Some people claim to bleed their kit no prob, some claim it's not
possible and give up. I don't know what it is or why, but I've seen
both kinds of posts numerous times.
I have done it at least five times and each has been a little
different. But the main commonality is that it takes alot more pumping
than you ever thought possible, if bleeding brakes is your frame of
reference. Just one caveat -- my personal experience is with a '65
Mustang, '65 bell housing, '96 Mustang GT T-5 with Medatronic iron
bearing retainer, JMC master cylinder, braided flex hose, McLeod
hydraulic throwout bearing, and McLeod diaphragm clutch. Just so
you'll know. But I've bled this setup installed in the car, as well as
with the TO bearing/slave cylinder assembly sitting on a footstool with
C clamps to hold the TO bearing down, and I have like I said
experienced a slightly different process each time. But the main
commonality is to keep at it longer than you ever thought possible.
Here's my procedure: with the system assembled and the bleeder screw
open (which in the case of a hydraulic TO bearing is at the end of a
hose -- here's a pic:
), fill the fluid reservoir. Stick a clear polypropylene tube on the
bleeder screw and route it to your drip pan or whatever. Pump ten
times -- which you can do by hand -- then pull the pedal up to its
at-rest position. When you do this you will see the fluid level drop
in the reservoir. Refill the reservoir and repeat. Pretty soon fluid
will come out the bleeder screw, so at this point you should close the
bleeder after each set of pumping, while you're pulling the pedal up
and refilling the reservoir. The reopen it for the pumping. You repeat
these 10-pump sets 20, 30, maybe 40 times, until you see no air bubbles
in the polypropylene tube. Then do it some more. You can't overbleed
the system, and you will be amazed how many more sets you can do and
still see bubbles.
Thank you very much for taking the time to post your procedure. It was
clear, well-written, and very entertaining as well. I particularly enjoyed
"You repeat these 10-pump sets 20, 30, maybe 40 times, until you see no air
bubbles in the polypropylene tube. Then do it some more..." You helped us
(my nephew and I) start a potentially frustrating task with a light-hearted
attitude. As it ends up, however, after trying your procedure for a while,
we invented our own.
Our hardware was different from yours. We have the JMC master cylinder and
a JMC slave cylinder actuating the linkage designed for a cable linkage on
the bellhousing of a Tremec TKO 5-speed. We were working on my nephew's '69
fastback. (I have the same arrangement on my '67 coupe). You couldn't use
our procedure with your hydraulic release bearing except on the bench.
What we ended up doing is taking what I call an "Aussie" approach, i.e., we
stood the process on its head and did it from "down under". Here's what we
Disconnect the slave cylinder from the bracketry that attaches it to the
bellhousing, and remove the pushrod and dust bellows from the slave
Rotate the slave into a position where the hydraulic line is on the upper
side and the bleeder valve down. Leave the bleeder valve was closed for the
Put the clutch pedal in the full up position to allow the master cylinder's
piston to move into a position that opens a port to the reservoir. Place
something (e.g., a rolled up shirt or towel, a wrench, a piece of wood, a 50
lb rock, etc.) between the clutch pedal and the floorboard to hold the pedal
in the full up position. Lifting the pedal does not force the piston into
the proper position, but it allows it to move into the proper position and
one would hope and can expect it to move into that position further into
this process if it does not go there at this point.
The pumping for the bleeding process will be accomplished completely with
the slave cylinder, so we'll need a means to pull the slave piston as well
as to push it. We'll accomplish that by pushing about a half inch of fuel
line tubing into the cylindrical recess in the slave piston where the
pushrod resided. Then a 5/16" bolt, long enough to be used as a handle,
will be treaded into the hose to expand it enough to grip the inner wall of
the cylindrical recess.
To thread it in, it will be necessary to pull the piston out far enough to
expose a 1/4", or so, of the piston wall to be able to grip with the
fingers, possibly with a paper towel in the fingers, to keep the piston from
turning while threading in the bolt.
If the system has air in it, the piston should be able to be pulled out far
enough to expose the aforementioned 1/4" of piston by wedging the tip of the
little finger into the piston's recess and pulling.
After threading in the bolt, use it as a handle to push and pull the slave
piston in and out to pump fluid down from the reservoir and to pump air out
through the reservoir. Pump as slowly and smoothly as you can, but movement
will tend to be jerky due to "stiction" between the seals and the slave
cylinder walls. Fast movements will tend to squirt hydraulic fluid out of
the reservoir, splattering on adjacent surfaces, ruining the paint, so take
whatever precautions you deem judicious.
Repeated pumping, with reasonable pauses to allow air bubbles to travel up
the hydraulic line, and for fluid to flow down will eventually clear the
line of air. Keep a close eye on the fluid level in the reservoir. (If you
are looking at the reservoir from directly above, while your buddy is
pumping the slave cylinder, then you'll need to keep a closed eye on the
It requires actually requires surprising little pumping, at least compared
to the multiple applications of 20, 30, or 40 sets of ten pumps that it
takes to bleed by pumping the master cylinder.
This method uses very little fluid. The up side is that the fluid costs
very little; the down side is that it does not flush the system of old
I suppose this method could be modified to force some fluid out the bleeder
valve for flushing purposes only.
Please accept my sincere thanks for your help, one80out, and for your
cheerful and entertaining approach to writing about the subject.
replying to Howard Juneau, Lee wrote:
I simply have to write a note about the method above. Like many folks, I've
probably bled hundreds of brakes, clutches, etc. but I simply couldn't get the
JMC unit to have full travel. I did what Howard suggested and was done in :20.
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