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      02-19-2011, 07:40 PM   #1
elp_jc
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Clutch bleed job gone wrong; HELP PLEASE!!!

Hi gang. Did a clutch bleed job before, and other than the pedal being soft initially and hardening after a few pumps, everything went fine. Tried to do it with vacuum, but nothing, so treated the valve like a check valve, and everything went fine: pushing pedal expelled fluid; releasing it sucked from the reservoir.

Forward to today, and after 3 pumps, clutch pedal went limp. Watched the line before pedal went completely soft, and saw fluid going down when pushed then back up as I lifted pedal up (WTF?). So the damn thing is not a check valve, or it's messed up.
Anyway, hooked vacuum line and this time it sucked but with a lot of air, then slower with no air. But pedal was still soft. Tried again, and same thing: slow 'solid' fluid initially, then pretty fast with a bunch of air. And pedal still completely soft, even after pumping it like a zillion times. Fluid level at the reservoir never went lower than an inch above (almost at the 'high' mark), so it's not sucking air from above.

Before I try one last time, any ideas what the hell is going on?
And is it a check valve or not?

I have 2 more options:
- Hook a long line where I can plug it with my finger when releasing clutch (manual bleed, of course), and hope pedal eventually pushes all air out.
- Or the one that for sure should fix the problem: a reverse flush, which means injecting fluid from the bottom, but don't have the tool to do that. It's not that expensive, but doubt I'll find it locally. Will check the many air tools I have (and never use), but don't remember seeing a reservoir to do that.

And don't think a pressure bleed would be any different than vacuum, plus the clutch line doesn't even have a clamp, so don't want to consider that option (plus don't have the proper cap either, since I don't like bleeding that way).

All suggestions welcome. Thanks gang.

Last edited by elp_jc; 02-19-2011 at 07:52 PM.
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      02-20-2011, 10:53 AM   #2
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I'm aware only a handful of guys on this board (if at all) have dealt with clutch bleeding issues (sucking air, removing transmission/engine, etc), so chances are slim they'll read this anytime soon. Oh well.

Wish I knew which method worked so I could save some aggravation, but will eventually fix it. Most likely I have a giant bubble in the slave, since that's where it sucked air from. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
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      02-20-2011, 12:04 PM   #3
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I know you said you don't want to use a pressure bleeder but I think that may be your best chance if you are doing this by yourself. You can get a motive power bleeder for only $40-$50. Just put it on the brake fluid reservoir put about 15 LBS on it and bleed it using a bleeder catch bottle.

If you don't want to do this I think you are going to have to get someone to help you and make this a two man operation!
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      02-20-2011, 12:56 PM   #4
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I Thought a Little Bit About Your Issue

I think you are correct that not a lot of people here do their own maintenance. More people on E90Post and for sure on the M3FORUM.net E46 M3 site do. So, making the leap that the clutch actuation systems are likely similar on those cars to the one on yours, you could look for info on those boards and potentially ask questions over there. Here's a thread I found on M3FORUM.net that may be helpful: http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showt...t=bleed+clutch.
Hope this helps. The only thing I've ever bled was the front brake on my motorcycles which was always a pain.
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      02-20-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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I've done several CDV removals and u need to bleed clutch after doing so. It sounds to me like u went low on fluid. Try this, don't use any of ur vacuum tools or whatever. Just have one person pumping, one person opening the valve and another checking and filling the reservoir. See the clutch uses the brake fluid reservoir as u prob. Already know however the line that goes to the clutch is very high up on the resovoir therefore u cannot let the resovoir get low at all because u will get air in the system which will make the pedal feel like u haven't even bled it.

So have someone pump 4-5 times, hold and open release valve, repeat about 2 times and then have fluid check and filled, like I said u must have reservoir full at all times. Keep doing this pattern until pedal feels hard again. Hopes this helps.
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      02-20-2011, 02:11 PM   #6
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PM rickybobby. He's done the clutch bleed and experienced a similar issue.
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      02-20-2011, 04:12 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot for all your help folks. Definitely didn't suck air thru the top, as I have a special bottle you just fill and park on top of the reservoir, and stays full. Level is an inch above the clutch line (by the 'min' mark), which is beyond me why it doesn't come out from the bottom.

