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Leo, Auto Service Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 770
Experience:  2005 Dodge ASE master technician of the year
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99 Ram 3500: clutch master cylinder..slave store

Customer Question

Trying to replace clutch master cylinder in my '99 Ram 3500. Am confused -- directions in repair manual say replace master/slave cylinder as single unit, but parts store could only sell me separate master cylinder. Not sure how to take apart, reassemble.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Leo replied 9 years ago.


When you get the factory service part, it comes complete (master clinder, line, slave clinder) and bled.

On the bottom of the master cylinder there should be a clip or roll pin that holds the line running down to the slave cylinder into the master cylinder. Removing that should allow you to pull the line out.

The big trouble is going to be bleeding the system, there is no bleeder on the slave cylinder. You may be able to take it off, and push it all the way in to expel the air back into the master, but it's going to be tough. I've tried bleeding them before with limited success.

I'd be tempted to get the OEM part, for a diesel they run ~$260. Probably quite a bit more money than the aftermarket part, but a lot easier to install. If you let me know what engine you have I can get you a more accurate price.

I hope this helps, if so please click accept. Need more info? Just ask!


Leo and 2 other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Leo HIckey's Post: Leo -
     It's got the Cummins engine, but I'm going to try to install the new master cylinder I have bought.
     Thanks for pointing out the pin under the master cylinder -- I hadn't noticed that. I'll try removing the master cylinder without disturbing the slave cylinder or the line leading to it, so I expect I won't introduce any air to worry about downstream.
     I'd like to leave the "justanswer" connection open until I'm sure I won't have any other questions, then I'll "accept". Thank you.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Leo -
     We were making good progress, but now we're hung up -- can't figure out how to get out the pin holding the slave cylinder line in the master cylinder. Do you need a special tool for that?
                             - Garry
Expert:  Leo replied 9 years ago.
Hi Gary,

Sorry for the delay.

I believe it's just a small roll pin isn't it? Should be just a matter of pushing it out with a small punch. May need some gentle hammer action to get it started.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Leo =
    Did you see my question about how to remove the pin holding the line leading to the slave cylinder to the master cylinder? Can you help?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Leo -
     Sorry. I see your response now. I'll keep trying.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Leo -
     Haven't yet been able to get the pin out. I've bolted the master cylinder back in firmly, but there are so many wires and brake lines in the area I can't get a good swing at the punch I'm trying to force the pin out with. A neighbor has taken the day off tomorrow to help me and, hopefully, I'll be able to report success soon.
Expert:  Leo replied 9 years ago.
Hi again,

Might be easier to just take the whole assembly off so you can get at it eaisier.. Once you have the master cylinder unbolted, all you have to do is unbolt the slave (2 bolts) and you can slide the whole deal out. Just zip tie the end of the slave cylinder in so it can't fall out.

Little more work in the short term, but it doesn't really take that long to get out (1 hour to remove and put back in, not counting changing the master over..) I think it would make things much easier?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Leo -
     I'm proud to tell you I actually decided on my own to remove the whole shebang and take it apart and put it back together on my workbench, but one look at the slave cylinder mounting bracket on what we used to call the bell housing convinced me not to try that -- the threads on the two bolts holding the slave cylinder in place were severely pitted, rusted, and corroded, and I was worried I'd have broken off one or both of them if I'd tried to back off the nuts.
     So, I enlisted the help of my son with Herculean strenth and my neighbor with flexible, skinny arms (all three of us having had a lot of experience taking apart and putting back together things like this), and we spent most of a 3-day weekend in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to remove the pin holding the line going to the slave cylinder from the master cylinder. We tried everything we could think of; we bolted the master cylinder back down to the firewall so we could tap more firmly on the punch centered on the pin, we unbolted the master cylinder so we could move it around to align the punch and the hammer and the pin correctly, one of us cussed a lot, and I thing another of my helpers was praying, but, in the end, we had to give up.
     I put the whole thing back together (figuring out the starter switch lockout was a bit of a challenge), and it now works just like it did 4 days ago (the clutch insidiously engaging itself over about a 10-second period idling at redlights). I've done a lot of DIY repairs over the years, and I've been successful every time until now; this one was too much.
     The people at the (AutoZone) parts store where I bought the new master cylinder were clueless, their computer based technical support was not at all helpful, and the best their "expert" could offer on my fifth visit to the store was, "Well, those things are bitches; you just have to keep trying and not lose your patience and hope you can do it." I am left now with great respect for the Haynes repair manual (sold to me by the same store which sold me the master cylinder) which adamantly warns not, under any circumstances, to try to separate the master cylinder from the slave cylinder which, it said, are manufactured as a sealed unit and are never to be separated. I believe the parts store did me a serious disservice by implying this was a task I could reasonably accomplish.
     Seriously humbled, I will take my truck to the local Dodge store and pay whatever they decide to charge me for a new, sealed unit plus the exorbitant labor charges they will doubtless decide are "reasonable."
     I'm disappointed by this, but I do not blame you for my failure. I have enjoyed my first experience with JustAnswer, and I accept the charge I agreed to earlier.
     Thank you for trying to help me.
Expert:  Leo replied 9 years ago.
Hi again,

Those bolts that hold the slave cylinder on, might be worth putting a wrench on and giving a gentle turn.. If the exposed threads are severly corroded, they typically will just spin out of the transmission (they are long studs).

I'm sorry you couldn't get the pin out. I appreciate you accepting the answer, although I feel bad for not being able to help you out..

Why they even sell the master seperate like that is beyond me..