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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all...newbie here. I'm trying to bleed the clutch on my first alfa ('87 spider grad) and I'm having a hell of a time.
I've tried putting a vacume pump on the bleeder and doing it solo, and I've tried 4 times with the wife working the pedal... she holds it to the floor and I crack the bleeder then close it. She lets up and we repeat the process.
If I pump it twice it works great, but if I let it up for more than three seconds it wont fully engage on the first stroke.
Am I doing something wrong? Do I need a new slave (no leaks), master (again no leaks)?
Should I have her pump it twice and hold before I crack the bleeder?
Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
 

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Welcome!

I had the same problem on my 73 GTV. I tried over and over again to bleed the system. It was extremely frustrating! I discovered that the hose was old and expanding just enough to absorb all the pressure going to the slave cylinder. Change the hose if you haven't already done so...

Good luck!
 

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All you should need to do for a clutch master/slave bleed, is do it per the gravity method. Crack the bleeder and let it drip/drain while keeping an eye that the master doesn't empty. You do have the cap off the master, don't you? And yes, the hose to the slave is impt and may need to be replaced because while you can't see it, it may expand under pressure. Whether or not you need a new master or slave, I don't know. They are not terribly expensive - about $150 for both. The hose is about 10 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys!
Cap off. Pressing and holding, only clear fluid coming out.
I havent replaced the hose yet. Where can I find one for $10? checked IAP and EBAY. Is it a pretty standard hydro hose that I might get locally?
 

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Trained (ex)Professional, , 1953-2018 RIP,
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Is the bleed screw in the 12 o'clock position? If not, you'll never get all the air out.
 

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Is the bleed screw in the 12 o'clock position? If not, you'll never get all the air out.
:eek:Yup, forgot to mention you have to do that. But then again, that's what Jim is here for:).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
yup...12 high. Guess I'm lookin for a hose. Anybody know what kind of fittings those are so I can try to find one locally?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
New flexible hose didn't work.
No matter howmuch I bleed the system, I get no pressure at all now.
I've tried adjusting the linkage to the master cylinder to no avail.
The slave cylindre will move by hand if I push it in. Does that mean I need a new master cylinder, or rebuild kit?
 

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New flexible hose didn't work.
No matter howmuch I bleed the system, I get no pressure at all now.
I've tried adjusting the linkage to the master cylinder to no avail.
The slave cylindre will move by hand if I push it in. Does that mean I need a new master cylinder, or rebuild kit?
Not necessarily. You say when someone pumps and you open the bleed screw fluid comes out, so maybe you do have pressure. You should be able to move the slave piston by moving the clutch fork. Try bleeding that way, I've seen it work, pump the slave piston two to three times using the clutch fork, hold it in and crack the bleed screw (12 o'clock high) try that a few times, if it doesn't work new m/c and/or slave, provided you've replaced the flex hose.
 

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Since you're getting fresh fluid through the slave cylinder, and have replaced the flex hose, you might be at the point where the problem is actually within the slave cylinder. I just went through the same problem with my '88 Milano this summer, same behavior. Turned out that the seal in the MASTER cylinder (not the slave) had expired (even though it was fine the day before bleeding the clutch system:rolleyes:). Comparing a new seal to the original seal in the master cylinder showed the original seal lips had flattened out enough to allow the fluid to bypass the seal and prevent pressurizing the system. I would try rebuilding the slave cylinder first (it's easy and cheap), and if that doesn't work, it may be time to do the master. Good luck.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK...I've tried everything except rebuilding. No leaks, no bubbles, no work...I've just ordered rebuild kits for both slave and master.
 

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Richard Jemison
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Bleeding systems

You might try bleeding the system at the line connection at the MC. That is really step 1. Them after air stops there, pump a few more times bleed again. You will find more air. Then when that stops, bleed at Slave. usually one or two p[umps there & you are done.:p
 

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Discussion Starter #14
DUH!!!!! Got old seals off and new seals on...Don't worry, I didn't come up with a way to get it apart...not one of my brightest moments:D
 

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ok...got slave rebuild kit. How do I get the plunger apart to install new seals?
Pull off the rubber dust boot. You should see a circlip that holds the endcap in place (two little round eyelets; you need circlip pliers to remove the clip). Remove the circlip, then the endplate (which will allow the plunger to be removed). Pay close attention to the order of installation and orientation of all seals / springs / cylinders when disassembling any slave (or master) cylinder because it IS important to the operation of the rebuilt cylinder. It's a good idea to lay out all the old parts in the order / orientation that they are removed from the cylinder (so you can have a guide to reassembly). As always, squeeky cleanliness is required for ALL parts prior to reassembly.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #16
AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!
I've got everything back together and bled, but still no clutch!
I've even played with the master cylinder adjustment nut, to no avail.
Any other tips? Am I missing something easy? Going to try to start it as if the clutch is frozen, but other than that I'm out of ideas.
 

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1966-2013
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Do you by happenstance have a spring on the outer end of the clutch fork that helps pull the fork toward the released position when you let off the clutch pedal?

If so, lose it, it shouldn't be there. (yes, I know there's a hole and tab for the spring, but that's a carryover from an earlier generation setup and totally un-neccisary or even called for on the S3 and beyond cars)

It's causing the fork to drive the slave cylinder too far back in its bore and thus blocking the internal ports causing pretty much what you describe.
 

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1966-2013
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All I know is that if the piston in the slave gets shoved too far back, it'll do just exactly what you described in the 1st post. (a few pumps of the clutch pedal will get you some action 1x, then you have to pump it up again)

A spring on the fork can cause it, having the threaded adjuster at the master set even a little bit too long will, as can mounting the slave in the wrong position, or the fingers on the fork getting misaligned on the throwout bearing. (fingers can break too, but that causes completely different issues that pumping won't help)

Do you have any freeplay at all between the ball end of the slave rod and the pocket in the clutch fork? (there should be a minimal amount with no bind or pressure. As in you should be able to spin the rod a bit with no more drag than what the boot produces)

How about the actual clutch pivot arm that activates the master cylinder? I didn't see mention of it (or I inadvertantly overlooked it)

If that's cracked/broken, it'll cause all kinds of stupid things to happen.
 

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The specific measurement for the adjuster rod at the master cylinder:



Note that the measurement is taken from the back edge of the pivot hole and the machined face of the master cylinder, not the sheetmetal it mounts on.
 
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