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Old 7th February 2017, 17:55   #1
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Default Can the clutch master/slave cylinder fail without a leak?

Hello friends,

I have read everywhere that clutch master / slave cylinders are considered to be bad and candidate for replacement when there is oil leakage seen from them (or you notice clutch oil level going down).

Assume that one changes clutch oil regularly (at interval of 2 years e.g., so this nullifies case of moisture in hydraulic system), can there be other situations when clutch master / slave cylinder would go bad without visible oil leak symptoms. Have anyone experienced cylinder failure without oil leakage?

My understanding of clutch hydraulics suggest that clutch would go bad only when there is leak & no moisture in system. Can experts confirm this please?
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Old 7th February 2017, 20:00   #2
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Default re: Can the clutch master/slave cylinder fail without a leak?

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Originally Posted by techcoze View Post
Hello friends,

I have read everywhere that clutch master / slave cylinders are considered to be bad and candidate for replacement when there is oil leakage seen from them (or you notice clutch oil level going down).

Assume that one changes clutch oil regularly (at interval of 2 years e.g., so this nullifies case of moisture in hydraulic system), can there be other situations when clutch master / slave cylinder would go bad without visible oil leak symptoms. Have anyone experienced cylinder failure without oil leakage?

My understanding of clutch hydraulics suggest that clutch would go bad only when there is leak & no moisture in system. Can experts confirm this please?
All hydraulic systems are closed loop systems barring a few which are for special purposes, so even if you don't change the fluid regularly it cannot absorb moisture. There is performance depreciation due to breakdown of various components of the oil after a few years but not much for your clutch to fail.

Yes master cylinders can fail without leakage, the clutch master cylinder has a piston inside and there are separate channels for hi-pressure line and return(low pressure) line and their location in the cylinder differs for manufacturers. There are chances of hi-pressure leaking onto return lines due to defects/worn out seals or components. In these cases there will not be any visible oil leaks but your system will not work. Good service centres will have gauges/setups to measure clutch/brake master cylinder efficiency, you can check your cylinder for confirmation.
Alternately there are few cars in the market which use vacuum or air pressure for clutch/brake assist, in these systems there are hoses which connect to the cylinder and may leak making them ineffective. Hope this helps.
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Old 7th February 2017, 20:34   #3
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Default re: Can the clutch master/slave cylinder fail without a leak?

Yes if the service station drains fluid and pumps the pedal, the bore of the piston gets scratched. It happened to me.
No external evidence but took some detective work to figure out what happened..
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Old 7th February 2017, 22:03   #4
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Default re: Can the clutch master/slave cylinder fail without a leak?

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Originally Posted by KMT View Post
Yes if the service station drains fluid and pumps the pedal, the bore of the piston gets scratched. It happened to me.
No external evidence but took some detective work to figure out what happened..
This is something that is more likely to happen with brake systems then with clutch systems. On a clutch we always use (well you should anyway) full travel. You push the pedal to the stop. On the brakes system this is not the case. Which means that wear and tear and accumulation of dirt happens wherever the piston stops in the cilinder. When de-airing the system by pumping the pedal you push the piston (and thus its seals) through this patch of wear and tear / dirt.

So itís better to use a pressure of vacuum system to flush and de-air the system.
Over the years I have seen several mlastercilinders fail due to this. Some brands/types appear to be very susceptible to it. Others not at all.

Jeroen
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