Need a Clutch Replacement?
If you have determined that you need a clutch replacement, in most cases you will get a mechanic who is a transmission or clutch specialist to replace it for you.
It is an expensive repair, primarily because in rear-drive vehicles the whole transmission needs to be removed so that the clutch parts and flywheel can be accessed. In front wheel drive vehicles the transaxle and part of the suspension need to be moved, again a big job.
This is a time consuming exercise, obviously more so for the home mechanic who does not have the luxury of hydraulic lifts and power tools that are at the disposal of experienced car repairers. As an individual, you need to decide whether your money is well spent on having a professional do the job, or if you’re willing to invest 8-10 hours of your time to do it yourself, and think you have the expertise to do a good job.
Once the other parts (transmission, transaxle) have been carefully removed, the clutch can be assessed. It is worth taking the time to work out the reason for the clutch failure, particularly if the failure has occurred much earlier than the expected life for the clutch.
Replacing the Clutch
A clutch replacement generally involves a new cover assembly (including the pressure plate), clutch disc and release bearing (sometimes called the throw-out bearing). These parts should ALL be replaced, even if they don’t appear worn.
The pilot bearing or bush, which sits at the end of the transmission shaft should also be checked or replaced, as should the linkage cables.
Once all clutch parts are removed you will be left with the flywheel which is attached to the engine.
The flywheel will generally need resurfacing or machining at best, or full replacement if it has deep cracks or grooves that cannot be machined out.
Putting It All Back Together
It is important that the new clutch parts and flywheel are completely clean without traces of oil or grease, as this will negatively affect performance and wear.
The clutch must be correctly aligned for precise performance. This is most important aspect of the fitting of a new clutch. If the alignment is out the gearbox will not go back in, performance will be impacted, and the clutch will fail early.
Of course once the flywheel has been replaced, and the new clutch parts fitted, the transmission or transaxle need to go back in, and all the necessary components fitted back together.