Installation of a Stainless Steel Clutch Line

If you want better pedal feel, or run your XRS in competition, this is the mod for you. Otherwise, please consider putting this near the bottom of your list if you’re strapped for cash. I’m sure it helps shifting somewhat, but I personally couldn’t detect any difference in shift time over the old clutch line. Again, this modification seems to provide better clutch pedal feel, but not much else (if you have an aftermarket clutch, you might disagree with me).

This DIY was done on a Corolla XRS (2zzge), therefore I cannot provide any guarantee it will work on cars equipped with other engine/transmission combinations.

This installation involves removing the stock airbox in order to obtain comfortable access to the clutch line. At least one specialized tool is highly recommended for this installation: a 10mm line (flare) wrench. Flare wrenches prevent rounding of hex nuts; something very useful when attempting to break loose a nut in situations where a socket wrench cannot be used. Don’t forget to follow up this installation by bleeding your clutch system (see other DIY).

PS: I apologize for the quality of the pictures, I was unable to locate our better camera, and had to settle with the older one.

Things you will need:

Replacement Clutch Line (I purchased Speed Source’s Stainless Steel Clutch line)
New Brake Fluid
Liquid Wrench or Similar
Paper Towels
Something to catch dripping hydraulic fluid
Ratchet (socket wrench)
10mm socket
6 or 9 inch ratchet extension
Philips Head Screwdriver
Flat Head Screwdriver
Needle Nose Pliers
10mm wrench (regular)
10mm line (flare) wrench
(Plus anything needed for bleeding the clutch)

Step 1 – Removal of the Airbox

Not quite as simple as it sounds, and unfortunately I didn’t document my removal as well as I wanted to. Overall, this step involves the removal of roughly 3 screws and 3 bolts (inside the airbox) as well as detaching various clips, vacuum hoses, wire connectors, loosening the intake hose clamp, and then some.

Start by unclicking all of the electrical connections to the airbox. On the front side of the airbox (closest to the front of the car) there should be a mount that you removed a wire connector from. Remove the two screws from this mount and put them in a safe place. On the far side of the airbox, you will need to loosen and remove both vertical and horizontal vacuum hoses (I assume that’s what they are). Use the flat head screwdriver to remove the plastic clip surrounding a different hose (insert the screwdriver into the clip and gently push and it should come open). Use a Philips head screwdriver and loosen the clamp that holds the ribbed intake to the top of the airbox, then gently pull off the ribbed intake. At this point you should be able to remove and set aside the top of the airbox. Things should now look like this:

d5bfb359bad5fddb793aa80ee7006cc4  Installation of a Stainless Steel Clutch Line

Now, peel off the filter and set aside. The bottom of the box is held in place by three bolts (they’re equal in length so don’t worry about mixing them up). Use the ratchet with a 6 or 9 inch extension and 10mm socket and remove all three bolts. Finally, remove the plastic intake tube and you should be able to remove the bottom half of the airbox. Things should now look like this:

9d50ed7bf908ca4bde701629ab20238d  Installation of a Stainless Steel Clutch Line

If you have a keen eye, you will notice the stock clutch line is visible:

6855bca4214881c605473c34002351c0  Installation of a Stainless Steel Clutch Line

d086028048e723ce1e70bbd251132020  Installation of a Stainless Steel Clutch Line
(Highlighted Clutch Line)

Step 2 – Remove old line

Hint :( suggested by 06corollass) – Use the rubber clutch bleed-valve cover to cap the end of the non-flexible clutch line during the installation. This will minimize leaking hydraulic fluid.

Spray both ends of the old clutch line with Liquid Wrench Penetrant or something similar and let it soak it. If you’re worried about spilling hydraulic fluid, put some towels or something below the work area. This first step in this process is loosening up the 10mm hex hose-nuts using the flare wrench. Right-tight left-loose still applies for this type of fitting. Once they’re broken loose, using the regular 10mm wrench is easier for accomplishing a lot of the tedious turning. Completely loosen the fittings and slide them away (this is the point where the hydraulic fluid drips out). Then, using a needle nose pliers shimmy up and off the retaining clips and save them for later. You can now pull the stock hose out of the mounting brackets and remove it from the car. Some helpful pictures:

07d74931e28ede62afeeb6d7ebc0a4eb  Installation of a Stainless Steel Clutch Line

ae58e49164ced30e4fd9f161ba919210  Installation of a Stainless Steel Clutch Line

3b5e1726ef6774410cd83d19facd0daf  Installation of a Stainless Steel Clutch Line

Step 3 – Installation of new line.
The line I got from Speed Source had two e-clips attached to it. I removed them using a needle nose pliers (or if you have a clip tool, use that). I preferred to install this new line with the old retaining clips.

Place the new line into the mounting hole (match up the shape) and press it in, while making sure the hydraulic line is inserted into the new fitting. This was slightly difficult for me, but you need to start threading the hydraulic fitting into the new hose’s fitting, while attempting to install the retaining clip. The stiff, metal hydraulic line will make it difficult to get the retaining clip installed. Find a method that works best for you. (Important: remember, if the clutch line is seated correctly in the mounting bracket, the clutch line cannot twist when you tighten the fitting.)

I used the regular 10mm wrench to carefully turn all of the fittings until they began to tighten, and then I switched to the line wrench and tightened them snuggly. At this point, check for leaks. If a fitting is leaking, chances are you crossthreaded something. Don’t do this. I took everything very slow and careful during the installation of the new line.

Step 5 – Double Check everything again, you don’t want to have to take off your airbox again just to tighten a fitting.

Step 6 – Reinstall the stock airbox as a reverse of Step 1 (also double check to make sure all hoses were attached and tightened correctly.)

Step 7 – Bleed the clutch (using the other DIY)

Driving Impressions: Again, I didn’t feel anything in terms of improved shifting, but the clutch pedal certainly feels tighter now. This should equate into better response. I may notice more changes when I drive the car a bit longer.

PS: I didn’t get a shot of the new SS clutch line installed. The damn camera ran out of batteries.


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