Have to turn off engine to shift into reverse

The clutch master cylinder on my 2002 Ford Focus ZX5 was leaking brake fluid onto the clutch pedal, so I replaced the clutch master cylinder. Prior to replacing the master cylinder, The car would go into first & reverse with the car running.

This car has a common reservoir for the brakes and clutch. So, I bled the brakes, and then the clutch slave cylinder. The brakes are great, but I can’t seem to get all the air out of the clutch hydraulic system.

I bled the system normally several times. A few days ago, I hung a bottle of brake fluid up in a tree (about 10 feet up) and tried gravity bleeding. That almost worked. Yesterday, I used a power bleeder at 10 - 15 psi. The fluid ran through clear.

I still get some very tiny bubbles if I stomp on the clutch and hold it on the floor for a few seconds.

So, my questions are: 1. Can I used more than 20 psi on the bleeder? 2. Would jacking up the rear of the car help?

3.Should I just keep on stomping on the clutch pedal until all the tiny bubbles go away?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Maybe the slave cylinder is going. One usually follows the other and if the old master cyl. was faulty then the new one has likely increased the pressure on the old seals in the slave cylinder which is causing it to give up.

I can’t answer your question about the pressure involved because the only cars I’ve ever needed to pressure bleed at all were some SAABs and in those cases never used more than 2-3 PSI.

There is a bleeder on the slave cylinder or in the near vicinity.

You no doubt have air in the clutch system and you need tp bleed it out at the fitting at the slave cylinder.

I read thru the Hayne’s manual procedure for removing the clutch slave cylinder.
The engine has to be raised with a hoist & the transmission has to be separated from the engine. Then the transmission is removed from underneath. Or you can hoist the engine and transmission out together (which sounds easier).

That will be a last resort. I can drive the car the way it is - probably for quite a while. Who needs to shift into 1st & reverse with the engine running, anyway???

If I had to remove the engine or the transmission to replace the slave cylinder, it would be the last Ford I would ever own!! However, I never buy a manual transmission either!!

Yep, and I really don’t want to do that if I don’t have to.
The fluid level in the reservoir does not seem to be going down, and there does not seem to be any leaks under the car.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

I have not tried pumping fluid into the slave cylinder fitting and backflushing up thru the reservoir. Is this worth trying?

You folks might like the pressure bleeding system I made in the process of doing this:

I modified a pump-up garden sprayer by drilling & tapping a hole for a 1/8" NPT x 1/4" Schrader air fitting. I can either pump it up by hand or use my air compressor to pressurize the tank.
I removed the sprayer hose and clamped on 1/4" clear tubing. I scrounged around and found a cap off a large bottle of generic ibuprofen which pretty well fit the brake fluid reservoir (with a few wraps of teflon pipe tape, it’s an air-tight seal). I drilled out the cap and added 1/4" hose fitting.

With this system, the brake fluid flows under pressure thru the hydraulic system and out the bleeder valve. I have to do the brakes on my Dakota pickup - now I have to scrounge around again to find a cap to fit the Dakota brake master cylinder.

Just have a helper hold the clutch down while you crack the bleeder. Repeat until all air is gone and only clean fluid comes out. Be sure the reservoir stays full. No tricks necessary.

Are you just having a problem accessing the bleeder valve? Pressure compresses the air bubbles and they expand when you release pressure, which makes it worse.

Vacuum makes the situation better… it causes the air to expand and come out easier, and shrink down to nothing when the vacuum is removed.

Many new vehicles use a coaxial slave cylinder. The input shaft goes right through the doughnut hole. It’s simpler in operation without forks, but more complicated to replace.

There are other makes in which the slave cylinder can only be replaced when the transmission is out but one can also look at this way.
By the time age and mileage does a slave cylinder in odds are the clutch could be due for replacement, or close to it. Kill two birds with one stone.

Many older SAABs used a slave cylinder in which the input shaft runs through the middle but those could be worked around and changed without splitting the engine/transmission.