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How to bleed clutch slave with exhaust downpipe in place... or suggestion on removing down pipe.


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Last week whilst towing my caravan i had sudden clutch failure as i was approaching the campsite entrance - could have  been worse as it didnt happen on a really busy roundabout minutes before hand!  Still ended up blocking the campsite entrance - but with the aid of a big tree and the winch managed to get the car and caravan to the side of the road, and recovery brought the ninety home.    Roll forward to this weekend and i was pleased that it appears to be the lesser of many evils and a failed master cylinder.  Nice and easy i thought!

Pedal box out, master cylinder changed and  adjusted.  Now just a quick job to bleed the circuit.  I had forgotten how inaccessible the bleed nipple is!  I cant see any way of doing it with the exhaust / downpipe in place.

Bit the bullet and removed transmission cross member and disconnected exhaust from front of middle silencer but its completely seized at the down pipe end.  I've heated it up but still no movement and worried any more force is going to crack manifold.  

The ninety has a Disco 200tdi fitted and if i recall i used a Steve parker down pipe.  

Anyone got any clever tips for being able to undo the bleed nipple with exhaust in situ or ideas for removing the downpipe?  - I'm pretty sure that from what i recall that if i can free it at the turbo outlet the down pipe wont drop down between chassis rail , engine and starter motor.









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You probably don't have room for the same trick, but on my old V6 hybrid, it was much easier to unbolt the slave cylinder complete, let it hang down on the end of the flexi and bleed it by gravity alone. Obviously don't press the pedal down or you press the piston out of the slave. (Actually you can, very slowly, with the bleed nipple open, but best not)

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I find I can slacken the nipple from the top with a 1/4” ratchet, reaching down over the wing. Then with a tube fitted i just open and close it by hand while someone does the pedal bit. Then nip it up again from the top.

Theres not enough room to swing a 10mm spanner properly above the nipple between the starter and the footwell. A cut down one would be better.

This is on a standard Defender 200Tdi though - the aftermarket conversion exhaust may make access even more difficult. 

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Do it from the top with an assistant. i.e reverse bleed it. air bubbles will naturally try and rise anyway and it saves time and effort under the landy.

Fill the clutch reservoir (leave the cap off) and crack the nut on the master cylinder pipe union let it weep for a bit. Tighten the master cyl nut, push the pedal down hold a while then open the nut again and let the pedal up close the nut. Repeat until air bubbles stop.

Keeping the reservoir topped up.

Repeat an hour or so later to let the remaining air out.


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Sorry for the delay replying and thanks for the ideas all.  I think the Disco 200tdi / LT77 is making things tighter and cant really see that i could get to it from above.  Thanks Ralph may consider the extended bleed circuit in future.

I have managed to bleed it now.  I persisted with trying to get access via the exhaust route by undoing the nuts on the manifold to down pipe - see photo.  I had hoped to drop  the down pipe down completely but couldn't get the  manifold off the studs as proximity to bulkhead simply wont allow it - however it did give me enough movement in the exhaust near the slave to bleed - just but not ideal!

Why is it that manifold studs always come out when you dont want them to - and in this case when it it would have been beneficial they wont!!?

So result is clutch is fixed, but the ease of removing the exhaust sections is niggling me and will need sorting.  Just now need to remember how i got the manifold off the studs before.... something is telling me i may have had to lift engine slight off the mounts - or was that doing the start motor!? 😞


LR exhaust.jpg

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