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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 07-12-2010, 10:01 AM   #1
trizzuth
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Bleeding Clutch?

Whats the easiest way to do this? I've searched and searched and don't see any real solid answers, other than disconnecting the clutch line down by where the clutch delay valve is (or was). Since the brakes and clutch line use the same fluid from the same reservoir, would bleeding the brakes consequently also bleed the clutch line? Plan on bleeding both soon and have 2 containers of nice OEM fluid sitting in my garage waiting for me. Someone help me find a nice easy answer to this, thanks!
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:17 AM   #2
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there is a bleed valve on the transmission, drivers side.
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:27 AM   #3
trizzuth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinna View Post
there is a bleed valve on the transmission, drivers side.
hmm, interesting. And this is not a valve for the transmission, it is for the clutch? Anyone have a pic of this?
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:13 PM   #4
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It's about 1/2 down the page, http://www.madrussian.net/m3/diy_brake_bleed.shtml
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:00 AM   #5
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can you bleed the clutch without a pressure bleeder?
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:55 PM   #6
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The clutch bleed nipple is on the d/s of the transmission.
Because it is on the same system, the ONLY way to do this is through bleeding your brakes also.

Start at the furthest line, p/s rear , d/s rear , clutch, p/s front, d/s front

The madrussian diy is perfect, and it is what I used while doing mine.

Also 2 other things to note:

* you can remove the cdv valve if you want while you are down there to improve pedal feel

* while I was bleeding the clutch, I lost ALL resistance in the pedal, it was not back completely until I finished bleeding the front breaks.
Don't freak out if your pedal has NO feel while you are bleeding it.
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Old 07-16-2010, 01:39 PM   #7
trizzuth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Young Gun View Post
The clutch bleed nipple is on the d/s of the transmission.
Because it is on the same system, the ONLY way to do this is through bleeding your brakes also.

Start at the furthest line, p/s rear , d/s rear , clutch, p/s front, d/s front

The madrussian diy is perfect, and it is what I used while doing mine.

Also 2 other things to note:

* you can remove the cdv valve if you want while you are down there to improve pedal feel

* while I was bleeding the clutch, I lost ALL resistance in the pedal, it was not back completely until I finished bleeding the front breaks.
Don't freak out if your pedal has NO feel while you are bleeding it.

hmm, interesting and wierd. just did all 4 brakes today, didn't do the clutch and it still feels like it has some bubbles in there, FFFF brakes feel exactly the same, but some of the fluid that came out was indeed dirty..
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:17 PM   #8
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Check my sig for the brake bleed DIY (clutch in there also).

Bleeding your clutch is exactly the same method as bleeding your brakes which ever method it is that you choose to use (power bleeder right down to piece of tube and a glass jar). You don't HAVE to bleed your clutch if you touch the brakes. Just like you can bleed the rear and not bleed the front. You wouldn't do half of the system and not the other half because it doesn't make sense but there is no reason you have to.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:32 PM   #9
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The Clutch and Brakes share the same reservoir (Use DOT 4 Brake fluid).

The Clutch has its own separate Master Cylinder.

There is no return spring (to push back the pedal) in a Clutch Master Cylinder.

Best way to bleed without a pressure bleeder is;
First recognize that each time the pedal comes back up it will suck in air or fluid depending on if the bleeder valve is open or closed. The Master Cylinder is a one way valve, sucking from the reservoir then pushing pressure on to the Clutch Slave Cylinder.

My method (your results may vary), takes 2 people. 1 on the Clutch Pedal, and 1 on the Bleeder Valve at the Clutch Slave Cylinder.

1. Make sure the Reservoir stays as close to the full line as possible. If you do a lot of bleeding, you will have to check and fill more often.

2. The person on the Bleeder Valve has all the communication control. The commands are as simple as "Up" and "Down". Remember there is no Pumping in these steps, just Up and hold, then Down and hold. Basics are; Up = Bleeder Closed, Down = Bleeder Open.

