Clutch master cylinder replacement

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

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goglio704
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Clutch master cylinder replacement

#1

Post by goglio704 » 11 years ago

Mom's white 5 speed just started giving clutch problems. Specifically, it started failing to disengage when the clutch pedal was pressed. It wouldn't do it every time though. My diagnosis was the master cylinder. It has been weepy on actuator side for a while.

I swapped the cylinder today. It is way easier to do with the reservoir removed by the way. The nut next to the master cyl. will provoke profanity if you leave the reservoir attached.

Swapping the cylinder went easy. Bleeding has proven to be rough. After putting most of a quart of brake fluid through the thing, I'm still getting a lot of air at either the slave or damper bleed screw. It is as if I'm continually introducing more air even though I'm keeping the reservoir full. Try as I might, I can't get enough stroke on the slave to fully disengage the clutch.

Should I have bench bled the master cylinder before installing it? I have seen two variations of a bench bleed procedure for a brake master cyl. One called for plugging the outlet ports and the other called for a short length of tube looping back to the reservoir. Not sure I have the right fittings for either, but if it will help, I'll find some.

I haven't read all the manual has to say on the subject. I will read up on it, but I'd like to hear from the group too.
Matt B.

83 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 5 speed, white, 130k miles. My original Maxima.
83 Maxima Sedan converted from gasser, LD28, 5 speed, 2 tone blue, 230k miles
82 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, 2 tone Gray/Silver, 140k miles
81 810 Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, rust, rust, and more rust!

2005 Jeep Liberty CRD

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kassim503
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Location: Stony Brook, NY

#2

Post by kassim503 » 11 years ago

I would yank the master, and bench bleed the hell out of it. From my experience you definitley cant get all the air out of the system without benching the master until clear fluid comes out with no foam / air.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

davehoos
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#3

Post by davehoos » 11 years ago

and the other called for a short length of tube looping back to the reservoir.
if you dont bleed before installing you have to push all the air through the system.most of the time bolting the cyl on filling it and waiting is the same.bubbles of air get caught by surface tension pockets but most will rise normally into the resivior--tap the sides.

I put clear hose on bleed nipple or a steel pipe end in an area that air may collect.also use vacum to reduce air helps.
I use a long hose looped up higher than the resivour.or into a bottle.rasing the bottle to reverse syphon.

reverse bleed by shutting of the bleed nipple ans pushing in the slave cyl watching for bubbles.flush the air through.same deal with disc brakes.

I recomend for troubled jobs drilling all the way through an old bleed screw-conecting a clear hose with option of those self bleed non return valves you buy at parts shops and pump very slowly.you will need some resistance-a clamp-the idea of getting full pressure[standing on pedal] then opening the bleed srcew helps push air saturated with the oil..
the air bubbles seen often is only cavitation of the oil foaming in the bleed screw.

often air collects in a pipe ect so you may have to remove a section and work thruogh.

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asavage
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#4

Post by asavage » 11 years ago

If you've put a quart of fluid through and are still getting air, I put my money on a faulty replacement master cylinder, which is drawing air from the rod end.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

goglio704
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Joined: 14 years ago
Location: East Tennessee

#5

Post by goglio704 » 11 years ago

asavage wrote:If you've put a quart of fluid through and are still getting air, I put my money on a faulty replacement master cylinder, which is drawing air from the rod end.
I knew somebody would say that since I was thinking it. I've read the service manual now. No recommendation for bench bleeding, but it does call for the clutch pedal to be raised slowly. Could the rod end sealing be that poor that a quick release of the pedal would cause it to slurp air? Bleeding is somewhat different than normal operation since the slave isn't pushing fluid back to the master cyl.

It may be a few days before I get back to this job. I'll post my conclusions if I reach any. :wink:

As always, thanks for the input everybody!
Matt B.

83 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 5 speed, white, 130k miles. My original Maxima.
83 Maxima Sedan converted from gasser, LD28, 5 speed, 2 tone blue, 230k miles
82 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, 2 tone Gray/Silver, 140k miles
81 810 Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, rust, rust, and more rust!

2005 Jeep Liberty CRD

goglio704
Posts: 726
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: East Tennessee

#6

Post by goglio704 » 11 years ago

Bench bleeding the master cylinder didn't fix the problem and didn't reveal any problem with the master cylinder either. I took the slave off and found some pitting in the bore and some tendency to stick. I'm going to replace the slave. I know it has at least 60k on it. I suspect it may well be original. That would put it at 140k. It doesn't owe me anything.

While I had both cylinders out of the vehicle, I connected them together and played around with bleeding them. I think Davehoos' suggestion of bleeding the slave may well be the ticket.

I am concerned about the damper, but I'm not going to mess with it until I have ruled out everything else. It doesn't seem to be leaking, but I'm pretty sure I could get it to start. :roll:

For anybody curious, and for me when I forget, the master cylinder is spring return, and the slave is spring extend. The master and slave are in lock step until the master cylinder travels the last 1/8" to the at rest position. At that point the stop screw from the underside of the master cylinder trips a valve in the piston and allows fluid to be drawn from the reservoir. If there is any room for the slave to extend at this point, the internal spring makes that happen. This arrangement looks like it should make the clutch self adjusting as long as the master cylinder is allowed to achieve full return stroke. Push rod or clutch switch adjustement could interfere with that.
Matt B.

