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ironbyron1 09-02-2013 12:56 PM

Clutch installation?
I am considering installing a new clutch assembly myself. My throw out bearing is shot and I want to just replace everything so I know I will be good to go for a while. I'm also planning to replace all the clutch linkage as well.
Here's my quandary. While I am mechanically inclined I have never replaced a clutch in my life. The biggest obstacle for me would be crawling underneath and getting up and down. I am 54 and overweight, and have back issues. Other than those problems how difficult would this job be? I don't want to get in over my head and I don't want my jeep to be down too long. I can have the work done for $300 plus part which will be $310

ironbyron1 09-02-2013 01:00 PM

That is $300 +$310 for a total of $610. I'm planning to get a master clutch kit, and a clutch linkage kit, which would basically replace everything but the return springs.

walkerhoundvm 09-02-2013 01:36 PM

I'd recommend paying them to do it. I'm 37 and in good shape, and even with a transmission jack I found this to be a headache. Not difficult, mind you, just frustrating. Especially reloading the transmission jack with the new transmission, balancing it, and getting it to go in juuuuust right before I could rebolt it to the bellhousing. It took me 3-5 days start to finish my first time, but I was pacing myself; 5 hours the third time I went through it.

If you could get the job done for $600 and change, I'd say go for it. At the very least you'd need a $100+ transmission jack if you haven't got one, and you'd only be saving yourself a couple hundred dollars.

JeffreyCharles 09-02-2013 02:53 PM

Hm. Well I just did mine for $134 for the parts and I bought a cheap HF jack for $80. Spread the work out over two days so I wasn't working an 8 hour day on it (and it was in the 90's). It's not difficult to do but it is very helpful to have assistance - particularly when dropping and raising the tranny/xfer case. I'm 50 and not so thin as I used to be and it didn't kill me. $210 vs $600 seems like a big gap. But that's just my two cents worth of opinion. :-)

BubbaK 09-02-2013 05:03 PM

x2 on paying someone to do it. A Jeep guy if possible. I got my clutch replaced along with my axles rebuilt. Went with a Lūk clutch kit (approx. $155) from Napa and couldn't be happier. I feel even more confident in the work knowing that my mechanic has a few CJs himself.

'83 CJ-7_258 I-6_T-4_D300_AMC20/D30_Bone Stock

titomars 09-02-2013 09:46 PM

I'd do them all day for $300.00+ labor. Especially T-4's and T-5's. :D I am also 54, overweight a bit with a bad back and bad feet. I don't use a trans jack. but I have a jig for the transfer that sets on my floor jack. Then I split them and I just muscle the trans out/in. I find laying on my back is not a problem for my destroyed discs.

They are not really hard to do just dirty, greasy, and some grunt work. A clutch job takes me about 6 to 7 hours on a CJ but I have done so many clutches over the years it comes 2nd nature for me.

CSP 09-02-2013 09:50 PM

I rent a high dollar transmission jack from a local rental shop for about $40/day when I do transmission/clutch jobs. It's well worth it and really makes it effortless to remove/align/install a transmission. I've done a few T18 swaps as well as changing out the clutch in my F250 which has a huge transmission by light duty truck standards.

dg6772 09-02-2013 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by JeffreyCharles (Post 15864061)
Hm. Well I just did mine for $134 for the parts and I bought a cheap HF jack for $80. Spread the work out over two days so I wasn't working an 8 hour day on it (and it was in the 90's). It's not difficult to do but it is very helpful to have assistance - particularly when dropping and raising the tranny/xfer case. I'm 50 and not so thin as I used to be and it didn't kill me. $210 vs $600 seems like a big gap. But that's just my two cents worth of opinion. :-)

I just did one for a friend and it was not that bad...

Dave in Muskegon

walkerhoundvm 09-02-2013 09:56 PM

Some additional information on my first install, it went a little something like this:

The parts monkey at the chain store couldn't find the right clutch, despite me bringing in the old one. We ordered one and it seemed like it matched up when I got it in. I installed it, then got it all sewn up (trans and skid plate and all that). Went to start it up, and the clutch pedal sank to the floor. Something about it wasn't working - the clutch assembly was all in order so I figured it must have been related to the Korean clutch from Autozone.

Asked on this forum, and was guided towards Luk clutches by CSP, which my local NAPA didn't carry, but they let me know where I could get one in town. After a few days, it was in and I installed it. Tried getting the transmission in. Tried getting the transmission in. Tried getting the transmission in. Went to bed. Tried getting the transmission in. Tried getting the transmission in. Tried getting the transmission in. Gave up. Pulled the whole thing and noticed that the transmission alignment tool that came with the Luk kit was ever so smaller in diameter than my actual shaft, which made the friction plate misalign.