Anyway, the problem with doing this like a normal bleed job (pump, open valve, drain, close valve, release pedal) is you can only turn the damn valve 1/16 of a turn at a time; no space, so that method is the only one that can't be used reliably.
To make matters worse, the stupid plastic valve needs to be opened like 1-1/2 turns out before nothing comes out, making the job much harder. That's why I thought it had a check-valve built into it, since most bleed valves are wide open with 1/4 turn. I already confirmed it's NOT a check-valve, so you guys know. You just need to open it quite a bit. Next time I won't have any issues with vacuum, but now I don't think it's going to work. And it'd probably be the same thing with pressure, so will head to the store and buy a reverse bleeder, to force the air the way it wants to go. A pressure bleeder would be my last option, but hope don't have to use it.

My plan of attack is to drain the reservoir with vacuum (which will be the 'min' line), then reverse bleed the system, and again bleed with vacuum. Pedal should be hard as a rock by then . Man, I've never had so much trouble with a bleed job than now, even when doing my 11-valve servo brake bleed on my BMW bike. It certainly feel and sounds like I sucked air from the reservoir, but didn't .

Hey gang, if I have to go the pressure bleeder route, I have a compressor, so does anybody know where to buy the appropriate cap with the air-hose adapter? There's no need for extra fluid. Thanks again for all your help. Once I get this issue sorted out, I can take the car for a spin and comment on the RP tranny and diff behavior. Take care.
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      02-20-2011, 07:17 PM   #8
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I have had good luck pulling the slave and bleeding it manually. Open bleeder, depress piston by hand, close bleeder, release piston, open bleeder, depress piston, close bleeder and repeat about ten times. I found this method works better than a pressure bleeder (I have a Motive). Not so much different from what you are doing with a friend helping you by manipulating the clutch pedal, but it seems to work. You can also experiment with how you hold the slave once it is hanging on its line, by rotating to place the bleeder nipple at the highest point (where air bubbles would theoretically go).
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      02-20-2011, 10:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbonsalb View Post
I have had good luck pulling the slave and bleeding it manually.
Thanks man, but have you done this on the M3??? The slave is attached to metal lines, and I'd be lucky to even pull it out of the tranny without bending something. Will scrutinize it when I try vacuum one last time. I might do that next since couldn't find a reverse bleeder locally, but not looking forward to removing the nut behind slave . Thanks again to all.
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      02-20-2011, 10:43 PM   #10
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Hi there, I got your PM but figured I'd answer this publically in case anyone else has the same issue. I got a great bleed doing it the old fashioned way (2 person method). Yes, it's a pain because you have to turn the valve over 1 full turn to open it and it's in a confined area, but I've found that even with brakes, manual bleeds always yeild the best results.
I messed mine up the 1st time because I didn't realize that the input for the clutch fluid was so high in the reservoir (be sure to keep the reservoir at least 3/4 full) and I bled a full batch of air through it. Just as you described, the pedal went to the floor and wouldn't return. Even after basically getting air in the entire clutch system, the manual bleed did the trick..
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      02-21-2011, 12:24 AM   #11
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Does a gravity bleed work on these cars? I know on my S2000, a gravity bleed worked best for both the clutch and brakes. It just takes about 30-45 minutes.
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      02-23-2011, 02:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piloto View Post
Does a gravity bleed work on these cars?
Only one way to find out, right? I'll try it for you buddy .

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyBobby View Post
Hi there, I got your PM but figured I'd answer this publically in case anyone else has the same issue.
Great idea, to help others. Thanks man. Will finish the job that way after trying gravity and/or low vacuum first.

