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Series Land Rovers

10 Steps to Easy Clutch Repair or How to Remove the Clutch Master Cylinder

by Dave Bobeck

1. First and foremost you must be able to diagnose clutch problems properly. There are many kinds of problems one can have with one's clutch. There is one thing they have in common though, and that is that they always happen at the worst time. If you cannot shift your gearbox that should tell you one of two things. Either a. You have a bad clutch, or b. you are driving a Land Rover. Look all around your vehicle. If you see the words "Land Rover" anywhere on your vehicle then thee is no problem. 2. Now that you know how to properly diagnose a clutch problem you can start the process of determining the cause. First look for dripping brake (clutch actually) fluid running down from the area of the master cylinder. If you do not know where the master cylinder is then simply follow the trail of dripping brake fluid. Also if there are any new parts in the clutch system then suspect them immediately. After all why would a part that has been working for 30 years suddenly just give up. See what I mean? It all makes sense. TRUST US. 3. Once you have determined that your clutch is faulty, it is important that you drive around for a few months without fixing it, in order to get used to driving with a faulty clutch. This is a valuable skill, especially if you own a Land-Rover. 4. Wait until it gets really cold outside, say, below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. 5. Make sure it is completely impossible to shift the gearbox. You can do this by putting the transfer lever in neutral, and trying to row through the gears with the motor running. If it is indeed impossible, then it is time to Fix The clutch. If it is possible, go to step 6. and then repeat step 5. 6. You must now make a wholehearted attempt to fix the clutch. Start by draining all the fluid out of the system. This can be done two ways. Drive around for six months without topping it off, or open the bleed screw a few turns and pump the clutch pedal about 6-8 times. This will effectively disa Not the kind that happens when the wrench slips, but the kind that makes things work again. 7. Fill the Clutch Master Cylinder with fluid, preferably brake fluid, but in this case it doesn't matter. (see step 8). If you do not know where the Master Cylinder is yet, simply open something in the engine compartment and pour some brake fluid in it. It really doesn't matter. Pump the pedal a few times to make sure the bleed screw is closed. If there is a squirting noise and you are blinded by a blast of liquid, then it is not closed. Close the bleed screw. Refill the Master Cylinder again. Pump the pedal up until you feel like stopping. Hold the pedal down. Quickly try and locate a glass jar and a length of plastic tubing to fit over the bleed screw. If you cannot find one within reach then let off the pedal and relax. Smoke a cigarette, have a ham sandwich or some cake. A decent beer would be okay too. Now I will assume that you have the necessary items in hand. Fill the jar with some old cruddy brake fluid and insert one end of the plastic tubing into the jar. The other end goes on the bleed screw. Now bleed the system. You Are Now Done. Put the transfer box in Neutral again and make sure you can shift the gearbox. Nice try. This time with the motor running, eh? If all is well, then simply place the transfer case into high and engage first gear. Dump the clutch and see what happens. 8. Remove the broken axle(s) and replace. Preferably you will have a spare on hand. Remove the left wing. If you have not found the clutch master cylinder yet, you will surely do so now. It is the funny looking little metal thing with the bubbled paint all around it. Remove the master cylinder by any means necessary. To do this requires one of two things: a. alot of tools, dexterity, patience and creativity, or b. removal of the pedal box. I opted for number a. Why do people say "number" a,b,c.,etc? I never could figure that out. Anyway get the darn thing off of there and Call your parts supplier and berate them for selling you bogus junk, whether or not it was their fault. You have earned this right in the last 24 hours as you have now completed one of the most arduous tasks in Land Roverdom, the removal of the Clutch Master Cylinder. You should be proud, in fact, you should call your Mother.

Stay tuned as there's more to come next month in part 2, as we explore the ins and outs of Replacing the Clutch Master Cylinder.

Reprinted from the OVLR Newsletter, February 1997


Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2006. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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