Clutch Slave Cylinder

(Bruce Wright) #1

I need some help please. I’m trying to replace the clutch slave cylinder on my Sll FHC and am unable to get a wrench on one of the two screws that mount the cylinder to the bell housing- the one on the inside that’s tucked up half inside the transmission tunnel.

Anyone been there and done that?

It looks like it would require a low-profile socket with some kind of special drive or maybe a special box-end offset wrench.

I’d appreciate any suggestions,

Bruce Wright

(David Langley) #2


Questions like this are prime candidates for searching the archives. A simple search of “clutch slave cylinder wrench” in the E-Type category came up with multiple threads of which the most recent includes a step by step set of instructions…

Please let us know how you get on, and if you have anything to add to the instructions that we can all benefit from. Good luck!


(Odeon) #3

Here are some tips to make the job easier.

Buy an offset wrench or make your own.
Purchase a new unit. I have been impressed with the price and quality of XKs Unlimited manufactured parts. Buy the push rod as well. Make sure all replacement parts are the same size as your original.
Remove old unit.
Install new unit. It is easier to keep all the mounting bolts and brake lines loose. Attach the line to the slave cylinder and then this “pre-assembled” unit to the car first, wiggle the assembly to align connections then tighten everything up… Mount the push rod assembly and ensure that the push rod has the correct amount of play in it.
Flush your lines and put in new brake fluid (a gravity bleed should work)

The picture below is the off set wrench I used - practically an antique but with a bit of searching you should be able to find one. They are very practical for tight work and going around corners.


(David Jones) #4

When you replace the slave use A/F Allen key bolts as they make removal in future a doddle.


(Larry velk) #5

Is that a “Grip Master”? I have a set!

(Bill) #6

I ended up making a sort of stubby socket driver from a piece of 1/4" steel - lmk how you make out.

(Bruce Wright) #7

Wow! Thanks a lot for all the replies and David L, you’re right, I should have searched the archives first- just got lazy. The links and advice look to be very helpful. I won’t be able to get back to the car for a few days, but I will post results once I do. And as it happens, I have a whole set of those “antique” wrenches- I inherited them when my father-in-law died at age 97 and he had had them “for a long time” so, yes, I’d say they are antiques.

Bruce Wright

(69 FHC ) #8

They are still readily available.

(Benny) #9

Hi Bruce,
I just went through the same thing. What worked out perfect were the offset wrenches I got from Harbor, they are almost a 90 degree angle and fit perfect.

(Bruce Wright) #10

Thanks, Benny. I’ve got an ancient set of offset box wrenches that I almost never use, but I’m going to try the 9/16" one on this job. Not sure if the offset is the same as the HF ones so I may need one of them as the fallback.


(Paul Wigton) #11

After all is said and done, you might consider replacing the stud/nut system with a bolts: makes the job MUCH easier to do.

(69 FHC ) #12

I wonder if modifying the top mounting ear on the cylinder to allow the ear to slide under a loosened nut and washer on the stud would work. I don’t think it would weaken the mount enough to cause a problem.

See attached poor drawing. Just cut out the greyed out area of the top mounting ear.

(Paul Wigton) #13

I see no issue with that solution.

(Bruce Wright) #14

Paul Wigton

    December 1

After all is said and done, you might consider replacing the stud/nut system with a bolts: makes the job MUCH easier to do.

(Bruce Wright) #15


I got the cylinder off and below is the evidence together with pictures of the two secret weapons I used: one the antique offset wrench as recommended and the other a crow foot that I found worked very well to unscrew the flare nut at the upper end of the feed pipe.

Following advice I didn’t touch the feed pipe at its lower end where it attaches to the cylinder. To fit the pipe to the new cylinder I’m going to try to make a sort of 3-D template by, 1. setting the old cylinder and attached pipe on the bottom of a suitably sized cardboard box so that the free end of the pipe touches the wall of the box then 2. marking on the box the positions of the cylinder and the point where the pipe touches the box. So then if I assemble the pipe to the new cylinder so that they match up to the marks on the box I should be all set… (maybe)

Just as a footnote, it’s amazing how that offset wrench fits. When I first looked at it I thought, no way, but damned if it doesn’t just snake right in there and allow just enough swing to get the screw out!

Bruce Wright

(Benny) #16

Hi Bruce
Glad you had success getting the slave cylinder out. On mine I rebuilt it so I did’ nt change the position of the tube.Wait till you have to bleed the clutch after many attempt my clutch feels a bit mushy and engages at about half way down unless I pump it up. So I’m thinking there is still some air in there. Next step I will buy a vacuum pump and bleed it again.

(Tom D) #17

I have found, as I believe others have found, that for some odd reason, different cars seem to bleed differently, and with varying degrees of ease. If you are having problems, you may wish trying bleeding from bottom up. To do so, get a small pump/squirt style oil can, clean with no trace of oil. Connect it to the open slave bleeder screw with a length of rubber hose. Pump the squirt can, forcing the brake fluid up from the slave to the master cylinder. This method, instead of one trying to force the air down and out, which is not its natural tendency, simply pushes the air up through the system and out the reservoir. You can stop when the reservoir has fluid in it. This method can also help on this system, since some believe having the bleeder on the bottom of the slave cylinder allows air to be trapped above the bleeder.

(Benny) #18

Hi Tom
Sounds like a viable idea.Have you tried it? If I’ll try it since my reservoir is already full I’ll have to drain some fluid into the container, make sure to zip tie the ends of the rubber hose and pump without letting air in.

(Tom D) #19

Yes, I have used it on the E type clutch, as well as other brake systems. Usually, but not always success. I just used a size hose that fits tight enough to stay. Although I do not want the mess of a leak, since you are forcing the fluid in, air is not an issue.
To me, the concept is solid. No pumping the master to ruin the cups if corroded, air is pushed up, not down, no vacuum to pull air in around the bleeder threads, easy one person job, usually very quick
Let me know if it works for you, I would be interested


(69 FHC ) #20

That’s how I bled mine except I used a 60 cc syringe and length of hose instead of an oil can