Clutch Slave Cylinder Buyer's Guide
- The clutch slave cylinder helps control the clutch linkage connecting the vehicle’s engine and transmission. It sits at the bottom of the clutch linkage and controls the clutch fork.
- Common symptoms of bad clutch slave cylinders include clutch pedals that float downward, unresponsive clutch, the clutch engaging when it shouldn’t, and clutch slippage.
- Dirt and rust often accumulate in the clutch slave cylinder. They can create leaks in the cylinder’s internal piston seams.
- Unless it’s an emergency, you shouldn’t drive your car with a bad clutch. It can cost you the vehicle’s entire transmission.
- Replace the clutch slave cylinder once it reaches over 100,000 miles. If you drive in urban environments, spend more time and effort in caring for the clutch. To make the parts last longer, replace the clutch fluid at the recommended intervals.
- Branding, series, quantity, and performance can raise or lower the price of a clutch slave cylinder. A replacement cylinder can go for anywhere between $10 and $2,525.
- Our recommended brands for replacement clutch slave cylinders include Centric, Dorman, and Replacement.
When your car’s clutch acts up, the problem may not lie with the clutch itself. Instead, you may trace the malfunction to the clutch slave cylinder, a part that helps control the clutch linkage connecting the vehicle’s engine and transmission.
You’ll end up replacing the clutch slave cylinder at least once during your vehicle’s lifespan. By figuring out the exact role the slave cylinder plays in the clutch, you can identify the symptoms of a bad or failing part and select the most suitable replacement.
What is a clutch slave cylinder?
The hydraulic clutch linkage of many modern vehicles includes a master cylinder and a slave cylinder. The former connects to the clutch pedal, while the slave cylinder sits on the bellhousing, which is the cover for the clutch and flywheel that resembles a bell.
The clutch slave cylinder helps operate the clutch. When you step on the clutch pedal, the pedal multiplies the force delivered by your foot and applies it to the master cylinder. The cylinder shoves clutch fluid through the line and into the slave cylinder.
Using the force transferred by the hydraulic fluid, the slave cylinder presses on the clutch fork. It disengages the clutch from the engine by separating the pressure plate and clutch disk from the flywheel. Without the physical connection provided by the clutch, the engine cannot power the transmission and wheels.
Once you take your foot off the clutch pedal, the clutch shuts the slave cylinder, forcing hydraulic fluid out of the container and back to the master cylinder. The refilled master cylinder returns the clutch pedal to the latter’s raised position while the pressure plate and clutch disc reconnect with the flywheel. Now reconnected, the engine and the transmission input shaft spin at the same speed.
Bad or failing clutch slave cylinder symptoms
The clutch slave cylinder gets its descriptive name from how it follows the lead of the clutch master cylinder. It is not unimportant by any means since it directly controls the clutch fork that keeps the transmission and engine connected.
Below are common symptoms of faulty clutch slave cylinders:
Clutch pedal floats downward
If the pedal slowly sinks to the floor even with your foot of, you may have a leak in the clutch slave cylinder. The master cylinder cannot keep the pedal upright if it loses clutch fluid to a leak in the slave cylinder.
The clutch doesn’t respond to the clutch pedal
Normally, putting your foot on the clutch pedal gets the clutch to engage. However, a faulty clutch slave cylinder cannot move the clutch fork to its proper position. This weak link in the clutch linkage prevents you from controlling the clutch via the pedal.
Your vehicle keeps moving forward despite the gear
As hydraulic fluid bleeds out of a leak in the clutch slave cylinder, the clutch may try to engage without prompting. This can prove dangerous when you’re trying to stop your vehicle. Shifting to neutral gear usually disconnects the transmission from the engine, but a leaky slave cylinder can leave the clutch engaged.
The clutch slips because of a binding slave cylinder
Few things prove as frustrating as replacing the entire clutch system, only to discover that the new clutch somehow suffers from slippage. While various reasons can cause the clutch to slip, a bound or stuck slave cylinder often comes up.
Causes for a malfunctioning clutch slave cylinder
The clutch slave cylinder sits at the bottom of the clutch linkage. Its position makes it more vulnerable to leaks than the master linkage found higher up in the clutch. Gravity causes dirt and rust suspended within the clutch fluid to settle on the lowest point, and the impurities degrade the slave cylinder’s internal piston seams.
