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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Several months ago, I noticed that my clutch was starting to "slip" -- especially when shifting under higher speeds. For that matter, the clutch had always been unnaturally "stiff", so this was just a further sign that something had to be done. I have very accurate service records on this car back to 80,000 miles, and as far as I could tell, no clutch work had ever been performed. Seemed like the time was nigh.

After getting some local quotes in the range of $850 - $1100, I thought I might try to do the work myself. I'm a bit of a cheapskate, and some other local Saab'ers encouraged me that this was a good "DIY job that'll put some hair on your chest", which I think is car slang for "you're on your own" :) I ordered up the parts from eEuroparts.com and TheSaabSite.com, which cost me around $320, not counting trips to the hardware store *or* getting the flywheel resurfaced (about $50). I also threw in a Motive Products Power Bleeder, which accounted for another $50 from eEuroparts. Nice little device.

Here's a list of what I purchased (sans hardware store stuff):
- clutch disc
- pressure plate
- rear main seal (behind the flywheel)
- clutch pressure plate spacer "special tool"
- slave cylinder
- throwout bearing (between slave and pressure plate)
- pilot bearing (goes in the flywheel)
- clutch shaft seal (back of transfer case, in front of slave)
- Motive Products Power Bleeder -- for clutch "bleed" (brakes as well)

I decided to rope in a fellow Saab'er, friend, and co-worker of mine. That's one person, mind you, not three -- and his name is Steve. He certainly has more automotive experience than I do, which isn't saying much, though most of his work has been with motorcycles. Still, a vehicle is a vehicle, right? Well... mostly... and these Saabs are strange beasts all their own.

We scheduled a Thursday to "git 'er done", with grandiose plans of getting the flywheel to the shop at mid-day, and everything back together again by dinner time. In retrospect, our plan straddled hilarity and insanity. I also figured that we would start in my driveway, but my friend's advice eventually won out: a clutch-less car on a sloped driveway COULD be troublesome. ;oops: I cleaned out my garage so that we could work on it in there.

GETTING HONEST ABOUT MY SOURCES
Before I get into the process, I should state that we used several sources for information on getting this project done.

A *big* thanks goes out to fellow Saab'ers Dan and Hans -- both of whom hide their impatience well. :) Without their assistance, I doubt I would've continued on.

Also, we used several online write-ups to help get our bearing. The FixMySaab DIY Clutch pages are helpful, if a bit sparse on a few points. Matthew's Clutch Replacement thread is incredible -- especially if you have all of the "special tools". Great pictures and very thorough. The Townsend Imports Clutch Job is also great, though sparse for newbies who need the details. Dr Rock's "One Man Clutch" idea is genius, though it didn't work for us. Hans' homemade rear main seal tool is incredible and worth the time. Finally, we used the good ol' Bentley Manual on a regular basis, though aggravatingly simple step instructions like "remove plastic clutch cover" make you want to burn the Bentley to a crisp. As always, "installation is reverse of the removal". A combination of all of these sources + some luck/ingenuity allowed us to complete the full clutch replacement in...... (wait for it)..... 2.5 days. The next time will be MUCH faster.

I give this information ahead of time so that someone else may learn from our mistakes & victories. None of these resources was quite enough, but the combination of ALL of these resources was wonderful. Perhaps this write-up will help someone else make a much shorter job of the clutch replacement.

GETTING STARTED: Day 1
My friend rolls up to my house at about 9:30AM. We back my car into the garage, turn on some music, and pop the hood. With the hood popped, we loosen two bolts at the hinges, disconnect the wiper fluid line, and move the hood to a safe place. Not sure how you'd do this by yourself, but some folks have figured it out, I guess.

Since my car is a '92 900 Turbo, we had some stuff to move out of the way. Out came the intercooler piping, air filter piping, AMM, air filter + lid, and whatever else was in our way. I also disconnected the negative battery cable as a "just in case" precaution. We generally tried to remove as little as possible, but ended up taking out the ignition coil (above the radiator) and the right-hand side engine fan. Those are optional, of course, but only took a moment or two to get 'em out of the way. We plugged up any open piping/hoses with blue paper towels, so as not to introduce bad things into the engine, if at all possible.