By the way, air WAS sucked up from the top, so beware folks. Reason was the darn filter that prevents fluid swings from affecting the fluid level sensor is too darn tight, and can't be removed without messing it up. Fluid was getting sucked quicker than new fluid could permeate thru the filter. So the filter area was topped off all the time, but not the actual fluid level. So can't use full vacuum on that puppy. Will post results later on. Have been too busy driving and working on the new toy . Never been a Ferrari fan, but this 6MT drives pretty darn nice, and with every option, everything is leather, even the door sills, pillars, back of seats, back tray..... I have to say I definitely like better the sound of my M3, but with the valves removed, it sounds wicked, especially with the top down. The steering is the best I've ever felt, even better than Porsche. And the massive carbon-ceramic brakes make my M3 brakes feel like a Civic. And feels a lot more powerful vs the M3 than the 414 vs 495 suggest. Weightwise is about 3,400 vs 3,700. Can't wait to register it today to take it for a high-speed run. Good day gang.
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Last edited by elp_jc; 02-23-2011 at 02:15 PM.
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      02-23-2011, 03:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elp_jc View Post
Only one way to find out, right? I'll try it for you buddy .
Well, since my car is schedule to be delivered in May, I can't quite try it myself, so much appreciated.

Now that's a nice looking garage.
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      02-23-2011, 04:38 PM   #14
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If you are into modding, it is good to have a spare car.
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      02-23-2011, 05:43 PM   #15
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How would you feel about writing a DIY on this clutch bleed with pictures. You have a camera that took pics of that wicked garage & F car so no excuses

Quote:
Originally Posted by elp_jc View Post
Only one way to find out, right? I'll try it for you buddy .


Great idea, to help others. Thanks man. Will finish the job that way after trying gravity and/or low vacuum first.

By the way, air WAS sucked up from the top, so beware folks. Reason was the darn filter that prevents fluid swings from affecting the fluid level sensor is too darn tight, and can't be removed without messing it up. Fluid was getting sucked quicker than new fluid could permeate thru the filter. So the filter area was topped off all the time, but not the actual fluid level. So can't use full vacuum on that puppy. Will post results later on. Have been too busy driving and working on the new toy . Never been a Ferrari fan, but this 6MT drives pretty darn nice, and with every option, everything is leather, even the door sills, pillars, back of seats, back tray..... I have to say I definitely like better the sound of my M3, but with the valves removed, it sounds wicked, especially with the top down. The steering is the best I've ever felt, even better than Porsche. And the massive carbon-ceramic brakes make my M3 brakes feel like a Civic. And feels a lot more powerful vs the M3 than the 414 vs 495 suggest. Weightwise is about 3,400 vs 3,700. Can't wait to register it today to take it for a high-speed run. Good day gang.
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      02-24-2011, 01:28 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piloto View Post
Does a gravity bleed work on these cars?
NOPE. It does bleed, and relatively quickly, but didn't work. Drained about 1/4L, which is way more than needed, and no luck. Sorry buddy. Will summon a friend tomorrow and do it manually. Hope it works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurotrash8 View Post
How would you feel about writing a DIY on this clutch bleed with pictures.
You can find the basics somewhere else, but will post the details about fixing air in the lines on this car when I'm done. Vacuum is the way to do 95% of a regular bleed job, and if possible, finish it manually with a few pumps of the pedal to bleed the slave completely out of old fluid. Take care.

By the way, it's always a good idea to thoroughly check a used car, even when a franchised dealer performs a PPI (I just have bad luck with dealers). Look what I found when checking the battery, and this was after finding the coolant tank empty, oil low, and PS fluid low. Oh, and that same dealer changed all fluids 10 miles prior. As soon as I can get the freaking car to set the codes to pass inspection and register the car, need to remove everything, neutralize the acid, and assess the damage (hopefully just the tray). Thought I could trust an F-car dealer; wrong. And they charged me an arm and a leg for the PPI. Car is immaculate otherwise, and owner obviously didn't know this, so can't blame him. Would still have bought the car, but if I hadn't checked this, it'd probably make a hole over time, and eventually ruin the many vital lines running under the car. Next time (if ever), I'm flying my a$$ there, especially for a POS this expensive :
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Last edited by elp_jc; 02-24-2011 at 01:33 AM.
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      02-25-2011, 02:21 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyBobby View Post
Even after basically getting air in the entire clutch system, the manual bleed did the trick..
Seems like it's back to normal, thanks.
Had to do it 3 times, as pedal didn't firm up after many pumps. Problem was my daughter was telling me she was reaching the bottom too soon. Next time she told me once she was at the bottom. The trick is to close the valve right at the end, since the first 3/4 of pedal travel nothing happens. Once she did that, I saw lots of air come out until it was all fluid for many more pumps. However, pedal was still soft, just like the previous bleed job a year ago, but it firmed up after about 20 pumps. And felt normal after about 30. I'll know tomorrow for sure with the engagement point. And will bring back the Royal Purple thread for comments on the tranny and diff. Take care gang. Now you know how to fix a clutch with air in the system. And what NOT to do to have one .
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      02-26-2011, 11:40 PM   #18
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bmp clutch bleeding technique and youtube video

