Leaky clutch hydrolics - Jeep Wrangler Forum

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Old 08-16-2013, 11:33 PM   #1
jyp's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 155
Leaky clutch hydrolics

Haven't been here in a while. But fate has me calling upon the wisdom and experience of the good folks of WF today.

I was driving down the busiest street in Montreal when suddenly my clutch failed completely. Within the span of two traffic-logged streets it went from suddenly tough to change gears to completely locked. Turns out I was completely out of clutch hydrolics fluid so basically pressing on the clutch pedal didn't disengage it anymore.

It took me forever to figure out where the reservoir is (in the brake fluid reservoir, in a separate basin that fills up when the reservoir is topped off) and where the slave cylinder is but I eventually was able to fill it back up, bleed it and drive away. I stopped every few minutes to check the level (I wanted to refill it before I need to bleed it again) but it seems to be holding steady. The leak must be a very small one.

Which brings me to my question: which part should I be checking for leaks? Where do these leaks typically form? Before I bled it, I noticed some wetness around the bottom of the trany where the clutch housing meets the transmission housing. But I don't really see how that could come from the clutch hydrolics. A slow leak is tolerable for now, but I want to fix it before winter.

Who here knows about clutches and can give me pointers on finding the defective piece? Anything "typical"?

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Old 09-02-2013, 10:53 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 155
So it was the slave cylinder.

I noticed that the oil kept leaking from between the clutch housing and the transmission housing. The rate of the leak and the color of the oil made it pretty clear this was my brake fluid. Couldn't figure out how it got there. Bought a new slave cylinder (70$). Took out the old one. Looks like the seals around the piston working end were worn out so the piston was pushing out some oil along with it. It all makes sense now. Easy fix and no more leak.

I spoke to a parts supplier who said he was selling 90 clutch slave cylinders a week. Apparently it's a common problem on JKs. For anyone caught with a dead clutch, here's how it went for me: after filling it and bleeding the line (bleeding is a PITA: the valve on mine was really rough and I needed to use a wrench in that cramped space; also the line is long and you need to do it at least 3 times but more like 5 times to fully purge out the air) I could drive for roughly two days before refilling. Kept an eye on it while I waited for the part to arrive. The leak got bigger fast. Within two weeks, I would fill it at night and it would be empty in the morning (requiring a new purge). So don't wait too long if you have the same problem.

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Old 09-02-2013, 11:02 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 208
Good info!
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:14 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 288
I feel you man.. I've been through a couple slave cylinders and a master cylinder. They get easier to change I promise! Also, I ended up buying a vacuum bleeder hand pump thing from autozone and I pre-filled the slave as much as I could before I installed it, which I like to think helped. Glad to hear you got it running again!
Mine: 2012 Crush JKU
Hers: 2008 Red Rock Crystal Pearl JKUR
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