break off the aluminum casting where the slave mounts.
I agree with Tom. Replacing the slave cylinder and hose is either a 10 minute job, or a 2 hour slog, depending on whether the cast iron slave cylinder has corroded to the aluminum bell housing. If it has, it can be very difficult to remove the two snap rings, and press the slave out of the loop on the bellhousing. And, as Tom points out, that loop can be fractured, especially if some numbskull/lazy/teenaged/whatever tech bashes it with a BFH. If the slave cylinder mounting loop gets broken, that $15/hr tech has just spent about $1,000 of your money (assuming you pay a competent shop to source and replace the bellhousing).
 

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Plan to replace both the hose and slave at minimum. Some folks'll tell you to replace the master at the same time, but it's your call (I've had a crapload of slaves go bad on the Milano and Spider but no masters yet...)
When my slave went south, I went with a new MC FWIW. It wasn't that expensive and I figured I'd put off a future repair. A new hose is mandatory with a slave replacement. And, :rolleyes: come on, do it yourself:D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I did it.

Thank you all for the information, gentle suggestions, and outright ribbing! :p

I filled the leaking MC today at my office parking lot, pumped it well, and topped it off again. That was sufficient to get me home (with wife following in the daily driver) with no clutch issues.

I'd driven to Centerline yesterday and picked up a new slave cyl and hose. How convenient to live only 30 minutes away. Thanks Bob!

It took me about 3 hours this afternoon, but it's done. The cheap snap ring pliers would have worked better if they were slightly larger, but they were essential anyway. Plenty of cursing there. Not much room for wrenches around the hard line / soft line connection. Insert more cursing. The cylinder was slightly stuck, but some gentle "persuasion" took care of that. *Cursing off*

Once out, the reassembly and bleeding went well. Took her for a nice 20 minute ride to celebrate! I have earned a Saturday night beer (or 3)! :D

Thanks guys! Dickson
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I trust it will be only the first of many blood tributes! :D Actually, no significant busted knuckles, etc.
 

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Yay. Hoist a brew to celebrate. Hopefully your Spider is satisfied with your blood donation!
Deuchland, Deuchland (singing, a little tipsy....)..........(no irish black syrupy crud, flat, way overrated, with no CO2, the most popular brand of which starts with a "G", but I wont say it here.......the Irish's response to the superior English brews across the channel........
 

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Like a poster said above, you wil expect to replace often. these slaves are basically junk. They last Oh, a few years. they leak like crazy. The boots rot in less than 2 yrs as well. Of course, we replace with the alfa OEM part, have no choice. A cool car with junk for some parts.......face it, guys.
 

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Dickson,
I would suggest ordering a slave cylinder rebuild kit from IAP, for about $20, you can have a spare cylinder ready to go. See the link below. I just did this project a week ago. I rebuilt the slave cylinder and replaced the flex hose. I will be rebuilding the master cylinder in a few weeks as that kit is on back order until march 15th.

Alfa Romeo Clutch Master and Slave Cylinder Rebuild Kits
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Mike. I may just take that rebuild challenge...

Delicious dinner with extended family (grin), two delicious gin martinis, up, with maytag bleu cheese stuffed olives (heaven & song), sleep by 10 for 10 hours (nearly heaven).

I greet a gloriously warm, sunny Sunday. Alfa will get more road time today. Yay!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Even better, with a buddy's help we fixed a balky passenger door handle, and a few minor issues with the driver door too.

Excellent weekend for Alfa driving and self-completed maintenance! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
No problem. I got the "floppy" driver's door map pocket repaired after the passenger side was reassembled.
 

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Getting ready to do this myself and reading all the posts to see what to expect. What I've learned:
1) snap pliers are needed
2) replace both hose and slave (got it)
3) don't try to save old rubber parts
4) bleed with the nipple up (learned that the hard way when I replaced the master)

I typically use DOT4 in hydraulics. Any reason not to use it here?
 
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