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Discussion Starter #1
Just getting started on my clutch replacement on my 2003 zx3 2.3
Stage 1 clutch on the way from fswerks...
Getting a head start before it gets here, car is on jackstands,battery box removed engine mount removed and holycrap there are all kinds of wires and connections in the way..
Anyone know exactly how many bolts need to be removed from bellhousing ?
Does engine need to be lowered to remove all bolts?
Shift linkage need to be held in place after cables removed?
Any tips on getting the hard to reach bolts out?

I have bookmarked numerous links from this forum, but still can't find all the answers

Please message me or comment
 

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Vince your Moderator
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Put it high up on jackstands, drop the subframe and transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Come on guys drop the subframe really?
Mandroid what do you hate about clutch jobs?
 

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I dropped the subframe on my corolla (94) when I did the clutch. That was the easiest way to do it on that car. I honestly haven't looked on the focus so I shouldn't have jumped to that conclusion. I hate clutch jobs on front wheel drive cars because its a pain in the ass to undo all those connections and deal with the axels.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yep I watched ericthecarguys videos all four 30 min videos...
But was a different transmission..
I am still trying to gather as much info as possible
 

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Yoooo. I did my clutch twice without dropping the subframe at all. It is difficult but totally doable. The tricks I can remember are: you need to keep the bolts laid out and labeled around the bell housing, 'cause a bunch are different lengths.

Make sure you disconnect the little wire harness behind the exhaust manifold (it is tricky to find). Also, when you get everything bacm together you have to remember to hook it back up or your car will not run til you do. Ask me how I know about that: I tried for an hour to get my car to run before I realized that stupid harness wasn't reattatched. You don't need to remove your starter, only take the bolts out. It'll just chill where it is.

I found that with the subframe in place you need 2 floor jacks (real ones) for JUST THE TRANNY, and one for the motor. Dont waste your money on a tranny jack like I did it'll be a waste of money. You need 3 jacks. One for motor, 2 for the tranny.

Reason you need two for tranny is: the tranny has to be 'rolled' out of the engine bay as you drop it, so you wanna approach from the driver's side with them side by side, and as you drop it, the area closest to the firewall will force yku to 'roll' the tranny out by dropping the more forward jack more than the jack beside it that is closer to the firewall. The tranny will 'roll' forward and drop the rest the way out. It will NOT come out without doing that way unless you take a LOT more stuff off of the car.

After you get the bell n motor seperated (which you will want a LONG thick pry bar to seperate: took TEN EXTRA hours without one! when I did it the first time with a crowbar, the tranny was on the ground in 5 hrs from start.) Reason being: you need the prybar on the firewall side of the seam to seperate on both side at the same time, the as you pull them apart, you can't 'walk' the bellhousing out, over, and ACROSS the clutch without that prybar.

When I tried for 10 EXTRA HOURS without it, the motor and tranny will just clam shut back together and you'll never get them seperated 'enough' to bind the edge of the bellhousing against the clutch so that it'll stay apart and you can let go and resituate yourself. I hope that makes sense.

Also go rent a crows foot axle puller! I am REALLY good with hand tools and doing jobs like this aint shit for me, but I STILL almost trashed the tranny seal around the axle trying to pop it's C-clil loose. After ANOTHER wasted hour, I gave in to go rent the crow foot and slide hammer. You must have that or you will trash you tranny seal where the axle goes into the tranny if you just try and pry it loose. And DO NOT pull on the axles, or you will be buying new ones.

So before you start GO GET a long ass pry bar, rent a crows foot and slide hammer from az (30 bucks til you return it), I bought a little box witb sections in it for 2 bucks and used tape on the lid to label where each bell housing bolt went, you need 3 floor jacks and two stands, but I recommend doubling up the stands side by side on both sides. One jack on each side with a stand on each side SHARING the weight. I DO NOT recommend being under a car with only one jack or stand on each side. DOUBLE UP. Hit me up if you run into ANY problem. I know every little step about that gig. Just did it several weeks ago for the 2nd time.
 

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This was my girl's idea and it helped me BIGTIME! I recommend. Maybe everyone does this, but I'm old school AND lazy, so I woulda got them mixed up eventually, 'cause several are close together and you can get yourself turned around easily.



 

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Same socket size all the way around the bell, so that's nice. You'll need the wrench AND the socket wrench with extentions of course.
 

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That white shifter end hanging down in the last pic is a BITCH to get off of the tranny. Be very careful not to trash it's innards!!! I swear that thing took me 45 minutes of cursing and stepping away and retrying lol. The whole 'push the middle in while you pull' thing didn't seem to work on mine at all. And DON'T push down on the big orange buttons on them which will tempt you when you get to the point of frustrated. It will jack your adjustment of them so leave them alone. They will NOT help you get the dang thing off lol.
 

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Oh yeah, remove your fan assembly. It takes 10 minutes to remove and just has to happen or you will break the fans. I recommend covering your radiator with something if you can safely, but I was just careful with how close I got with it.

