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VERY long post-Recent Clutch Wisdom

To: "Michael L. Hendrick" <>
Subject: VERY long post-Recent Clutch Wisdom
From: "David E. Brown" <>
Date: Tue, 07 May 1996 01:55:14 -0400
Mike, here is a small portion of recent list info on the subject 
of Midget clutch bleeding:


         MG Midget clutch 
         Wed, 10 Apr 96 08:04:24 -0400 

Item Subject: cc:Mail Text
          I know your misery. I'm still working on mine. What does
          seem to help is:
          With the bleed tackle still hooked up to the bleed screw,
          crawl underneath, disconnect the push rod from the throw
          out fork, have your assistant open the bleed screw while 
          push the piston of the slave all the way in with the push
          rod. When the piston bottoms, close the bleed.
          Repeat as required.
          Also, make sure the master cylinder has been bled. Loosen
          the pipe at the top of the cylinder, have your assistant
          press the pedal. Fluid should flow from the join. (Make
          sure the painted surfaces are protected.) Tighten the 
          Keep us apprised.

Weekend before last, I replaced the clutch master and slave 
cylinders in my
B.  There had been a lot of discussion on the list just before this 
how hard it is to bleed a clutch and I didn't remember it being that 
but my last experience was 15 years ago.

Years ago, I owned a '79 Spitfire and when I replaced the master 
I let the car sit for half a day and then pumped the pedal a couple 
of times
and the clutch was bled, but the clutch line in a Spit is strictly 

After the new cylinders were in the B, I bled the clutch at the 
slave cylinder
with my boyfriend working the pedal.  This obviously wasn't doing 
any good.
Then we bled at the connection to the master cylinder.  This 
actually caused
the actuating rod down at the clutch to move and the clutch could 
then be
pumped up so that the car could be shifted, but at a certain point, 
it became
obvious that no amount of bleeding at this location was going to get 
all the
air out of the system.  I was out of clutch bleeding time and I had 
to drive
the car to work, so I drove it pumping furiously on the clutch pedal 
time I needed to shift.  After three days of this, the clutch no 
needed to be pumped up--it had bled itself.  I'm not sure if I'm 
this as a procedure to be followed because pumping up the clutch for 
shift is tricky.  I'm a trained professional and can do this while 
eating a
carne asada burrito.

Someone (Motorhead?) suggested pushing the slave cylinder rod into 
the slave
cylinder after the system had been bled as much as possible.  Based 
on the
geometry of the system, this should work, but I don't know how 
difficult this
is because I've never done it.  If I were going to do it, I'd use a 
big pair
of water pump pliers to push the end of the rod into the slave 
housing with the cap off of the master cylinder.

Good luck!

Denise Thorpe

         Re: MG Midget clutch 
         Sun, 7 Apr 1996 20:06:19 -0400 
     To: ,

The Midget is a very tough car on which to bleed the clutch 
hydraulics.  It
has to do with the angle of the mounting of the slave ctylinder and 
position of the bleeder screw. The problem is that there is quite 
often a
pocket of air left in the cylinder, no matter what you do. It is 
amazing how
small a pocket of air will keep the system from operating.  Try the
1. Unbolt the slave cylinder, but leave the hydraulic line attached. 
Let it
hang under the car. Loosen the bleeder screw and let the fluid 
dribble out.
The idea here is to let gravity help you "prime" the system. Once 
the fluid
is flowing freely, bolt the unit back onto the car, and bleed as 
2. Crawl under the car, unbolt the slave cylinder, but leave the 
line hooked up. Let it hang below the car. Remove the actuating rod 
and the
dust boot. Get a c-clamp and fit it so that the pison is locked in 
the slave
cylinder. Bleed the system, while holding the slave cylinder such 
that the
bleeder screw is the highest point of the cylinder.
3. If the above does not work, this will........Buy a pressure 
bleeder. There
is one made by Gunson that works well. I have also heard good things 
the Mityvac system. They run about fifty dollars, but it will blow 
the air
out of that system in 10 seconds. Well worth it........
4.  Also, ,,,,,,Check that there is no wear on the clevis pin or the 
hole of the slave cylinder actuating rod. If there is any wear on 
these two
parts, it will cut down on the length that the clutch fork will 

Good Luck.

Jon D. Breen was asking about cluych bleeding problems on Midgets. I 
just replaced the clutch in my '70 Midget over the winter. After 2 
days of
lying on my back while my neighbor pumped the pedal , the clutch 
works. After trying normal bleeding methods i finally took the slave 
off the transmission and wrapped Teflon tape on the bleed screw and 
put it
back in. Using a vacuum bleeder and most of a bottle of Castrol LMA 
fluid we
finally got all the air sucked out of the line. Seems like the 
bleeder screws
are a little sloppy when you try to open them enough  to get a good 
flow, and
will get some air back into the system and defeat your purpose. Give 
it a
try: at least it worked on mine.
George Chase
'70 MG Midget

         Re: MG Midget Clutch 
         Sat, 6 Apr 1996 09:34:55 -0500 
     To: ,


My son and I have had exactly the same experience on our 1976 and 
Midgets. The clutch servo on these cars is difficult to bleed. It is 
because of the large inside diameter of the hard plastic tube 
between the
master and slave cylinders and the high spot in the tube which is 
with the design layout. You simply cannot get the velocity of the 
fluid to
get the bubbles pulled down and out of the slave before you have to 
stop and
refill the master.

My 73 MGB isn't this bad. Of course the diameter of the tube between 
master and the slave is metal with a smaller I.D. for the greater 
part of the

A Toyota wagon my wife and I had would actually BLEED ITSELF by 
simply by filling the master because it was down hill all the way. 
All the
MG's I have seen have that high spot. Seems like the engineers 
designing the
system never had to bleed one or they would have followed the Toyota 

Johnson - Dallas

         Midget Clutch 
         Mon, 8 Apr 1996 21:57:38 -0500 
         Michael Chaffee <>
         MGs <>

For those of you faint of heart, I can vouch that at least on the 
Midget, clutch bleeding can be accomplished by two people with some 
and a hose.  I'm sure it's easier with one of the magic tools, but I
don't have one of those.

While we're on the subject of clutch drag, let me mention one other 
of clutch problems that may not be intuitively obvious at first:  
thrust washers.  When I first bought my Midget five years ago (Five 
And it seems like only yesterday...), it had a severe clutch chatter
problem.  Replaced the entire clutch, and now it not only chattered 
dragged a bit as well.  I lived with it that way for a few months, 
finally decided to replace it.  New clutch, replacement confirmed 
flywheel - still chattered, still dragged just a little.  Fast 
forward to
this last Labor Day.  I finally got around to replacing the engine, 
discovered two things: 1. The old engine had roughly 1/8" free play
forward/backward on the crankshaft (I still can't believe it didn't 
itself like that), and 2.  The new engine's new clutch does NOT 
chatter or
drag at all.

I think the two things are related: if the clutch is an extra 1/8"
away from the T/O bearing, it might be enough to cause drag, and, 
suspension bushings and brake shimmy, the tiniest runout in the
flywheel/clutch could be magnified significantly by the crankshaft 
forward and backward, manifesting itself as one wicked 

Just one more thing to think about in this whole mess, I guess.

Michael Chaffee

CCSO's secretary has officially disavowed any knowledge of my 

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