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Clutch Replacement
Author : Matt Blehm
Published : 09/13/2002
Last Modified : 09/13/2002
This is written in very good detail in both your service manuals, but here goes anyway...

floor jack (or two)
tranny jack (or second/third floor jack)
tall jackstands- preferably 4, to lift the entire car.
full set of metric sockets and assorted open end wrenches: 10,12,14,17,19,21,26mm.
several different lengths of ratchet extensions.
breaker bar. (ball joints are pretty tight. you'll have to unbolt them to get the axle out. see service manual).
Impact wrench is very helpful, but not required.
torque wrench.

Now for the procedure.....
1. jack up car about 2 ft off the ground and support properly.
2. drain tranny fluid.
3. remove Y pipe.
4. remove the axles.
5. remove battery, battery tray, MAF, air intake tube, clutch slave cylinder, and starter. ( I suggest grabbing a box of ziplock baggies and putting all the nuts and bolts from seperate parts in different LABELED bags) makes it MUCH easier to put back together!)

6. disconnect all connectors and hoses from the tranny. on my VE tranny there were 4 or 5 connectors for various things (reverse/neutral indicator, chassis ground, few others I forget what they do). Don't forget to remove the

7. unbolt the tranny mounts from the tranny and the car. it's a PIA to get to some of the bolts, but makes it much easier when removing the tranny from the car. The FSM pictures show just unbolting the rods that go through the mounts onto the brackets bolted to the car, but I stripped one of those bolts trying to get it off. (luckily I had another the same size form another project)

8. now start at the bottom of the tranny and remove all the bolts that hold the tranny to the engine. There's about 8. make sure you note which bolt goes in which hole (you may want to number things with a permanent marker) because all the bolts are different sizes and lengths. I found that one out the hard way.

9. now it's time to pull the tranny. Support the engine with a jack of some sort, and another underneath the tranny. If you've gor a tranny jack, it makes a HUGE difference! Otherwise you'll be best to have a second person help you pull the tranny out.

once you get all the jacks and stuff positioned, just give the tranny a good hard yank and it should slide apart. If you don't have a tranny jack, you now get to do a balancing act with one arm while you're trying to lower the jack with the other. (or the second person can help somewhere here).

10. Once the tranny is out, you should see the TO bearing attached to the input shaft. It will probably be in pieces, as was mine when I pulled mine last month. Remove it from the shaft and spin the shaft and listen for any nasty noises.. if you hear marbles or anything in there, it's time for a tranny rebuild- you've got bad bearings. This is NOT a DIY job. Take it to a good tranny shop. It'll cost you about $800-1000 in parts/labor to replace the bearings and synchros and put it all back together. Mine now feels like a new tranny (and with 160k miles on it, I'm amazed it lasted this long!)

11. If the tranny is still alive, then it's time to replace the clutch itself. Pull the old pressure plate off the engine. As you work your way around, remove every other one, then go back and unbolt the others about half way, then completely remove it. The pressure plate has lots of tension on it (that's why it's called a pressure plate!)

12. Toss the old pressure plate and disc out, AFTER inspecting condition and comparing all parts, shaft sizes, and bolt patterns to the new parts. If it's got a lot of grease or burn marks on the pressure plate or flywheel surface, you need to rebuild the tranny or check your rear main seal for leakage. If the tranny input shaft seal is leaking, you'll have to tear it apart to get to it (at least you did on my VE)… if you're going to do this job, do it right. If the tranny shows signs of leakage or bad bearings, rebuild it now before you ruin a new clutch or mincemeat your entire tranny when a bearing explodes while you're racing a Honda. (fix it now for $800, or later for $2000. your choice!)

13. along those lines, the flywheel should probably be resurfaced- especially if it's got any burn marks or anything on it. I also recommend having it lightened by a competent machine shop. I had about 3 lb taken out of the flywheel and resurface done for $75. resurface will cost about $20 if you don't decide to lighten it. Call your local parts store for that job.

14. once you've got all your shiny new clean parts and rebuilt tranny back from the shop, it's time to put everything back together… Look in your service manual for the torque specs when installing the new disc and pressure plate. If you've never lines up a clutch before, you should probably buy the clutch alignment tool from Nissan. I saw one on Courtesy's website for about $8 the other day.. it'll be an $8 VERY well spent (it will save you hours of cursing and shoving!). There's also a certain order in which the bolts on the pressure plate need to be torqued. Follow the book and you won't have any problems.

15. install the new TO bearing and pilot bushing and lubricate according to the book.

16. now it's time to get down and dirty again… heave your freshly rebuilt tranny back up on the jack and jack it up into position.. sometimes the tranny will slide right into place, other times it's a 6 hour fight.. but once it goes, it'll just "click" and it's in place. Then bolt everything back down and install everything in the reverse order from how you pulled it out.

Total time to do the job is AT LEAST a full day. Start early in the morning, and plan some kind of contingency in case you do have to leave the car parked for a week while the tranny is being rebuild. (don't park your car halfway out of the garage like I did, so you have to put the axles back in, pull it off the jackstands, and roll it into the driveway with no power steering!).

If this is your first tranny, I would suggest planning a full weekend to do it, just because.

Also have plenty of grease rags and lots of bandaids available… I usually just buy those disposable blue shop towels from the parts store.. about $3 for a roll, and you'll use a good chunk of 'em on this job.

I also recommend rebuilding/replacing your CV joints while you've got them out. If the boots are more than 4 or 5 years old, it's another $60 to spend and 2 hours of playing in grease, but you'll be glad you did it when you remember that you only had to take the front end apart once in the next 5 years!

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