Reader Question: Hydraulic Clutch Sticks

Question: I Have a 1994 Jeep with a hydraulic clutch and I am wondering if you can help to diagnose what the problem is. The clutch basically has dead air at the top of the pedal and only about 2 inch towards the floor that is clutch. Pedal will sometimes stick down a bit but eventually will return to normal. Want to know where to start trouble shooting this problem. Tracy

Answer: Did you check the fluid? If it’s full maybe there is some air in the system, bleed it out with the help of someone. How to bleed the clutch: Have someone hold down the clutch pedal and open the bleeder valve (which I am pretty sure is on the slave cylinder or outside of the bell housing – see the note below). The helper should keep the pedal down until you close the valve or air will be pulled back in. Listen for air bubbles coming out the bleeder. Close the valve and repeat until no more air is released. Make sure you have something handy to catch the fluid in and check the master cylinder level as you go. The clutch system typically uses regular brake fluid. NOTE: On some 94-96 Jeeps the entire clutch slave/master assembly is not serviceable and the entire unit needs to be replaced together. If you can’t find a bleeder you may have a non-serviceable type.

If that doesn’t work you may have contaminants or rust in the system somewhere that is causing the binding or lack of pedal. If this is the case you will need to start replacing components. I would suspect the slave cylinder first since it is exposed to the elements more than the master cylinder. Probably your slave cylinder is inside the bell housing making replacement a larger job. If this is the case the transmission would need to be removed.