Warning: Hydraulic fluid is poisonous; thoroughly wash off spills from bare skin without delay. Seek immediate medical advice if any fluid is swallowed or gets into the eyes. Certain types of hydraulic fluid are inflammable and may ignite when brought into contact with hot components; when servicing any hydraulic system of Fiat Punto, it is safest to assume that the fluid is inflammable, and to take precautions against the risk of fire as though it ware petrol that was being handled. Hydraulic fluid is an effective paint stripper and will also attack many plastics. If spillage occurs onto painted bodywork or fittings it should be washed off immediately, using copious quantities of fresh water. It is also hygroscopic - it can absorb moisture from the air, which then renders it useless. Old fluid may have suffered contamination, and should never be re-used. When topping-up or renewing the fluid, always use the recommended grade, and ensure that it comes from a new sealed container.

General information

1 Whenever the clutch hydraulic lines of Fiat Punto are disconnected for service or repair, a certain amount of air will enter the system. The presence of air in any hydraulic system will introduce a degree of elasticity, and in the clutch system this will translate into poor pedal feel and reduced travel, leading to inefficient gearchanges and even clutch system failure. For this reason, after reconnection of the hydraulic lines, the system must be topped-up and bled to remove any air bubbles.
2 The most effective way of bleeding the clutch hydraulic system is to use a pressure brake bleeding Kit. These are readily available in motor accessories shops and are extremely effective. The following procedure describes bleeding the clutch system using such a kit.
3 Two different types of clutch slave cylinder are used on Punto models and it is necessary to identify the type fitted as the bleeding procedure differs between types.
4 Remove the battery and battery tray, then observe the slave cylinder which is located on the top of the transmission housing of Fiat Punto. Check whether the cylinder incorporates a conventional bleed nipple which can be unscrewed using a spanner. If a bleed nipple cannot be seen there will be a hydraulic fluid outlet stub in its place. On this type of cylinder there is an internal bleed valve which is opened by partially releasing the hydraulic fluid supply hose.
5 Having identified the type of stave cylinder fitted, proceed as follows according to type.

Bleeding

6 Remove the protective cap from the slave cylinder bleed nipple of Fiat Punto, or from the fluid outlet stub. Connect a length of clear plastic hose over the nipple or outlet and insert the other end into a clean container. Pour hydraulic fluid into the container, such that the end of the hose is covered.
7 Following the manufacturer's Instructions, pour hydraulic fluid into the bleeding kit vessel.
8 Unscrew the brake fluid reservoir filler cap, then connect the bleeding kit fluid supply hose to the reservoir.
9 Connect the pressure hose to a supply of compressed air - a spare tyre is a convenient source.
Caution: Check that the pressure in the tyre does not exceed the maximum supply pressure quoted by the kit manufacturer, let some air escape to reduce the pressure, if necessary. Gently open the air valve and allow the air and fluid pressures to equalise. Check that there are no leaks before proceeding.
10 Where a bleed nipple is fitted, slacken the nipple approximately half a turn. If a bleed nipple is not fitted, extract the retaining clip securing the hydraulic fluid hose to the slave cylinder of Fiat Punto. With the clip removed, carefully pull the hose out of the slave cylinder by one click, to open the internal bleed valve.
11 Allow the hydraulic fluid to flow from the slave cylinder, through the plastic hose and into the container. Maintain a steady flow until the emerging fluid Is free of air bubbles; keep a watchful eye on the level of fluid in the bleeding kit vessel and the brake fluid reservoir - if it is allowed to drop too low, air may be forced into the system, defeating the object of the exercise. To refill the vessel, turn off the compressed air supply, remove the lid and pour in an appropriate quantity of fresh fluid - do not re-use the fluid collected in the receiving container, Repeat as necessary until the ejected fluid is bubble-free.
12 When clean hydraulic fluid, free from air bubbles, emerges from the plastic hose, tighten the slave cylinder bleed nipple, or push in the hydraulic fluid hose and secure with the retaining clip, as applicable.
13 Pump the clutch pedal several times to assess its feel and travel. If firm, constant pedal resistance is not felt throughout the pedal stroke, it is probable that air is still present in the system - repeat the bleeding procedure until the pedal feel is restored.
14 Depressurise the bleeding kit and remove the kit, plastic hose and receiving container from the vehicle. Refit the protective cap to the bleed nipple or outlet stub. Discard the fluid expelled from the hydraulic system of Fiat Punto as it will be contaminated with moisture, air and dirt, making it unfit for further use.
15 Check the fluid level in the reservoir. At this point, the reservoir may be over-full; the excess should be removed using a clean pipette to reduce the level to the MAX mark.
16 Refit the battery and tray.
17 Finally, road test the vehicle Fiat Punto and check the operation of the clutch system whilst
changing up and down through the gears, whilst pulling away from a standstill and from a hill start.