With those parts safely in bins and accounted for (including corresponding bolts), the first *real* task was removing the aptly named "spawn of satan clutch cover", which you cannot miss. Three bolts hold this plastic cover in place (looking at the car from the front): left-side bolt (9 o'clock position), middle bolt (12 o'clock), and the right-side bolt (3 o'clock). With some sockets and extensions, these aren't difficult. The cover, however, is held in by the forces of evil and really takes some work to remove. Best advice I heard was: "this cover can take a LOT of abuse", which is what's required to get it out of there. Just yank it, twist it, pull it, or whatever it takes. Getting it free really felt like an early victory.

With the clutch cover out of the way, you get a pretty clear shot of the whole mechanism -- transfer, slave cylinder, pressure plate, and the flywheel. If you're lucky enough to own the "special tool" for compressing the pressure plate (check Matthew's write-up -- above), then this is probably a total cake-walk. For the other 99.9% of us, however, it may not be so easy. With one of us pushing the clutch pedal to the floor, we attempted to insert the spacer ring behind the pressure plate fingers -- to keep it compressed and gain some wiggle room. In our case, though, there just wasn't enough room. After a bit of frustration, we found Dr. Rock's idea (see above) and raced off to the store to find the correct bolts/washers. Sadly, it was time wasted as we still could not get enough space to insert the spacer ring. Not entirely sure what happened there. A note of advice: the spacer ring can be placed in the pressure plate with tension from the ring keeping it in place. This way, when the pressure plate does compress enough to allow for the spacer ring, it'll pop into place all by itself. Handy!

Back at the hardware store again, we were grasping at straws and attempting to salvage a fairly poor outing thus far. We stumbled upon an 1 1/4" (1.25") u-bolt that was the perfect width for the collar between the slave cylinder and the pressure plate. With some skepticism (from my friend), we grabbed the u-bolt and two metal bars that were hollow. The idea was to fit the u-bolt around the collar, cinch it down with the (included) nuts, and then use the long metal bars over the threads to get some leverage. Back at the ranch, we assembled our own special tool, tightened it up, pressed the clutch pedal down, and pulled back on the metal rods. Voila! It actually worked!! Within a few moments, the spacer ring was in-place. Another sweet, if small, victory for the home team.









In front of the slave cylinder and transfer case -- facing the radiator -- is a small cover with a spring-loaded bar keeping it in place. Use a screwdriver to pry the bar off, remove the cover, and you'll see the very end of the input shaft. The "+" shaped oil sprayer can be unscrewed and set aside. What's left is the (mostly hidden) end of the input shaft, which has to be slid toward the front of the vehicle. If you're very fortunate, you can simply screw an M8 (1.25) bolt where the oil sprayer was, grab a pry bar, and then force the input shaft toward the front of the vehicle -- being mindful to NOT damage the radiator.

Of course, it didn't work that way for us.

Try as we might, that sucker wouldn't budge. If my records were correct, it's entirely possible that the input shaft had never been removed, so it was likely in there pretty good. Since the day was winding down, we accepted temporary defeat and called it good for now. Not the most successful repair outing ever, but what are ya gonna do? We decided to get back at it on Saturday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
GETTING EVEN: Day 2

Not too long after "calling it quits" on Thursday, I found a trick on the Townsend Imports write-up that made a lot of sense. Basically, you use the torque of tightening the bolt to pop the input shaft out. It was worth a shot.

Saturday morning rolls around, and we're ready to tackle this thing once and for all! We had a time table to keep.... and a machine shop that was only open until 4PM -- so we needed to get the flywheel out ASAP.

