Replacing the clutch in your vehicle is a relatively simple process, but it is time-consuming and fairly strenuous work; it takes most people a number of hours to complete this task. If you want to save on mechanical labour costs and replace the clutch in your car yourself, set a day aside to do it. It is best to check the car's owner's manual for details about the clutch on your particular vehicle before getting started because different cars have different clutches. The steps explained below can be used as a general guide, but more or fewer steps may be required for different types of car.
An understanding of the function of a clutch and how this part of the car works is beneficial when considering how the components fit and work together. Learn how to access and remove the old clutch before installing the new one. Since it is necessary to remove a number of parts and components to access the transmission, consider carrying out additional maintenance. Replacement clutches are available from car parts shops, garages, and online from eBay.
Understanding How a Clutch Works
Clutches are found in a number of mechanical items aside from cars, such as drills and chain saws, that have two rotating shafts that need to be connected to spin at the same speed and disconnected to spin at different speeds. In a car, the engine spins continuously, but the wheels do not. The clutch connects the spinning engine to the stationary transmission by controlling the slippage between the two.
In a car's clutch, the flywheel connects to the engine, while the clutch plate connects to the transmission. Lifting the foot off the clutch pedal causes springs to push the pressure plate against the clutch disc. In turn, the clutch disc presses against the flywheel. The engine locks to the transmission input shaft and both spin at the same speed. Pressing the clutch pedal causes a cable or hydraulic piston to engage a release fork. This presses a throwout bearing against the centre of the diaphragm spring. This pulls the pressure plate away from the clutch disc and disengages the clutch from the engine.
Tips for Replacing the Clutch in Your Vehicle
For a novice mechanic, clutch replacement can be a daunting task. Take the time to check any instructions included in the clutch replacement kit. Always put safety first and ensure that the right tools are available for the job. If possible, have a friend help, especially one that is more experienced with automotive work. Ensure that the vehicle is parked on a flat surface to prevent it from rolling forwards or backwards while working. If this is the driver's only mode of transport, consider having the clutch replaced by a professional. It is faster and the results are guaranteed.
Accessing and Removing the Old Clutch
Researching the clutch for the car's make, model and year is crucial before starting the replacement process. Park the car on a level, solid surface, and set the hand brake. Disconnect the negative battery cable. To gain access to the car's transmission, lift the front of the vehicle and support it with jack stands. It may be necessary to also lift the back of the car for better access. It is recommended that the engine is supported with a hoist while working. Alternatively, place a jack under the oil pan. Insert a piece of wood between the jack and the pan to spread the weight of the engine and protect it from damage.
For a rear-wheel drive car, remove the transmission shifter lever or knob. This allows the transmission shifter to go through the centre console and floor board. Remove the driveshaft and disconnect the clutch linkage. Take the speedometer cable off the transmission. Detach the starter from the housing, which is located on the engine. Mark the terminals where the electrical wires were removed to make it easier to replace them later. Detach all of the electrical connections for the transmission housing.
Once all connections have been removed, position a jack under the rear of the transmission housing for support. Remove the bolts that hold the transmission mount. Remove the transmission crossmember, which is the structural supporting brace that runs the width of the vehicle, from the frame. Undo the bolts holding the transmission bell housing to the engine block. Lower the jack slowly and carefully. This allows the transmission to slide away from the engine.
Check the flywheel and pressure plate for indexing marks that allows for the new clutch to be fitted properly. If there are none, mark the flywheel and pressure plate before removing them. Using the clutch alignment tool, take the pressure plate bolts off the flywheel. Once the pressure plate has been removed, check the clutch lining for damage, such as burning or wear.
Installing the New Clutch
Align the new clutch disc to the pressure plate and flywheel using the clutch alignment tool. It is important to torque the retaining bolts that fasten the pressure plate to the flywheel evenly before removing the alignment tool. Support the transmission with a floor jack, raising it into position with the alignment dowels and bolt holes lining up, before attaching the transmission to the engine block. Reconnect all of the cables, hydraulic lines, and electrical connections before attaching the transmission mount to the transmission, and attaching and tightening the crossmember to the frame.
Next, torque the transmission bell housing bolts to the correct specification, which should be listed in the car's owner's manual, and fill the transmission. Lower the vehicle and test drive it to ensure that the new clutch works properly without slipping or disengaging.
General Maintenance When Replacing the Clutch
It is recommended to have the flywheel resurfaced when replacing the clutch. All resurfacing involves is the removal of a fraction of the face to expose clean, homogenous metal. If the flywheel is too worn, replace it. Clean any surface grease off the flywheel before installing the new clutch. While the clutch is out of the car, replacing the disc, pressure plate, slave cylinder, and release bearing is recommended, even if the parts are working. This eliminates the need to go through the process of removing the transmission to replace these components in the near future.
Inspect the old clutch for signs of problems that it has been removed. Look for oil that could indicate a seal problem on the transmission or engine. Uneven wear on the pilot bushing or throwout bearing, clutch surface, clutch disc splines, or transmission input shaft, as well as a broken clutch retainer plate or springs, indicate engine and transmission misalignment. Misalignment can be caused by broken mounts, a warped bellhousing, or a loose flywheel.
Buying a Replacement Clutch for Your Vehicle on eBay
To find a replacement clutch for your vehicle on eBay, have the car's make, model, and year of manufacture on hand. Type a phrase, such as "Ford Escort clutch kit", into the search field, which can be found on every page, to see the listings available. As this shows all of the items tagged with the keywords chosen, narrow your search by choosing the most suitable category and item specifications. For more control over your search, use the advanced search option.
Before Buying on eBay
Before buying on eBay, take a moment to learn about the items on offer and the sellers. Click on an individual listing to view the item listing page where you can find details such as the full item description, buying choices, the seller's accepted payment methods, postage and packaging options, and the seller's feedback information. If you have any questions about a listing, get in touch with the seller by clicking the "Ask a question" link.
eBay makes it easy to learn about sellers through the seller feedback feature. Click on the number next to a seller's username to access his or her individual feedback information. This shows you what previous buyers think of the seller's products and customer service. Take the number and type of products sold previously into account when viewing this.
Replacing your car's clutch is relatively tricky, but can be done by most people that work on their own vehicles. If you are not confident in your ability to do perform this task or if this is your only car, take the vehicle to a garage. This is often cheaper in the long run. Alternatively, ask a friend that is more experienced for help. Always check the car's owner's manual and the instructions included in the clutch kit before getting started.
The parts and components that need to be disconnected and removed differ from vehicle to vehicle. You may need to move other parts, such as the exhaust system, out of the way to reach the transmission. Ensure that you have the right tools to lift and support the vehicle and to support and remove the transmission. While you can do this on your own, there are times when help comes in handy. If possible, have a friend or family member in the area to help you to lift and manoeuvre parts.
Clutch components can be bought separately or as a kit. Buying a complete kit takes the guesswork out of assembling the components that you need and you can replace everything with the minimum amount of effort. eBay is the perfect place to shop for clutch parts and kits. A wide variety of items are available for sale at competitive prices.