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How to: CLUTCH INSTALL basics (archive)

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Posted by Paul (at MAximill...) on April 28, 2000 at 11:11:22:

Alright - I know I've been slacking in my Friday Tech articles - so Here's a "doozie" for you brave souls.....

I may have forgotten some details - so I encourage anyone to correct me or add to this - for the sake of the folks who have never done this one.


ALWAYS USE JACK STANDS! I prefer 4 of them - that way you can rotate the driveshaft to reach each bolt in the coupling / guibo.

1. loosen and separate center resonator from exhaust down pipe, remove bracket from transmission holding exhaust.

2. loosen guibo flex coupling nuts (only four of them must be removed) I prefer to leave the guibo attatched on the trans side.

3. remove bolts holding center support bearing to floor of car. WATCH IT! It will fall at a high rate of speed toward your noggin' if you're not careful!

4. separate shift linkage at bottom of vertical lever. (Circlip on later cars, allen head grub screw on earlier ones) This will allow you more room during reinstalation.

5. Support weight of trans with floor jack. (I use thin wood to cushion the aluminum a bit) Unbolt trans mount.

6. unscrew fluid feed line from slave cylinder (have a bowl ready for the nasty fluid that'll come out)

7. Remove bolts affixing trans to motor. Remember two of them ALSO hold the starter in!
remove lower sheet metal dust plate between trans and engine while you're there.

8. slowly and carefully pull and lower trans from engine - making sure not to strain the splines of the transmission where they meet the clutch plate.

9. Take a break....collect your thoughts, clean the transmission off. Trust me - you want to proceed with a clear head - and the strain of dragging the transmission out from under the car can be frustrating and can cause judgement errors. Pay special attention to the manner in which the release bearing is moved by the forked lever. Note the spring and gentle attatchment of the bearing to the lever. If it comes apart on you - don't panic - it's fairly easy to figure out how it all works (I can fax photos too).

10. Examine exactly how the clutch is fixed to the engine. You will see that the spring plate (pressure plate) sandwiches the disk to the flywheel. There are (about 6?) 13 mm bolts holding the clutch plate to the flywheel. loosen them slightly in a cross wise pattern to avoid strain on any one area of the assembly. You will want to torque them in a balanced pattern as well when you reinstall the new plate.

11. remove pressure plate and disk. The plate has a 4-5 mm locating "dowel" pin - make a note of it for reinstallation.

12. If you're replacing the rear main seal and pilot bearing (always recommended!) you'll need to loosen the 8 bolts that hold the flywheel on. One of the holes is oversized to locate the flywheel - you can only reinstall it one way - so make note of the dowel here as well.

13. Now you get to wrestle with the pilot bearing. If you have a real pilot bearing puller - you have just made this job a piece of cake - providing the tool doesn't break. There are a few ways to remove the bearing - I have had mixed results with each.

a. pack grease into the center hole and punch the clutch alignment tool in to see if the grease will force the bearing out. I got this to work exactly ONE time in my life.

b. chances are - the bearing is older than Brittany Spears and will be very firmly stuck. I had a customer use a "drywall screw expanding nut" inserted into the center of the bearing - then thread a screw in - and pulled like hell until it popped out. (Kieth - if you're out there - well done!)

14. The original bearing is an unsealed unit and has a felt and dust cover - you should not have to reinstall these - so if they get mangled - don't worry - the new ones are sealed and far superior.

15. pry out the rear main seal around crankshaft and carefully seat the new one. Tap evenly from side to side until it's seated / flush as the old one was.

16. Now you get to clean and reinstall everything - clean the flywheel thoroughly and push it back on to the flywheel. If you don't have new bolts AT LEAST use locktite blue to secure them. I think the torque spec is 70-80 ft/lbs. tighten them in a cross wise pattern to evenly distribute the load.

17. insert the alignment tool and seat the disk and plate onto the flywheel. insert the 13mm bolts - crosswise and don't overtorque! I have seen people shear them off from overtightening. I think the torque spec here is only 12-16 ft lbs! Once the plate is secure you can remove the alignment tool.

18. Now reinstall the release lever, release bearing, and spring. You DID clean and lubricate every sliding part of the lever - right? I use a good Moly based lubricant for this job. Put a thin coat on the input shaft, bearing contact surface - and the pivoting points on the lever. Your clutch pedal wil feel much smoother and lighter if you do this.

19. raise the transmission into position - being careful not to disturb the release bearing / lever set up that is loosly assembled inside. You'll have to wiggle - and maybe tilt the motor back a bit to line it all up. Don't force anything - a common mistake. This is the hardest part of the job - but patience will pay off - just take your time, take breaks - and think safety.

20. Once the splines engage - you may have a hard time getting the bell housing close enough to start threading in bolts. I have used Mongo - sized Channel type pliers to "squeeze" them together. Once you get a few bolts started - the threads will help pull it all tight together.

21. re-assemble shift linkage and reattatch clutch feed line. You MUST bleed the clutch before driving the car. I have been told that sometimes the 2002s require repeated bleeding to get them "just right" - usually it's a cake walk though.

22. re-install driveshaft (see archives for details on alignment and "pre-load") and exhaust - and dust plate under bell housing and make sure there are no extra parts laying around!

Tools you'll need:

13mm socket wrenches
15,16,17mm wrenches depending on Guibo nuts
10mm socket / wrenches
pilot bearing puller - or home made "el-destructo" tool
clutch spline alignment tool
Moly grease
BrakeKleen cleaner solvent
brake fluid
jack stands (4 recommended)

Good Luck - and buy yourself some tires with the money you saved!

Paul Wegweiser
Maximillian Importing Co.

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