Using my friend's 30mm socket, which is pretty large, and a long M8 bolt + washer, we constructed our own "flywheel puller". Place the washer over the bolt, and then slide the bolt through the square end of the socket. Screw the bolt into the end of the input shaft and line up the open end of the socket so that it is centered around the shaft housing. (Note: the right size socket is necessary so that the walls of the socket push against the transfer case, while the bolt pulls the input shaft outward. Too small of a socket, and you're just working against yourself. Ask me how I know. ) As you tighten the bolt, you'll feel a "pop" as the input shaft frees up. All told, the final extraction took all of about 30 seconds. An early victory on Day #2 of the clutch job.



(Note: this picture was taken before we'd decided to remove the ignition coil and engine fan. Also, we were still attempting to use a pry bar to get the input shaft free, which ultimately didn't work for us. Lastly, you'll see some long bolts between the pressure plate and the flywheel. Our attempt at Dr. Rock's "one man clutch" method, which also wasn't successful. So sad.)

With the input shaft moving freely, we could now focus on removing the slave cylinder, pressure plate, and finally the flywheel. With the car in gear, we loosened up the bolts on the pressure plate. Next, we tackled the three allen bolts on the rear (back facing) side of the slave cylinder. One of them was a *real* pain to get at, so be patient. It will take time.

We ended up leaving the slave cylinder (and lines) fully connected, but moved off to the side. With that out of the way, however, the pressure plate and clutch disc were easily removed.






(TOP: front-side of pressure plate. MIDDLE: clutch disc. Both are looking pretty tired and ready-to-be-replaced, if you ask me. BOTTOM: the flywheel ready to be removed.)

With a fair amount of torque, the bolts on the flywheel freed up without too much frustration -- thanks to my friend. I never touched them, actually. We carted the flywheel off to our local machine shop. An hour later (and relieved of $50), the flywheel was machined flat and purty -- and ready for placing back into the Saab.

As an aside, fellow Saab'er, Hans, mentioned that you can also take the pressure plates -- both old and new -- to the machine shop to have them remove the spacer ring from the old, and place it into the new. That definitely would've saved us some time/energy, but also would've denied us some rather epic moments getting the spacer ring into the new pressure plate! More on that later.

Following some burgers from the local A&W, we were ready to start the reassembly process... but not before we tackled that pesky rear main seal (just behind the flywheel). With a long screwdriver + some gumption, we removed the old rear main seal, but that's the easy part. The rear main seal is another one of those jobs that calls for a "SAAB special tool", if you happen to have it. We didn't. With advice from Hans, however, we set out to make our own rear main seal tool, which really worked dandily.

It's worth noting that we deviated from Hans' instructions ever so slightly. He recommended a 3" ABS cap (Note: his original directions say 4" cap, but it should be a 3" cap that measures nearly 4" on the outside. It's intended for 3" ABS material.) Instead of using a hack saw to cut the ABS cap heighth down, we purchased some long bolts the same thread as the flywheel bolts and kept the cap the standard height. As I remember, we could've gone with 60mm bolts, but opted for 70mm + washers. Either way works, but the depth of the cap and/or bolts is critical. The bolts can only go in so far, so if the bolts (or cap) is too tall, then the main seal won't seat all the way.

So, the next trick was to drill some holes in the cap that line up with the flywheel bolt layout. The flywheel is actually held on with 7 bolts (+ an alignment dowel), but we only needed 3 holes to apply even pressure to the rear main seal.




(TOP: underneath of our rear main seal tool. Note that the lip of the cap faces the rear main seal. BOTTOM: the outside-facing portion of our tool, with markings for finding the center. We decided to only drill 3 bolt holes, though they are mostly evenly spaced around the circle.)

