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Old 07-23-2017, 10:13 PM   #1
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Default Ion slave cylinder replacement...cradle removal section.

Anyone want to post the full instructions for getting at the slave cylinder on an 03 ion? Or a link to instructions that I can't seem to be able to find. I have some of the gm instructions from here:
They are great!, except they neglected to post the section called "frame replacement", which would be awesome to have before I just start winging it and getting super frustrated. I'm assuming the redline instructions are close enough as I dont have a redline variation.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ion slave cylinder replacement...cradle removal section.

I'll answer my own question. Instructions on how I did it...

1) Disconnect battery cable in trunk– 8mm

2) Take lots of pictures before you start, just incase a something unexpected happens, or you need to refer back to something later…


3) Remove computer: On my 2003 I pulled the blue clip on the right plug, and the plug automatically comes off. I let the Left plug remaining and just moved it out of the way after unclipping the assembly from the round metal rods behind it in 3 spots.

4) Remove the fuse box:

4a) First removing the front right tall bolt with 10mm socket, remove 2 cables and put bolt back. Ziptie two cables together for later

4b) Removed the smaller bolt on the front left and removed one cable, and put bolt back.

4c) Loosened the 3 middle bolts with 7mm socket until they started to snug up – don’t keep going yet.

4d) Pulled the 3 clips on the sides of the fuse box to remove it from it seat. I then continued to loosen the 7mm bolts (1 for each base unit), while also prying the base units off the bottom. I pulled off the green and gray base unit completely and left the white base unit attached. I moved all cables out of my way.

5) Remove the fuse box base with single 10mm bolt. Replace bolt back in, store tray for later.

NOTE: you might have to remove the overflow tube from your radiator reservoir to get fuse box stuff out.

6) Pull the pin up on the clutch slave hydraulic tube. It doesn’t come off, just pulls up about an inch. Take pictures… Pull out on the hydraulic tube leading into the transmission. Mine took some force to pull out with my hand. Carefully move the tube out of your way.

7) Loosen (DO NOT REMOVE) the bolt at the top of the transmission that goes into the engine using 18mm socket.

8) Loosen (DO NOT REMOVE) the 3 transmission bolts on the right side of the engine bay with 16mm socket

9) Secure the radiator to the upper frame somehow- do NOT connect anything through or around the lower frame/cradle, as that will be removed later

10) LOCK steering in center position. I used a ratchet strap from the steering wheel, out the door (with door open) over roof, through passenger side door (door open), back to steering wheel. Tightened and made steering wheel and tires straight. Closed doors. This locked it pretty tight.

11) Loosen (do not remove) lug nuts and 30mm CV bolt while car is still on the ground. Both sides.

NOTE: Chock rear wheels for extra safety, so car can’t move

12) Lift car and secure with jackstands on both sides, not on any cradle/frame part as that will be removed later. I used my 6 ton jackstands, which are pretty high, and gave me lots of clearance.


13) Remove wheels and all plastic fascia around wheel well on drive side + single 8mm screw. Passenger side, just remove enough facia to get to cradle bolt.

14) Tie up steering rack. Tie to something above, that will not be removed.

15) “Remove” 2 bolts for steering rack 18mm. I loosened them up, could not get them out due to hitting above, so I left them in place. MAKE SURE THESE DON”T SNAG WHEN DROPPING CRADLE

16) Loosen tie rod ends, 1 on each side. 18mm. Put bolt back on screw after removed. Maybe use jack underneath – careful not to lift car off jackstands

17) Remove “pinch” bolt on rear of hub assembly. 15mm/16mm – used 2 socket wrenches. Both sides of car.

18) Remove the bottom end of “link-ends”. Both sides of car. 19mm?

19) Remove 2 caliper bolts – 14mm. Tie up to spring. Put screws back in caliper. I think this is useful for movability of hub, so you can get CV joints out. Both sides

20) Remove 30mm CV joint bolts completely. Both sides

21) Remove top two bolts on strut over hub. Loosen on side with nut, then pound the bolts straight out.

22) Pull hub off

23) Completely remove CV joint/intermediate shaft- catching all fluid. Both sides

24) Remove any electrical connectors, clips, or zip-ties on transmission. 3 electrical connectors

25) Remove starter – 15mm. Must get to the trans bolt above it. Zip-tie starter up or remove other bolts and remove completely.

26A) Pry off 2 clutch things – yellow ball joint type connectors. I used prybar and a good yank.

26B) Remove the tube for 2 clutch items above. Mine had white plastic tabs on each side that had to be depressed, then move the cable to the right off the rack its on.

27) Secure engine somehow. I bought the style that is a bar across the engine bay with chains. Cheap, small and easy. I didn’t have the space in the garage for a hoist…

28) Remove 3 15mm bolts on cradle for engine mounts. Under steering rack, center of car.

29) Remove center front engine mount bolt. 18mm. Loosen from side with bolt, not nut as it is welded in place

30) Jack for support on both sides of cradle if you have it

31) Remove 4 bolts for cradle. 21mm

32) Slowly lower cradle on driver side, then slowly lower cradle on passenger side

33) Remove cradle to the side, out of the way

34) Remove lower 8mm hex bolt for removing transmission drain plug. Drain now so you don’t make a mess later

35) Remove 3 bolts on trans mount under car, behind transmission. 16mm or 5/8” socket. Remove that piece, put bolts back loosely

36) Remove 1 bolt from trans to engine - next to the 3 bolts just done - 18mm

IMPORTANT Remove 1 more bolt, even higher up, under silver tube. Hard to see. 18mm

37) Remove bolt above starter 18mm

38) Remove 2 bottom bolts from trans to engine

39) Support trans with JACK. Support Engine with jack if you have it.

