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Replacing a Clutch Master Cylinder

Clutch master cylinder

Every vehicle is somewhat different, but on most, the general requirements to replace a clutch master cylinder are the same. Just note that a few details may differ, depending on the vehicle. Be sure you're following proper shop safety protocol and using safety equipment including, for this job, splash goggles and/or a face mask.

Keep in mind that this is a messy job and will require some preparation for spill mitigation and cleanup.

Chock the tires or place the vehicle on a lift. The transmission should be in neutral. Remove any items obstructing access to the clutch slave and master cylinders. Most vehicles will have a heat shield. On some front-wheel drive vehicles, you may be required to remove a wheel and strut assembly as well.

Disconnect the clutch hydraulic tube. This usually runs from the pedal actuator to the firewall (or floor pan) to a metal or plastic fitting. The other side of that fitting, on the engine side of the firewall, will also have a tube running down. Disconnect both sides. Some older vehicles may have a rubber O-ring on the tube and no fitting as the tube runs right through the floor pan. It's a good idea to replace that O-ring if that is the case.

On most vehicles, the slave cylinder is locked in place by its own volition and stays there in a way similar to a pill bottle. Press inward and turn it counterclockwise (lefty loosy) to release it. You should be able to move the slave cylinder and its tube away or remove them altogether.

The clutch master cylinder should now be accessible, but will not come out until the push rod is relieved. To do that, disconnect the push rod from the clutch pedal. Most vehicles will have a power distribution box on or next to the clutch pedal bracket that may also require removal to gain access.

The clutch master cylinder should now be ready for removal. Take note of its position, the position of the clutch rod, and where things are located (in what position). You'll need to line things up exactly like this when you replace the clutch master cylinder. Take photos if that will help.

Carefully twist the master cylinder about a quarter turn, usually to the right. This should disconnect it from the pedal and bracket.

Re-installation is the reverse of removal. Note that once installation is complete, you will need to bleed the clutch. We will discuss that in our next article.