Fluid leakage reduces the amount of force the slave cylinder delivers to both ends of the clutch linkage. Stepping on the clutch pedal causes the pressure to drop inside the leaky slave cylinder. Without sufficient pressure to complete the movement, the clutch may not disengage as intended.
A bad slave cylinder can also cause the clutch to engage even when you press the clutch pedal to the metal. Premature engagement can prove dangerous in situations like waiting for the stoplight to turn green.
If the clutch pedal feels soft and offers weaker resistance than expected, you may need to replace your car’s clutch slave cylinder.
Driving with a faulty clutch slave cylinder
Unless it’s an emergency, you shouldn’t drive your car with a bad clutch. It can cost you the vehicle’s entire transmission. It’s better to call a towing service rather than go through the trouble of shifting the transmission in the wrong way, push-starting the vehicle whenever it stops, and eventually having to replace the transmission.
Maintaining and replacing your car’s clutch slave cylinder
Every time you take your car out of the garage and onto the road, you put the clutch to work. Parts like the clutch slave cylinder get subjected to daily wear and tear.
Replace the clutch parts, including the clutch slave cylinder, once they reach over 100,000 miles. If you drive your car in urban environments, you will need to devote more time and effort to caring for its clutch.
One way to extend the lifespan of the clutch slave cylinder involves replacing the clutch fluid at the right time. Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for the best intervals.
If your vehicle features a hydraulic linkage and has accumulated plenty of miles, swap out its master clutch and slave cylinders. As the old cylinders approach the end of their service life, while they may have avoided springing leaks, it’s only a matter of time before they fail.
Cost of a clutch slave cylinder replacement part
Several factors determine the price tag of the new clutch slave cylinder you plan to install in your car. Branding, series, quantity, and performance can raise or lower the price.
A replacement clutch slave cylinder can go for anywhere between $10 and $2,525. They come in individual parts, assemblies, and as part of a replacement kit.
Selecting a new clutch slave cylinder
When buying a clutch slave cylinder, you want a brand known for its reliability and quality. Our recommendations include:
Boasting a full roster of hydraulic components, including clutch slave cylinders, Centric offers affordable and long-lasting replacement parts for your car’s clutch. If you want to skip the lengthy bench bleed test, you can pick from Centric’s selection of pre-filled clutch hydraulics.
Dorman ensures the durability and long service life of its clutch slave cylinders by manufacturing them from quality materials. Its parts can match or surpass specifications set by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
Replacement Original Equipment (OE) products deliver reliable performance at prices that won’t break your budget. Replacement clutch slave cylinders come with a 1-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
Lost in the middle of the many options for replacement clutch slave cylinders? The filter bar can help you pick the right component for your car. It’s as easy as entering your vehicle’s year, make, and model in the bar.
The Automobile Basics: Clutch Slave Cylinder
Starting to hear squeaking sounds every time you step on your clutch pedal? No, that doesn't mean that a mouse is stuck somewhere in your car. These squeaking sounds are actually made by a faulty clutch slave cylinder. This device is responsible for disengaging the clutch once you've stepped on the clutch pedal. This process is made possible with the use of hydraulic fluid. Once this substance comes in, it allows you to change gears and the speed of your vehicle at the same time. That's the reason why it's important for it not to show signs of deterioration because once it does, not only can it ruin your vehicle's performance, it can compromise your safety as well. So to ensure that it gives you long lasting performance, each clutch slave cylinder is manufactured using premium materials to keep it from deteriorating quickly. Aside from having a tough exterior, the device also matches the specifications of most vehicle makes and models. By having a direct-fit design, installing them becomes a quick and hassle-free process. It also keeps you from having to modify the slave cylinder just to get the right size. So once the clutch slave cylinder starts emitting squeaking sounds, make sure it's replaced immediately. This will allow you to have a safer and more enjoyable driving experience all throughout your trip.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Clutch Slave Cylinder
If you're a fan of hyper-tuned cars that can smoothly glide sideways, then listen up. The clutch kick is one of the easiest techniques used in drifting. All you have to do is kick the clutch while keeping full throttle to initiate a slide.The catch to the trick, however, is clutch damage. If your vehicle is equipped with a hydraulic clutch, throwing too many clutch kicks may disable the clutch slave cylinder. The cylinder, which is fixed on the transmission, operates the release bearing lever and fork whenever you step on the clutch.Through hydraulic fluid, the clutch slave cylinder releases the clutch and allows you to switch gears. When this cylinder gives in to wear and tear, you can expect easy clutching to go out the window.Once the cylinder calls it quits due to your love of drifting, don't worry. CarParts.com has plenty of clutch slave cylinders in stock to keep you drifting for a long time.
