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Is it wise to do a clutch install yourself?

This is a discussion on Is it wise to do a clutch install yourself? within the Manual Transmission forums, part of the Drivetrain category; I am curious if it is possible or more so wise, to do a clutch install myself. I have done ...

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    Question Is it wise to do a clutch install yourself?

    I am curious if it is possible or more so wise, to do a clutch install myself. I have done most repairs on cars with the exception of internal engine and other advanced repairs. I have removed a transmission off a car (working off the ground with jack stands) but did not re install it (a salvage car). I read the write up on the installand it didnt seem too bad. However, I am assuming it looks easier than it really is. If I were to do this... what type of jack would i use to hold the transmission up, as well as other tools for the install.Thanks guys.. just looking to save $ on the $500 install.

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    Senior Member 00z28bubba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JehalinTA View Post
    I am curious if it is possible or more so wise, to do a clutch install myself. I have done most repairs on cars with the exception of internal engine and other advanced repairs. I have removed a transmission off a car (working off the ground with jack stands) but did not re install it (a salvage car). I read the write up on the installand it didnt seem too bad. However, I am assuming it looks easier than it really is. If I were to do this... what type of jack would i use to hold the transmission up, as well as other tools for the install.Thanks guys.. just looking to save $ on the $500 install.
    i have no personal experience with transmissions but i hear that manuals arent too bad to work on compared to autos. it can be done but i would get ahold of someone local to you maybe on some local forums or so to help you out and make sure you do it right.

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    Alien Baby FuriousGeorge's Avatar
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    shit yeah that's the way to go man. i've gotten to the point where i can completely remove the tranny in a little over a half hour with a buddy helping out. i've never actually used a tranny jack. just get an extra person to help you out when you're pulling the transmission, and a couple extra people when you're putting it back in. goes together like a charm. make sure you have plenty of long ratchet extensions to remove the top two bolts to the bellhousing. and make sure you drain all of the tranny fluid too. i tried to be a cheap ass one time and only drained it half way. then as soon as i started pulling the tranny out, fluid went EVERYWHERE and the job took twice as long just because i hate laying in that crap. oh and make sure you torque the flywheel and pressure plate with the correct sequence/torque. and bleed the hell out of the clutch when you're done as i'm assuming you're going to get a new slave cylinder too.

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    yeah if I did do it I would wait till it gets warmer. Anyone in the Tulsa area that would like to give a hand for a small fee? How high off the ground do I need to get the car access everything? How many hours does it take to do this install with a first timer? and yes would replace the slave c and the flywheel. I just dont want to take it apart thenput it back together and something be installed wrong that would damage the new clutch costing me even more money.

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    Compulsive F bomb dropper sgt0704's Avatar
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    i did mine mid jan. me and 1 buddy. there's gotta be someone you work with that could give you a hand. it took us about 7 hours. i know that seems long. but 1 1/2 hour was getting the fly wheel cut. (driving there, waiting, getting lunch) you're meticulous the first time, cause you don't want any extra bolts left over at the end, and you wanna make sure they stick with the parts they came out of.

    if you don't have access to a lift though, it's going to be a bitch. even with a lift, it was a bitch, but a little bit more manageable. i couldn't imagine having to climb under it, and having to do it that way.. no thanks.

    at first, when i was done, the car started, but the clutch wouldn't engage. so i shut the car off, got it in gear, and it started rolling. after a couple hundred feet, it started shifting fine. i guess everything just has to get lined up..

    make sure you have a clutch alignment tool.

    don't use the bread method if you're replacing the pilot bearing.

    and that's all i can think of for now.. just take it easy during the break in process. just remember, if it shifts the way it's supposed to, and it's driving the way it's supposed to, then you did everything right.

    although, you will always second guess yourself. you'll feel something you're not "used" to feeling. or maybe you just didn't notice it before. every sound you don't recogonize, makes you wonder if everything went together right.

    but if you stop, and you're in N, and you push the gas, and you don't move.. then you're good.

    if you push in the clutch, and it goes in gear, then you're good.

    if there's no crazy jerking or anything crazy, then you're good.

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    Just a souped up sunfire. Ryans99LS1's Avatar
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    Do it. Follow the write ups. I never dropped any transmissions or anything in my life and i did an auto to 6speed swap successfully.

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    Follow this write up. I used it and it was very helpful.
    http://www.installuniversity.com/ins...sity/index.htm

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    /\/\ i used that same write up.

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    My biggest question is did you guys do it off the ground or with a lift. I dont have access to a lift. I can buy a tranny jack. Im sure I can get a helping hand, but probably one that doesnt have much experience. It doesnt seem too bad... crawled under the car today, but some of the top bolts to the bell housing look like a pain to get too. do you have to use swivels or just extentions? Is the write up all you need.. I have a chilton manual but the directions are not very detailed. Thanks guys looking to get it done in a month or so but want to get everythnig I need together before.

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    Im going to be doing this soon as well. Ryan^^ will hopefully be helping me out and Im doing it in my garage as well. I heard those top bolts are a bit a PITA to get to so make sure you have swivels and extensions to get to get them out

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    Alien Baby FuriousGeorge's Avatar
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    no lift, just get it pretty high off the ground. and for the swivel, use the old masking tape trick. just wrap the u-joint part of the swivel a couple times with masking tape so it can move but not much. it helps a bunch. the real bitch is mating the transmission back to the bellhousing because of the guide pins or whatever they're called.

