Changing clutch myself... any tips?

Ok, so yesterday my clutch takes a crap on me in my 1991 DB1 sedan. I’m pretty broke, so here’s my plan… I have my other car (1990 DA9) on jack stands in my parents garage. It has a brand new JDM engine swap (new transmission, engine, clutch, axles… the whole 9 yards). I hate to do it, but I plan on swapping the clutch and axles from my 2 door to my 4 door. When the time comes I’ll just have to buy a new clutch and axles to put my 2 door back together. But I need the car for work asap (and the 2 door is not ready for the road and not to be driven in the winter anyway).

I have never done anything this major by myself before. But I know I can do it. I have the Haynes manual and I also have the Helms manual (on my computer). I have read through both sections on transmission removal at least a half a dozen times each. I’ve been searching and reading on here and on honda tech to gather as much info as I can. I plan to do this on Wednesday. I took the day off work. I have to get up at 6am to bring my gf to work… so I’ll start shortly after that and get as much done before it gets too dark at like 8pm. I will get up early tomorrow and hopefully get the axles out and some of the shit removed (ie. battery, intake, starter, etc) so I won’t have as much work to do on Wednesday. I have to make a run to Canadian Tire after work today to get a few things… any tips on what I should pick up??

So far I know I need to pick up:
32mm socket for the axle nut.
Cotter pins to replace the ones that secure the castle nuts below the lower ball joints.
Manual transmission fluid.
High temperature grease.
Clutch alignment tool?

I think I have everything else I need. I have a decent socket set, prybars, breaker bars, basic tools, etc. Can anyone think of anything else I’m going to need? Any tips or words of advice for a first timer?

Thanks in advance!! :up:

ring gear holder(hold flywheel in place to take off the bolts)
or use an impact with a friend on the other side

dont forget a tierod puller

12pnt 17mm 12pnt 12mm, or 10mm forgot

new bearings pilot and release bearing
resurface the flywheel
or a new one

Is it feasable to put a long handled socket wrench on the crank pulley bolt and brace it to the frame or motor mount (or something to keep it from turning) instead?? That was my original plan…

I read on honda-tech that I can put a wrench in between the knuckle and LCA, jack up the lower control arm, release the jack quickly and it will seperate the balljoint easily. There was a video and it looked very easy. If that works, then this tool would not be needed… correct?

Where this is my winter beater, how important is this step? The clutch has about 5000kms on it. I know it’s now going to be matching up with a different flywheel, but I really don’t have the time to pull my flywheel and have it resurfaced. I suppose I can make time if I have to. But how bad is it to just take it from my 1990 coupe and swap everything directly to my 1991 sedan? Sounds stupid, I know… but I don’t have much time and I’m trying to spend as little as possible…

can you swap the flywheel from the hatch to the DB? The reason for resurfacing the flywheel is that it can have hot spots which would significantly shorten the life of the new clutch disc.

How recently has everything been apart? My clutch took forever due to rust when I did it last year.

yes the screwdriver works
yes the wrnch behind the shit and jack it up works too:)

i just listed them cuz its easier to work a tie rod puller than explain the process of using the wrnch to pop it out

u NEED/WANT/HAve to resurface the old flywheel
u want the clutch disk to grab on a new fresh surface

good luck
if u can spread the work in 2-3 days it would be best
the first day we took the tranny off
2nd day installed cluthc/fly/motormounts/remount tranny
3rd day- could of finsihed day 2 but was tired
just tighten all bolts

i think its easier to take the whole motor out. it was easier when we did my bros EF. either way its a pain in the ass. you will also run into many snags and headaches but thats part of working on cars. if you a have any question just ask me, i did everything with limited tools and little time but it worked.

its not as hard as i made it seem. good luck.

I recently swapped in a new flywheel and clutch and the only problem I really had was getting the tranny to mate back to the block with my crappy hydrolic jack. I ended up using stacks of wood to level the tranny off perfectly to the block, then threading the bolts alittle at a time to bring them together. All worked out well and I did everything solo.

I suppose that I CAN swap the flywheel as well… not something I’m hoping or planning on doing. The clutch in the hatch was put in with the new trans and engine swap the winter before last. I drove it for the summer (maybe put 5k-7k on it). Where this is my budget “beater” I don’t want to spend too much on it… if it’s a matter of getting only 100k out of the clutch instead of 120k (for example), then I’m not going to bother. How big of a difference is it?

