Question about 2001 Ford Focus

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How to change a master cylinder

Behind the clutch pedal i have a small leak of fluid how easy is it to fix this

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  • Master
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A Master rates about a 5 out of 10 with 10 being the hardest

you may find the hardest part is the actual bench bleeding of the master
and/or
the replacement of the reservoir

These are the instructions from my service manual, but I do not remove the fluid prior to service steps 2-6

  1. Disconnect battery ground cable. Disconnect electrical connector from filler cap.
  2. Remove fluid reservoir filler cap.
  3. Raise and support vehicle.
  4. Remove front wheels.
  5. Remove dust cap and loosen bleed nipple. Connect a bleed tube to bleed nipple and into a suitable container.
  6. Pump brake pedal until all fluid is expelled. Tighten bleed nipple.
  7. Lower vehicle. Install brake fluid reservoir cap. Remove air cleaner and air cleaner outlet tube.
  8. Disconnect central electrical box electrical connector.
  9. Remove central electrical box retaining screw.
  10. Remove central electrical box and relocate to air cleaner area.
  11. Disconnect brake fluid feed tube. Disconnect brake lines.
  12. On models with anti-lock brakes, disconnect brake lines from Hydraulic Control Unit.
  13. On all models, remove brake booster vacuum hose.
  14. Extract master cylinder from vehicle.
  15. On models with manual transaxles, remove clutch hose from brake/clutch reservoir.
  16. On all models, remove master cylinder nuts and remove master cylinder.

To install, reverse removal procedure. Bleed brake system.

Posted on May 31, 2010

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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The clutch hydraulic system has a problem-either the clutch master cylinder or the slave cylinder on the bell housing may be at fault.

If the brake fluid is low in the clutch master cylinder reservoir, there may be a leak to the outside. Refill and check for leaks while someone pumps the clutch pedal. Check around the clutch master cylinder (also under the dash- if wet there around the top of the clutch pedal or if wet on the carpet below the pedal, the master cylinder is leaking.) Check the single line from the clutch master to the bell housing where the slave cylinder is. If no leaks found, likely the clutch master cylinder or the slave cylinder has failed internally.

Is it safe: there won't be any further damage caused by running it, but if shifting gets harder and harder to do, that may cause a driveability problem.

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Check the level in the clutch master cylinder. If the fluid is brake fluid from the clutch cylinder, you will have to replace the clutch master cylinder. When bad, it is common for them to leak into the car and drip fluid on the carpet.
If you have the tools and so inclined, you can change it yourself. Not very hard,. 2 bolts hold it to the firewall, the pin or clip holding the clutch pedal rod to the cylinder (under the dash), then remove the steel line on the cylinder. (The steel line goes down to the transmission, to the little slave cylinder. After new master cylinder is installed, you need to bleed the slave cylinder to get air out of the lines.)

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The clutch slave cylinder will be down on the transmission bell housing. Follow the small steel line from the master cylinder. It goes right to the slave cylinder.
Pretty easy to change out the master cylinder. Remove the steel line, unbolt unit from the firewall, then under the dash, there's a rod from the clutch pedal to the master cylinder. Just undo the retaining clip or pin holding the rod to the pedal. When the new unit is installed and filled with fluid, then you get to learn how to bleed the hydraulic clutch at the slave cylinder-the fun never stops.

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