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Clutch replacement procedure tips

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#1 87QuestTSI



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Posted 08 February 2003 - 09:24 PM

I printed out quite a few pages from the online repair manual, but are there any special tools to get the tranny down and out of the car to replace the clutch?  Certain cars have certain procedures and I want to make sure I know what's goin on before I go and replace this in the garage next week (I hope).  I've already done a FWD clutch before so I hope I can do this without too much trouble.

Thanks in advance!

#2 JAinsworth


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Posted 08 February 2003 - 09:43 PM

It isn't that hard to do, just take your time.  No special tools required, but it doesnt' hurt to have a transmission jack to help you line the tranny back up when you put it back together.

Drop the drive shaft.  Takes a 12mm and 14mm wrench.
Remove the center console.
Remove the plate holding the shifter in, and remove the shifter.
Take the bolts out of the starter and tie it up out of the way.
Take all the bolts out of the bell housing, don't forget the two small ones that hold the dust cover on.
Remove the transmission brace toward the rear of the tranny.
You should be able to drop the tranny from there.
Remove the pressure plate bolts, take out the pressure plate and clutch disc.
I would recommend pulling the flywheel and having it turned.
Reverse the above to install.  
Make sure you don't let the transmission sag when you put it back in, you can warp the new clutch disc.

#3 Tim_C.


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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:02 PM

Step one: Open hood.
2. Remove the negative battery cable. You don't want to take the starter out with the battery hooked up.
Then follow Jimmy's steps.
Don' t forget the speedo cable, and wires to tranny. Those are a pain if you forget & try to lower the tranny while they are still hooked up. The pain is getting them removed while the tans is half in & half out.
You should also support the engine, so it doesn't tilt all the way backwards when you pull the rear trans mount/crossmember.
'87TSi .510Roller Cam, JE Forged, TS Rings & plateau honed walls, lightened rods, race prepped crank, mains line honed, balanced, 17C, 3"EX, 2"HardPipes, AlFly, rrfpr, 88trans, 3.90's w/posi plate mods, polyBushings, STSprings, KYBStruts, Camber Plates, CustomAlternator
Traded for new set of tires for my wife's Buick: '87 TSI Gold that needs just about all steering and suspension parts replaced, injectors, a new transmission, clutch, and various electrical gremlins. New owner is a mechanic who is already driving it. I couldn't stand letting it sit any more!
'86 ESiR - OEM Roller Cam, Wiseco Forged 8:1 Pistons, Chad's equal length header, TEP T3/T4 turbo, ACT HD clutch, Fidanza Fly, custom 3" exhaust, 3 core oversized radiator, O-ringed block, AJUSA metal shim head gasket, Dawes Device boost controller
'85 Plymouth Conquest Auto , Wiseco 8:1, super light pins, shaved rods, hi-torque cam, 2.5 Exhaust
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#4 mikec


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Posted 09 February 2003 - 12:25 AM

A few other things to keep in mind... (I'm going to over-detail this since you said you've done a clutch job before but others reading this post may be total rookies):

1) the clutch slave cylinder - when you remove this, have a zip-tie or something you can use to keep the pushrod in a bit - it'll want to extend even more once you remove it from the car.  After a few hours, it can actually fall apart.

2) For the 87-earlier trannies, do NOT support the tranny weight on the center of the flat plate that forms the bottom of the tranny.  It's not very strong - it'll cave in until it contacts the countershaft assembly inside the tranny.  If you must use a single jack under the tranny, at least get a block of wood, with a hole drilled in it to clear the drain plug bolt, so that the edges of the plate (along with the dozen or so bolts holding it to the tranny) support the weight.

3) There are two index pins on the engine block that help line the tranny up... these pins often don't want to let go when you need to separate the tranny.  They are on the "ears" of the block on either side - at roughly 3 and 9 o'clock - and the two longer tranny bolts pass through them.  You may have to pry the block/bellhousing apart - it helps to have a helper so you can pry both sides simultaineously.  Me?  I'd recommend leaving the bolts in about 4 or 5 turns so when the engine and tranny do separate the bolts will keep the engine and tranny from moving around too much too quickly.  Or, replace them with the guide rods described later.

4) the flywheel and ring gear just barely fit into the bellhousing.  You MUST keep the tranny and engine lined up to remove and re-install the tranny.

5) when removing the clutch cover bolts, you'll need to turn the flywheel.  Make sure you turn it in the normal direction the engine rotates - counterclockwise as you face the flywheel from the tranny.  If you go the wrong way, you'll loose tension on the engine timing chain and mess up your valve timing.

6) I second the suggestion to have the flywheel resurfaced before you install the new clutch.  Tips for removing the flywheel...  The 6 bolts that hold it are usually darn tight; I split an impact socket trying to remove one.  Holding the engine still will be a problem; the solution: go to Home Depot and buy a 3 or 4 foot long section of raw steel in an "L" shape - they have one where each side of the angle is about three quarters of an inch.  Using your new clutch cover as a template, lay this steel beem across two adjacent mounting holes of the clutch cover and mark where to drill.  Drill holes a little bigger than the bolts that hold the clutch to the flywheel.  Then move the bar so it skips one mounting hole and mark/drill a third one.  Now you can bolt this bar to the flywheel and jam one end against the garage floor to hold your engine.  Works great.

7) last warning for the rookies out there: NEVER use the tranny to engine mounting bolts to "pull" the two together.  When re-assembling everything, you should be able to slide the tranny all the way up to the engine without much force.  If it takes lots of force, the input shaft of the transmission is NOT going into the clutch disk and/or pilot bearing properly... more force will only mangle your new clutch stuff.  You may get it almost all the way in and have it hang up on the last 1/8th of an inch or so, this is usually caused by those index pins being a bit tight.  In this case ONLY, it's safe to walk the tranny up using the bolts that go into these two holes.  Walk them in a little at a time, going from one to the other often so you "pull" the tranny  evenly.  I've found that if you take the time to clean the holes in the bellhousing and to clean the pins with emery paper they won't argue during re-assembly.

If you have the time (and another car) let me offer another tip for making a tool:
remove either one of the long bolts at the 3 or 9 o'clock position.  Take that to a hardware store and find the longest one you can that has the same diameter and thread pitch - ideally 5 or 6 inches.  Buy two of them.  When you get home, hacksaw the heads off them and file a small taper where the head used to be.  Now you have nice long threaded guide rods.  Remove the other large tranny bolt and hand-thread these guys in their place.  Then remove the rest of the tranny bolts.  These guide rods will support the tranny and make it easier to keep it lined up as you slide the tranny out of the clutch assembly.  And they'll help line it up for re-assembly as well.

mike c.

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