story and photos by pablo deferrari

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As much as I love working on Porsches, I'm gettin' tired of this image. But listen, I can't complain. This old girl has been asleep for nearly a decade, I've only had her on the road for about six months, so shit is bound to happen as I shake her down with more miles.

"I made sure to buy a case of Pabst on the way home..."

During one of snow storms earlier this year, I set off for work and within about 3 miles, the clutch starting feeling like wet noodle. Something was up. I was still able to engage the gears without trouble, but I knew I had to circle back to the ranch before I totally got stuck. I had to move fast because calling AAA during a snow storm guarantees that'll you'll be in the advanced stages of decomposition by the time they arrive within their "1 hour window." I hauled ass back home.
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I made sure to buy a case of Pabst on the way home because I knew this job would not go smoothly as planned...they never do no matter how many times you dummy-ran it in your mind. The image right above this paragraph was only the beginning of my troubles, but I knew that already.

I'm also glad I had thought ahead and got everything involved in the clutch hydraulic system. The problem turned out to be a leaking slave cylinder that had less than 5,000 miles on it (it wasn't used for ten years) but it was better to replace everything once than having another component in the system fail having you do this job again. The master wasn't the problem, but it was going to be judging by the seeping fluid on the bellows. I rest my case.

Now there was no way to work under the dash to unhook the clutch rod without scraping skin off my hands, getting stuck under the steering wheel, and having to contort myself like a Yogi. The seat was coming out. I figured I could work comfortably without complicating things, and besides, I was curious to see what irretrievable object was dropped under there years ago.
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don't be that guy, vacuum that shit up...this isn't your college dorm room.
After a good Hoovering, I had loads of space to get under there and do things right. So after removing a plastic protector piece to the left of the clutch pedal, I unhooked the clevis and was a step closer to completion. This went smoothly...for a change.
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Now it was time to take out the master cylinder. From some of the DIYs I've read on the subject, lots of people find it better to disconnect this and move that, bullshit. My friend James, an old school Porsche mechanic who's one of the few on the planet who can properly rebuild a 356 Carrera 4-cam engine, gave me some good advice long ago. Don't make more work for yourself, you can save shitloads of time if you intelligently work around the obstacles. So that's what I did here.

"Don't say "ah...I don't give a shit, it'll be some other dude's problem." 

Just one vacuum hose and diaphragm needed to be moved aside and I was able to access the master cylinder without drama. A 13mm sicket, a universal joint, and 12" extension wvas all I needed. I also slipped a small magnet inside the socket to prevent me from losing the nuts.
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plenty of room, you can fit a six-pack in there.
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Next, I disconnected the hard line using a flared wrench to loosen it and a regular open-end chumpy to ease it on out. What took a little bit of effort was removing the old gasket in the firewall. If you're going to scrape it away, you'll also take some paint off too so use some touch up paint over the area to prevent rust and a broken firewall at this point. 

Don't say "ah...I don't give a shit, it'll be some other dude's problem." That's being a dick, besides, you may just end up owning this car for the rest of your life or passing it down to your kids. Imagine what kind of slacker they'll think you were when they have to do this job somewhere down the line and run into your lazy ass choice.
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Don't remove the braided blue hose while the master cylinder is connected to the firewall, disconnect it after you swing it out of that recess...it's so much easier. If you're working in sub-zero temps like I was, warm up the hose with a blow dryer at the connector to soften it up a little bit.
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the "fucking" bolt that wouldn't budge...circled in yellow.
Once you're disconnected up at the top, surrey on down underneath to disconnect the clutch hose and meet your first, and hopefully last problem.

Time has a nasty way of complicating things that involve metals fastened together. The problem here started with the male fitting on the hardline being frozen in place. This fitting should have been the one spinning while the female end of the hose is held. That was OK, because once loosened, I simply unscrewed the rubber hose off the hardline. But thinking ahead, that hardline fitting needed to spin free when connecting the new rubber hose.

"And here's where I wanted to guzzle a fifth of whiskey, set the car on fire, and in the throes of lunacy, masturbate while watching it burn."

So, being that the space you have really doesn't give you many options in terms of creative thinking, I've opted to just remove the hardline so that I can clean the fittings and have them spin free again. And here's where I wanted to guzzle a fifth of whiskey, set the car on fire, and in the throes of lunacy, masturbate while watching it burn.

To get the line off, you had to simply unbolt it from the bracket. Right. That the nut/bolt combo was in a bad spot was already a problem, but when the fucker decides it wants to stay and it guaranteed it so by not giving you access to hold the 8mm bolt from the top...it basically told me to "eat shit and die."

I think this is only a problem with 16-valve 944S models which explains why they made so few of them.
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What's to be done? Use a cutting wheel on the sonofabitch. Done. So I avoided being hauled away by the pigs for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, sexual assault, and setting the thing on fire.

Now I can disconnect the slave cylinder after removing the starter, and continue on with putting in the new pieces, but before chugging three or four beers for my troubles.
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All I did with this line is soak it with PB Blaster, wait for a bit, then turn the fittings round and round until they felt loose enough to work with back under the car.

With all of that out of the way, this is the bit I wanted to show below you to save time and headaches. I've laid out the new and old clutch master cylinder with their respective rods. Now, there must be some sado-masochistic tendencies by the others who've provided a DIY on this job by adding a few very unnecessary steps with the clevis. I'll be brief in my explanation.

Leave it the alone.

All you need to do is pull out the old rod/clevis, pop the bellows off the new master cylinder, slip it over the old rod/clevis, and insert the whole thing into the new master cylinder. I honestly don't know why guys bothered using micrometers, rulers, and sextants to transfer the clevis itself from the old rod to the new when all they had to do was what I just did. Make it easy for yourself, you've much better things to do like pick the lint out of your navel.
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When putting things back together, the only bit that was a challenge was connecting the rubber hose/hardline piece to the master cylinder. I had to disconnect the air tube from the throttle body to the AFM in order to be able to bend the hose enough for me to get the threads started. Again, I think this was a 944S thing and not necessarily the case with the other variants.

As for the blue braided hose, put that one before you bolt the master cylinder to the firewall. Obvious as it may seem, it's the smartest way to go about it. You'll thank yourself later.
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With everything all buttoned up, grab your mate and your power bleeder...here's the other tip the others don't mention because they're too busy measuring the clevis and obsessing about the size of their penises.

When bleeding the clutch, pump the power bleeder to no more than 15psi (about 1bar), and let her rip. When you think all of the air is out, call your woman, mate, mom, dad, friend, doesn't matter who, just a living soul who can hold down the clutch pedal and keep it there while you crack the bleed screw again.
This very important step is the single reason why most clutches have to be bled again because the pedal won't come back up from the floor after while you're in the middle of a drive.

"You think I'm full of shit just because "Joe 944" says you have to sacrifice a goat in order to get all of the air out?"

Forget what the others tell you. There's no need to jack up the rear higher than the front, rub a rosary, stroke a rabbit's foot, or any of those other silly rituals to avoid air from being trapped.

Have someone hold the clutch pedal to the floor while you crack the bleed screw a few times and that's it. You think I'm full of shit just because "Joe 944" says you have to sacrifice a goat in order to get all of the air out? Look at the factory manual, they tell you to do it like I just told you.
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only women bleed...
The last step in all of this madness? Put a new nut/bolt to hold the hardline on the bracket, buy the rubber plug that's been missing from the bell housing from your 944s clutch inspection hole, and put it back like the factory intended.

highball!
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it ain't done until she's plugged up.
 


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