Bleed The Clutch on a Chrysler Crossfire
For those with the 6-speed manual transmission, it's a good idea to bleed the slave cylinder of old brake fluid for the same reasons you bleed the brakes. If you're already doing the brakes, it makes a lot of sense to do the clutch at the same time - the slave cylinder draws fluid directly from the master, so if you're already bleeding your brakes you can save some time and bleed the clutch with fresh brake fluid as well.
This article is written to accompany my brake bleeding procedure, so they share the same brake fluid and many of the same tools and steps. I highly recommend performing the brake flush procedure first, followed by this one.
- 9mm open-end box wrench (like this set)
- Plastic tubing (aquarium tubing works great)
- Turkey baster or fluid pump (optional)
- Funnel (optional)
- Bottle or container for old brake fluid
- Protective eyegear and nitrile gloves (brake fluid is nasty stuff, take precautions)
- Jack and jack stands or ramps
- Socket wrench with 8mm hex socket (if you choose to remove the aerodynamic plate under the engine)
- Flashlight (optional)
An inconsistent response or sponginess from the clutch pedal may suggest it's a good time to bleed the clutch. Much like the brakes, the hydroscopic properties of brake fluid means it'll absorb moisture over time, as well as various contaminants. It's a good idea to flush the old fluid from the slave cylinder every so often.
Check the brake fluid reservoir
If you haven't already, pop the cap on the brake fluid reservoir and remove the small mesh filter. Old brake fluid is typically quite dark, a good indication it should be changed. As you bleed the clutch, the the fluid level will drop, so be sure to top it off with fresh brake fluid as you flush old fluid from the system.
Lift the car and access the slave cylinder
Unlike bleeding the brakes, to bleed the clutch you'll have to get under the car. This means safely and securely lifting the front of the car, much like you were changing the oil. Ensure the front of the car is properly lifted on jackstands or ramps before venturing underneath.
Never, ever get under the car when it's lifted with a jack.
You shouldn't need to remove the aerodynamic plate under the car unless it's too tight a fit otherwise (we did, just to give us a little more wiggle room, and because we weren't sure where the bleeder screw was located when we started). If you do, an 8mm socket will remove the four screws holding it in place.
Your target is a funky looking rubber knob on the underside of the transmission. The transmission and bell housing are centrally located, behind the oil pan and steering linkage. The bleeder screw is directly underneath a rubber covering on the passenger side of the slave cylinder/transmission housing.
Remove the rubber covering; it should just pull off. Behind it is a bleeder screw nearly identical to the ones on the brakes. Attach the plastic tubing to the nipple as securely as possible. Depending on the diameter of the tubing, you may need to heat the end slightly so it fits over the nipple. It's especially important to ensure the tubing is fit securely as if it pops off when brake fluid is flowing, it could spray over your face and eyes (which is why it's extremely important to be wearing eye protection!)
Bleed the slave cylinder
Now it's time to bleed the slave cylinder, exactly like you would with the brakes. To recap:
Using the 9mm box wrench, the person at the bleeder opens the valve by turning the screw approximately 90 degrees. The person should then say "open" or "down".
The person at the pedals depresses the clutch, firmly but gently, and says "down". Unlike the brakes, the clutch may have less resistance to traveling, so make sure you're not hammering it down.
Fluid should flow out of the bleeder. When it stops, the person at the bleeder should close the valve and say "closed" or "up".
The person at the pedals then releases the clutch. They may have to use their foot to "pull" the pedal back. When it's all the way up, they say "up". The person should not release the clutch pedal until the valve is closed!
Repeat this process until the fluid looks clean and free of air bubbles and contaminants. Don't forget to check the brake fluid level in the reservoir regularly!
Once the fluid leaving the slave cylinder is clean, tighten the screw and replace the cap. Give the clutch a few pumps and ensure no fluid is leaking from the slave cylinder bleeder. If everything looks good, reinstall the rubber cover. If you removed the aerodynamic plate, reinstall it and lower the car. Ensure the fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir is topped off again and reinstall the mesh filter and reservoir cap.
Take the car for a quick test drive around a neighborhood or low-traffic road to ensure the clutch pedal works as expected.
If any brake fluid came in contact with the car's paint, ensure it's cleaned off thoroughly, as it can chew through the clear coat and paint!
Dispose of the old brake fluid responsibly. Many auto parts stores have the ability to recycle old fluid, so inquire with a local shop.
- Aerodynamic plate screws: 8mm
- Bleeder screw: 9mm
- Total brake system capacity: 0.5 quarts
- Brake fluid must match DOT4 spec.