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Braided Clutch Line / Restrictor Removal

As most DSM owners already know, Mitsubishi utilizes a section of rubber hose to connect the clutch master cylinder to the release cylinder. While the flexible nature is necessary to allow movement with engine torque (which is why it can't be replaced simply with hard brake line), it also expands under pressure, which causes inconsistent clutch engagement. To combat this issue, we replace the stock rubber hose with a braided stainless steel line that will flex with the engine, but does not expand under pressure.

Since the clutch line will need to be bled anyway, we also highly recommend removing the clutch restrictor at the same time. The restrictor is the same as in the 95-99 DSMs: a small plate with a hole in the middle, attached to a spring. This restrictor slows the fluid movement to the release cylinder to make for smoother clutch engagement/disengagement....or possibly just to help avoid too much drive train warranty work from hard AWD launches. In either case, quick, solid clutch engagement is nearly impossible with the restriction of the fluid and its removal causes absolutely no noticeable loss of drivability. Those concerned about removing it due the possibility of it causing "driveline problems" should be made aware that removal of the restrictor has been done for nearly 9 years on 2G DSMs with zero consequence. In fact, even heavy duty AWD DSM clutches like the ACT 2600 have been known to still slip if the restrictor is left in, so unless you consider more consistent 60 foot times and more solid clutch engagement a "driveline problem", it's removal should be of little or no concern.

By upgrading the clutch line or removing the restrictor, clutch engagement will be more direct and more consistent. Obviously, it best is to do both for maximum improvement and daily driving will suffer 0%