Last night I picked up a 32mm (1/2" drive, but also an adapter to fit my monster 3/4" drive if I need it). I also picked up some cotter pins, some grease, a clutch alignment tool and tonight I plan to pickup some Syncromesh from the GM dealership. I plan on starting at 7am tomorrow and working until dark. This will give me about 14 hours… I sadly doubt that i can get it done. If not, I’ll try to finish it this weekend. But I know I can do this… I just have to prove it to myself (and my gf too :wink: lol)

Any last words of advice or tips before I tackle this? :hyper:

shittiest thing that happend when i did my clutch/flywheel was the shift linkage wouldnt disconnet from the tranny, i pounded this shit out of that spring pin, even tried to dremel it out, i wound up takin the tranny out with the linkage attached. also, if you have access to a cable puller or an engine hoist, it makes puttin the tranny back in a hell of alot easier. also, be very careful with torque specs when replacing throwout bearing if you plan on doing that. if your pan gasket is leaking this is a great opportunity to put a new pan gasket in and its also a good time to put in a short shifter because linkages and exhaust get in the way otherwise. basically use good judgement, lots of parts are easily accessable with the tranny out, dont skimp out on fixing something now when it is easy to fix. i just had someone hold a large screwdriver between the block and the flywheel teeth to keep the motor from turning.

I’ve been thinking about the shift linkage thing… most people seem to have problems with it. I would think it would be quicker and easier to just disconnect the shift stabalizer linkage from the transmission (which is easy with the crossmember brace removed), disconnect the shift linkage from under the shifter but leave the other end connected to the transmission (the end where the “problem” pin is if I understand correctly?) and pull it out with the transmission. The transmission is going right back in after the clutch install, so it’s not like i have to disconnect it to attach it to another transmission. Wouldn’t this make more sense?

It seems like my biggest problem is going to be breaking the 32mm axle nuts loose. I already broke a 1/2" breaker bar (using a 3’ extension) trying to get the driver’s side off. I don’t have access to air tools… so this might be the biggest problem. If I can get that off, next worry is the lower ball joints. If those come free… i can’t forsee any problems until I get to the actual clutch install. Then I’ll be getting into shit I’ve only read about and never done. Should be interesting. I have all day tomorrow and the weekend if I need it. Hopefully I can do this myself without paying anyone! lol

I’ll post up the details on how it goes on Thursday when i get back to work! Wish me luck everyone! lol :ohyeah:

you don’t need to take the axle nuts off, can work with them on the hubs. break the LBJs loose and then disconnect the axles from the diff/intermediate shaft. also don’t need to remove the header (assuming it is stock), just unbolt the cat from it.

as far as the flywheel goes it it pretty much random. could be in perfect condition, could cause the disk to go in 10k miles. best not to risk it.

I left the linkage hooked up to my tranny also when I did my clutch, worked fine.

it helps to have someone stand on the brakes when when you try and break the axle nuts loose. i usually use a half inch drive breaker bar with a 3’ piece of steel tubing on top of it. the job will be alot easier with the axles out and possibly even the right hand knuckle. trying to muscle a 100lb tranny around with shit in the way is not fun. as far as the LBJ’s just use a floor jack under the LCA to load the suspension, then wedge a half inch drive ratchet or something along those lines in between the LCA and the knuckle. when you let the jack down, the ball joint should pop, if it doesnt just hit the handle of the wrench with a hammer. (probably the same method that honda tech suggests). i used to use a pitman arm puller for ball joints but it takes way too long compared to this method. also, be sure to clean around the VSS gear on the back side of the tranny before you disconnect it. mine had a bunch of sand around it that could easily fall inside the tranny.

just put a pry bar between you LBJ and LCA, pry, and hit the LCA (has a spot made for hitting) with a large hammer, it will pop right out in seconds, this take 2 people, and a lot of wacking :giggle:

pounding on the LCA did not get my LBJ to come out, neither did a puller, I ended up not removing it at all. pulled the inner right LCA bolt, left the rest of the suspension together. I didn;t know the ratchet handle method at that point. Also, easiest way to break axle nuts loose is with the car on all 4 wheels, and e-brake/chocks holding it in place.

