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Old 01-08-09, 02:01 PM   #1
phantomcow2
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How hard is it to replace a clutch?

First, mine isn't bad or anything; I'm just curious about this job. I feel like a front wheel drive clutch replacement job is one of the DIY taboo's, one of the "don't go there's." I understand the transaxle needs to be removed. It pains me to only pay ~140 for an OEM spec clutch, then pay twice that for labor charges.

Armed with a hydraulic floor jack and jack stands, is this something I could do myself? I've done a fair amount of work on my vehicle, including replacement of the entire exhaust system (including manifold), radiator replacement, and removal of the rocker assembly for seal replacements.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:04 PM   #2
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If you have a good manual, lots of time, and LOTS of patience, maybe.

Did one on an old Subaru with some help. It was still a PITA.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:06 PM   #3
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PC

I've changed the clutch on a RR dirve small PU truck and on a SAAB. The SAAB was easier, but then the engine was mounted backwards not crossways. Get one of those repaire manuals for the car and read it and how hard it reads to be.

Good luck
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Old 01-08-09, 02:07 PM   #4
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pretty easy....drive car to shop and pay them to do the work.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:09 PM   #5
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I have an electronic copy of the service manual for my vehicle, but it's all disorganized and I don't know which one of the 439 files pertains to the clutch.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:11 PM   #6
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Can't you do a search?

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Old 01-08-09, 02:14 PM   #7
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ummm....I am not mechanically inclined in any sense or fashion that the words might portray. Outside of changing oil or a tire, it is best left to more knowledgeable individuals.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:16 PM   #8
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I think my dad has the right approach here:

"Sometimes the right tool for the job is my checkbook!"
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Old 01-08-09, 02:17 PM   #9
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It totally depends on the vehicle.
Realize though that you will need a lot of room under the vehicle if you can't put it on a lift. You will also be spending a lot of time on your back so make sure you have a warm place to do it.
You should be able to get to the clutch with basic tools but you will need a clutch alignment tool to get the new clutch centered correctly.
Any clutch replacement is considered a tough job though some are considerably more tough than others and that is why the labor on the job is steep.
If this is on your Honda, check this out:

http://www.superstreetonline.com/tec...ion/index.html

Read through that procedure and see if it is worth it to you.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:18 PM   #10
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Depends on the car. All i know is that when my Subaru needs a new clutch, i'm going to the mechanic.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:20 PM   #11
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Auto repair is a PITA. That's why they can charge so much. And I gladly pay it.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:25 PM   #12
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In nice weather or a garage, with lots of space, proper tools including an engine hoist if you don't have access to a lift, and a spare car or no need to get it done fast, I would and have done it. But if it ever needs to get done fast and you feel at all under equipped, best to have a shop do it. It's not the most tricky job on earth, but boy oh boy can it be tedious if you don't have the right equipment. At least that's my take on it from a FWD and an AWD.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:34 PM   #13
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Auto repair is a PITA. That's why they can charge so much. And I gladly pay it.
It really depends. Some simple jobs that they charge a lot for you basically get raped on. Like oil changes, flushes, belt installation, tire installation, filter installations, and a lot of other stuff. Brakes are slightly more complicated, but not by much.

The reason good auto mechanics often make so much money is that a truly good one knows a hell of a lot, and is very good at using that knowledge to quickly fix things. A good mechanic is like a medical doctor for cars.
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Old 01-08-09, 02:41 PM   #14
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Rear wheel drive cars are easy. I changed the gearbox and clutch on a 528 BMW. Piece of cake with the right tools.
Changing the clutch on a front wheel drive car is a little bit more involved. Especially changing a automatic tranny. Took me 5 darned days on my Honda Odyssey
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Old 01-08-09, 03:34 PM   #15
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I did my wife's Escort. Not bad, but I borrowed space with a hoist.

FYI get new axle seals. Once the axles have been out they are prone to leak on the old seals.
It's a cheap precaution.
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Old 01-08-09, 03:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
In nice weather or a garage, with lots of space, proper tools including an engine hoist if you don't have access to a lift, and a spare car or no need to get it done fast, I would and have done it. But if it ever needs to get done fast and you feel at all under equipped, best to have a shop do it. It's not the most tricky job on earth, but boy oh boy can it be tedious if you don't have the right equipment. At least that's my take on it from a FWD and an AWD.
Exactly my thoughts.
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Old 01-08-09, 04:28 PM   #17
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Then again, how hard can a clutch be when it only takes 42 seconds for the worlds fastest engine swap?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0DJD9cNHlI
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Old 01-08-09, 04:58 PM   #18
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In college I had a 1992 Ford Probe, and a buddy of mine and I replaced it in about a day. It's not easy, and you need a lot of tools, space, and patience... seriously. It's not an easy job, and you will likely find other things that need replacing, so prepare for many trips to the auto parts store.
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Old 01-08-09, 05:27 PM   #19
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Jeebus, if I had to change the clutch on a FF car, I'd probably scrape off the VIN and throw the whole thing in a ditch.
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Old 01-08-09, 06:01 PM   #20
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When I was about Pcow's age, I replaced the clutch in my Subaru with my brother's help.

The fact that we could lift the motor out by hand sure helped. If yours isn't that easy, either get help from someone with the right tools, or pay to have it done.
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Old 01-08-09, 06:15 PM   #21
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FWD cars are so cramped, you have to remove the suspension from one side to get to the gear-box and clutch. In some cars, you have to pull the entire engine to replace the clutch.

If this is your 1st time, get a labour-estimate from a local dealer to see how many hours they'll charge you to do it. Then double to triple it for a DIY home-mechanic. Read the procedure in the manual back and forth until you've got it memorized. Will save you a TONNE of time when you're actually doing it because you won't be going back & forth to look up the next step over and over again. Also buy ALL necessary tools beforehand. BIG breaker-bars, gallons of PB-blaster, clutch-plate centering-tool, a hoist and tranny-jack are essential.
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Old 01-08-09, 07:11 PM   #22
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Then again, how hard can a clutch be when it only takes 42 seconds for the worlds fastest engine swap?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0DJD9cNHlI
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Old 01-08-09, 07:21 PM   #23
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Thanks all.
I'll be digging through my service manual for a sequence written for my car, seems like the ultimate source. Somewhere I also have a Haynes manual.

My parents got the clutch replaced on one of their VW's, which I believe was about 3 hours worth of labor. I'll just plan for a weekend. Clutch alignment tool - don't a lot of clutch kits come with this?

My neighbor has have an engine hoist that I can borrow, so I'm covered on that front. I'll review the clutch replacement process and get a better sense of what's involved.
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Old 01-08-09, 10:21 PM   #24
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I have found pulling the engine/trans to be very simple and straight forward. When I do jobs like that, the part I dont like is detaching/labeling/re-ataching wires and vacuum lines.
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Old 01-09-09, 02:58 AM   #25
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I have an electronic copy of the service manual for my vehicle, but it's all disorganized and I don't know which one of the 439 files pertains to the clutch.
It is round
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