Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Changing the clutch in a Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix

This is cross-posted on the Generation Vibe forums. Pictures by Tyler.

After reading many incomplete strings on how to change the clutch I decided to try it on my own and write about it. It was really not has hard as I thought it would be, but I would not recommend this procedure if this is the first time you have ever done a clutch change on anything. You do not have to remove the engine to do this job, or have any special Toyota tools. You do need to support the engine as 3 of the motor mounts attach to the transmission and they need to be removed to pull the transmission. There will be only one engine motor mount attached when you pull the tranny out. Note that I did this job by myself. It would go much easier if you have a helper. The writer takes no responsibility for a damages or personal injury resulting from using these instructions. Now that that legalese is out of the way let’s get after it….

1. Remove the hood. Be sure and mark the hood hinge where it meets the hood so that you can reinstall it in the correct position later.



2. Jack up the car and support it with jack stands. Remove the front wheels.

3. Remove from the engine the plastic cam box cover.



4. The 2ZZ engine does not have a front engine lifting eye from the factory. I guess they had to remove it in order for the cool engine cover to fit. I took the one off the back of the engine and bolted it to the provided spot on the left front corner of the engine head. You will see an empty threaded hole right above the alternator. You have to use this lift eye because it is the only one that will fit. The one I stole off my 96 Miata would not fit here so I put it on the rear of the engine. If you don’t have a Miata available go hit the junkyard.



5. Remove the battery, tray and support.



6. Remove the driver side splash shield from under the car. Toss the cruddy plastic clips that hold it on. Use some proper 6mm bolts to attach it later.

7. Remove the 2 screws holding the vacuum control relay on the front of the air cleaner lid.

8. Unplug all the connectors to the air cleaner lid.



9. Remove air cleaner to throttle body hose.

10. Pull off the other vacuum control relay from the back of the air cleaner lid. There is a small vacuum accumulation chamber on the back of the lid. Be very careful and pull off the vacuum hose from the nipple. I ended up breaking the nipple off when I did it. I just plugged off the hose, it did not seem to make any difference in how the car ran later. I’ll fix it right one day.

11. There are several brackets that hold the various hoses, wires, etc in the engine compartment. Remove them and be sure and mark where they go for later reference. Remove the air cleaner bottom.

12. Disconnect slave cylinder and brackets. There is no need to break the hydraulic connection. Just set it aside by the firewall.









13. Remove shifter brackets top and rear of transmission.



14. Attach hoist to engine. I used a several feet of VERY HEAVY nylon rope to do this. Be very careful!!!



15. Remove the starter. One of the bolts is on the bell housing/transmission side.



16. Remove the left front brake caliper and wire it out of the way. Remove the brake disk. Remove the bolt that attaches the ABS sensor to the hub. Wire it out of the way.

17. I was told that I would have to remove the 30mm nut from the axle end, but in the end I could not get it off with the cruddy air impact gun I had. Turned out I did not have to remove it anyway, more on that later.

18. Disconnect tie rod from end of steering knuckle.

19. Remove the bolts on the strut and pull them out completely.

20. Remove the 3 bolts attaching the lower suspension arm to the steering knuckle.

21. Pull the entire steering knuckle and axle shaft completely out of the transmission. Give it a good tug, it’ll come out. Unfortunately my CV joint separated and only the axle part came out. The stub remained in the transmission. No biggie as it turns out. Note that I did not have to remove the passenger side drive axle. When I pulled the transmission off the engine it slipped right off. There is no snap ring retaining it in the transmission.

22. Make sure the motor is well supported by the motor lift and pull out all of the bell housing bolts. There are (2) 17mm bolts on the top, trans side and (4) 14mm bolts on the sides on the motor side.

23. Remove the bolts and nuts on the cross member under the engine. Remove all motor mount bolts, front, side and rear.

24. Make sure one last time that no cables or wires are attached to the transmission. Use a large flat screw driver and start prying the bell housing away from the engine. When it breaks free place a couple of floor jacks under it to support it.