Getting the holes aligned on the ABS cap was fairly tricky, actually. We ended up drawing a straight line across the top of the cap, then a right-angle line (forming two sides of a box), then the other right-angle, and finally the fourth side of the box. With a "perfectly square" square on our cap, we could connect corners and find the center of the cap. With the center found, we could line it up on the flywheel and drill the bolt holes. In retrospect, we could've placed the cap on the ground (open side down), put the flywheel on top, used a tape measure to center the cap beneath the flywheel, and then drilled the bolt holes. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

With the tool fashioned, we carefully placed the new rear main seal, pushed it in finger-tight, and then lined up our tool to fit over it -- lip side facing the main seal. Alternating bolts, we slowly tightened the heads to apply even pressure to the main seal. Being uber-cautious, we actually removed our main seal tool on several occasions to be certain that it was going in straight. Rear main seals are easy to mess up, and a pain to redo. The inside lip of the seal is flexible, and may require some extra attention. After a few checks, we tightened the tool down until the rear main seal appeared to be flush. Whew!







(TOP: longer bolts with 3 washers each. We could've gone with 60mm long bolts + no washers instead. MIDDLE: the under-side view. BOTTOM: our main seal tool in place, but without the washers. We hadn't figured that out yet. Sheesh.)

The rear main seal properly placed, it was now time to put the flywheel back on. I placed the new bearing in the center of the flywheel and used a soft mallet blow to get it into place. Then, using some brake cleaner, we wiped down the front-facing (machined) side of the flywheel so that it was free of debris. The flywheel itself can only bolt on with one orientation, so we carefully placed it back in the car and torqued it down to spec -- maybe 45lbs or so? We also used some threadlock to be certain that the bolts would stay in place.

Now... before the rest of the new stuff could go back in, we had one more seal to remove -- the input shaft seal -- which is on the rear (slave cylinder) side of the transfer case. What was described as a "use a long screwdriver and pop it out" process, ended up turning into one of the biggest frustrations of the job thus far. With limited access or leverage, we pried and pried at that stupid shaft seal, but only really managed to rip it apart. After an hour or so (and some bloody knuckles), we called it a day -- somewhat miffed that we hadn't gotten any further than just over halfway. Maybe that input shaft seal just needed a good "time out" to think about its attitude? Seemed like a logical plan.

As I settled down for some dinner, I thought about one of the Saabnet suggestions to "use a hair dryer" on the input shaft seal. It didn't make much sense to me, but hey...nothing else was working. I grabbed my wife's hair dryer, angled it to be pointing directly at the shaft seal, and turned it on FULL heat and FULL blow. Then I left it for about 20 minutes. Upon checking it a 2nd time, I noticed that the hair dryer was no longer running, which was not a good sign. In this case, it had simply popped the surge protector circuit. Grabbing our longest screwdriver -- nearly 20", or so -- I pried at the shaft seal a few more times, just trying to get behind it on one side. What do you know? POP! Out it came. I could go to bed in good spirits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
GETTING FINISHED: Day 3
We decided that we had time to finish up the project the next day, so we got a late Sunday start at around 1:30PM or so. My friend brought his Dad along, which was good for some technical know-how, as well as some comedic relief.

The first step was to remove the spacer ring from the old pressure plate and get it into the new one. Since I hadn't let the machine shop do that for me (doh!), we had to do it ourselves. Someone had mentioned jacking up the car, and then letting the weight of the car -- with some appropriately placed "blocking" -- apply the necessary pressure to the pressure plate. Seemed like a reasonable solution. With the old pressure plate facing upward, we jacked up the car, placed a roll of duct tape on top of the pressure plate (+ some wood blocks to fill the gap), and lowered the car down again. Easy as that! We grabbed the spacer ring and pushed the old pressure plate aside.

Getting the ring into the new pressure plate should be just as easy, right? Well... yeah... unless the pressure plate is of the "smaller" variety where the spacer ring seems to be TOO large. In actuality, the spacer ring can be bent enough to fit into the new pressure plate, but it needs to be able to fit around whatever you're using to compress the pressure plate fingers. The previous roll of duct tape was too large, so the bent portion of the spacer ring couldn't squeeze in. Upon scavenging around the garage, we stumbled upon a sealed can of tuna that *appeared* to be the right size. With some skepticism and laughing, we gave it a try. To our amazement and surprise, it worked great *AND* gave us an epic photo in return. Not only that, but the can of tuna didn't break or bulge. Impressive!