83 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 5 speed, white, 130k miles. My original Maxima.
83 Maxima Sedan converted from gasser, LD28, 5 speed, 2 tone blue, 230k miles
82 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, 2 tone Gray/Silver, 140k miles
81 810 Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, rust, rust, and more rust!

2005 Jeep Liberty CRD

HowlerMonkey
Posts: 130
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: West Palm Beach Florida

#7

Post by HowlerMonkey » 11 years ago

An out of adjustment rod will not allow you to bleed the master properly once on the car.

For giggles, loosen up the rod a bit.

goglio704
Posts: 726
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: East Tennessee

#8

Post by goglio704 » 11 years ago

HowlerMonkey wrote:An out of adjustment rod will not allow you to bleed the master properly once on the car.

For giggles, loosen up the rod a bit.
You are absolutely correct, if the rod is set too long, clutch bleeding will certainly suffer. In my case, I had tried bleeding with the rod set shorter, and it didn't change the outcome.

For me, the answer was a new slave cylinder. I bench bled it with the flexible hose attached and the end submerged in brake fluid. Once the new slave was in, I bled the system from the bleed screw at the damper the same as I had before. After a few bleed cycles, the difference was obvious. Instead of every bleed cycle producing a lot of air, I got progressively less each time.

Problem solved. :D

For what it is worth, a ratchet strap like you might use to tie down something on a trailer or pickup bed works real well for manually moving the clutch fork. The last time this car gave clutch trouble, it was because one of the springs around the clutch disk hub had broken and become lodged in the clutch. The symptoms were similar to this time in that the clutch wouldn't disengage enough to let you change gears.
Matt B.

83 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 5 speed, white, 130k miles. My original Maxima.
83 Maxima Sedan converted from gasser, LD28, 5 speed, 2 tone blue, 230k miles
82 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, 2 tone Gray/Silver, 140k miles
81 810 Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, rust, rust, and more rust!

2005 Jeep Liberty CRD

HowlerMonkey
Posts: 130
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: West Palm Beach Florida

#9

Post by HowlerMonkey » 11 years ago

Here's something really amazing.

I went to a local auto zone to order the master, slave, and a 280zx brake line for the rubber portion...........

They had all this in stock!!!

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kassim503
Posts: 1027
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Stony Brook, NY

#10

Post by kassim503 » 11 years ago

In stock? thatll never happen again!
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

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asavage
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Location: Duvall, Wash.
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#11

Post by asavage » 11 years ago

Like the brake parts, the hydraulic clutch parts are interchangeable with many different Nissans back then.

It's the diesel stuff that's never in stock.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

HowlerMonkey
Posts: 130
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: West Palm Beach Florida

#12

Post by HowlerMonkey » 11 years ago

I'll keep going to this will until it denies me.

This is just some little auto zone and I even once got a L28et head gasket set.

goglio704
Posts: 726
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: East Tennessee

#13

Post by goglio704 » 11 years ago

I thought I'd offer an update on my clutch experience. A month or so after I declared the clutch fixed, there was another bout of hard shifting and failure of the clutch to disengage. I found the bleeder on the slave cylinder was slightly loose. After a quick bleeding that removed a small slug of air, all was well.

Another month or so went by and the failing to disengage resurfaced. :evil: Mom parked the car and started driving something else. Between the weather and work, I just recently started trying to fix it. No loose bleeder this time. No air in the system. :? Operating the clutch fork with a ratchet strap would allow the clutch to disengage, but large offerings of brake fluid to the hydraulic gods yielded neither results nor air. I got frustrated and decided to move on to another patient that I could help and come back to the clutch problem later. :roll:

This weekend I needed to move the car with the clutch problem. The parking brake cables are sticking now, so pushing the car the six feet I needed was not possible. Unable to put it in gear with the engine running, I cranked it with the clutch dragging and the clutch pedal held to the floor. Cranking speed was too low to fire it like that, but the starter moved it the required six feet. When the time came to move the car 30 feet forward, I didn't want to tax the starter again so I tried starting the engine with the trans in neutral. After it started, I put the clutch in. To my surprise, was able to put the car cleanly into first or reverse repeatably.

I'm thinking the master cylinder must be a dud, but I also wonder if the clutch damper could have a problem? Didn't Phillip modify or remove the clutch damper on his truck?
Last edited by goglio704 11 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
Matt B.

83 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 5 speed, white, 130k miles. My original Maxima.
83 Maxima Sedan converted from gasser, LD28, 5 speed, 2 tone blue, 230k miles
82 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, 2 tone Gray/Silver, 140k miles
81 810 Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, rust, rust, and more rust!

2005 Jeep Liberty CRD

User avatar
asavage
Site Admin
Posts: 5347
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Duvall, Wash.
Contact:

#14

Post by asavage » 11 years ago

Forget about the damper, it's not got enough volume to do squat.

I repeat: my money is on a faulty master cylinder.

A caveat: if the clutch disc is delaminating, parts of it shedding can change its effective thickness and give that symptom too. But it's usually accompanied by vibration during disengagement. Swap out the MC.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

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