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Clutch Line Bleeding

Installing a braided clutch line or want to remove your clutch restrictor, but aren't sure how to bleed the clutch line when you are done? Have you tried bleeding it and don't seem to be making any progress? Well, here you go!

Bleeding the clutch line is not a difficult procedure, however, we even had some issues initially getting the one in the Evo 8 bled properly. Unlike most cars where you can simply begin the bleeding process and just add fluid to the brake fluid reservoir as needed during the process, the Evo 8 brake fluid reservoir must be "over filled" to even get started. Failure to do so can have you pumping nothing but air indefinitely...

1. After your clutch line is buttoned back up and it is time to bleed it, connect a clear tube to the bleeder screw on the clutch release cylinder and the other end into a cup or bottle. Make sure that the tube tightly fits the nipple on the bleeder screw. You must use clear tubing so you can visibly see when all of the air/bubbles have been pushed out of the line.
2. Fill the brake fluid reservoir up to the neck with DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid. Despite the "MAX" line on the reservoir, failing to fill the reservoir to the top may not send any fluid through the feed hose to the clutch master cylinder and out through the clutch line.

The reservoir has a very sneaky way of "looking" full at the MAX line when it is not. As you may notice, even with the fluid on the MAX line of the reservoir, it may take more fluid added than you think before the level actually begins to move up. The fluid added before the level rises is displacing air in the reservoir...and that "hidden" air is what can cause you to go through the motions of bleeding with zero progress.
3. With the clear hose and catch can/bottle connected to the bleeder and the brake fluid reservoir topped off (not to MAX, but all the way up to the filler neck...see pic in Step 2), depress the clutch pedal. Loosen the bleeder screw to let the air come out of the line and fluid to be sucked into the clutch master cylinder from the brake fluid reservoir. Tighten the bleeder screw and pull up the clutch pedal. Repeat this process of pedal down, loosen the bleeder, tighten the bleeder and pull the pedal up until nothing but solid fluid (no air or bubbles) comes out of the clutch line as viewed through the clear tube on the bleeder (middle picture).

You should be able to visibly see the fluid level in the reservoir drop when your helper pushes in the clutch and the bleeder is opened. This means that the clutch master cylinder is pulling in fluid from the reservoir and the bleeding process is proceeding as normal. If the fluid level does not drop during the bleeding process, the line is picking up air, fluid. Add more fluid to the reservoir and begin again. The top picture shows the reservoir level change (Step 2 = starting point) after approximately 8 repetitions of the entire bleeding process.

Make certain to keep the brake fluid reservoir full during the process (every 4-5 repetitions). If you let it run down and begin picking up air in the line, you will be starting from scratch.
4. When nothing but solid fluid comes out of the bleeder screw, refill the reservoir to the top one last time and continue the bleeding process until your brake fluid reservoir level is down to the MAX line (top pic), the tighten the bleeder screw, remove the hose and catch can/bottle from the bleeder, being careful to not drip any fluid on the car. Torque the bleeder screw to 97 INCH-LBS, reinstall the dust cap on it, replace the brake fluid reservoir cap and you are done!

NOTE: Do not re-use old fluid or fluid caught in the can/bottle from bleeding to replenish the reservoir. Clean any brake fluid that comes in contact with the car or your skin ASAP...it is nasty stuff and will eat paint!
5. TECH TIP: If using a Speed Bleeder or similar bleeder screw with a one-way check valve (bottom pic), you will not need to loosen and tighten the bleeder the screw every time the clutch pedal goes up or down....it is a great time saving piece and can make bleeding the line a one-person job if needed. Loosen it to bleed the line. Air/fluid can go out and nothing will ever be sucked back in.

Speed Bleeders can be located online, or similar one-way bleeders at the local auto parts store in the "Help!" section. P/N 12709 (shown) and they should run about $7-$10 for a pair. Do yourself a favor and pick them up when you go in to get brake fluid!

TECH TIP: Once more fluid than air starts coming out of the line, press the clutch pedal in slowly from that point on while bleeding the line. Quickly pressing the pedal or letting it fall to the floor on its own will do nothing but break up large bubbles into smaller ones, making it take longer to fully bleed. If enough of these small bubbles are left in the line, they will regroup later to make a nice big air bubble in your line.
6. If all went well, you should have a nice firm clutch pedal! Press the pedal a few times and then check for any leaks around the bleeder screw. If your pedal is firm and there are no leaks, you are all done!

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