(TOP: compressing our new pressure plate with 6 blocks of wood and a can of Kirkland Signature Solid White Albacore tuna. How awesome is that? Notice how much smaller the "finger window" is compared to the old pressure plate. BOTTOM: just a close up shot. Notice the piece of metal touching the "O" in "Albacore". That is the bend in the spacer ring that required a smaller diameter round thing to compress the pressure plate.)

With the pressure plate spacer ring in place, we were ready to make the "sandwich". Basically, you take the clutch plate, pressure plate, release bearing, and slave cylinder -- bind them tightly together with long zip ties -- and then place them as a unit into the car. Check out this post from Matthew, about 1/3 of the way down. Even when sandwiched, it's a pretty tight squeeze getting these between the flywheel and transfer case -- but you can do it. Lightly tighten the pressure plate bolts and then slide the input shaft toward the flywheel. You'll have to spin the shaft a bit to make it line up with the teeth of various components. In our case, the final 1" of the shaft was the most difficult to pop back into place. A few hits of the mallet helped with that. You will likely also need to spin the flywheel with a long screwdriver. We removed the zip ties from the "sandwich" (making sure to get all of them) leaving no pieces behind. Then, we replaced the oil sprayer and cap + spring bar.

Now, we cinched down the pressure plate bolts (around 20lbs of torque, I believe) and oriented the slave cylinder to face the proper direction -- to the right. As suggested from some folks, we replaced the 3 allen head bolts for the slave cylinder with hex head bolts -- 6mm, 1.0 thread, and 25mm long. Easier to work with, I guess, but still a hassle.



Now, we carefully (and quickly) removed the lines from the old slave cylinder and placed them onto the new slave -- taking care NOT to use the clutch pedal in any way until the system had been bled. Using the Motive Power Bleeder, we added about 2 quarts of DOT4 brake fluid to the container, screwed the cap onto the fluid reservoir, and pressurized the bleeder to about 18lbs. Then, we slipped a rubber tube over the bleeder nipple of the slave cylinder and into a bottle for old fluid. Open the bleeder valve and watch the fluid come out -- taking note of "dirty" fluid, bubbles, and decent movement. It doesn't take long to fill up a 16oz container with old fluid, so keep an eye on it.. Then, we closed the bleeder valve, depressed the clutch pedal, and removed the spacer ring -- which required the help of some pliers. We bled and re-bled the system until the pedal felt "normal" (not squishy) and all of the air bubbles were out. At this point, we also had too much fluid in the reservoir, which I removed with a large, clean syringe that we had sitting around -- for whatever reason. A turkey baster would've worked too.



So what did we have now? A beautiful and fully-functioning clutch in the ol' 900 Turbo. How great is that? Let me tell you... it was a great feeling.

The rest of the project was "academic", right? Slap on a few hoses, toss the hood back on, and drive away! Well.... yes and no. Sadly, hot on the heels of a successful clutch install is that cursed "spawn of satan clutch cover". Trust me: it crossed mind more than a few times to not put that cover back on at all, but somehow that just didn't seem like a bright idea :) While the rest of the clutch job will really get easier over time, I'm not sure that the plastic clutch cover ever does. And, in fact, removing the cover was nothing compared to putting it back on. My best advice/tips are these: 1) don't be afraid to really lay into that cover -- it can take it, 2) be sure to use the bolt holes for alignment, and 3) use some other tools -- screwdrivers, prybar, whatever -- to work it into place. It is possible to put that sucker back in.

