So after my clutch was turned into "Organic Fiber" powder, I knew the day would come when I needed to change it...that day was yesterday and man
what a job that was! Took me eight hours with just an hour break (plus quite a few water and "let's step back and look at the big picture..." breaks). But before I ever took on this $1,500 quoted labor
task myself I wanted to make sure a do-it-yourselfer like...myself, could do it! I took the tutorial off this site and read it over about 10 times to try and get a good mental picture. I thought I had it...needless to say I didn't. THAT it where I come in. Some people just do things better if they have visual aids, you know?! I want to help provide some of those for you!
The write up they have on here in the Drivetrain Tutorial section is already excellent so all I plan on doing is adding my inputs from my experience. (Keep in mind I have a 2004 and the bolt patterns are different on the bell housings on some of the different year models).
1. Secure vehicle with jack stands, (I used a lift...if you have access to one I highly recommend it!)
I went as high as my jack could go, just ake sure it's securely set before going under your Z. This is very important and probably the most crucial, people have been crushed, so be careful. Don't do this on an inclined driveway!
2. Disconnect the battery. (I did this...but I never actually disconnected the starter from the wiring harness, so no wires were exposed...so this wasn't entirely necessary)
3. The exhaust will need to be removed from the cats back to the driveshaft's connection to the rear differential if you're runing a dual exhaust system.
4. Remove the brace connecting the two cats, I also removed the passenger side o2 sensor to give me more room as I'm using those non-fouler extensions. (You might as well remove BOTH O2 sensors as you're going to have to disconnect the whole wiring harness anyway)
5. Remove driveshaft bolts and slide it out, set it aside. (It's literally that easy...the shaft just slides out with little to no resistance at all)
6. Remove all electronic connectors, use a small flat head screwdriver. You don't want to break any of the clips. Make sure you get all of cable management clips and brackets that are clipped on. Using curved needle nose pliers helps. You don't want anything attached to the trans.
7. Remove the rear splash guard. (The one that's directly under the bell housing conection)
8. Remove starter bolts and move it out of the way leaving the cabling intact. Make sure the battery is disconnected, you don't want a short here. (Not sure how a short could happen with the cabling intact...but better to err on the side of caution, no?)
9. Remove the clutch master cylinder and move it to the side. Make a habit of putting the bolts back in place to help you remember where they all go.
10. Remove the shifter from inside the car, twist off the knob and after removing the plastic boot area cover remove all the bolts underneath. Go back under the car and remove the 12 mm bolt holding the shifter in place. It will pop out.
11. Remove the small sheet metal brace under the transmission. (He's not talking about removing the crossmember here...don't do that, it's a very bad idea as it will drop the transmission down! See the picture below to see what I mean...)
12. Start loosening all the bolts to the engine. Make sure you can get to all of them, they will be tight. There was one bolt on top that required me to remove a small bracket that was in the way.
The Bracket and the "hidden" bolt.
13. Once they are loose you can begin positioning the tranny jack, it was it a little tricky to actually tighten the band, its optional and it helps, just try your best. The center of gravity is towards the back of the transmission.
14. Begin removing the crossmember bolts; don't let the transmission just hang by the input shaft.
15. Remove all the bolts and start pulling the transmission out. Again make sure nothing is attached. Be careful as you start lowering it as it could tilt back and begin dripping oil out the output shaft like it did onto me. Lower the trans all the way and it roll it back.
16. I used an impact wrench to remove the pressure plate bolts. Be careful and ready to catch it here as you don't want it to fall on your face.
17. Using a t-55 torx bit remove the flywheel. I used the impact wrench again. This one is heavy too so be ready.
18. Now there is one small little piece left, the pilot bushing. Most clutch sets include this so you might as well change it. The service manual says to use a special tool, use it if you have it. I used an old trick to get this guy out, fill in the hole with some thick grease and with the clutch alignment tool begin tapping it into the hole, (I removed the plastic ring on mine). Eventually the pressure from the grease will pop it out. (Works brilliantly!)
