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1970 Datsun 1600 Roadster

I’ve owned my Roadster for 18 years and it has run for about 18 months. It’s been garaged for most of the time, and yet it’s still rusting (NW Pennsylvania). Here’s my question: It needs a clutch. I’m not much of a car guy, but I’ve got nothing to lose. So, how hard is it to replace a clutch?

Actually, it’s easy enough if you have a lift and the right tools, which would include a compressor and air tools. Or if you have a lot of time on your hands, physical strength, and patience, and oh yeah, can still buy the part.
After the last thing, anything is possible. Start there. If you can get the parts, the replacement is the easy thing.

I say too hard for a self described “non-car guy”.I feel a person should work their way up, that is, a clutch job should not be the first job to do unsupervised.

You will have to pull the engine and transmission out of the car to replace the clutch so I’m thinking… Not a job for a non-car guy.

Heres the deal, back in my neophyte days of mechanican, I had a 68 Datsun 510 sedan. It has the same engine and transmission as your roadster. With regular tools and in a parking spot on the street, I jacked up the right front end of the car using the scissor jack from the trunk, did a VERY dangerous thing of not using jack stands (young and dumb), pulled that tire, climbed under the car and removed the transmission without a transmission jack. It is very light and I am no Charles Atlas. I weighed 140 at the time and could barely bench 115.

I dropped the transmission onto my chest and wiggled out from under the car (on asphalt, no padding or dolly). I replaced the clutch, put the transmission on my chest and wiggled back under the car and put the transmission back in place. It all worked.

First piece of advice, use jack stands, the heavier duty the better. The next time I went to use that jack, a pin holding it together broke and dropped the car. Fortunately I wasn’t under it at the time or you would not be seeing this post.

The only special tool you will need it the spline tool. Most clutch kits come with one, if yours doesn’t, it’s only about $2 from AutoZone for a plastic one, but you may need to order it and that could take a week to come in. You do not need air tools or compressor but you might need a torque wrench to do it properly. I don’t remember if I used one or not, I didn’t have a repair manual for it either, but that would help if you can find one.

Be sure to get a complete kit as the pressure plates in these loose their “spring” and are not really reusable.

I did a similar thing (several times) with a '65 Mustang (170 cid 6/4sp) using ramps. I did have access to a complete set of tools, and had worked on cars quite a bit by the time I did it. OP will want to secure the engine to prevent damage to the motorr mounts (and him!) when the rear transmission mount is removed.

I didn’t secure the engine.

Did a Toyota Corolla years back virtually the same way. Didn’t secure the motor, either, but it was RWD at the time. Not securing the motor actually made it easier to get at the bolts by the firewall.

(did this during a friends shop class…in and out…55 minutes…they all watched, I was stunned)

Here’s a clutch kit for $200.,carcode,1378021,parttype,1993

Thanks Keith. That is the spirit that has brought me back to my little “project” after a decade. I’ve got nothing to loose and everything to gain. It needs a lot of attention, but I’ve got the time and the $.

This is a great site. Thanks.

Just remember . . . tools and machines have no conscience . . . and they will hurt you if you’re not careful. I must’ve told my one friend this 100 times before he got the first 1/2 inch of his index finger cut off doing automotive work. Careful. Check your jack stands 2x, have someone around in case something goes wrong. Have your jack ready to go back under the car in a hurry by someone who knows how to use it. So far as the clutch job? If you have a garage (sounds like you do) . . . why not? Rocketman