Slave Cylinder Replacement Cost and Steps (Expert Guide)

Do you want to know how to carry out a slave cylinder replacement yourself? If so, you are on the right page.

This article explains all the steps involved in replacing a slave cylinder and how to safely do it.

Read on!

How to Perform a Slave Cylinder Replacement

Slave Cylinder Replacement

The slave cylinder of a clutch is a component of the clutch structure, which gives leverage support to the clutch fork. The slave cylinder on a clutch has the same function as the hydraulic cylinder found on a boom lift. There is a connection through a hose between the cylinder and the master clutch cylinder on the firewall, beside the master brake cylinder.

When applying pressure on the clutch pad, brake fluid flows from the master clutch cylinder to the slave cylinder.

If the pressure on the clutch pad is released, the brake fluid will forcefully return into the master clutch cylinder by the return spring found in or on the slave cylinder.

Also Read: Egr Valve Replacement Cost & Steps

Phase 1: Preparing to Work on Replacing the Slave Cylinder

Step 1: Your vehicle should be parked on a hard, flat surface. Ensure that your transmission is in the right position. For manual cars, it should be in gear one, and for automatic cars, the transmission should be left in the park.

PS. Note that this is for vehicles with transmissions on all the wheels or the rear wheels.

Step 2: Wheel chocks should be placed around the back tires. Initiate your parking brakes.

Step 3: Lift the vehicle by placing a floor jack on the specific jacking points. Jack the vehicle till the tires are totally off the floor. Lock the rare tires to prevent movement.

Step 4: Position the jacking stands under the correct jacking points and lower your car on the jacking stands.

You can find the jacking standpoints on a pinch weld under the doors at the bottom of your vehicle.

Note that for the correct jacking positions, it is recommended that you consult your user’s manual.

Phase 2: Verifying the Clutch Slave Cylinder Condition

The material you need

  • A torchlight

Step 1:  Get under the car using a creeper. Use the flashlight to examine the slave cylinder for leakages or any damage.

Pull back the dust boot if you don’t detect any fluid leakage. Underneath the slave cylinder, keep a drip plate in case the brake fluid leaks.

Step 2: Open your vehicle’s bonnet. Find the master clutch cylinder and take off the reservoir cover. Examine the reservoir for brake fluids.

Phase 3: Removing the Clutch Slave Cylinder

Step 1: Use a bottle to grab the vampire pump. Take off the reservoir cap on the master clutch cylinder’s reservoir.

With the aid of the vampire pump, retrieve the entire brake fluid contained in the reservoir. Place back the cap on the reservoir after removing the entire brake fluid.

Note: Don’t spill the brake fluid on your paint to avoid peeling.

Step 2:  Get under the vehicle with your tools. Take the hydraulic line off from the slave cylinder. Do well to place a polythene bag on the line’s edge and fasten it with a rubber band to prevent brake fluids from leaking.

Note: Don’t bend or twist the hydraulic line to prevent a break or crack.

Step 3: Take off the 2 clamps or bolts that fasten the transmission and the slave cylinder together.

Phase 4: Removing the Clutch Hydraulic System Assembly

Step 1: Use a bottle to grab the vampire pump. Take off the reservoir cap on the master clutch cylinder’s reservoir.

With the aid of the vampire pump, retrieve the entire brake fluid contained in the reservoir. Place back the cap on the reservoir after removing the entire brake fluid.

Note: Don’t spill the brake fluid on your paint to avoid peeling.

Step 2: Take off the cotter bolt. Enter the driver’s part of the car and take off the cotter line from the clevis anchor pin.

This is connected to the push rod of the master clutch cylinder with a needle nose plyers set.

Step 3: Take the anchor bolt off. Take this off from the push rod clevis.

Step 4: Take off the mounting bolts. They should be removed from the master clutch cylinder.

Step 5: Find the hydraulic line. This line links the master clutch cylinder to your clutch slave cylinder. Take off the insulated mounting clamps that mount the vehicle and the hydraulic line together.

Step 6: Get under your vehicle with a creeper. Take off the 2 clamps or bolts that fasten the transmission and the slave cylinder together.

Step 7: Take off the whole system. Carefully take off the full system (slave cylinder, hydraulic line, and the master clutch cylinder) from the engine chamber.

Note: Don’t bend or twist the hydraulic line to prevent a break or crack.

Phase 5: Prepare the Slave Cylinder and Hydraulic System Assembly

Step 1: Get the slave cylinder prepared. Take the slave cylinder off its package. Examine visually for any damage to the boot and cylinder. You can also install the boot, push rod and return spring.

