Bleeding the clutch - what am I doing wrong?

George Selby gselby4x4 at
Mon Sep 30 03:50:28 EDT 2002

At 11:10 PM 9/29/02, you wrote:
>I can see two possibilities:  1) I didn't bleed
>it properly and there is still air in the system, or 2) some other component
>is defective.
>1) I was bleeding the clutch like I would the brakes:  open the bleeder
>screw, push the pedal down, close the screw, pull the pedal up, repeat.
>Enough fluid went through to tell me there is no blockage.  I kept the
>reservoir full so air wouldn't enter from the top.

Clutches do bleed differently from brakes.  Typically you need to press the
pedal furiously about 10 strokes, then open the bleed valve while the pedal
is bottomed out.  This may have to be repeated several times.  You will
need to grab the clutch pedal with your hand in order to do the pumping
because, as you have already discovered, the clutch pedal doesn't have much
resistance when it has air in the system. You should either feel the travel
grow longer and longer, or the pedal will return to normal feel all at
once. If this doesn't work, try opening the bleed valve simultaneously with
the last downstroke of the furious pumping.

For brake bleeding, might I suggest a one-man bleeder (available at any
auto parts store for less than $10.)  You connect it to the bleeder valve,
put the other end in a catch container, and then pump till bubbles stop
coming out.  Move to the next bleeder.  You can do the same thing for free
with a clear hose (where you can see the bubbles) with the tip submerged in
the catch container's brake fluid.  The fluid around the hose prevents air
from coming back up the line on the pedal's upstroke.

George Selby
83 Audi Coupe GT
gselby4x4 at

George Selby
70 F-100 Ranger XLT 460 C6
78 F-150 4x4 400 4 spd
85 Dodge W-150 4x4 340 TF727
83 Audi Coupe GT
86 Nissan 300ZX
85 Chrysler 5th Avenue
gselby4x4 at

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