Clutch problems after install - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old April 8th, 2016, 01:15 PM
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Nick Engelbrecht
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Clutch problems after install

Just finished with a couple week project of pulling the engine (Defender 3.5L) and gearbox (LT95) in order to replace some leaking seals. While I was at it, I replaced the clutch plate, cover and release bearing. Got it all buttoned back up and went to test drive today. Engine roared to life fairly easily and sounded beautiful. Truck wouldn't shift into gear, though. Pedal was very soft and went down too easily.

With the engine not running, I can select every gear with ease. There's a slight difference in the noise coming from the clutch with the pedal depressed. I climbed under and watched while my wife pressed the clutch pedal a few times and it looks as if the clutch release lever isn't moving much.

I bled (and bled again) the clutch. I suspect that perhaps the master cylinder and/or slave cylinders may have gone bad in the two weeks it was out of the truck. Both were replaced within the past year. I've ordered some new ones and will have a go at replacing them tomorrow when they arrive.

Any other suggestions of what it could be?
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  #2  
Old April 8th, 2016, 01:30 PM
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It sounds like air in the hydraulics. They can be very finicky to bleed. I doubt the cylinders are are bad.

There are two "good" ways. One is to reverse bleed (bleed from the slave). The other is to remove the slave and hang it down and gravity bleed.
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Old April 8th, 2016, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
It sounds like air in the hydraulics. They can be very finicky to bleed. I doubt the cylinders are are bad.

There are two "good" ways. One is to reverse bleed (bleed from the slave). The other is to remove the slave and hang it down and gravity bleed.
That's what I would have assumed as well, but I have thoroughly bled the clutch system using one of these "one man bleed" kits. I've done it several times in the past without an issue.
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Old April 8th, 2016, 02:22 PM
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Sometimes the normal bleeding method does not work. Sometimes it does. One theory is the slave sucks air in on the return because the fluid is not under pressure. You need to try the methods above or a two man that is performed exactly the right way.

Trust me. I've been there and done that and have the grey hair from frustration. The first time it happened to me I spent forever with no result and figured, like you, something was broken. A mechanic with the right experience walked up and bled it in two minutes.
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Old April 8th, 2016, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
Sometimes the normal bleeding method does not work. Sometimes it does. One theory is the slave sucks air in on the return because the fluid is not under pressure. You need to try the methods above or a two man that is performed exactly the right way. Trust me. I've been there and done that and have the grey hair from frustration. The first time it happened to me I spent forever with no result and figured, like you, something was broken. A mechanic with the right experience walked up and bled it in two minutes.
Thanks, Red. I'll have another play with it tomorrow and try one of the two methods you listed.
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  #6  
Old April 8th, 2016, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
Sometimes the normal bleeding method does not work. Sometimes it does. One theory is the slave sucks air in on the return because the fluid is not under pressure. You need to try the methods above or a two man that is performed exactly the right way.

Trust me. I've been there and done that and have the grey hair from frustration. The first time it happened to me I spent forever with no result and figured, like you, something was broken. A mechanic with the right experience walked up and bled it in two minutes.
Had the exact thing happen to me. They are a pain to bleed.
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Old April 8th, 2016, 10:01 PM
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Also had this same issue when swapping a clutch master.

I ended up using a air powered vacume bleeder, worked fine after
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Old April 9th, 2016, 12:44 AM
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I'm not sure of the route your clutch line is taking between the master and slave but on mine it has a considerable area that is higher than the master. Doing a reverse bleed you really have to push the fluid through fast enough to get the bubbles past this area with momentum, but before the reservoir fills up and over flows - fun times!

My method was counting 14 strokes of an oil can - but no more - as fast as I could.

Good luck
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Old April 9th, 2016, 07:35 AM
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Is the bleed nipple on the SC at the top or bottom? I made this mistake.
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Old April 9th, 2016, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 1of40 View Post
Is the bleed nipple on the SC at the top or bottom? I made this mistake.
Also I had best luck letting slave and flex line hang loose and gravity bleed.
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  #11  
Old April 9th, 2016, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1of40 View Post
Is the bleed nipple on the SC at the top or bottom? I made this mistake.
Bleed nipple is at bottom.
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Old April 9th, 2016, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by nengelbrecht6 View Post
Bleed nipple is at bottom.
Needs to be at the top.
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  #13  
Old April 9th, 2016, 08:38 AM
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Nick Engelbrecht
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Thank you to everyone for your help and advice.

In the end, I bought a pressure bleeder to force the fluid through the master cylinder. Before this, as I was pushing down on the clutch pedal the fluid level wasn't going down but the fluid was getting frothy. I think that the master cylinder was air bound and by using the pressure bleeder, it forced the fluid past that point and I was able to bleed as normal after that.

Once I got the system bled and the clutch was working again, I noticed that the bite point for the clutch was way down at the floorboards and the clutch engaged when I barely came off the pedal. Took the little cover off the top of the master cylinder and the nut on the rear of the pedal mechanism had backed completely off. This left a lot of play in the clutch before it did anything. That was tightened up and now everything is back to normal.

Truck is driving as it should and will be shipped to California next month! Looking forward to being stateside again.
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