40) Remove 1 bolt from trans to engine on top 18mm

41) Remove 3 bolts on top right on trans 5/8” or 16mm

42) Loosen one side of engine so it drops down a bit

43) Remove trans by lowering jack underneath and pulling off

44) Inside trans, remove 4 screws (T-30) for actuator/slave removal.

Helpful notes

I used a jack under the trans and second one under engine to help line them up for reassembly.

When putting the cradle/frame back on – make sure you line up the radiator so you don’t crunch it.
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ion slave cylinder replacement...cradle removal section.

On to more issues.

Bled the new slave actuator, pedal still goes to the floor with almost no resistance.

Air somewhere still? Broken master?

I tapped the the clutch for a bit, didn't seem to dislodge any new air. Did I miss something?
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Old 08-09-2017, 08:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ion slave cylinder replacement...cradle removal section.

I'll take a stab at answering my own question again.

My issue appears to have been with the pedal itself. After bleeding the slave I noticed the master rod moved itself out towards the pedal, but had no decernable resistance when pressing the pedal to the floor. My pedal is messed up and no longer "holds" the ball on the end the master inside the pedal. When I put a vacuum on the master to dry bleed the master it sucked the rod back in towards the firewall. I didn't notice. So when I was pumping the clutch, I wasn't actually pumping anything, and it appears I was not bleeding the master at all. Once I figured that out i put the vacuum back on the master and hand pumped the master rod back and forth 10 times. Waited 5 minutes and released the vacuum on the master. The rod is now back out away from the firewall and has pressure on the pedal. I think if I do it one more time I should be good to go. I hope.

I will try and post a picture of a cheap method for capping your master cylinder to attach to the mightyvac.
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Old 08-09-2017, 08:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ion slave cylinder replacement...cradle removal section.

This was a cap from a 5 qt oil jug. I drilled a hole and epoxied a hose just through the hole. The cap had a rubbery inner surface so it would seal to the master. Just start pumping the mightyvac and it will suck on and hold pressure. Saves you the cost of an adaptor...
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ion slave cylinder replacement...cradle removal section.

Glad you're making progress. This thread has helped me a lot. Thank you.

I'm having similar issues. Can you tell me, how did you bleed the slave cylinder? I feel like I still have air in the slave but I don't know how to remove it. I tried a vacuum pump on the bleeder valve but i still have a soft clutch. Do you have a procedure you can share with me?
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ion slave cylinder replacement...cradle removal section.

I put the mightyvac onto the slave bleeder and pumped it to about 5. I then moved the hydrolic line out a hair to get the fluid moving. I did release the vacuum and then reapply trying to pull more air out. I also tried pumping the clutch while under vacuum. Other than the very first time I did it, I really didn't get much air out of the slave. If the hose pulls all the way out, bleeding again at the slave and Master is nessisary.

I had a hard time on mine not pulling the whole hydrolic line out. Moving it just a bit to get the bleeding started was difficult.

If you have air in the ststem I would guessing it's further up in master. That appears to be where mine was hiding out.

Start with the slave hydrolic hose pushed in (bleeder closed), CLIP down, hopefully to prevent it from coming out.

Connect mightyvac to master resiviour with the cap I described in previous post.

I pumped it up to 10-15. Sometimes I could hear the air bubbles coming up through the master immediately, sometime heard nothing.

Seems like it very important to pump the clutch. My pedal is messed up, so I ended reaching under the dash and moving the rod 10 times or so manually with my hand.

Then I pumped the mightvac up to about 20. Then pumped clutch again 10 more times.

Waited about 5 minutes doing nothing, then released the vacuum. Then waited about 10-20minutes.

At that point I had pressure at the pedal. I was going to just redo that procedure several times in hopes it would increase the pressure to what I recalled the pedal feeling like before, but have run into another problem. On my second or third time throught the process, I pumped the mightyvac up to 15ish, and went to pump the clutch, it just blew the hydrolic hose out of the trans. My hose is a mess, the first o-ring is loose, and the back half has lots of rust. I'm debating if I want to replace the hose. I probably should. I only have about an hour a night after kids head to bed, so not making much progress daliy.

My work around currently is to not pump the clutch pedal all the way to the firewall while the master is under vacumm. I just pump about half way. I'm going to redo it acouple more time tonight and see how it works. I havn't had a blowout since and pedal has fair amount of resistance. Need to put the rest of the car back together for a real test drive.

Hope that helps. I am by no means an expert, this is my first time through this process...
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Old 08-12-2017, 12:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ion slave cylinder replacement...cradle removal section.

I evevetally got the hydrolic tube to seat properly in the slave, not sure what if anything I did differently. Doesn't pop out now.

other items to note. Switched over to silicone caulk for my oil cap adaptor. The epoxy broke and didn't hold a vacuum anymore.

Also found my brakes were gone, thought I might need to bleed them, but after about 30 pumps on the brake pedal they are good. Car runs and drives now...
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