Step 2: The clutch hydraulic system should be prepared. Take the slave cylinder and the master cylinder off their package. Examine visually for any damage to the cylinder. Ensure the seal is behind the hose of the master cylinder.

Step 3: Place the master clutch cylinder in a vise. Grip it down till the cylinder does not move. Keep the clutch cylinder on support.

Step 4: Take the bleeder nuts out. Keep a drip plate under the clutch slave cylinder while taking off the bleeder nuts.

Step 5: The reservoir should be filled with brake fluid. About ¼ of the top should be left empty.

Step 6: The cylinder should be primed, using a brass punch the extension. Pump the cylinder slowly from behind the master clutch cylinder.

Observe the dripping of the brake fluid from the clutch slave cylinder. To get the entire system filled, you may need to fill the reservoir about 3 times. This prepares the cylinder and takes the air out of the cylinder, slave cylinder, and hydraulic line.

Immediately the brake fluid flow from the clutch slave cylinder bleeder hole becomes solid, you must stop and place the bleeder bolts.

Step 7: Call for assistance. The major function of the helper will be to press your cylinder using the brass punch. At this point, you can unfasten the bleeder bolts allowing air release as the brake fluid gushes out.

You may have to unfasten the bleeder bolts at intervals while pumping to completely remove the whole air from the hydraulic component.

Step 8: Ensure that your bleeder bolt is tightened. The reservoir should be filled to the maximum marks with brake liquid and get the reservoir cap installed.

Also Read: Blend Door Actuator Replacement (Cost & Steps)

Phase 6: Installing the New Clutch Slave Cylinder

Step 1: Get under the car using a creeper. The slave cylinder should be installed on your transmission mount. Tighten the screws with your finger, and at 1/8 bend, you tighten them properly. If the clutch slave cylinder has a clamp, fix the clamp tightly.

Step 2: Place the drip pan under your clutch slave cylinder. Take the plastic bag off the clutch hydraulic line.

Get the hydraulic line installed on the clutch slave cylinder.

Note: Do not get the clutch hydraulic line intertwined during installation, or there will be brake fluid leakage

Step 3: The clutch hydraulic line should be bled to the slave cylinder. Get extra hands that could help apply pressure on the pedal. Unfasten the bleeder bolts and allow free flow of air from the system. Fasten the bleeder bolts and the pressure on the pedal should be released.

You may have to repeat the process to completely eliminate the air. Ensure to tighten the bleeder bolts.

Note: If the entire air is not removed after this procedure, you may have to let the air out from the line fixed to the master clutch cylinder. Use the same method you used for the bleeder bolts of the clutch slave cylinder.

Step 4: Fill up the brake fluid. Take off the reservoir cover and add more brake fluid until it reaches the maximum mark.

Part 7 of 8: Installing the clutch hydraulic system assembly

Step 1: Entire system installation. Carefully place back the whole system (slave cylinder, hydraulic line, and master cylinder) into the engine chamber.

Note: Avoid bending the clutch hydraulic line so it doesn’t break.

Step 2: Slave cylinder installation. Get under the car and get the slave cylinder installed, by fixing the clamp or screwing the nuts finger tight and 1/8 turn.

Step 3: Installation of the master clutch cylinder unto the firewall carefully.

Step 4: Mounting nuts installation. Enter the driver’s section of your car, and fix the mounting bolts into the master clutch cylinder.

According to the package specifications, spin them down. You can fasten the nuts by hand, and 1/8 turn if there are no instructions.

Step 5: Fix the anchor bolts into the push rod clevis.

Step 6: Installation of brand new cotter bolts. It should be installed into the clevis anchor pin connected to the push rod of the master clutch cylinder, with a set of needle-nose plyers.

Note: Avoid using the old/former cotter bolt due to fatigue and tough work. The former cotter pin may break too soon.

Step 7: Installation of insulated mounting clamps. Return to the engine section and get all the insulated mounting clamps, that help mount the clutch hydraulic line unto the car installed.

Note that the hydraulic system panel has already been primed, filled with fluid, and all the air has been removed from the component.

Step 8: Lift the car. Use a floor jack to raise the car at specific jacking points until the wheels are off the floor completely.

Step 9: Take the jacking stands away. Take the jack stands far from the car.

Step 10: Return the car to its original position with the four tires on the floor. Pull the jack out and keep it away.

Step 11: Take off the wheel chocks at the back wheels, and keep them away.