With the clutch cover back on, we began to reassemble the remaining hoses, vacuum lines, and various hardware bits that we removed. In this case, "reassembly is reverse of the removal" was fairly sage advice. Some things really must go in before others, so just take your time. We put some effort toward getting things buttoned up correctly, and not just quickly. Be mindful of the AMM, turbo hoses, and getting every bolt/hose/connector back into place. In our case, we ended up with a vacuum line that took awhile to find the proper destination for (we had unhooked one end of it), and a mystery connector that we didn't need. Wish I could have that hour of my life back!


Finally, we hooked the battery back up again and reattached the hood. I'm thankful that we had two helping hands for getting the hood back in-place, 'cause that would've been an extra end-of-the-day frustration that we didn't need!

THAT'S A WRAP
So, there you have it. A quick run-down of getting a new clutch (+ associated parts/seals) into a '92 900 Turbo. I'll admit that I was very apprehensive about this job -- and I never could've completed it by myself -- but I'm glad that we did it. We also now have some homemade "special tools" that we'll definitely use when we replace the clutch on my friend's Saab -- whenever that might be. Hopefully not TOO soon :)

A *very* big special thanks to my friend Steve for his help, knowledge, tools, and patience. I owe you one!

Thanks for reading.



 

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My trick for removing the input shaft is the "persuader". First, get a pickle fork as used to remove tie-rod ends. Next, find a 4 foot long piece of steel pipe which is the same I.D. as the pickle fork handle (even better is if it's a friction fit). Pound the pipe onto the handle of the pickle fork until the fork portion is snug against the pipe. If you've done it right, you'll never be able to retrieve the pickle fork again and it's permanently imbedded into the steel shaft.

Next is much the same as described. After removing the oil-thrower, insert an appropriate screw with about a 1" - 1.5" fender washer (the washers that hold the back of the passenger front seat to the "D" hooks on the '88 and earlier models is perfect), then pry the shaft out with the pickle fork "persuader". I've now taken dozens upon dozens of input shafts out and even the most stubborn has been no match for the "persuader". Most hardly require any effort at the end of the shaft and the worst rusted in shafts are still very manageable (though occasionally require standing on the coil towers to get enough leverage). It isn't really necessary to remove the coil or the fan, but it is a good idea to place a piece of sheet metal in the way of the shaft so that it can't damage the radiator. A stubborn input shaft can really give way with quite a pop!

I've been working on a tool that would have the pickle fork at one end and at the other end it would have a tool like the Saab special tool for compressing the pressure plate for insertion of the spacer. In my experience, the 4 feet of tubing is maybe a bit more than is EVER necessary, so I'm considering going down to 3 feet. A double ended tool such as this would pretty much make a clutch change a snap. It's one of those jobs that goes much faster the second time for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been working on a tool that would have the pickle fork at one end and at the other end it would have a tool like the Saab special tool for compressing the pressure plate for insertion of the spacer. In my experience, the 4 feet of tubing is maybe a bit more than is EVER necessary, so I'm considering going down to 3 feet. A double ended tool such as this would pretty much make a clutch change a snap.
Are you thinking of selling this tool, or are you just making it for yourself?

Anyhow, thanks for the tips!
 

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Are you thinking of selling this tool, or are you just making it for yourself?

Anyhow, thanks for the tips!
Mostly just planning to make one for myself, but I'll probably make it available to others for whatever it costs to make and ship if the request is made (not for profit really). As you and I have both discovered, getting that darn spacer ring and popping the input shaft out are two of the most difficult steps, so this would be quite useful to fellow Saabers. I'd think it would be somewhere well under $25 to get the materials for this dual purpose tool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mostly just planning to make one for myself, but I'll probably make it available to others for whatever it costs to make and ship if the request is made (not for profit really). As you and I have both discovered, getting that darn spacer ring and popping the input shaft out are two of the most difficult steps, so this would be quite useful to fellow Saabers. I'd think it would be somewhere well under $25 to get the materials for this dual purpose tool.
Sounds great! :p Please keep us posted.

