Bleeding Awkward!

For some time now (actually, it’s about 3 months, come to think of it!), the clutch on The Five has been giving problems. (See A Right Pain in the Neck). An inspection from underneath the car early this week shows that we are leaking hydraulic fluid significantly, so it was time to replace the slave cylinder.

The machine now has a shiny new one.

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As usual, what sounds like a pretty straightforward job when you read the workshop manual turns out to have its little snags.

In this case, there were two — well, very nearly three, actually.

First thing, which turned out to be a non-problem when I used the right tool, was undoing the pipe union, which was pretty tight. You can’t get a ring spanner on it of course, and the  jaws  of the ordinary open spanner were springing when any degree of force was applied, threatening to wreck the flats. I started to try using a mole wrench, but that looked like mashing things even worse. Then I remembered this tool that I bought many years ago:

There was just about room to apply this cunning device to the union and its self-tightening action proved to be just the solution needed — Phew!

Having disconnected the pipe, it was straightforward to remove the old slave cylinder and mount the new one. Then comes the first really awkward bit: reconnecting the pipe union; if getting it undone was tricky, then doing it up again was very tricky, with quite a lot of [expletives deleted]! Basically the difficulty lies in trying to get the thread aligned and started, against opposition from an uncooperative metal pipe, when you can only get one hand to the job and that hand is your left one.  However, after persevering for quite some time, it finally went in OK.

That leaves only the simple matter of bleeding the system: problem number three! I’m sure it’s not so bad if you actually have three men on the job, as recommended by the manual, but trying to do the job on your own is a pain; especially when your patent one-man-wonder-bleeder gadget appears to have stopped working (well I suppose it has been on the garage shelf for a number of years). So at the time of writing, I’m not convinced that the system is free of air bubbles — decided to just let it settle for 24 hours and then see how it feels.

Still, I’m hopeful that we are on the right track to having a fully-functioning clutch once more.

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