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Replacing a Slave Cylinder

How complicated is it to replace a slave cylinder on a 1988 Audi 500 Series ?

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Hi there, it's a bit fiddly to say the least. To begin with, access is a REAL problem as it is located on top of the bell housing which is right at the back of the engine bay under the bulkhead (firewall). If your car has abs there are several brake lines which further restrict access. The unit is held in place with a roll pin which has to be driven out with a hammer and the correct sized drift. This involves lying across the engine and reaching through the brake lines, down under the bulkhead with both hands to get the roll pin out-there's virtually no room to swing the hammer. If you're really lucky your slave cylinder could be held in with a singe bolt- much easier to get at. Once the pin or bolt has been removed, the fun really starts. The cylinder will almost certainly be very well seized in so use lots of penetrating/release oil around it and try to rotate it in its housing to allow it to be worked free. Don't be tempted (like I was) to try knocking it out with the drift and hammer as the cylinder is likely to break which will necessitate removal of the gearbox to get it out. This is the strategy (gearbox removal) adopted by Audi workshops as they are aware of the access problem. If the car is a Quattro variant (as mine is), this is a very involved procedure requiring removal of exhaust system, propshaft, driveshafts, gear change linkage, associated wiring (very innaccessible) and finally the (incredibly heavy) gearbox. (As I did). Once you get it all back together again, the bleeding of the hydraulic line to remove air can also be problematic (as mine still is).
So there you have it, you could be lucky and the slave cylinder might just pop right out and I hope it does. It's worth using copper grease around the cylinder before you instal it as this will greatly ease subsequent removal, should the need arise. It is even more worthwhile to check that it is actually the slave cylinder which is the problem and not the master cylinder (as mine was!) as this is an infinitely although still "trying" job to carry out.
Good luck, don't hesitate to get back to me with any further questions, cheers,Bob.

Posted on Dec 28, 2008

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