Was really anal about it the next time, got it mounted and the transmission went in with just a little difficulty, and got it all buttoned up in a few hours. The Luk clutch kit works like a dream, I'm very happy with it.

If all that sounds like potential fun to you, by all means, DIY. I'm glad I did, but if I had someone who'd do it for parts and $300, I'd think on it for sure - and I feel like I'm much better prepared than you describe yourself.

LumpyGrits 09-02-2013 11:27 PM

Not hard if you plan it out.
A tranny jack is a must.
I'm 62 w/class 2 CHF.
My son and I just replaced the clutch in his CJ5 this last Sat.
Take your time and pace yourself.

only in a jeep cj 09-03-2013 12:31 AM

I only use a floor jack to hold up the t-case/trans while I place the jack stand under each section the remove the component. I wiggle the Dana 300 off and onto my chest. Lower it to the side and onto an old floor mat. Pulls right out from under the Jeep. Same with transmission. (Not heavy ones like the T18 or automatics). but I'm only 41.....
4 jack stands under the frame give me the the room underneath to sit and work.
A little trick I learned is there is wiggle room in the plastic alignment tools. When inserted, I raise the end in my hand just a touch to compensate for the weight of the disc. Confirm pilot bushing fitment on input shaft beforehand too.

dg6772 09-03-2013 12:38 AM

2thumbsup!! That's the same way I accomplish the task, only at 47 some days I'm a little slower than others.

Dave in Muskegon

bkeese 09-03-2013 06:38 AM

I really don't think you can afford a Jeep if you have to pay someone to perform the work for you. I'm 63 and a clutch doesn't scare me at all. As stated earlier, a good alignment tool is a must. I have an old input shaft for my alignment tool. I only use a single leg jack for raising and lowering the trans/t-case, but a trans jack would be great, just don't have one.
MAKE CERTAIN THE SPRINGS ON THE DISC GO AWAY FROM THE FLYWHEEL. Done that before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would reface the flywheel also. New clutches can chatter if the flywheel is not refaced.

I always think it is better to spend the savings from doing-it-yourself on the proper tools for next time. I'm just about ready to do one right now. This long weekend found myself and my son working on making one nice Jeep out of two. I have an old rusty 85 CJ7 that has a completely rebuilt motor including 4.0 head, cam, Offy and Holley 470 with only a 100 yards on it and a 4" lift. The clutch exploded, the rivits holding the spring cage on the disc pulled through. Never seen that before. I also notice that the pilot bearing was destroyed, only about 2 needles left, Oh yea better replace that also while you are int there.

Matt1981CJ7 09-03-2013 06:42 AM

I'm a relatively fit 51, and I've dropped my heavy T-19 transmission 3 times in the last year, by myself.

I figured out a different approach the last time, and it was by far easier than dropping the separate components. Here's how...

Remove the shift levers and disconnect the speedo cable and reverse light wire. Disconnect the driveshafts at the t-case and wire them up out of your way. Center a floor jack under the skid plate, with the handle pointing out the rear of the CJ. Raise the jack just enough to support the weight. Leaving the T-case, transmission, and skid bolted together, remove the bolts holding the transmission to the bell-housing. Then, remove the bolts holding the skid to the frame. Now, lower the floor jack just enough to prevent the skid from pinching against the frame. At this point, slide the entire t-case/trans/skid assembly straight back to the rear of the CJ. The skid will act as an outrigger against the frame, preventing the t-case/trans from rolling off the jack. You never actually "drop" the t-case or trans, just slide it out of your way. When the clutch job is done, slide the t-case/trans/skid forward and re-stab it.

The entire clutch job took me about 3 hours using this method. I didn't even drain the fluids from the trans or t-case.

I hope this helps,


Ken4444 09-03-2013 11:36 AM

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As a first timer, I did the clutch in my '85 and detailed the work in several posts starting at this one.

If you want to learn the process and enjoy doing work like that, then it might be something you can tackle, but it's a lot of work especially the first time when you're learning as you go along.

It is physically demanding, especially when you have to stick the transmission (possibly with the t-case attached) back into the clutch. You have to get a really heavy assembly lined up with the clutch and then push it in. It's a real bear to wrangle it all. And it won't fit right the first time, so you'll pull it out and stick it back in. The t-case on its own is 90 pounds. Then you still have to get the skid plate back on which is another batch of work.

You're going to need a few specialized tools: transmission jack, bearing puller, torque wrench, maybe a flywheel wrench, possibly an impact wrench and air supply to get the flywheel off if you plan to replace that. Plus there are other issues like if you're going to pull the drive shafts off, is it time to replace the u-joints and do you want to do that yourself?

If you have any doubt about doing it yourself, I would pay a mechanic to do the work. Some things are worth paying someone else to do, and a big job like that may be something you want to outsource.

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