When you move the motor down a little to give the tranny wiggle room, you must watch all of your 'firm' plastic vacuum hoses around the firewall. Some of them dont allow for ANY movement of the motor, so any of those as they start getting tight, will have to be diconnected. I cracked the 1/4" plastic hose that goes to the brake booster at the 7 oclock position because I didn't notice that one, so that would be one to watch or disconnect for sure.



 

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Notice in this last pic how my crappy harbor freight tranny jack ended up being the motor's jack instead?! I had to switch it out for the 2 jacks under the tranny because I forgot from the last time that: you gotta twist, or 'roll' the tranny forward and out at the same time if you don't remove the subframe. Can't do that without two jacks side by side to control the 'roll'. Don't try dropping the tranny with only one jack under it. It has it's weight awkwardly distributed and will do something unexpected and not cool, so, 2 side by side to control it. Plus, again, you gotta make it twist out, and you can't do that with only one support point under it.
They need to be side by side and aproach and hold the tranny from the driver's side, just like if you were using them side by side to lift the car.


The tranny will not seperate and just drop straight down, so you gotta have that fkn long prybar. Go buy the dang thing before you start. You will seperate the firewall side and walk it against the clutch. It won't hurt anything to do that for a moment. Then just keep walking it across the clutch face as you use the jacks to drop and roll it out.
Of course, you must do the opposite to put it back it. I started the reinstall with the tranny on it's side only on the left jack which is the one closer to the front of the car. As I slowly lifted it back up, I raised the jack beside it to eventually 'catch' the tranny when I tump it over into position and 'roll' it back into it's place. Walk it across your new clutch's face carefully, and when you make it all the way across the clutch, it'll just slide back together like butter. You gotta do it that way if you dont drop the subframe. It's tricky but works. You're gonna cuss a little.
 

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Oh yeah, and fk the haters! GENTLY use an air gun to take flywheel bolts out. You could snap teeth on the flywheel trying to hold it while trying to break them loose by hand. They are on there like a mofo!! I used burps of the gun to retighten the new ones too. Ppl may frown on it, but it worked very well for me. If you are good with an airgun, that makes the flywheel part EASY and QUICK.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Cheap sleeper thanks a lot.
I will prob rereadyour posts another dozen times before I attempt the job.
Besides that harness thingy behind manifold could you tell me what bolts are hardest to get to,because I'll get them first,also how does that harness attach bolt or ?

I will be in need of your advice very soon I think,thanks for the wealth of info...

Anyone else want to contribute please do
 

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Cheap sleeper thanks a lot.
I will prob rereadyour posts another dozen times before I attempt the job.
Besides that harness thingy behind manifold could you tell me what bolts are hardest to get to,because I'll get them first,also how does that harness attach bolt or ?

I will be in need of your advice very soon I think,thanks for the wealth of info...

Anyone else want to contribute please do
Hey no sweat bro that's a large gig so I'm glad to be of help to anyone man enough to do it. (I'm not that manly, just like saving gobs of money lolol)

Hmmm... the hardest bolts to get to are 'technically' the lower starter and bolts directly below the starter, because you have to lay 100% underneath the car to access that spot. Make sure everytime you are underneath that you double up support on each side of the car, get a brand new pair of clear glasses at harbor freight or northern tool for 2 bucks and wear the dang things everytime you are underneath working, you will save yourself from numerous timeouts, pain, and cursing by having them on!

Some other big things are: There are several bolts that take many thousands of partial turns, as a 1/4 turn is all you will be able to get on some of them, so MAKE YOURSELF STAY COOL. Any one of those 'toughies' (as me and my girl call them) can take up to 10 minutes of partial turns before it is finally out, one or two even require you to 'flip' the wrench over between every 1/4 turn. That will test your patience greatly if you don't stay cool, have sense of humor about it, stay zoned on whatever's hosing you til you power through, unless your hand starts fatiguing, then of course stop for a minute, grab a smoke or drink, but know that you must return and finish defeating it! :p

To finish answering your qs: the 'other hardest bolts to get to are imo the very top right one and the other starter bolt. So: all 3 starter bolts lol and the top right one. For the top right and top left one (which is directly to it's left ~8 inches) use a couple of short 3/8 extensions to put your ratchet out in the open 10 inches away from the tranny. It will give you room to use the ratchet! (Don't try to use 1/4 stuff on those bolts. They are torqued a little more than any 1/4" drive will take.)

The reason those two are tricky is because you have to 'feel for it' instead of being able to see it. Honestly though, you will find that getting all the bell housing bolts out isn't really tough at all, especially if you stay patient and precise. The tougher part is coming up with your own way of labeling each bolt and perfectly describing to yourself for LATER, by just reading your label, WHERE it goes. I arranged my bolts where they were actually 'in' the box the way they are positioned on the tranny. So I put them in the cells clockwise around the outer cells of the box. All the left over cells were used for obvious bolts/ locations.