25. The transmission should slide off the engine pretty easy at this point. Be very careful as you lower it to the ground. It weighs 87 lbs. I got scared for a second when the transmission came off the engine and tried to slide off the jack. It turned out ok as I was able to manhandle it to the ground.











26. Pull the tranny away from the car and clean it up. Pay particular attention to the area where the release bearing slides on the input shaft cover. I saw a lot of rubbing here from insufficient lubrication. Use hi-temp grease on all pivot and slide points of the release lever. Of course always use a new release bearing. I was surprised to find no transmission pilot bearing on this engine. Cost cutting move???



27. Remove pressure plate and clutch disk. Note fried flywheel. Get it surfaced even if it looks good. It only cost me $35.00. This clutch had 60K miles of easy driving. It really started to go south at 45K we just milked it for a while.





28. Use a 10mm-1.25 tap and clean out all of the threads on the flywheel mounting holes. They will be full of thread locker from the old bolts.

29. Install the flywheel with new mount bolts. The Toyota part number is 90910-02103. There are 8 of them. Torque in a star pattern in three passes until you get to 35 lb/ft.

30. Install new clutch disk and pressure plate. I strongly recommend an RPS or ACT clutch here. Do not use the stock clutch, especially on the 2ZZ (GT/XRS) engine. It is not adequate for the job in my opinion. Since I could not find a clutch disk centering tool, I did the best I could to center the disk. This turned out to be a real problem later. Find the tool if you can!




31. Install the 6 pressure plate bolts and torque to 14 lb/ft. I used locktite on the threads.

32. Now the fun part begins. Installing the transmission on the engine. I tried to support the transmission on a floor jack and jack it up into position to stab it on the engine. It did not work because there is no flat area on the bottom of the transmission to balance it on the jack. I ended up laying the tranny on the floor of the garage under the car. While standing on top of the engine with one foot on the exhaust manifold and the other on the engine lift I reached down under the engine a grabbed the transmission and lifted it up onto the engine. It took me 4 tries to stab it on the engine but I finally got it. Note: I am only writing this for informational purposes only. Please get help to stab the transmission on the engine. It is a two person job. I did it alone because I was desperate.



33. When you get tranny on the engine, start the two 17 mm bolts on the top of the bell housing first, and then start the other six 14 mm bolts on the side of the bell housing. At this point I realized how important the clutch disk alignment tool is as the tranny would not go all the way into the engine no matter what I did. I ended up bolting it together as far as it would go, and then I pried on the clutch release lever with a big screw driver. I was able to release the pressure plate enough to allow the clutch disk to center itself and allow the tranny to slide all the way in.

34. Tighten all of the bell housing bolts. Note that the passenger side drive axle just slid right into the tranny with no problem. I put a dab of grease on before I mounted the transmission.

The rest of this is basically reverse assembly of everything. Now is also a good time to clean the shifter cable bell crank and pivot eyes and giving them a good greasing. I found the best grease for this is C105 Lubriplate assembly grease. Don’t use too much of it as it will attract dirt and dust. Do not grease the plastic piece on the linkage. It makes the shifting worse not better. It tried it.




Put it all together and take a spin. The RPS Sport/Max clutch is awesome compared to the stock unit. There is hardly any increase in pedal pressure. Take up is much better that the stock clutch. Take it easy on the clutch for at least 1000 miles and let it break in. Good luck!

29 comments:

  1. Going to be replacing the clutch on my buddys 06 gt vibe...

    Im a trans am guy so this should help out alot lol

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    Replies
    1. Good luck Sean! Jim replaced the clutch again just a couple of weeks ago and nothing changed from the first time.

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  2. Has anyone removed an automatic AWD Vibe transmission? I am curious how to get to the flex plate bolts to release the torque converter from the engine. Any help would be appreciated. Really appreciate this post, it has been very helpful.

