THE GARAGE GUIDES

Remove Your Clutch Damper
(S13/S14)

The clutch damper is one of those "free mods" that you can do to increase the pedal feel and response of your clutch, whether you're running bone stock or with upgrades. By removing the clutch damper box and related lines, you eliminate a lot of the clutch fluid's pathway, but the end result is a more direct clutch pedal feel.

Many 240sx owners purchase a separate stainless steel clutch line and perform this mod. However, you don't necessarily need the upgraded line to remove your clutch damper. The mod was done on my car without any extra lines or components

 


ABOVE: The entire assembly above is known as the
clutch damper. Nissan put this on all manual-transmission
S13's and S14's to ease clutch engagement. However,
it also makes the clutch feel "disconnected" with a
soft pedal response.

This procedure takes about 6 minutes to complete (no kidding) after the car is raised on jack stands. That includes bleeding the clutch line. If you opt to flush out the old clutch fluid and replace it with fresh liquid, then add about 10 more minutes. Take your time, you don't want to rush anything.
   

1. Get your necessary tools. To do this job you don't need any special tools. Aside from the standard tools needed to raise up the front of the vehicle (jack, wheel chocks, jack stands) you will also need the following:

- 10mm deep socket
- medium socket extension
- 10mm open wrench
- 8mm open wrench
- drain pan
- 1 bottle of brake fluid
- some rags (you will be working with fluids)

 


ABOVE: As usual, properly raise up the car and use jack
stands to support the front end. The higher you can go,
the easier it'll be to access the components. For this
job you do not have to remove the front wheels
.

2. Let's take a look at the clutch damper system. If you look at the diagrams to the left, the clutch fluid travels down from the clutch master cylinder, into the first damper box, then it splits paths - some of the fluid goes along the path to the slave cylinder, and some of the fluid flows through the "loop" to... nothing. This extra fluid stored in that "loop" somehow makes the overall clutch feel softer, thus easing clutch engagement. However, clutch feel is cut down to a point that to some drivers, the clutch pedal feels like you're pushing on a sponge or a pillow.

Depending on how old your car is, you might want to spray the area with degreaser to be able to see what you'll be working with.

Now then, the point of removing the clutch damper system is to give the clutch fluid a direct path from master cylinder to slave cylinder. The second photo (with the red arrows) shows the path we will create once the clutch damper system is removed.

 


STEP 2, ABOVE: The clutch damper system.

3. Let's start by loosening the hard line fittings. Grab your 10mm open wrench and loosen the two fittings shown in the picture to the right. If you need descriptions, one fitting is the first fitting on the hard line coming from the clutch master cylinder; the second fitting is the last fitting that connects to the rubber line (which leads to the clutch slave cylinder). Loosen these with the 10mm wrench, but do not remove them yet, or you'll have clutch fluid draining out.
 


STEP 3, ABOVE: The red arrows show how we'll be
"shortcutting" the damper system. BELOW: A 10mm
open wrench is your tool of choice to loosen the
hard line fittings.

4. With the two fittings loose, next take your 10mm socket and extension, and remove two 10mm bolts that hold the clutch damper bracket to the undercarriage. Once you get the two bracket bolts off, the entire clutch damper system can be easily removed from the car. Make sure you have your drain pan ready, as clutch fluid will drip from the now open clutch lines.
 


STEP 4: The damper bracket also uses 10mm hardware.

 

5. You should now have only two lines left (as shown in the photo): one hard line that comes from the clutch master cylinder, and one rubber line (attached to a bracket) that leads to the clutch slave cylinder. The goal now is to somehow get there two lines connected.
 


STEP 5, ABOVE: These two lines are what we have to
connect to get the clutch system working. BELOW: See
the clutch damper assembly? We can throw this
away for good, to gain a better clutch feel.

 

6. Fortunately, the clutch hardline is thin enough to bend. Usually, this is where an aftermarket stainless steel line comes into place. However, you don't need that line - all you have to do is get a good grip on the hardline and SLOWLY start bending it to meet up with the rubber slave line. I must emphasize SLOWLY again, because if you try to bend the thin hardline too fast, you might kink it (or worse - break it) and then you'll have to find another replacement hardline to get your car moving once more. Take your time with this step.

 


STEP 6, ABOVE: The hard line will bend, just take your
time. If you go too fast, you might damage the hard line.

 

7. After some bending here and there, you should eventually get to this point (see photo below). Notice that the hard line is now pointed the opposite way, and the fitting meets up with the rubber line.
 


STEP 7, ABOVE: With the hard line carefully bent into
its new shape, you can see that the two lines in question
will now be able to attach together.

 

8. Go ahead and align the fittings together, finger-thread the hard line fitting into the rubber line fitting, then tighten it all up with a 10mm open wrench. After this step, don't get out from under the car yet there's one more thing to do.

 

9. Like any hydraulic system (for example, your brakes) If you ever open a line, you have to bleed the system free of any air trapped inside, or the system will not perform as designed. When you removed the clutch damper system, you also removed the bleed screw from the car. However, there is a second bleed screw located on the clutch slave cylinder itself (see photo). Bleed the clutch like you bleed brakes. With that finished, you can put the car back down on the ground and see the difference in clutch feel. You will notice that the clutch pedal now feels direct and you can actually feel when the clutch engages and disengages. Not bad for about 6 minutes under the car.
 


STEP 9, ABOVE: The last step is to bleed the clutch
system, much like you do with brakes, to get any air
out of the lines.

Download Adobe .pdf version, click here.
- print this version to read the guide offline.
If you need a .pdf reader, click here.

Download Word .doc version (text only), click here.
- print this version as reference during the procedure.

   

Thanks to Jez for taking the pictures.
Thanks to to Joey for helping with this guide.
Guide written by Raine (www.projectraine.com)
Original date: August 18, 2005
Last edit: September 4, 2006