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When is it Time to Upgrade the Clutch Line on my 05+ Mustang?

Shop Clutch Lines

Making sure your clutch responds when you need it to is important, needless to say. A stainless steel braided line will make your Mustang doesn't leave you stranded.

Shop Lines

Your Mustang's clutch line is one of those small parts that makes a big difference. If you're planning on upgrading your clutch, pairing it with an upgraded line adds both performance and reliability.

American Muscle

How Does the S197 Clutch Work?

Unlike all the previous generations of Mustangs, the 2005 and newer Mustangs have a hydraulic clutch system. When you press the clutch pedal, brake fluid is forced through the clutch line and into the slave cylinder, disengaging the clutch. Just like the brake system on your Mustang, the clutch hydraulic system is subject to extreme pressures. The high pressure can cause the factory line to expand because it is made from very thin plastic tubing.

Exedy Mustang Clutch Slave Cylinder

Why is This Expansion Bad?

Line expansion reduces the amount of pressure exerted on the slave cylinder, which can make it more difficult for you to shift. If you are having trouble shifting, especially when driving spiritedly, it would be prudent to replace your stock clutch line with an upgraded version. By installing a stainless line, you can reduce clutch pedal effort, make it easier to shift, and the clutch pedal will require less travel.

SR Performance Mustang Clutch Line End

Combatting Clutch Line Expansion

The easiest way to fight the expansion of the clutch line is by replacing it with a stronger stainless steel line. There are two different styles available, one being a hard stainless steel line with a braided end on it, or the more common version which is all braided stainless steel. Both styles of clutch line work the same way upgraded brake lines do. By being made from a stiffer and stronger material, they are more resistant line expansion. The stainless hard line with a braided end offered by Ford Racing is going to be the best option for reducing expansion, but the other brands of braided stainless steel are a much more affordable alternative and will give you similar benefits.

McLeod 2005-2014 Mustang Braided Stainless Steel Brake Line

When Should I Upgrade?

  • Because of the higher pressures in the 2005 Mustang clutch systems, the clutch line becomes a weak link in the system
  • Like any rubber line the clutch line will expand with age, reducing clutch pressure and making your pedal spongy
  • Braided stainless steel lines prevent the expansion adding reliability to your Mustang’s clutch system
  • If you’re looking to a more responsive clutch pedal or you’re upgrading other pieces in your clutch systems, getting an upgraded line should be on your to do list

This is a very simple install and shouldn’t take more than about an hour. If you are having problems with shifting, a spongy clutch pedal, or just want to improve the feel and action of your clutch pedal I would recommend taking the time to swap out the line. The factory line is pre-shaped to fit a certain way, but the braided stainless lines are not. You need to make sure that you route the line away from your exhaust, otherwise you may damage the line or cause the fluid to boil. One of the biggest things you need to watch out for when swapping the line are the little retaining clips that keep it connected to the reservoir and slave cylinder. If you lose these clips, they are not available from Ford without purchasing a new clutch line. It is essential that you remove them slowly so that they don’t go flying around the garage. Another recommendation is that you rent a vacuum bleeder for the installation. It will make bleeding the air out of the line much easier. Without a vacuum pump, you will have to pump the clutch pedal several hundred times to get all the air out. Either way works, but the bleeder is much faster and easier on your legs.

McLeod Mustang Clutch Conversion Kit

Why is My 2011-2018 Mustang’s Clutch Pedal Sticking?

  • Sometimes the clutch pedal sticks to the floor after a hard run at higher RPMs
  • Increasing the red line through a tuner also increases the risk of a sticky pedal
  • The helper spring for the clutch pedal is designed to reduce pedal effort, but at high RPMs the strain on the clutch system overcomes the spring

If you have a 2011 or later Ford Mustang equipped with a manual transmission (MT-82), you may have noticed some instances when driving where the clutch pedal sticks to the floor between shifts, or is very slow to come back up.

Typically, these events are most noticeable during, or immediately after, some spirited driving where the engine has been operated near red line. It is especially prevalent amongst owners who have tuned or flashed their engines, increasing the red line to 7000 RPM.

This is a very frustrating issue whether it is for street drivers or track drivers. Nobody likes missing a shift due to mechanical error (missing a shift due to driver error is totally unrelated and another subject unto itself!).

After many complaints and a brief investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it seems that Ford has finally found the problem, and issued a fix.

How to Fix a Sticking Clutch in a 2011+ Mustang

Many drivers have experienced the clutch pedal sticking when a 2011 Mustang is paired with the MT-82 manual transmission.  Between gears, the pedal is slow to return to the top position; as you can imagine this is quite inconvenient. Why does this happen? Well, a lot of people find that removing the assist spring is a “quick fix” for the issue. Because of this, logic would suggest the issue to be in the pedal assembly itself. After many complained about the issue, Ford issued a fix, which was a revised pedal assembly and bracket. 

There are, in fact, a few fixes out there for this problem. First and foremost, as previously mentioned, Ford issued a technical service bulletin regarding this issue. In their TSB, their service procedure to rectify this issue is to replace the pedal assembly and bracket with revised versions, carried out by an authorized Ford dealer. Aftermarket vendors are saying to replace the stock assembly with that from a GT500, and all should be good. In fact, the ‘revised’ part by Ford is most likely a GT500-style assembly (which uses a different spring-assist technique).

There is also the do-it-yourselfer option of removing the helper spring altogether. Many owners have done this and reported it has solved the problem. However, doing this will change the pedal feel, making it stiffer and requires more effort. It is not known what Ford’s stance is on this method. It may or may not void the warranty.

Though this does address the issue, it doesn’t fix the actual problem. The issue makes itself apparent when the engine nears its redline. Seeing as a popular modification is to raise the rev limiter, drivers are able to dance around with higher RPMs than stock settings would allow. The real issue is the stock pressure plate. It’s only designed to keep up with so much engine speed. Higher speeds keep the clutch from fully disengaging as quickly as it within moderate driving conditions. Mustang owners with a lead foot facing this issue shouldn’t look to the pedal assembly for a fix. Instead, they should invest in a proper clutch pressure plate better suited for their aggressive driving styles.

Ford's Stance On It

"The clutch pedal Stayout is a condition where at high engine RPM, centrifugal forces on the clutch system can reduce the force with which the clutch diaphragm fingers push against the release bearing. This can result in the clutch pedal staying on the floor until engine RPM decreases and the diaphragm return forces increases."

Essentially, there is significant force sucking the pedal to the floor, and not enough force acting to push the clutch pedal back up at a faster rate. Instead, it is ‘lazy’ to come up, and will only quicken when the engine RPM’s drop somewhat.

Call on the Dealer

If you are experience this sticking clutch issue, your best bet is to call your Ford dealer, give them the information about your car and schedule an appointment to bring the car in. Do mention the technical service bulletin. Furthermore, also inquire about checking the pressure plate bolts.

Another problem that has plagued certain models of the Coyote-gen is the pressure plate bolts loosening up and backing out, causing hard, notchy shifts, or no shifts at all. All of this should be done under warranty. In this case, the dealer is your friend. Who woulda thought?!

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, GT, V6, ShelbyGT500, Boss, EcoBoost, ShelbyGT350