    03' Vibe with no reverse or second gear.
    JC in VT

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  3. Yikes. Also, according to this the torque is 36 PLUS a quarter turn...http://matrixowners.com/index.php?/topic/40516-never-reuse-flywheel-bolts/

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  4. I did not notice anything about the quarter turn. I have done 3 clutches on the Vibe and only went to 36 ft/lbs and left it at that.

    Jim

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    Replies
    1. JIm, why does your Vibe seem to go through so many clutches? Do you feel the replacement clutches are much worse than original for durability? I just bought a Vibe with 150 grand on the clutch and am wondering when it's going to go and what I should use to replace when it does.

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  5. When I did my Tacoma, there was no mention of the need for an additional turn, on the flywheel bolts but that was an error in the manual I was using. It was a common problem as a result of the error in the manual. And, I had to repull the tranny and fix it. I have now found my service manual for a 2007 Vibe/Matrix. It says the torque for the flywheel bolts is 65 ft/lbs. Which would be about the same as an additional 1/4 turn. I could send you the 3 page pdf on this if you wish. Not trying to be argumentative. You have written a superb article that is extremely useful. But as it is the number one hit on google for change matrix clutch, I thought this point should be looked at. Thanks for taking the time to write an excellent article. Much appreciated

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  6. Point taken. I took the torque information from a 2003 Toyota Matrix 2ZZ manual. I just looked at it again and it has conflicting information. In one section it states 36 ft/lbs only then in another section is states:
    1st ------ 36 ft/lbs
    2nd ------90 degrees (or quarter turn)

    You are correct, I would go with the 36 ft/lb then quarter turn.

    Wow, I must have gotten lucky, never had a problem with the 36 ft/lb only. But I always used new bolts and locktite every time.

    Thanks for your comments!

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  7. I will be doing mine tomorrow morning. i bought a new flywheel for about $30.00 more than it costs to get one surfaced here, which means I dont have to stop and take it in and wait to get it surfaced. I also got a new rear engine seal, pressure plate, clutch and release bearing from toyota. Total bill was about $500.00. I asked the parts manager about the flywheel bolts and he said that the shop NEVER puts new ones in. I might have gone for them on a 2zz engine, but mine is a wife driven 1zz so I will be cleaning and re-using the old ones. Eight bolts is probably overkill on that engine. Hopefully all goes well. I will be taking this article with me, and am glad to have it.

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  8. It took me nine hours. Much of that time was looking and figuring what to do. Getting the cv axles out of the transmission was insane on both sides. The passenger side came out easier, but the drivers side was just crazy. We had to pull the entire strut, wheel assembly, driver axle, and transmission as a unit to get it out. Once out, we were able to separate it to put the tranny back in. Look into making a slide hammer tool to pull this. Basically, remove the battery stuff, remove the airbox stuff, remove the lines and electronics attached to the tranny, including the shifter cables (unclip these, don't remove the bracket as there are three hard to get at bolts that are on the passenger side behind the engine), remove the driver axle (if you can!) remove the bolts connecting to the three three motor mounts and the motor mounts, and unbolt the tranny. Next time (ha ha) will be easier.

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  9. Yep, 9 hours for the job, and 5 years taken off your life span. This is probably the hardest clutch job I have had the displeasure of doing.
    If it's any consolation, it does get easier after the 3rd one. Ask me how I know!!!

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    Replies
    1. Jim, any advice as to someone taking this on for the first time? I don't have any air tools and am hoping I can still get the job done...

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  10. My Vibe had 250,000 km on it and this was the first clutch job. I'm hoping that I don't get two more "experiences"!

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  13. this in my opinion seemed pretty tedious. I have changed many clutches but never one on a front wheel drive. getting to that was basically felt like disassembling that half of the engine and made the clutch seem like a cake walk. With that said, I am absolutely glad the engine in my car is not side saddled like yours, all I have to do is lift the car drop the transmission and immediate access to the clutch. Yes I know it is slightly more complex than that, but it is pretty much visible from the bottom.