3. The person on the Bleeder Valve starts with the Bleeder closed, then shouts out to the person on the Clutch Pedal "Down". When the Pedal is down open the Bleeder, let it bubble and drip some, then close the Bleeder.

4. After the Bleeder is closed, the person on the Bleeder Valve now shouts out to the person on the Clutch Pedal "Up" (they will have to actually pull the pedal back up, it won't come back by itself). This draws the fluid in to the Clutch Slave Cylinder. The person on the Bleeder shouts out to the person on the Clutch Pedal "Down". When the Pedal is down open the Bleeder, let it bubble and drip some, then close the Bleeder. Repeat until there are no bubbles.

5. Pump (push up and down) the Clutch Pedal until you feel some resistance and the Pedal comes back by itself. It should be good to go at this point. If you want to throw in another "Down" and open the Bleeder go ahead. You will have to pull back the Pedal manually again and pump it some to get the resistance back for normal clutch feel.

6. Top off the Brake Fluid Reservoir. Happy Clutching.

After thoughts.... a Brake Fluid flush through the Calipers does not flush out the Clutch Master or Slave Cylinders. Brake Fluid is rated on the temperature it boils (DOT 4 is better than DOT 3) that is why brakes fail if you keep your foot on the pedal to long (friction equals heat). Brake Fluid captures moisture from the air and brakes down over time, lowering its boiling point. The interval for flushing out the Brake Fluid varies. If the Brake Fluid is a dark color, its time to flush it out. When I was working for VW - Audi - Porsche, they recommended Brake Fluid change every 2 years regardless of how many miles were driven.
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:04 PM   #10
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Looking to bleed my clutch this weekend to trouble shoot a sticky clutch I've been having during the up stroke. While I'm down there I will be checking for leaks, etc. Has anyone bled it using the method below? The physics behind it seems legit to me. I was just wondering if anyone has tried this way or has any objections. Looks like you can do it all with one person and by only investing in an oil can and flex line!

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Old 02-14-2014, 05:46 PM   #11
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Great video. Great method. I would like to give this a try myself.

Some comments - observations:

- Brake Fluid Leaks: One of the best methods for determining if it is actually Brake Fluid is to taste it (yup, like Cheech & Chong). It will taste bitter. Don't guzzle the stuff, just touch it with your finger and then touch it to your tongue. Probably don't want to do this at the Slave Cylinder, the boot will be covered in Clutch/Brake dust and I don't want to know what that taste like.

- The Method: If only your car looked like his bench set up. Sometimes the tubing and hoses run lower than the Slave Cylinder. Do not introduce dirt back into the lines. Clean the area around the bleeder thoroughly before you put on the wrench or hose. Besides a clean new pump style oil can, you may want to make sure the pump works the way you want it to under pressure. The pump style oil can, hoses and turkey baster might as well be disposable because over time the material they are made of are not compatible with brake fluid. Brake fluid will damage paint finishes.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:37 AM   #12
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I bled the entire hydraulic system last weekend after a major service on the brakes (new disks, pads, sensors, e-brake shoes, etc). Just thought I'd share my experience, in case someone runs into similar problems.

The procedure that I followed was from the Bentley manual and required use of a pressure bleeder. Bleeding the brakes went well, but then I got to bleeding the clutch...

