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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Thu, Jun-07-2018, 08:53:14 PM   #1
E30User
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Default Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

I'm going to be using an oil can to pump fluid into the clutch slave cylinder through its bleeder, to push the air up and out the reservoir. Explained here:

For this method, does it matter if the slave is already mounted to the transmission while pushing the fluid through? Or does the piston need to be fully extended?
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Old Sat, Jun-09-2018, 04:44:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

Mount the unit. Even if you did a bench unit like this, you'd re-introduce air disconnecting it and connecting to the car.
You *will* need to exercise the clutch once you see the air bubbles stop, as when it extends it is possible some trapped bubble will release. But if you visualize the inside of the slave piston, you're better off staring with it retracted, as there will be less air to start with.
*IF* it were extended (hooked into car MC plumbing but unmounted) and you got the reservoir completely full, when you release the clutch (or tighten to mounting bolts, putting the system in the rest position), the fluid coming out of the slave might overfill the reservoir.
Ultimately it shouldn't matter that much as long as you exercise the clutch and fill from the bottom as he shows until no more bubbles release. Starting from the rest state should just be quickest and simplest. Disclosure: I've not done this on a BMW (or any car for ages), but .. what I've described is - just how it works.
This process can be useful if you have trouble getting brakes bled, but for OE design really should never be needed and would be more tedious watching the reservoir and sucking out old fluid if needed.

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Old Sat, Jun-09-2018, 07:29:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

I've only *had* to do this once, for an older car that had not been maintained in 10+ years, where I couldn't get it to bleed down. The reverse bleed / oil can pump method worked great and surfaced a noticeable blockage chunk of crud into the reservoir. I was able to clean it out and get it working from there. However, the oil can method, or at least my oil can, did pump some air along with the fluid so it wasn't a perfect bleed. After clearing the line with the initial "upward" bleed, I pressurized the cylinder and did a traditional "downward" bleed and was able to get a good clutch slave bleed and air-free fluid going.
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Old Sat, Jun-09-2018, 09:02:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

It should still get fluid through the lines. I just did this but used a vacuum to pull the fluid from the reservoir through the lines from the bleeder screw. They both work. But you should still have someone cycle the clutch and bleed any remaining bubbles.
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Old Sat, Jun-09-2018, 11:00:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

It is a good method to bleed a stubborn clutch but isn't there a inline valve in the clutch line that slows down the release of clutch fluid? I can't remember the name of the damn thing, it helps newbie stick drivers from stalling the car. So I was just thinking that valve might hold up some air.
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Old Sun, Jun-10-2018, 02:12:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

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Originally Posted by grannyknot View Post
It is a good method to bleed a stubborn clutch but isn't there a inline valve in the clutch line that slows down the release of clutch fluid? I can't remember the name of the damn thing, it helps newbie stick drivers from stalling the car. So I was just thinking that valve might hold up some air.
Clutch Delay Valve (CDV)?
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Old Sun, Jun-10-2018, 02:25:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

I removed my CDV long ago, and was pleased with the enhanced feel and performance. I cannot remember if my clutch bleeding problems happened around the same time, but I've had problems bleeding my clutch with a pressure bleeder for as long as I can remember. I recently tried the oil can pump from the bottom method + cycling the clutch several times. I'm a convert - it works great for me.

I did notice some small bubbles, but found that slowing the pumping action seemed to reduce them but not eliminate them.
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Old Wed, Jun-20-2018, 06:48:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

There's a much easier method that I've been taught and been using on all my BMW's.
Unbolt the slave and hold it sort of upside down, then compress the slave fully by hand repeatedly until there is no air left. The air will travel upwards and the system will basically self bleed.
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Old Wed, Jun-20-2018, 07:55:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

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Originally Posted by Gstlund View Post
There's a much easier method that I've been taught and been using on all my BMW's.
Unbolt the slave and hold it sort of upside down, then compress the slave fully by hand repeatedly until there is no air left. The air will travel upwards and the system will basically self bleed.
genius - I've been looking into different methods and your method doesn't require a power bleeder or even a 2nd person and you don't have to depress the clutch either?!!

I guess my question to your method is, you're sitting under the car pumping the slave by hand while it's outside of the bell housing (uninstalled). how can you tell if the air has bled through the reservoir in the engine bay? does a second person eyeing it perform this function? Also, when do you turn the nipple at the slave to close it off, when the slave rod is extended or retracted? Or does this method not even require that you crack open the bleed nipple at the slave? I assume you have to open the reservoir cap to release the air.

This just seems super simple to actually be effective.
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Old Wed, Jun-20-2018, 10:50:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question

Good questions. Sticking to the manual 2 person pump method for now, but that would be sweet.
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Discussing Manual clutch slave - reverse bleeding method question in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)