1. While there are a few ways to tackle this project, we found it easiest to remove the entire clutch line from the clutch master cylinder (driver side corner of the firewall) all the way to the clutch release cylinder (front of tranny). While we did not need to, you may also find it easier to access the retaining clips for the factory hose by removing the battery. Removing the air filter, MAS and inlet hose/pipe will also make working much easier, but again, isn't totaly necessary. In either case, you will definitely need to remove the upper IC pipe to gain access to the hose bracket on top of the transmission and the strut bar to reach the clutch master cylinder.
2. About the only thing that needs to be done under the car is to R&R the 14mm banjo bolt connecting the clutch line to the release cylinder. If you really need to, jack up the car and use jack stands, though it should not be a problem reaching under or blindly from above if you have removed the air filter and intake. Have a drain pan under the line to catch any brake fluid that runs out. NOTE: brake fluid is really nasty stuff and will eat the paint off of anything it is left on. Be sure to clean any spilled or splashed brake fluid from the car and yourself in a timely manner! NOTE: be careful not to lose the two copper washers while removing the banjo bolt. These will need to be reused on the re-install.
3. Reaching the 17mm banjo bolt that connects the clutch line to the clutch master cylinder can definitely be a pain, given its location. This is one of those times that gear wrenches come in handy since a ratchet and socket will not fit between the bolt and the brake booster. A 12-point box wrench will give you the best opportunity to loosen the banjo bolt without much problem and it should only take 1-2 full turns before it is loosen enough to remove by hand. You will need to get your hand in there to reinstall the banjo bolt later, so do whatever you have to get a hand in there now! Again, be careful not to lose the copper washers when you remove the banjo bolt.
4. There are clips that hold the clutch line to two brackets: one on top of the tranny (top) and one behind the battery near the strut tower (bottom). These clips slide off rather uneasily. The entire bracket may be unbolted from the tranny and separated later, but the clip behind the battery must be removed in the car. A combination of Vise Grips, pliers or leverage with a large flat head screwdriver will make it happen, but it will take some playing. TECH TIP: it is easiest to "walk" the clips off rather than just trying to pull straight up!
5. With both clips removed, the clutch hose will need to be slid through the holes to reach the narrow sections that will allow them to come through and out of the brackets. The one on top of the tranny will need to pushed backwards and the one behind the battery will have to go "forward". They will only slide one way, so you can't really mess up ;)
6. Now, the stock clutch line will need to be removed from the plastic loop holder under the battery tray (circled). Simply pull the connector apart and take the hose out. At this point, the stock clutch line should be totally free to come out. Slide the entire hose/line assembly forward, down and out under the front of the car.
7. With the entire clutch line out of the car, we need to separate the hard line from the rubber hose, which will be replaced by the braided line. We recommend using a vice to hold the large fitting on the rubber hose to hold everything in place, but if you don't have one, a 17mm wrench will suffice. The smaller fitting on the hard line is 10mm. With the stock rubber hose disconnected, you can compare the rubber hose to the braided replacement. The braided hose is a little longer than the factory rubber hose, and that will come in handy when installing it. As you may or may not notice, the stock hose has an angle off of the banjo fitting where it connects to the clutch master cylinder. This is to clear the intrusion of the fender/strut tower directly next to it. The replacement braided line does not have this angle and the excess length will allow it to be routed slightly backward (toward the firewall) before coming around and forward to get around the inner fender/strut tower.
8. TECH TIP: some people have bent their fittings similar to the one on the stock hose for the clearance, but we really do not recommend it. First and foremost, it is unnecessary and you will end up with unneeded slack in the line. Secondly, while making the angle on the fitting, it is very possible to distort the fitting and/or mar the sides where your air tight connection needs to be. The last thing you will want to do is R&R the hose again because of a poor seal on the washers or a miniscule crack from stressing the metal.
9. Again, using a vice or wrench to hold the big fitting on the new braided line, connect the stock hard line to it. Now would be a good time to loom the braided line section if you do not want the braided steel sticking out like a sore thumb in the engine bay.
10. Using your handy dandy vice (or hand) to hold the release cylinder, remove the bleeder screw (top). After removing the bleeder screw, a look inside shows a hole that closely matches the ID of the line (middle). Using a piece of wire, a small allen key or other similar thin object, push it through the hole from the bleeder screw side of the cylinder (bottom) and the restrictor will be pushed out the opposite side (where the banjo bolt goes).
11. CAREFUL! Do not look at or stand on the side of the release cylinder that the restrictor comes out of while pushing it out. Any brake fluid left in the cylinder or on the restrictor can and will be thrown when it comes out (remember, it's on a spring). The very last thing that you want is brake fluid in your eyes!
12. Hold a rag or cup over the opening to catch the restrictor when it is freed.
13. Picture of the actual restrictor so you can see what the hold up in the fluid movement really is. See that dinky hole in the middle of the "top"? That is what your fluid must pass through to get in and out the release cylinder. So if you are wondering why the stock clutch (and in some cases, aftermarket clutches) seem to slip so easily, it's because this little gadget allows them to ride longer than you want them to! At 1280 x 1024 res, the pop-up picture is pretty close to actual size (ie. small).
14. If you picked up some Speed Bleeders or some type of one-way bleeder screw at your local parts store while getting your brake fluid, go ahead and replace the stock bleeder screw with the Speed Bleeder, otherwise, reinstall the stock bleeder into the release cylinder, using new Teflon tape.. The Speed Bleeder will make your life infinitely easier when bleeding the system since it contains a one-way check valve allowing air/fluid out and nothing back in...there is no need to continually loosen and tighten the bleeder by hand every time the clutch pedal is raised and pressed. You can locate Speed Bleeders online or similar bleeders at your local auto parts store in the "Help!" section. P/N 12709 (shown) and they should run you about $7-$10 for a pair.
15. Bolt the release cylinder back on to the transmission. Make sure to get the rod into the release fork first and them compress as needed (keeping the rod as straight as possible) to get the two 12mm bolts back in. Torque the 12mm bolts to 13 FT-LBS.
16. Now for the most fun part of the install....making the clutch line connection to the clutch master cylinder. The trick here is to not drop the banjo bolt or washers while trying to thread the bolt into the master cylinder...and space is very limited for movement. It can and must be done, so just be patient and don't expect to get it in on the first attempt....or second :) If you can somehow get a torque wrench in there, the banjo bolt should be 22 FT-LBS, otherwise make your best guess. NOTE: plan your routing and get the master cylinder end of the line up to the cylinder using that route. You won't be very happy if you need to disconnect it again or pull the other end all the way to re-route it later. See our routing in Step 14. TECH TIP: as noted back in Step 6, since there is no angle on the fitting itself, it is easiest to push slack into the corner behind the clutch master cylinder (see photo) so the fitting and bolt can be squarely lined up with the hole on the cylinder. In other words, you want the line and bolt to be lined up with the hole as close as possible before trying to the thread it in. Additionally, you may find it easier to reuse the stock banjo bolt here instead of the one supplied in the kit. The end of the stock banjo bolt is unthreaded which will allow you to get the bolt in the hole before you have to get it lined up for threading. The supplied banjo bolt is thread beginning immediately at the tip so it must be perfectly aligned to get it into the cylinder and begin threading.
17. Here is our routing of the new clutch line (loomed) from the clutch master cylinder forward. In the top photo, you can see that we ran the line at the bottom along the inner fender/strut tower and under the hard brake lines. Continuing forward, we utilized the stock clutch line bracket at the back of the battery as a holder even though no clip is utilized with the new line (middle pic). Additionally, we made use of the the stock plastic loop fastener at the back/bottom of the battery that also held the stock rubber clutch line (middle pic, right side).
18. Before strapping the line down, make sure that you have enough slack to get the line properly seated into the bracket on top of the transmission and that your routing does not cause the line to interfere with the shift cables on top of the tranny (under the batter tray).
19. Get the smaller diameter hard line through the bracket on top of the transmission and then slide the line forward until the large fitting from the braided line sits flush against it and inside the side stops (bottom pic). You can either reinsert the clip that holds it in place now or later on after everything is tightened up in case you need some play to clean up the routing. Note that the big fitting may require some slight persuasion to fit in between the side stops on the bracket, but in most cases, inserting the clip will seat it no matter what.
20. With the new line at home in the bracket on top of the transmission, grab the banjo bolt and washers to connect the line to the release cylinder. With one washer on each side of the fitting (see picture), thread the banjo bolt into the release cylinder and torque to 16 FT-LBS. TECH TIP: the OEM copper washers for this connection can generally be re-used without any problem unless they have been damaged during removal or while you left them laying on the floor during the install ;) A very little extra over proper torque would not be a bad idea to insure a leak-free seal since these washers have already been torqued from the factory once. Check this connection for leaks after the clutch is properly bled and pressure can be exerted through the line.
21. With both banjo bolts tightened down, the clutch line properly routed and securely fastened, all that's left it to bleed the new line and you are done! Do not forget to check for leaks at both banjo bolts and the bleeder screw once you have bled the system and are able to apply pressure to the line. If there are any signs of leaks, take care of the problem ASAP. Enjoy your "new & improved" clutch! Need help bleeding the clutch line? See Clutch Line Bleeding under the Maintenance & Service section of Evo Tech!

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