In short, the procedure in the Bentley manual goes something along the lines of:

1. Pressurise the hydraulic system using a power-bleeder
2. Bleed the slave cylinder (as you would with brakes) in situ, until clean fluid comes out.
3. Close bleeder valve and remove pressure bleeder
4. Slowly press the clutch 10 x times
5. Unbolt the slave cylinder from the transmission and fit BMW special tool 21-5-030 (slave cylinder pushrod compressor) and compress the pushrod all the way into the slave cylinder.
6. Re-fit the pressure bleeder and pressurise the system
7. Hold the slave cylinder so that the bleeder valve is located at the highest point
8. Open bleeder valve
a. Once fluid appears without bubbles, use the special tool to withdraw the pushrod completely
b. Press pushrod all the way into the cylinder
c. if brake fluid appears without bubbles, close bleeder valve and release pushrod. Repeat procedure until runs clear and without bubbles
9. Remove pressure bleeding equipment
10. Re-attach the slave cylinder to the transmission


When I first read the Bentley procedure, although I understood the intent, I thought that the procedure from item 4 downwards sounded unnecessary, so figured I'd short-cut it there (I'll be due for a clutch change soon, so planned to do the clutch bleed properly at a later date). When I went to move the car at (what I thought was the end of the job), the clutch pedal was completely limp and (needless to say) would not go into gear. I didn't think there would be any way that I could've got air into the system when bleeding the slave cylinder in situ, but I guess it must've happened. So I ended up having to get the car back on the stands and running through the entire Bentley procedure. The next problem was the BMW special tool - I had no way of getting my hands on one and needed to get the job finished in 1 day. At that point in time I switched to "ghetto mode" and used a spring compressor and a steel plate to compress the pushrod and complete the Bentley procedure.

The clutch pedal only came good after I went through the entire Bentley procedure (I also didn't realise how sticky the clutch felt, until I got the new fluid through the lines). I've been driving it for a week now without further problems.

As a side note, BMW Australia only keep DOT 4 Low Viscosity hydraulic fluid in stock for the E46.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:45 PM   #13
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It would appear from the above post and the Bentley manual method, that there is some kind of check valve or orifice that has to be manipulated inside the Slave Cylinder or Clutch Master Cylinder as part of the bleeding process. I noticed the guy in the video give the Clutch Master Cylinder a push while bleeding with the "pump style oil can" to get it going. I still think I'll stick with the 2 person method. It works for me every time and doesn't require more tools or a pressure bleeder.

DOT 4: Yes, BMW specified, kind of like the higher octane fuel/petrol recommendations. Higher is better. It has nothing to do with Viscosity, just the temperature it boils at. Boiling = gas = no brakes . You can mix DOT 3 and DOT 4 in a pinch. Do not mix DOT 5 with any other type of Brake Fluid, it is Silicone-based. I don't know the rating on the Brake Fluid in the Video. Sure is a pretty blue can though .
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:47 AM   #14
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Thanks for the input, Ottis325i.

Sorry, I should have been a bit more specific with my comment on the OEM brake fluid availability in my earlier post. According to the Bentley manual, there are two specifications of brake fluid that are available, depending on the type of stability control system (refer page 340-7 of the Bentley manual).

ABS / ASC = DOT 4 brake fluid
ABS / DSC = DOT 4 Low Viscosity brake fluid

My E46 is equipped with ASC, but BMW Australia insist that there is only one type of OEM brake fluid for the E46; which is DOT 4 Low Viscosity. Although I can't imagine it would make a huge amount of difference...
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:18 AM   #15
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No worries anonymous.

It would seem that BMW (where Bentley gets its raw material) has a special recipe for its Brake Fluid that us regular blokes don't have access to. And it would seem that the BMW dealership actually has one that identifies it as "Low Viscosity". Their version of ignore the specs and take our word for it.

It's all Hydraulic Fluid. I would not do this, but in a pinch you could use Water in your Brake/Clutch Hydraulic system. Maybe I saw MacGyver do this on TV once.

If only we had something on the bottle that would identify its Viscosity, like motor oil. Even more interesting is the rating for Brake Fluid is based on a United States, Department of Transportation (DOT) system. Kind of like US wine or cigarettes, they only have to identify what it is, not the ratios or recipe. If the recipe is off and someone dies, well... talk to the US Department of Transportation.

We "Clutcher's" are the minority here in the US. Way to many large bottom, automatic transmission, driving to slow in the fast lane, people here
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