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Clutch Bleeding / Fluid Change


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#1 datsa

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 09:06 AM

Can any Corollanders point me to instructions on how to change the clutch fluid on a 1988 Corolla 4AFE engine?
I know I can use the turkey baster method to draw out the fluid in the clutch reservoir, but what about farther down the line. I don't see any obvious drainage points. My service manual (from Toyota) does not mention clutch fluid replacement procedures, just how to adjust the clutch. Is there a generic website for this?

#2 fishexpo101

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 10:23 AM

There is a bleeder plug on the clutch slave cylinder - probably covered by a rubber plug to prevent dirt from fouling it. The plug should be right next to the hardline. There should be some stuff online on this - but I'm not sure if there are any decent DIY guides floating around there. Just in case - I'll list three of the more common methods. Three ways to do it are - vacuum bleeding, pressure bleeding, or buddy system.

For the first two - you need to buy a vacuum setup (Mityvac or similar) or a pressure setup (Motive or similar) - setups run about $40 - $80, but will allow you do it completely by yourself. Follow the directions with the kit.

For the buddy setup - you need a buddy and the following steps:

- Jack up the right corner of the car, take the wheel off for more clearance
- Locate the slave cylinder and the bleeder valve
- Either route some tubing from the bleeder valve to a clear container (highly recommened) or have plenty of rags to soak up the fluid
- Verify that the master clutch fluid reservoir is full

- (Step 1) Have buddy push slowly clutch to floor and hold it there
- (Step 2) Loosen bleeder screw, while pedal is held to floor, fluid should splurt out
- (Step 3) Tighten bleeder screw
- (Step 4) Have buddy slowly release pedal

Repeat Steps 1 - 4 until fluid that is ejected runs clear. Always verify that the fluid reservior is full - top off if neccessary. If the reservoir drops too low, you will suck in some air and have to start all over again.

This also works for more brakes as well - the procedure is the nearly the same. Make sure to use compatible fluid - in this case, DOT 3 compatible brake fluid would work just fine.

#3 datsa

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 09:43 AM

Three ways to do it are - vacuum bleeding, pressure bleeding, or buddy system.

This also works for more brakes as well - the procedure is the nearly the same. Make sure to use compatible fluid - in this case, DOT 3 compatible brake fluid would work just fine.

Is one of the three ways better than the other, don't want to get air in the clutch lines?

Also, should I stick with DOT 3 or use newer DOT 3-4 fluid. Currently I use Valvoline SynPower brake fluid. Is using anything higher than DOT 3 wasting $$$?

#4 fishexpo101

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 10:57 AM

Is one of the three ways better than the other, don't want to get air in the clutch lines?

Also, should I stick with DOT 3 or use newer DOT 3-4 fluid. Currently I use Valvoline SynPower brake fluid. Is using anything higher than DOT 3 wasting $$$?


Valvoline SynPower brake fluid is perfect - DOT 3 or DOT 4 is fine to use. Using higher spec'd fluid (except DOT 5 silicone based) - will work, but keep in mind that you still have to change the fluid regularly. Some cases, higher perfomance brake fluids can absorb water at a much higher rate than stardard DOT 3 fluids. Still - I run the higher spec'd fluids as I would take the moisture trade for the much higher temperature stability of the fluid. I know that I will change it every other year - so I can keep moisture levels in check, make sure that I'm running "fresh" fluid.

Of the three methods - all about the same. Most shops recommend vacuum bleeding - as it is relatively fast and can be down with one person. But if you have someone to help - nothing wrong with two person procedure. The tricks are to not let the reservoir get too low and the person inside the car to listen to you. Even the factory service manual outlines a two person procedure for this and the brakes.