Shifting Difficulty

Started by 2006SRT10, April 09, 2013, 10:11:28 PM

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Recently my 2006 srt10 coupe is getting hard to shift as I drive it around for 10 miles or more.  When I first get in it and drive it is fine, but after taking it on a longer trip, it gets very difficult to get into gears and impossible to get into reverse.  Any ideas what would cause this?
Jeff Altman


Sounds like you need to bleed your clutch slave cylinder and refill it with fresh fluid.

I've found that a Mighty Vac works pretty well for the DIY folks.

I use Motul 600 RBF in mine, but change it regularly.  If you're not a track guy, you would probably be better off with OE fluid.



Will the below procedure work?  Thanks for the info.  I pulled this from the VCA forum:

(Also applies to Gen. 3 and Gen. 4 Viper coupe and convertible).

This DIY article will cover how to properly and correctly bleed the hydraulic clutch line in your Viper-powered vehicle, more specifically the Ram SRT-10.

This is a VERY EASY procedure, and can save you a ton of cash.
I'm not sure what the average dealer cost is to bleed a clutch line, but you can do it yourself for less than $20.

Here's a quick overview of the slave cylinder and where the bleed screw is at:

(image courtesy of ALLDATA)

Now that we have a general idea of where we're looking and what to look for, let's get our stuff together.
Difficulty Level: 2

Tools required:

- 11mm combination wrench
- shop paper towel
- shop rag
- catch cup

Materials required:
- 1 pt. of DOT3 or DOT4 brake fluid.
There are dozens of awesome brake fluid brands out there. Even the most exotic/hardcore stuff can be had for under $20.
Just make sure it's DOT3 or DOT4!
If you're switching from one to the other, you need to flush your entire line (drain and refill).

Under the hood we go....
Look for a yellow cap. One will be for your brake master cylinder, the other will be for your clutch master cylinder.
We want the clutch one. On the trucks, it's right next to the brake MC.

Open the cap and have a look inside:

There you see the rubber diaphragm and a little fluid inside of it.

We need to remove the diaphragm.
It lifts straight out of the MC reservoir.
Empty any fluid inside of it, and check that it's in good shape:

Clean it too, since you have it out.

Make sure that the fluid is at the proper level.
If you're reading this on any other site than, that means someone stole it. They officially suck and you should ban them for committing a felony.
On the Viper MC, there's a little embossed "line" that runs around the outside of the MC. That's your FULL mark.
Don't go past the FULL mark because the diaphragm will displace enough fluid to bring it to the brim.

Put the cap back on the MC.

I stuff a shop paper towel between the MC and the brake lines in case of any spillage:

Remember that brake fluid is VERY harmful to paint and clear coats.
The paper towel is just insurance.

Now we can go under the vehicle.

Locate the bleed screw on the transmission.
It will be just above the input for the hydraulic line:

It's that little brass hex head sticking out.

Here's where the fun starts. LOL

Just like brake bleeding, you'll need a 2nd person to help ya out here.
1. They will push the clutch to the floor and hold it there.
2. You loosen the bleed screw and let any air/fluid out, then tighten it back up quickly.
3. They release the pedal completely.
4. Repeat #1 through #3 until the clutch stiffens up.
Remember to check the fluid level in the reservoir after every couple of "rounds" and keep it at the FULL line.

As the air is bled out of the line, fluid should leak out of the center of the bleed screw.
That's what the catch cup is for:

Check the fluid level back at the MC and make sure it's at the FULL level.
Put the rubber diaphragm back in the MC reservoir, and screw the yellow cap on tight.

The shop rag is to wipe up any brake fluid that you missed.

Double-check for any spills or leaks anywhere in the line or at the connections.

BEFORE STARTING THE ENGINE, test the clutch a few times. Make sure all the "mush" is gone and you have consistent pressure throughout the travel of the pedal.

That's it.
Jeff Altman


Hey Jeff,
That is a great write up that you found.

The hardest thing to do is finding the bleeder valve, especially if your are laying on your back under the car.  If the car is on a lift it is a bit easier to locate, but you really got to know where to look.

Lance  for more viper pictures


Thanks Lance.  I am going to give it a try.  I will keep you posted.
Jeff Altman


A couple of tips.

1 - The Master cylinder cap for the clutch fluid reservoir is BLACK, not yellow in a Viper.  It's located just in front of the brake fluid MC reservoir.

2 - I highly recommend you buy a Mighty Vac (Pep Boys, etc) and insert one of the black, rubber tapered fittings into the end of the hose from the Mighty Vac, then insert this rubber tip into the center of the bleeder valve with a closed end wrench already on the valve, crack the valve open about 1/2 turn and suck the fluid out of the bleeder valve on the trans.  You want to fill the canister on the MV a couple of times or until the fluid runs clean, which may take more fluid than you think. 

Once you are happy that the fluid is clean, close the valve and pump the clutch pedal 8 - 10 times.  Check the clutch pedal for engagement height and see how it feels.  It should be up higher than it was before you started.

It's very difficult to correctly bleed the hydraulic clutch system in a Viper when using the technique described above.

3 - Pretty sure the Viper's OE brake fluid is DOT 4.  You may want to check your manual.

Not sure exactly where you live Jeff but give us a call if you get into trouble with this.

Good luck,

Dan  <2


Thanks Dan.  The hardest part of this was getting the viper high enough in the air to get under it.  The above tips helped.  It seems to be shifting better, but still not exactly as it should be. 
I live in the San Fernando Valley, I wouldn't mind having someone taking a look at it.  I will give you a call later today.
Thanks again.
Jeff Altman



Just spoke with Lance.

Sound like you need a new clutch and a new slave cylinder.

Call Dan C at Specialty.


Dan  <2