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    ok few more questions... if I put a LS7 clutch in with a new flywheel and slave cylinder will I one, need a flywheel holding tool? and 2 will have have to try and match the shims or is it standard on the new slave? The write up also says to mark the flywheel to go back in the same place... what if the flywheel is being replaced? what are somethings that can go wrong that I should look out for... sorry for all the questions just want to make sure I have all my bases covered before I begin tearing down. Thanks for the imput very helpful

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    Alien Baby FuriousGeorge's Avatar
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    don't need a flywheel holding tool. just use a large screw driver to put a bind on one of the flywheel teeth. don't need any shims for the slave. and you don't need to mark the flywheel. just make sure you're using the LS2 flywheel. and make sure you have a clutch alignment tool. the tranny is easier to get on and off if your exhaust is removed, but if you have the stock catback, it's probably going to be more of a bitch getting off than anything else. if you have an aftermarket exhaust, take off the Y or X pipe and it'll be a ton easier.

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    Just a souped up sunfire. Ryans99LS1's Avatar
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    I did mine with just jack stands on the ground. Its really easy. Thats a good write up justin gave.

    heres how high mine was for the whole swap


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    What Would Earl Do? Vexzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FuriousGeorge View Post
    don't need a flywheel holding tool. just use a large screw driver to put a bind on one of the flywheel teeth. don't need any shims for the slave. and you don't need to mark the flywheel. just make sure you're using the LS2 flywheel. and make sure you have a clutch alignment tool. the tranny is easier to get on and off if your exhaust is removed, but if you have the stock catback, it's probably going to be more of a bitch getting off than anything else. if you have an aftermarket exhaust, take off the Y or X pipe and it'll be a ton easier.
    He says it right. I just did this last week/ New LS7 Clutch, slave cylinder [you'll have to bleed that with 8mm box-end wrench, no big deal]. Def need an alignment tool. Get a plastic cap-plug for the tailshaft and you won't have a messy leak, or have to drain anything.

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    few more questions ... did you use a jack to lower and raise the tranny or is it light enough to lift by hand (obviously another set as well)
    second I have always been told to replace the slave cyl. when changing the clutch... is this a must? I told a mechanic that today and he said he has never heard of that but that it might be something specific for my car.
    Last is it ok to use an impact to remove the bolts (nto put on). Thanks guys I am feeling confident in this install. who has the best deal on the ls7

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    Just a souped up sunfire. Ryans99LS1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JehalinTA View Post
    few more questions ... did you use a jack to lower and raise the tranny or is it light enough to lift by hand (obviously another set as well)
    second I have always been told to replace the slave cyl. when changing the clutch... is this a must? I told a mechanic that today and he said he has never heard of that but that it might be something specific for my car.
    Last is it ok to use an impact to remove the bolts (nto put on). Thanks guys I am feeling confident in this install. who has the best deal on the ls7
    To lower it, i would definitely use a jack. to put it back in, i had 2 other people help me and we raised it ourselves and slid it in. I would recommend a jack for both removal and install though, mine just broke in the meantime. it would make sense to replace anything thats old down there cus its really no fun having to remove it again for something you could have just gotten out of the way while it was out. Its basically to prolong your maintenence

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    What Would Earl Do? Vexzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JehalinTA View Post
    few more questions ... did you use a jack to lower and raise the tranny or is it light enough to lift by hand (obviously another set as well)
    second I have always been told to replace the slave cyl. when changing the clutch... is this a must? I told a mechanic that today and he said he has never heard of that but that it might be something specific for my car.
    Last is it ok to use an impact to remove the bolts (nto put on). Thanks guys I am feeling confident in this install. who has the best deal on the ls7
    Tranny jack is a lifesaver. 3/8" Cordless impact will take at least an hour off the job. Have 18-24" of 3/8 extension with a swivel ready for remove-replace of the top bolts. I bought my stock replacement LS7 clutch from the dealer, but my friend got me an employee discount. I replaced the expensive slave cylinder, but have buyer's remorse over the cost [I'm sure I would be more remorseful if I had not changed it and it failed!]. Depends on mileage, you gotta remember the stock slave is prolly good for 200K miles.

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    Just skimmin though if you have'nt done the job yet don't forget to change that pilot bushing/bearing! The way i do it is to take your grease gun (with fly wheel off) place it into the bearing hole and hold it tightly have your buddy pump the gun and it should come out on its oun. I also don't raise the front much except enough that the front doesnt run into the ground. Then I raise the rear as high as I can (useually so I can sit upright under the rear bumper with my head touching or just touching. Remove some of the engine mount bolts leaving one on each side in but loosened a couple of turns only. Then place your jack under the tany and remove the cross member and seperate the u joint swinging the drive shaft out of the or even removing it. Then with my buddy watching up top in the engine compartment (to make sure you stop before the crunch sound) I lower the trany till I can just see the top bell bolts. I hate messing with swivels on a ratchet but thats just me. The engine will usually tilt with the jack being lowered. Then I stop and place either jackstand or a second floor jack under the front of the engine to keep it tilted and so it don't fall. Then you should be able to walk the trany straight out the back (you guiding it and your buddy pulling on the jack handle.
    Then with the trany completely out of your way you can work with out any thing in your way makeing life a little easier. Remove the clutch componets and fly wheel then the pilot bushing. Install your new hardware and reverse the process and your done here.
    Some shops have a trick to bleeding the slave by over fulling the rez and attaching a long peice of vaccume hose to the bleed head then loosening it just enough to slow flow letting it bleed for a good while like 30 mins. (keeping the rez level up) Some I've heard let it bleed slowly over light to make sure all the air is perged from the lines and new unit. After you are done and have everything together take it for a spin don't worry if you smell something buring at first just take it easy and break it in. The smell will go away. This how I do it without a lift. Hope this was some help to you and others.
    Last edited by Smittro; 02-18-2009 at 12:54 AM.

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    Its easy on jackstands and I use a board with a strap on my jack to make it a transmission jack

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