Repairing Fiat Brava / Bravo Clutch Slave Cylinder
Ok, the orange / red brake warning light keeps coming on (the hand-brake one) all the time, or when you go round corners. The chances are, if you've got a Fiat Brava or Bravo your Clutch Slave Cylinder is leaking. If not sorted out you will lose the hydrolics, and all clutch operation, making the car undrivable.
The way the clutch works on a Brava / Bravo is when you press the clutch pedal down, it operates the master cylinder, which pushes fluid through pipes to the slave cylinder, which operates the clutch. The weak point are the seals on the slave-cylinder, which have a tendency to split and leak. Because the brake & clutch system run off the same resovoir, the brake warning light comes on the dash-board.
Fear not! Changing the Clutch Slave Cylinder on a Fiat Brava / Bravo is well within the capabilities of the home mechanic. All you need is a new cylinder, socket set / spanners, and a one-man clutch/brake bleeding kit, and some brake fluid. (Dot 4).
The slave cylinder is located under the battery tray, so this job involves taking the battery out, then the battery tray, then undoing the pipes from the cylinder, replacing it, attaching the pipes, undoing the bleed nipple, filling the brake-fluid resovoir, bleeding the system, doing the bleed nipple back up, putting the battery tray and battery back. Easy!
First disconnect the battery, then using your ratchet and bar extension, undo the battery clamps and take the battery out. I hope you know the code for your stereo, you'll need it when you reatatch the battery. Now look for all the cables & pipes that are held into place by platic fixings around the battery tray. These fixings snap open, but be gentle, and ease the cables free.
Now undo the bolts that hold the tray in place. Carefully remove the tray, and you should be able to see the Clutch Slave Cylinder. Push the left-hand side of it and you should see fluid or air coming out, that means its broken. Undo the clutch-fluid pipe (gently!) then undo the bolts holding the cylinder in place. Now remove the cylinder, watching out for fluid leaking out, you don't want to get any on the body-work of your car.
Put your new cylinder in, and do up the bolts and atatch the pipe. Undo the bleed-nipple about 1/2 a turn, then atatch the end of your one-man bleed kit to it. Now get into the car and press the pedal a few times. Get out and check the brake-fluid resovoir, filling if necessary. You'll know when the system is bled properly when you see no bubbles in the fluid coming out of the cylinder. Close the bleed nipple, take off the bleeding kit, and put everything back, the tray first, then the cables, then the battery. You're done!
Test the car by trying to put in gear and out, and check for fluid leaks under the car, or the brake-resovoir going down. That should be it, take the car out for a slow test drive to make sure everything works, and breathe a sigh of relief that the car is working again, and you've saved yourself a hefty garage repair fee by doing the job DIY yourself.
ps The only place that I found to keep Fiat Clutch Cylinders in stock was the local main dealer, and it cost me £60, but you may get cheaper if you phone around.
Comments / Questions
you are an absolute godsend, thank you very much - i was imagining having to get rid of the car etc etc Glenn.
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would this cause the clutch to appear as if its slipping if the slave cylinder is leaking? Ed.
the warning light should be coming on, and you won't be able to engage the clutch, I don't think it's like it's slipping.
thanks took me 15 min jus gota w8 for new part now. Craig.
what a fantastic bit of info.. struggled to see what the problem was for ages... now im just waiting for my slave cylinder to come... yeeha !!
You are a star! and saved me a fortune! plus made me a more competent home mechanic. Many thanks. Dave.
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