Also Read: Brake Booster Replacement (Everything To Know)

Phase 8: How to Test the New Clutch Slave Cylinder

Step 1: Ensure the transmission stays neutral. Start your engine by turning the ignition key on.

Step 2: Apply pressure to the clutch pad. Adjust the gear to your preferred choice. The gear shifter should easily slide to the gear you choose. Once you have completed the test, turn off the engine.

Step 3: Test drive the vehicle. During the test driving process, you could switch gears at intervals to ensure everything is in good condition.

Step 4: Apply pressure on the clutch pads. Ensure to press down your clutch pedal when switching from your gear of choice to neutral gear.

Step 5: Push down the clutch pads again. When switching from the neutral gear to another choice of gear, press the clutch pads again.

This process is known as double clutching. It ensures that there is little or no more transmission from your engine when the clutch is properly disengaged.

The process helps in preventing damage to the transmission gear and clutch. If there are no grinding sounds and there is a swift movement when switching gears, then you can be sure that the master cylinder is fixed properly.

If there is a grinding sound while switching gears, or your clutch pedal fails to move, you may still be having issues with either the clutch pedal panel or a failed transmission. You can contact the services of an expert to examine the transmission and clutch if the issue persists.

Check out this video for more tips on how to replace a clutch slave cylinder

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Clutch Slave Cylinder

1. Abnormal Clutch Pedal Feel

You’ll observe an unusual clutch pad feel, because this serves as one of the early indicators of a master clutch cylinder problem. Your pedal may feel mushy or spongy, if there is an external or internal leak from the slave cylinder.

Also, when depressed, the clutch pads may sink to the ground and remain there, failing to disengage the clutch properly so that the transmission can be shifted safely.

2. Low or Contaminated Brake Fluid

Another common symptom of a slave cylinder problem is the presence of contaminated or low fluids inside the reservoir. Leakage in your system, or probably the master or slave cylinders, could result in a low fluid.

There could also be a breakdown of the rubber seals used over time in the clutch slave cylinder, which may lead to brake fluid contamination. A contaminated fluid looks dark or cloudy.

3. Leaks on the Floor or Engine Bay

Another sign of a faulty slave cylinder is visible leakage. When the slave cylinder leaks, visible traces of its fluid can be seen on the ground or inside the engine bay. Due to how severe the leak may be, there may be obvious effects on your pedal feel.

The slave cylinder plays a vital role in cars with manual transmissions, and if it suffers any damage or malfunctions, it could lead to a problem with the vehicle’s overall performance.

A faulty slave and master clutch cylinder share similar symptoms, so it is advisable to ensure a proper inspection is conducted by an expert, to know the exact cylinder that will be replaced.

Slave Cylinder Replacement

Frequently Asked Questions – Slave Cylinder Replacement

How much does it cost to replace a slave cylinder?

The cost of replacing a slave cylinder will be about $207 to $246. The average cost for labor will be about $109 to $138, and the parts will cost between $97 to $208. This range does not include your vehicle type, location, other fees, and taxes.

What happens when the slave cylinder goes out?

Your pedal may feel mushy or spongy if the slave cylinder starts leaking, either externally or internally. Also, when depressed, the clutch pads may sink to the ground and remain there, failing to disengage the clutch properly so that the transmission can shift safely.

How long does it take to change a slave cylinder?

You may need about 8 hours to get both cylinders replaced. You could obtain a precise quote for parts and labor, by using a clutch repair online estimator.

Can you replace the slave cylinder without replacing the clutch?

You must remove the transmission before replacing the slave cylinder in your car. The clutch panel is probably worn. If your slave cylinder has a leakage, you must replace both. A faulty master cylinder could be due to your car’s lack of hydraulic pressure.

What causes a slave cylinder to fail?

Your slave cylinder could fail due to a low level of transmission fluid. Because without the hydraulic pressure, your slave cylinder will not function properly. Why is it so? When the system fluid is low, it will lead to reduced pressure and, subsequently, a failed slave cylinder.

How long should a slave cylinder last?

It varies, my own lasted for about 34,000 miles or 13 years. Replacement should be done for the two, because if you do for one, there are tendencies the other will fail also. For a modified slave, go to DRM, and GM for an affordable master.

What’s the difference between the clutch master cylinder and slave cylinder?

A master cylinder works as a hydraulic pump, that sends fluid to the clutch slave cylinder and down the chain. You can find the clutch slave cylinder on the other edge of the master cylinder, which works in the opposite direction.

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