Meanwhile, my car promptly blew a high pressure power steering line shortly after the clutch install! I tell ya... it's never dull when you drive a Saab ;)
 

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There is some really good information in this thread, so hopefully I'll be contributing something worthwhile here. I've finished up a clutch tool and after a failed first attempt at the junkyard (where I like to test any of my homemade tools that may disable my vehicle ;) ) I've arrived at a version that works very well. I opted to keep it a separate tool from the shaft prying tool, thinking that it will be convenient to have a separate 2 1/2 or 3 foot steel shaft (1" I.D.) and 2 attachments in the form of the compressor and the shaft puller. I'm still working out the final design of the shaft puller attachment, but it will be similar in format to a pickle fork only with a smaller slot to eliminate the need for a large fender washer. Hopefully, just a standard Saab 12mm headed bolt will do without damaging the bolt head, of which there are plenty around under the hood to use in a pinch.

A note about my welding. ;) I don't have a very "nice" welder. I just use a Harbor Freight $100 flux core wire welder. These types of welders are at their best as much like an arc welder as they are a mig welder. They splatter a fair bit even when you're getting a decent weld. The cheap welder I have is a bit tempermental, but it does produce very solid welds with good penetration. They just don't always look so great/ When I use a good mig, such as a Miller, I'm always in heaven and the welds are smooth as glass. With my welder, it's just about function. As you'll see by my first failed design, the welds produced are far stronger than the steel and I figure I can't ask for much more. At least until I get the O.K. from the wife for a Miller that is!

First here are some photos of the pressure plate compressor. Again, a 1" I.D. pipe should fit right over it. The shaft is made of solid hexagonal steel which measures approx. 1" from point to point or 3/4" from side to opposing side. The first generation can be seen in the back and was made from steel tubing with an 1/8" wall. Obviously, it wasn't nearly strong enough and bent quite easily. There should be no more problems with bending now!





Next, this is my approach to compressing the clutch for installation of a spacer ring while out of the car. It is important to note that the pilot bearing has been removed and a new one is not yet installed at this point. If you were to install the pilot bearing, there may not be enough clearance through the bearing for a 1/2" bolt as I've used. I'm also assuming that there is no reason you wouldn't be replacing this bearing, emergency repair aside. It's cheap, readily available and easy to do while it's all apart.

What I do is use a 1/2" bolt that is 4 1/2" long, steps of washers in sizes (I.D.) 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4", and the release bearing. While the release bearing shouldn't get damaged by this proceedure, I would still opt to use the old one if replacing with a new one just to be on the safe side. You will note in the photo that the bearing is installed as it would be if on the slave. This allows the 3/4" washer to ride on the bearing and rotate with the turning of the nut. It makes for a very easy time tightening the nut without the bolt assembly trying to walk around in the loose fitting aperture. Compressing the pressure plate this way is very quick and leave the plate quite open for installing the spacer. Once the spacer is in, you can remove the pressure plate from the flywheel and install the new pilot bearing.


 

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Nice work on that tool fab. Who cares about ugly welds if the thing works? I would like to try and make my own some day and will use this as a model.

The compression of the pressure plate using hardware is a great idea. Much less nerve-wracking than using a jack and the weight of a car. While not as tasty, it's even better than a can of fish :)

Excellent pics as well, btw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow. Really great work (and photos), MMoe. Your idea for compressing the pressure plate is nothing short of genius, and I'm kicking myself for not having thought of it. :eek:

Are you willing to make a few more of those "custom tools" and sell them?
 

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Thanks for the compliments!

Believe me when I say that I had half a dozen really complicated/convoluted ideas for compressing the pressure plate out of the car before realizing that the hole through the assembly could be incredibly handy. I even had thought of welding something resembling a gigantic valve spring compressor that would lock once in the compressed position. As I am someone who enjoys the DIY tool making (check out my pinion depth gauge tool for relocating pinions in my '86 vert project thread ;) ), you can imagine my disappointment when I didn't have to actually make something.

