I recently had my rear oil seal replaced at the shop and my engine has been dry and leak free for 2 months. So I noticed pretty quickly when a new puddle appeared in the driveway, seemingly coming from the front of the engine near the transmission. At first I could not smell what fluid it was by touching my finger to it, so I sopped up a lot of the liquid in a paper towel. That concentrated the smell of brake fluid. I found the leaking part was the clutch slave cylinder. I drove to the parts store and picked up a new one, while there I leaked a huge splash of brake fluid and could feel the clutch pedal fading. Time to get home and fix it. Here is a video showing the removal and replacement procedure posted by Thomas EXOVCDS.
I jacked up the van on the driver side rear and placed jack stands under the frame. I found that some procedures needed to be done under the vehicle but most of the tasks can be done from within the open engine compartment.
The first thing you should do is remove the fitting where the hydraulic tube enters the cylinder. If your hydraulic fittings look as rusty as mine did you may have trouble removing them. Try your best to retain the fitting, my attempt was futile, the fitting was so rounded over no wrench would turn it. Vice grips did not budge it. Ruined at this point anyway I knew I would need a new fitting. Many trips to many stores brought no luck for the OEM part, it started to become clear I might have to have a custom fitting made. It was the weekend so none of the specialty shops were open.
In the mean time, looking at some older posts on thesamba.com I started to think that brake lines could be the answer. I found some metric steel nuts (m12 x 1.0) that were sized for 3/16th” steel brake line. I got these parts at my local Autozone because they were open on the weekend.
I had some 3/16th brake line from an earlier project, just cut the line in two and slide off the smaller nuts. The flare shown here is a bubble flare which is what I needed on the fitting end.
I also cut off an inch or so of the plastic hydraulic line so I could have a practice piece the exact size, you can see below that the 3/16th line fits in the plastic line with a tiny amount of play. That was perfect, all I needed to do was flare the end of the line just enough to make it seal the supply line.
I put a small bubble flare on the end, larger than it needed to be but not as large as the normal flare. I then filed the end into a taper, much like the original barbed fitting. I filed very lightly until it made a really tight fit on the test piece.
It took some effort to insert the homemade ‘fitting’ into the plastic supply line, I managed to insert the end about 1/2″ inside. I could tell it was a tight seal immediately and no fluid leaked out of the junction. I chose to add a little extra security with a hose clamp placed just behind the flare, I don’t think this will ever pull off from hydraulic pressure.
Bleeding the cylinder was a piece of cake, before I bolted it back into the bracket, I connected the supply line. Holding the cylinder about a foot lower than its bracket I cracked open the bleeder valve and waited until the brake fluid flowed out solid by gravity. Since my supply line is clear plastic, I could see that no air bubbles remained in the line. No pumping, no need for help, completely bled.
Then I remounted the cylinder to its bracket and made sure the plunger boot was seated correctly. I topped off the brake fluid reservoir, and drove it off without any further adjustments needed.