    Eric | http://www.dominionautomatic.com/en/products_and_services.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. this in my opinion seemed pretty tedious. I have changed many clutches but never one on a front wheel drive. getting to that was basically felt like disassembling that half of the engine and made the clutch seem like a cake walk. With that said, I am absolutely glad the engine in my car is not side saddled like yours, all I have to do is lift the car drop the transmission and immediate access to the clutch. Yes I know it is slightly more complex than that, but it is pretty much visible from the bottom.

    Eric | http://www.dominionautomatic.com/en/products_and_services.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. this in my opinion seemed pretty tedious. I have changed many clutches but never one on a front wheel drive. getting to that was basically felt like disassembling that half of the engine and made the clutch seem like a cake walk. With that said, I am absolutely glad the engine in my car is not side saddled like yours, all I have to do is lift the car drop the transmission and immediate access to the clutch. Yes I know it is slightly more complex than that, but it is pretty much visible from the bottom.

    Eric | http://www.dominionautomatic.com/en/products_and_services.html

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've experienced some clutch slipping on my 03 gt. About 3 years ago. I don't baby my vibe, I drive it pretty hard. When I first felt it slipping it winter but not bad just sometime. and I don't have a garage to work in so I was hoping it would last til spring. When spring rolled around it stop slipping. So I kept driving it. Winter came and it starting slipping again, mainly when I first leave the house. It's done this for 3 winters. Weird I know. Anyways it started again but this time it really slipping bad so I'm tearing it down today. 257k miles on the original clutch. I almost have the tranny out. But it is by far the hardest one i've ever worked on. They show 2 different clutch kits at the parts house 1 is $120 the other $300. The cheaper one says its for vin 8 number L . The clutch in there picture looks the same. But the pressure plates look different. I ordered the cheapest one. I'll see tomorrow which one I have when I drop the tranny.

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  17. I've experienced some clutch slipping on my 03 gt. About 3 years ago. I don't baby my vibe, I drive it pretty hard. When I first felt it slipping it winter but not bad just sometime. and I don't have a garage to work in so I was hoping it would last til spring. When spring rolled around it stop slipping. So I kept driving it. Winter came and it starting slipping again, mainly when I first leave the house. It's done this for 3 winters. Weird I know. Anyways it started again but this time it really slipping bad so I'm tearing it down today. 257k miles on the original clutch. I almost have the tranny out. But it is by far the hardest one i've ever worked on. They show 2 different clutch kits at the parts house 1 is $120 the other $300. The cheaper one says its for vin 8 number L . The clutch in there picture looks the same. But the pressure plates look different. I ordered the cheapest one. I'll see tomorrow which one I have when I drop the tranny.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Don't use the cheap one. I got the $100 one at O'Reilly's - 10,000 miles and had to get a warranty replacement towards the more ezpensive one. Just a pain to have to replace it twice.

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  19. This whole list of instructions was amazing! Best I could find and it got the job done right. The most I have ever done on a car before this was change the spark plugs. So with two people and no real knowledge we did this job in about 3 days. Took us almost 3 hours to stab the transmition back in. Just a heads up to the people saving 1000 bucks by doing it them selves that it's harder then it looks but still very do able. Also pick up a repair manual for torque specs

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  20. This is a fantastic write up! I have an '07 with 210K that's getting its first replacement. Finally seeing some slippage after teaching my two kids on it.

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  21. I just had the clutch replaced by a mechanic, they told me that the nose cone had damage and I would need to pay $2000 more to replace it. When i said I did not have the money they said they could make the new clutch work, but could not warranty the work and the engine could seize. dose anyone know about the nose cone and is this a scam? I have looked all over the internet for info and found nothing about the nose cone.

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  22. Does the engine have to be lifted? I am doing this outside and have no engine lift. What about supporting the engine from below with jack stands?

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    Replies
    1. Yes it does. As you have to remove a number of engine mounts you must support it with a lift. Jack stands and braces may work but it would definitely limit access to some of the bolts required to take the transmission out.

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