As for making the clutch tool available, I will do that. I'd like to wait until I have finished the prototype shaft removal tool and they will be made as sets. Anyone who wants one can have a set for $20 plus shipping (they're very heavy, maybe fits in a flat rate box?). I can guarantee 2 things regarding the tool. It will be very strong and well built. It will be pretty ugly. If the later is a problem, purchasers can grind the welds themselves. I'll have to make them in batches of around 6-10 just to make best use of my time. It takes me about a half hour to drag all my tools out of the basement and set up to cut and weld. Bring your own 3ft 1" I.D. breaker bar. ;)

I also plan to get a drawing of the tools up for people with the inclination to build it themselves, though I'll caution that it will cost about the same to buy the materials (there's a little savings if you make several sets). Some of you may already have a pile of scraps laying around that would suffice though.

To add a bit to the use of this tool, it does work differently than the actual Saab tool. The Saab tool compresses 360deg by having a separate ring which the lever pushes against via 2 pins on opposing sides. This keeps the pressure even on the springs, but is a little more complicated than I felt it needed to be. The tool I've come up with compresses about 60% of the springs at a time. This allows the spacer to be inserted on part of the plate, after which the tool itself can be used (before removing) to rotate the engine CCW to get the rest of the plate compressed. It takes only minutes to get the ring in and a tremendous amount of force can be applied with this tool if needed.
 

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Question, do you think this is a 6 hour task plus parts ($1000) or so??
Or do you think the price/estimate was reasonable.
I have done more than one 99/900 clutch, when young and healthy, the turbo and the internal slave do add maybe an hour each(liberal shop time).
Only the old VW bug clutches were easier, with a bit less time.....
Seems as if today, the shop rate is approaching $200 per hour;oops:
And, the instructions, pics, and verse are great...Nothing like a good education...
 

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Question, do you think this is a 6 hour task plus parts ($1000) or so??
Or do you think the price/estimate was reasonable.
I have done more than one 99/900 clutch, when young and healthy, the turbo and the internal slave do add maybe an hour each(liberal shop time).
Only the old VW bug clutches were easier, with a bit less time.....
Seems as if today, the shop rate is approaching $200 per hour;oops:
And, the instructions, pics, and verse are great...Nothing like a good education...
That sounds a bit high to me. I would think that someone with the proper tools and the experience should be able to do this task in no more than 3 hours. I would not be surprised if it could be done in 2 hours actually. I'll be changing my sedan's clutch out today, so I'll time myself. Not that I'm a professional, just that if I can do it in 3 hours, a pro should be able to do it faster yet.
 

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I spent part of the day working on my sedan, including checking out the clutch which has been working poorly as of late. As it turned out, I did not need to take the clutch out, so I can't comment on how long it takes to do the whole job. I did, however, remove all the components necessary to remove the clutch right to the point where you would install the spacer ring. At this point, I found that my troubles did not lie there, bled the clutch which restored function to the clutch, the reinstalled everything. The removal to the point of taking the clutch itself out took just under half an hour (all parts out of the way, cover off of transmission). The bleeding of the system took about 5 minutes, and then reinstalling all components took another 45 minutes. If my math is correct, the means that other than the actual removal and replacing of the clutch, you are at around 1 hour and 20 minutes for the home DIYer. I'm pretty confident that I would have been able to finish the entire job in 3 hours total, so it does appear that if a shop quotes 6 hours and charges for it you should find a new mechanic.

Also, I'll have to update my clutch tool design yet again to take into account the bellows style clutch slave. My previous tests had all been on the older style slave and I didn't leave enough clearance for the bellows. I also found that in some instances, the tool interferes with the installation of the spacer ring, so I'll also make accommodations for that issue as well.

Another note for the DIY clutch installer. I'd recommend changing out your positive battery to starter cable while you're there. Again, cheap part that need attention after some time, particularly if it is a turbo and you have most of the components out of the way making it a relatively easy chore at that time. The shielding on the wire can only take so much heat from the turbo before it starts to crack and flake off.
 
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