How to Replace the Clutch Disc and Flywheel

Last Updated - September 7th, 2004

Replacing the clutch disc and flywheel are relatively easy once you get in there.  Aligning the clutch disc can be tricky.  Getting in there though is a momentous task.


Time Investment:  Weekend
The front to back process of removing the transmission and installing a new clutch and/or flywheel is a good weekend project. 

Go to Pictures:

Go to Instructions:

Go to Tools Required:

Go to Supplies to Remember:


Click on a picture to enlarge it.  

Please also note that these pictures are from different cars.  Most were taken of Mike's ES during a complete engine swap.  Others pictures are componets of the IROC.  Others came from Daytonastein.  You'll notice that the heads and exhaust manifolds are off in some of the pictures.  You do not need to remove these components to replace your clutch. 

Remove the transmission from the car.
Here's a shot of the pressure plate. Here's a shot of a resurfaced flywheel on an engine outside a car.
Here's a used clutch disc sitting in the pressure plate.

Here's a look at the center of the disc through the pressure plate.
This is the throw out bearing. this case a VERY old throw out bearing.
Here's a closeup of the center of the clutch disc from mounted to the flywheel.  Not the circle scribed in the end of the crankshaft.


1.   Remove the transaxle.  (See the Transaxle Removal Page.)
This step has been broken out because it isn't specific to a clutch job.  It does however represent the vast bulk of the project.

2.  Remove the pressure plate.

3.  Remove the flywheel.

4.  Have the flywheel resurfaced (or replace it).

5.  Install the flywheel.
Use thread locker on the bolts and torque them to the factory specs (70 ft-lbs according to the 92 FSM).  This is a case where you should torque one bolt down part way, and gradually work your way around slowing bringing them all up to the correct torque.

6.  Clean the flywheel with alcohol or mineral spirits.
At this point, also change your gloves so you don't get grease on the surface of the flywheel.

7.  Install the clutch disc and pressure plate.
Make sure to insert the clutch disc the right direction.  It has a front and back.  Insert all of the mounting bolts but keep them all loose enough so that you can slide the clutch disc inside with a small amount of effort.  Once they are tight enough to do this, center the clutch disc.  A couple of points here.  If your face is more than 10" away, the angle will fool your eyes.  Look at it up close and dead on with one eye closed.  There are no marks you can line up and there is no hole in the end of crank to insert an alignment tool into.  You have to eyeball this and it will probably take you some time to get happy with where the way you centered it.  Once you've got it, tighten each of the bolts moving sequentially around the circle tightening each no more than a turn at a time until they are all tight.  Then torque them to factory specs (250 in-lbs according to the 92 FSM).  That works out to about 21 ft-lbs.  Don't half ass the alignment step.  If your clutch disc isn't aligned within maybe 1/16" of where it should be, you'll fight to get the transmission installed, fail, have to remove it, and repeat this step.  That process will waste hours, not minutes.

Alignment Method 1:
With your face close to the disc, one eye shut, and without moving your head, use your fingers to push the disc in the extreme positions right, left, top, and bottom.  Position your head such that the minimum distances between the center ring of the clutch disc and the tips of the fingers of the pressure plate look identical when the disc is pushed to each extreme.  Once you have that perspective, center the disc such that the ring in the center of the disc is equidistant from the tips of all of the fingers on the pressure plate.  This will likely take several attempts and if you move your head, you have to start over.

Alignment Method 2:
Get your face about 6 - 10" from the pressure plate, close one eye, and position yourself so you are looking into the hole in the middle of the clutch disc.  On the other side, you will see a circle scribed into the end of the crankshaft.  In method one, you have to use your head as the fixed point for perspective.  In this method, you are going to look at the circle as a fixed point of reference and compare it to the inner splines of the clutch disc while moving your head.  The splines are squared so you can easily tell when you are looking at one edge dead on along the surface of the spline or when you are looking at and angle and seeing the actual surface of the splines.  You want to look along the surfaces in position so you just can't see the surface itself.  In order to center the disc, move your head around and look along the splines on one side of the disc.  Note how far the splines appear from the circle.  Moving your head to multiple angles, you should reach a point where looking along the splines at any edge makes them appear equidistant from the circle.  When you hit this point, the clutch is aligned.

8.  Replace the throw out bearing.  
Apply a small amount of wheel bearing grease to the contact points on the fork as well as the splines.  Hook the loose bend ends of the clips on the bearing behind the fork prongs so it can slide back and forth with the fork.  You can test this by manually actuating the clutch lever.

9.  Reattach the transmission.
Note, if the clutch disc is misaligned, the transmission won't go back on and you'll have to realign the clutch disc.  Reassembly is discussed further in the Transaxle Removal Page.

Tools Required:     

Supplies to Remember: