Technology.Life.Insight.

5th Gen Camaro Clutch Reservoir + Brake Power Bleed

My project this weekend was installing a dedicated clutch reservoir and flushing/bleeding the brake system in my Camaro SS. From the factory for the 2010+ Camaros, GM has consolidated the brake and clutch fluid reservoirs into a single unit. Both systems use DOT3 fluid so probably seemed like a good idea at the time of design. The trouble is that clutch dust contaminates the fluid and could potentially cause performance or safety issues with the braking system if the fluid isn’t properly looked after. Many other Camaro owners have performed this mod as well installing a dedicated clutch fluid reservoir. The GTO reservoir is a genuine GM part and fits the bill for this mod. I got mine from Ideal Garage for $20 which also includes rubber plugs needed to cap the large reservoir after the conversion. There are a number of these kits out there based on this part but some of the others come with a custom bracket to mount the GTO reservoir to the stock brake reservoir. Some people mount these inside the fender or to the back of the shock tower while using the existing clutch fluid hose. Some move the reservoir farther out and replace the hose. I wanted the reservoir easily accessible and to reuse the stock hose.

To pull this off I crudely fabricated my own bracket based on designs floating around camaro5.com. I used 90-degree mounting steel (the kind with the holes on either side), hammered it flat, cut it up the middle and notched a lower angled mounting post. All things considered I think it turned out pretty well. The install process is pretty straight-forward:

  • Very important – Protect all painted surfaces from brake fluid exposure. It will destroy your paint!
  • Remove as much fluid from the large reservoir as necessary to minimize any spillage when you pull the clutch hose off.
  • Install the GTO reservoir to the location of your choosing, leave it empty for now.
  • Remove the clutch hose from the larger reservoir and attach to the GTO reservoir.
  • Cap and clamp the now unused fluid port on the larger reservoir, clamp the host to the new one.
  • Fill the GTO reservoir with fresh brake fluid. I’m using ATE Super Blue DOT4 which exceeds the performance requirements of DOT3. It’s also BLUE which makes it easy to change out the older amber colored fluid. They also make an amber version so you can switch back and forth easily as required.
  • Pump the clutch 25-30 times, suck out the clutch fluid, replace with fresh fluid, repeat until the fluid is clean.
The GTO reservoir and custom bracket are on the right:



Another view of the finished install, stock hose, original fluid port capped:


Power Bleeder

Now that I have my clutch properly cared for it’s time to tend to the brake fluid. I keep low miles on my Camaro but the fluid was plenty dirty. I’ve been working on cars for a long time and have employed the “2-person brake pump/ bleed” method in the past. I had read about power bleeders for a long time but finally decided to join the party myself.

The Power Bleeder is a product made by Motive Products and as designed will pump fresh brake fluid through your brake system under pressure. You simply need to open the bleeder screw on your calipers and the pressure pushes the fresh fluid from the pump, through your master fluid reservoir, out your bleeder screw. A true one man operation, no fuss, and no accidental air in the brake system. This is referred to as the “wet method.” I decided to take it a step further and employ what’s called the “dry method” which simply pressurizes the brake system leaving the Power Bleeder bottle and hoses clean. Using the dry method means that you’ll need to keep an eye on the fluid reservoir and keep it topped off to avoid unwanted air from getting in.

If you’re interested in the Power Bleeder and search around enough you’ll probably come upon some old forum threads that encourage you to go to Ace Hardware and build your own for cheap. I decided to try this, after all it’s just a spray pump, tubing, and a fluid reservoir adapter cap. At Ace, I gathered all the supplies required and was at $45 before I even had the reservoir adapter cap! Not to mention the labor that would follow I was pretty close to breaking even since the Power Bleeder can be had for ~$60. I abandoned the make-your-own power bleeder route and bought a Motive Black Label Power Bleeder from LPI Racing for less than $70. The black label bleeders include nice machined aluminum caps to match your application. Definitely worth the extra few $ for a high quality and long life part.

Cool, so I have my official Power Bleeder now. One of the caveats to using the dry bleed method is that you have to remove the cap every time you need to top off the fluid. This means that your bottle pressure drops to zero every time and has to be re-pressurized after every top off. Not a huge deal but an annoyance that can be easily remedied. I got the idea from a Porche forum to use Colder shutoff couplers in the middle of the hose to keep the pressure in the bottle. 2 couplers in the middle, separate the hoses, pressure stays in the bottle, fill the reservoir, put the adapter back on, re-connect the hoses, a whole lot less pumping. Brilliant!

The parts needed to do this are the Colder PLCD22005 and PLCD17005.
Even though the couplers are barbed, for a little added security I opted to secure them using 12.3mm Oetiker clamps. Here is what the bleeder looks like now. As you can see I have the bottle pressurized to 15 PSI and the hose is disconnected in the middle:

2013-03-03 12.11.43

Suck most of the old fluid out of the reservoir and top with fresh Super Blue. Attach the adapter to the fluid reservoir and pressurize the bottle to check for any leaks. If solid, you’re ready to start bleeding!


The bottle and hoses stay absolutely clean using the dry method. Simply top off the reservoir as needed and keep the bottle pressure between 10-15 PSI:



Using my nifty magnetic Genesis bleeder bottle, here comes the Super Blue. If you have Brembos always bleed the inner caliper first then the outer. Start from the furthest point away from the master cynlider and work your way closer (passenger rear, driver rear, pass front, driver front). Be very careful to not get any fluid on your calipers if they’re painted! Take a pair of needle nose pliers and pinch off the hose just above the bleeder nipple and pull the hose off. I did this and didn’t spill a single drop! If you do spill, spray your calipers down with water asap and wipe up with a rag.



I bled all four corners in less than an hour including helping my daughter with her paints somewhere along the way. In the end all the old fluid goes in the bleeder bottle and the Power Bleeder stays clean for a long life and easy storage. Clean up the adapter cap and bleeder bottle with denatured alcohol before storage.

2013-03-03 14.12.16

2 comments:

  1. Great job. I matched your setup and have a couple questions. When I use the Colder valves and split the line to add more fluid both reservoir and motive pump stayed pressurized, so when I released the cap on the reservoir it released the pressure very abruptly. I read not to relieve pressure at the reservoir. Can I ask what you're doing to relieve pressure to fill the reservoir? Also, when I crack the bleeder on any caliper it only seems to push a small amount and then just seems to sit there. Do you keep tightening and loosening the bleeder screw to keep fluid coming out. The pressure stays very level at 14 psi. It seems something is not working correctly... TIA for any help and the write-up.

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  2. Hi, check your colder connection to make sure the couplers are working correctly. It sounds like your MC is not getting properly pressurized. With the couplers disconnected, pump up the bottle, connect the other end and make sure the air blows out the end cap. Once pressurized on the reservoir, as soon as you turn the caliper bleeder screw, fluid will come out effortlessly. Remove pressure at the bottle via the pump cap before refilling the reservoir.

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