I was unsuccessful bleeding my clutch hydraulics using traditional methods after changing the fluid. The manual states that the clutch slave should be removed and compressed using a special tool and then the system bled, the slave reinstalled and then the tool removed. I didn't think I could get slave out because it is so tight in there.

I was successful in using the procedure of pumping fluid in through the slave bleed screw and bleeding the air out through the reservoir using a pump oil can. Make sure you clean the oil can thoroughly with brake fluid or solvent because even new they have lubricants in them.

The procedure can be seen in this bmp youtube video. Thank you bmp.

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      02-27-2011, 01:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmashman View Post
I was successful in using the procedure of pumping fluid in through the slave bleed screw and bleeding the air out through the reservoir using a pump oil can.
That's called 'reverse bleeding', and that definitely gets the job done to make the clutch operational, but might not remove all air either, depending on system design. That was my last resort, mostly because never thought of an oil can (didn't want to spend $100+ on a tool I'd probably use once); thanks for the tip. Next time I know exactly what to do, and will take me maybe 5 minutes . A reverse bleed should be the last resort in case of trouble, as you want crap out of your system, not into it, as it could be the case with it. So bleed your clutch normallly, with either vacuum or pressure -pedal or compressed air-).

Pumping the pedal works, but you have to bring it all the way in before closing valve. The other good news is the system self-purges once you can build some pressure.
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      02-27-2011, 08:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elp_jc View Post
That's called 'reverse bleeding', and that definitely gets the job done to make the clutch operational, but might not remove all air either, depending on system design. That was my last resort, mostly because never thought of an oil can (didn't want to spend $100+ on a tool I'd probably use once); thanks for the tip. Next time I know exactly what to do, and will take me maybe 5 minutes . A reverse bleed should be the last resort in case of trouble, as you want crap out of your system, not into it, as it could be the case with it. So bleed your clutch normallly, with either vacuum or pressure -pedal or compressed air-).

Pumping the pedal works, but you have to bring it all the way in before closing valve. The other good news is the system self-purges once you can build some pressure.
MY vacuum pump has an inline open/close valve so In my case I could just loosen the nut on the slave all the way, vacuum, and open & close inline valve while keeping the reservior topped up which will make this job accurate and no more than a 10min job...I hope
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      02-28-2011, 03:35 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurotrash8 View Post
MY vacuum pump has an inline open/close valve
Mine too, but I don't rely on it, as the line usually has air in it. Just open the nipple with that valve open, but SLIGHTLY. If you read my thread, the super tight filter in the reservoir doesn't permeate fluid quick enough to keep up with the vacuum bleeder with valve open, and you'd gulp air, like it happened to me. Keep the reservoir full, and open the nipple ever so slightly. Good luck.
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      02-28-2011, 03:42 AM   #22
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elp_jc, get a pressure bleeder and use it next time. The european version of the motive power bleeder is only $54.95 and it allows you to complete the task by yourself and not have to depend on your daughter or wife to pump the pedal for you.

If you don't trust a pressure bleeder than you can complete the fluid change with the pressure bleeder and have someone pump the pedal for you so you can conventionally check it and make make sure it is ok. Another big plus with a pressure bleeder is the fact that they hold at least 2 quarts of fluid which makes sure the reservoir stays full.
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