Question about 2004 Saturn ION
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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It sounds like the rubber seal on the Clutch Slave Cylinder piston has completely failed. You will need to replace the Slave Cylinder Assembly. To replace, undo the union nut that attaches the pipe from the master cylinder and then undo the bolts that attach the assembly to the engine/transmission. Remove the push rod from the old cylinder and place in the new. Reattach Cylinder Assembly and pipe, making sure push rod engages in socket of clutch operating fork. Bleeding the system is as follows.
1. Start with the Master Cylinder full of fluid. (Don't forget to check after a few bleeds that it stays above ¼ full so that you don't introduce more air into the line). It also helps if you have a length of clear plastic tubing that fits snugly over the tip of the bleed nipple, which makes it easier to see if there are any air bubbles still coming out.
2. Have an assistant pump the clutch pedal 2 or 3 times, then hold down, keeping weight on the pedal as fluid is released.
3. Loosen bleed nipple to release any air & fluid.
4. Tighten nipple. Assistant then lets clutch pedal return. It may be necessary to manually pull back pedal if it does not return by itself.
5. Wait a few seconds then repeat the sequence from #2.
Bleeding is complete when no more air bubbles are visible in the fluid released from the bleed nipple. If clutch is still spongy you may have to repeat the bleeding after a few days driving. If the Slave cylinder does not have a bleed nipple the union nut that attaches the fluid pipe can be used for bleeding. However, it is a bit harder to observe when all air is purged and of course very messy as fluid will drip everywhere.
It also pays to check that the clutch pedal free travel is within specification (about ¼ inch measured at the pedal rubber) to ensure the hydraulic system works properly. This is done by adjusting the push rod that links the pedal arm to the piston in the master cylinder. Adjust by first loosening the locknut on the rod at the end where it attaches to the pedal arm and turning the rod in either direction to obtain the correct free travel. One adjusted retighten locknut.
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