Well, I’m back at work today… I didn’t get it all done yesterday, but then again… I didn’t expect to. I got a LOT done though. I am proud. :cool:

First off, I spent about 2 hours breaking the 32mm axle nuts loose on my DB1. I tried hitting it with my electric impact wrench. It supposedly puts out ~250 ft/pounds and vibrates like crazy. It wouldn’t even budge! Then I put a 3’ cheater bar on a 1/2" breaker bar. No luck. I doused it with WD-40 and Release-All and tried standing on a 3/4" monster ratchet (about 2 1/2 feet long)… still nothing. Then I grabbed my propane torch and heated the nut for about 5 mins and tried again with the 3/4" drive… and shattered the socket into pieces. :bored: I went and replaced it with a MASSIVE 1 1/4" socket (it weighed about a pound itself… a lot beefier then what I had!) and tried hitting the nut with a chisel to loosen it. I stood on the 3/4" ratchet with the new socket and jumped… still nothing! Finally I called my old man over (he’s about 60 pounds heavier then me) and I stood on the brakes while he jumped on the end of the ratchet. Finally it broke free!!! WOO! :dance: The passenger side wasn’t as bad. Took about 15 mins and, once again, my dad had to jump on it lol.

Then it was the ball joints. They weren’t too bad at all!! I crammed a prybar in between the LCA and the knuckle and had my dad pry it while I smacked it with a hammer. Both sides came out in a few minutes. I couldn’t get the “Honda-Tech” method to work worth a shit!

It was smooth sailing from there. I took out the shock forks, the axles, the imtermediate shaft, the starter, the clutch cable, the speed sensor (that was a BITCH! :mad: ), the speedometer, the center beam, the engine/transmission stiffners, the flywheel cover, the shift linkage (left it connected to transmission, just disconnected from shifter) and the passenger side radius rod. I then made sure all electrical connections were disconnected and then removed the front transmission mount and then the side transmission mount. I then unbolted the trans, pulled it out so it cleared the input shaft and dropped it down and out from under the car. I then blocked up and supported the engine and headed over to my parents house to do it all over again :violin: (I had to drop the transmission in my donor DA9 as well).

I got as far as removing the axle nuts, seperating the lower ball joints, draining the transmission fluid, removing the starter, the shock forks, the axles, the center beam, the clutch cable and the speedometer cable. I didn’t have to remove the battery, the VSS (mine is looped since I removed powersteering), the splash guard, the intake and a few other things because my car is fairly stripped down right now. So that was a relief.

Not bad for a days work (and my first time dropping a transmission!). All said and done… I spent ~11 hours working on it yesterday. All I have left to do is unbolt the transmission and the mounts from my doner car, drop the trans, remove the clutch components and then re-install them in my DB. I still have lots of work left, but I’m sure I can do it! Should be able to finish it on Saturday! Wish me luck!! :up:

:up: let us know hos it goes, should be smooth sailing from here now. godd luck

Thanks bro! I’m hoping it goes well on Saturday. I’ve never installed a clutch either, so it will be another learning experience. But the best thing is… the total cost for this project has been under $100! I bought some tools I needed (32mm socket, 1 1/4" socket, 17mm deep socket, cotter pins, grease, etc.) It was my 21st birthday on Monday, so I got my parents to buy me the electric impact gun (on sale for 99.95 :slight_smile: hehe) and 3 quarts of GM syncromesh. :up:

I am swapping all of the clutch components and the axles over from my 2 door. So that is costing me nothing. Plus, it allows me to get a better clutch for my real car for next summer. :up:

Out of curiosity, I priced a clutch kit from Crappy Tire (the same shitty brand I am swapping into mine) and it is $249.99. Plus install it would probably run me about $650 for a shop to do this. So the time and trouble is worth it for sure!! :slight_smile:

that sounds sweet man, just don’t forget to see if the flywheel is straight and true, make sure your clutch cable is nice, and not frayed, and don’t forget the beer, will make time fly! lol

I drank 10 yesterday lol :angel:

I always get at least a case of beer if I’m working on the car. I couldn’t do it without it! haha