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Front-Wheel Drive Clutch Replacement - DIY?

OK - I really want to try doing a Clutch Replacement myself on my 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. I think it’d be a good project for me and my almost 16-yr-old son to tackle. The car is paid off, so no risk there, and I just can’t stomach a $1000 repair.

Here’s the question: How exactly is it done? I know you need to disconnect just about everything and drop out the transmission - Other than being time-consuming, it appears pretty straight forward.

With a clutch kit I would then need to replace the appropriate parts (pressure plate, release bearing, et al).

Here’s the question: How do I support the engine on a front-wheel drive? From Above? From Below? With what?

I’ve got the jack stands, and access to good jacks - but not an engine stand or support bar. Can it still be done DIY?

I’ve never done a Sante Fe. I’d recommend that you get a repair manual at the local parts store and review the procedure carefully. It’ll walk you through the process as well as list the special tools you’ll need. The pilot shaft should come with the clutch kit.

OK - but generally speaking on Front-Wheel Drives: How do you support the engine (on a rear-wheel, I’d just take a jack and support the engine under the Oil Pan - generally speaking).

Anybody? A Hint? I respond to charades!

Support the engine by the oil pan and go to town. Replacing a clutch is pretty straight forward, just a lot of wrench turning. Get a repair manual and follow the procedure, it’ll be fun as long as you aren’t in a hurry or feeling rushed.

On some vehicles, it’s easier to leave the transmission in place and pull the engine…On others, the engine and transmission are mounted on a “cradle” that is removed as a single unit…

Buy a service manual for your vehicle before you start twisting wrenches…

I have replaced the clutch on two different brands. In both instances the engine was supported as required with a 2 x 4 on edge using about a 3 foot length of chain wrapped around the 2 x 4 and extending to a tab with a hole in it attached to the cylinder head. The 2 x 4 must not rest on the fenders so instead, use two suitable pieces of wood resting on the edges where the outer and inner fender attachment bolts are located. The end of the engine is not so heavy that you can’t lift the 2 x 4 end to raise and lower the engine as needed with more or fewer wood spacers as needed. Be careful to not let the 2 x 4 fall sideways. Next time I will use a 4 x 4.

A rope or chain hoist would be better than the above procedure.

Don’t forget a new pilot bearing in the flywheel as well as the TO bearing unless your TO bearing is internal to the transmission as with VWs. I skipped the pilot bearings and got away with it. I have done clutches before and have never had to replace a pressure plate nor get a flywheel machined or replaced.

VW driveshafts need to be unbolted. GM driveshafts simply snapped out of the trans when pulled forcefully. If you need to disconnect part of your front suspension such as the A-frames from the lower ball joints to get the driveshafts out of the way, then you will need a front end alignment.

It’s a semi-nasty job on a front driver and I am not looking forward to the next one but the $1000 saved will be motivating.

Ideally, the engine is supported from above with a contraption made just for such repairs but the instructions that WhaWho gave for a home made do it yourself support is very adequate. I have made up similar contraptions and used them with great success many times. If a 3/8" threaded rod is bent and properly connected to the engine near the bell housing and run through the beam running from side to side with two large washers absorbing the thrust and a nut to raise and lower the block as needed the difficulties will be greatly minimized. Raising and lowering the rear end of the block has always been necessary to remove and replace the transmission. I strongly advise getting a good shop manual or have Auto Zone print the instructions for the job. I recall the first clutch that I replaced 40+ years ago took me 2 weekends. Twenty years ago I replaced 3 before lunch one day. Patience and persistence and SAFETY are necessary. Wash the friction surface of the pressure plate as the rustproofing will cause chatter if not removed.

Engine hoists really don’t cost all that much money, and if the OP is into car repair enough to even think about tackling a clutch, it’s probably an investment that would be well worth it. I used to do the rope-from-the-rafters trick myself, but it’s so much nicer when your “rope” is on wheels and can be moved right where you want it easily.