Remember, when you disassemble anything heavy, remove all the bottom bolts first! Then do all the tops last! I imagine you already know that, but it is easy to forget something so important like that for your own safety!

DON'T PUT YOUR FACE DIRECTLY UNDER THE BOLTS WHILE YOU WORK ON THEM. All those firewall side bolts under the starter require you to put your face directly unde the bolts to SEE them, but after you get a visual on your next bolt, reposition yourself so that your face will not be under the bolt and tool. Cannot stress that enough. Catch yourself from doing it! Everytime I forgot that rule, I would get a visual, start getting the tool up there to it and SLIP! Metal tool falling right at my face. You could easily lose your front teeth in one accidental instant by not remembering to MOVE your face before you start fanagling the tool up to the bolt.

GLOVES
Bro I hate wearing gloves in any situation, but buy 2 boxes of nitrile gloves from harbor freight for 10 bucks. Every time you stop working on the car, garbage pile. As soon as you wanna start back to jammin, stop and make yourself put a pair on. My girl was the glove police for me this time so my hands and nails wouldn't look like crap afterward like usual, and so I wouldn't mark up the whole house lololol. My nails still looked brand new the moment I finished everything and started the car. I admit, I love them now. I should've been using them all these years! I went through a whole box of them doing the swap.

Don't worry about lifting the back of the car. I never do. BUT ebrake and chock it obviously.

You have to put the crow's foot axle puller piece in the spot between the axle head and the tranny without the slide hammer attatched to it. Once you FINALLY get it to fit in there between the tranny and the head of the axle, you'll discover a path to put the slide hammer rod through to reach the crow's foot's threads, and just screw it together and give it a couple of good pops. A little fluid's gonna dump when they come out obviously unless you drained the tranny ahead of time. I don't, so that's 'party time!' (We say that when we know fluids're 'bout to dump)and I have a trash can lid ready to catch. Btw.... trash can lid...... Awesome catch can you didn't know you already have haha!

Anyway uuuhhh... tarping the driveway before you start might be a clever way to avoid making your drive way look TERRIBLE as mine now does.

Try your very best to only break bolts loose with SIX point sockets and wrenches. They are difficult to source, but 12 point sucks for breaking bolts loose and some of those are super tight and will test your might. Plus, if you round one the bolts?? oooooooooweeeee!!! NOT good!!

Source yourself a couple of different pipes, one bigger around than the other, that will slide over various large and small wrenches you are using so you can take really tight ones off super easy. I used one of my jack's handles and a slightly bigger diameter pipe for larger wrenches.

Don't attempt to break any bolt loose with the open end of a wrench. Gotta at least get the round side of the wrench on to 'crack it loose', then you can use the open side for quicker removal. I'm sure you probably know that as well, just trying to cover everything. Stripping any bolt would suuuuper-suck, and if you break your only XXmm tool, you gotta clean up and go buy another. :/

So have 2 of each incase you break one: 8,10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19mm wrench AND 2 of each in sockets. Really, if you own a Focus, you should have 2 of EVERY metri size, even the .5 mms hehe.

You need deep well impact sockets for passenger motor mount. I basically went to harbor freight and bought 2 of every metric wrench size and 2 of every metric socket size. Each kit does not have every single mm, so you will sometimes have to buy four kits to get double of every single size. DON'T FRET BUYING A [:)][:)][:)][:)][:)]TON OF TOOLS. Go to harbor freight and go crazy. Reason being, they have a 90 day return policy, and you return everything you don't use. By doing it that way, you are never forced to cease operation and lose your momentum. Better to never suddenly not have what you need, especially when you do it over night like I did! lol nothing is open 'cept wally world!

Honest to goodness, I spent like 1000 on tools to add to my already existing full metric arsenal. I've never had my own air comp at home, so I got one, and all the tools and necessary gak for it for ~$160 total. I never used any of it until I reached the FLYWHEEL. DAMN... that, you want an airgun for. I was actually gonna take all the airtool sht back too if it hadn't been for the flywheel. So ~$120 for a compressor big enough to BRIEFLY run a large airgun (1/2") and the gun and hose and ends for it. Worth it for the flywheel. I ended up returning $300 worth. I now own lots of 3 ton floor jacks, a few new socket kits, a couple of new wrench kits, so I can pretty much do any swap work now. Hehe!

You really only need

5 3-ton lowrider floor jacks for ~82 a piece on sale

Every metric regular and deep well size socket in kits.

Every metric size wrench long and short in various kits.

Big ass pry bar.... Like a 2.5 ft long one.
2 is better/easier, but not necessary.

The pipes I mentioned.

Aquire 5 3-ton jacks and two stands however you can, it's the safest way bro. Don't use any kind of jacks but 3-Ton, flat-style, floor jacks. Don't buy or use those ghey ones that have a single 'barrel' at the front instead of wheels.

Use some thin plywood under your jack's front wheels. It keeps them from sinking into your driveway.

Don't sit any tools on your wipers lol.

Sorry for the hella post.
 
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