19. Now go back to the transmission remove the retaining clip and remove the throwout bearing from the input shaft. Clean everything out with brake cleaner. That's what any technical manual will suggest because it keeps the fibers from becoming airborne. Trust me, you don't want to breathe that stuff in! Mesothelioma will be knocking on your lungs in a few years...
20. Use a gear puller to remove the bearing from the sleeve. Now here is the tricky part, I couldn't figure out how to hold the center section of the puller in place. I just happened to find a thick washer that fit perfectly into the center of the sleeve. (I wasn't so mechanical with it...I put the sleeve in a vice and hammered the old bearing off)
21. Wipe off all the grease from the crankshaft to begin installing the pilot bushing. The pilot bushing is soft brass so care must be taken when taping it in. I used a socket and a rubber mallet. Make sure it feels smooth on the inside and that it's pushed straight all the way in. (I used the spline alignment tool again for this one...it's soft plastic and if you remove the ring on top it makes a good soft, flat surface to tap the bushing in...who would've thought that little tool could have so many uses )
22. Press the new throwout bearing on to the sleeve. The manual says to use a press, I used a vise, I flipped the serrated jaws to have a smooth surface to squeeze with. This is crucial, don't mark up the bearing's surface and make sure it goes on straight. (Or if you really want to be gentle with it don't use a vice OR a press...just use your body weight, your palm, and a flat surface and press it on that way. Worked just fine for me and the bearing had not a scratch on it.)
23. Install throwout bearing assembly on to the input shaft; use the clip to secure the clutch fork. I put a little grease on the bearing's face, the clutch fork and just a tiny wipe on the splines and input shaft.
24. The JWT flywheel has two timing holes and was clearly marked which one to use on 350z. Make sure you use the right one, although its lighter than stock you don't want to drop it on your face. Hand tighten all the bolts. (The F1 Racing flywheel I got didn't have any kind of timing holes that I could see...but the car isn't throwing any codes so I guess it's all good)
25. I don't have the tool to prevent the flywheel from turning and resorted to using a ½" ratchet on the crank pulley with a long pipe/breaker bar holding it in place. If I had more time I'd invest or fab up something better. The pipe was touching the ground as I tightened the bolts to 90 foot lbs. I then followed the instructions to loosen, add red loctite and torque back down to 93 lbs. (I used an impact wrench...worked great for me)
26. I cleaned the flywheel and pressure plate with some carburetor cleaner and some clean shop rags. You don't want any and I repeat any
type of grease or oil on the flywheel or pressure plate. Make sure it's clean, put the clutch disk and hold it in place with the alignment tool.
27. Bolt on the pressure plate, it took a few attempts for me to guess where the alignment dowels go. There are other holes on the flywheel that will not work. Tighten down to 25 foot lbs, remove alignment tool.
28. Now the fun part! Putting the transmission back in. It has to go straight in and you must be careful not to damage the pilot bushing. Twist it and push it in as much as possible, don't bang it in, be patient. If the transmission is in neutral try turning the output shaft or turn the engine over with a ratchet to try and get the splines to line up. I couldn't push mine all the way in but I made sure the splines were in before I began to bolt it up. I used the bolts to bring in the last 1/2 inch. (I eyeballed the splines before I lined the transmission up with the crank making them as close to matching as I could get them and then pushed the transmission right on into the clutch assembly)
29. Bolt the crossmember in place and begin tightening all the bolts. Torque down to about 55 lbs for the big 17mm bolts and about 37 lbs for the smaller 14mm bolts.
30. Install starter and tighten down bolts also to about 37lbs.
31. Reinstall clutch master cylinder, tighten bolts. Whenever your working with aluminum don't ever go over board, you don't want to strip the threads.
32. Now it's just a matter of putting everything back together the way you found it.
33. I had to top off the transmission oil since I spilled some. You'll need a 10mm allen bit to take out the plug.
34. Make sure the shifter goes into all the gears before putting the knob/boot. You might need to re-align it.
35. Connect battery.
36. That's pretty much it, now go take a test drive and enjoy! (I know I did ...and shortly thereafter shamed some "player" in a Mercury Cougar that felt like trying to line up with me at a light on the way home...and I was babying the clutch due to the break-in! Silly rabbit, horsepower is for men!)