• Designed according to OE specifications
• Features quality construction that outlasts stock cylinders
• Available for all vehicle makes and models
Finding the Right Clutch Slave Cylinder
Thanks to the clutch, you can stop your car anytime you want without having to turn off your engine. By stepping on the pedal, you can quickly disengage your wheels to the engine for a short period of time. It also helps you change gears with utmost ease. To do its job and give you complete control over your vehicle's power transmission, the clutch is made up of several parts that work together and one example is the clutch slave cylinder. When you step on your clutch pedal, the clutch master cylinder applies hydraulic pressure on your clutch slave cylinder by supplying it with a certain amount of fluid. The slave cylinder is equipped with a rod that extends to make contact with the clutch fork. When the clutch fork is pushed, that is only the time when your clutch disengages.
How to choose the perfect clutch slave cylinder
Depending on what type of vehicle you drive, there are two kinds of clutch slave cylinders that you can find today?one that's attached externally and another that's installed internally. Despite their differences in terms of appearance and mechanism, a busted external or internal clutch slave cylinder will display the same symptoms. Generally, they will make your clutch pedal feel soft and low, so it's quite easy to identify. If you are experiencing this symptom right now, you'd better take care of it by getting a replacement for your damaged part. To ensure quality, it's always best to get OEM products for your repairs.
Getting an OEM clutch slave cylinder with excellent fit is the best thing to do because it will make your installation a walk in the park. Apart from that, OEM replacements are also inexpensive, with prices ranging from 20 to 50 USD, so you won't put a big dent on your budget.
Things to consider when buying clutch slave cylinder
Clutch slave cylinders are typically sold individually. We recommend that you get one which includes mounting bolts to avoid the hassle of buying and paying for it separately. Make sure you also get slave cylinders that are made using extremely durable materials such as steel or aluminum to ensure that it will last for a long time.
To get your money's worth, always buy from a brand that is backed by a reputation that you can trust. Also, make sure you get a part that is completely compatible with your system to ensure your vehicle's optimum performance on the road.
A Step-by-step Guide to Clutch Slave Cylinder Replacement
Whether you have an external or internal clutch slave cylinder, it will display the same symptom once it gets damaged. More often than not, it will make your clutch pedal feel soft every time you step on it. You might also hear some squeaking sounds in the background. When this happens, replace it right away because you might have trouble shifting gears and stopping your car.
Below are the tools and steps that you need to follow in order to fix your clutch slave cylinder.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Metric Wrench Set
- Metric Socket Wrench Set
- Drip Pan
- DOT 4 Brake Fluid
Step 1: Using your jack stands, raise and support your vehicle. Once it is secure, find a good position under your car where you can easily reach the clutch slave cylinder. If you're already in place, put the drip pan beneath the slave cylinder.
Step 2: Using a wrench, remove the hydraulic line by unscrewing the line plug. When fluid comes out, allow it to drain into the drip pan.
Step 3: When the fluid is drained, use a socket or wrench to unbolt the slave cylinder. Once the bolts are removed, slide your old cylinder out of the clutch housing.
Step 4: To start your installation, push the clutch release arm forward and insert your new slave cylinder. Bolt it up with the help of the nylon strap attached to the rod. Screw in the bolts and tighten it until it is securely in place.
Step 5: Reattach the hydraulic line, and pour brake fluid into the clutch master cylinder until it is full.
Step 6: Using a wrench, open the bleed valve to allow fluid and air to escape into the drip pan. Let it flow until you don't see air bubbles on the fluid anymore. Close the bleeder screw and fill your master cylinder with brake fluid once again.
Step 7: Get a friend to assist you in bleeding air out of the slave cylinder. Open the bleeder valve and have your assistant step on the clutch. Once the pedal is on the floor, tell your assistant to hold it in place. Close the bleeder valve and tell your assistant to let of go the clutch. Have him/her pump the clutch pedal until the plastic band in the slave cylinder is broken.