What’s a clutch alignment tool? Well, a clutch alignment tool is the small plastic piece that comes with any new clutch plate. The alignment tool is the most boring and the most necessary part of any new clutch install.
Any actual gear head will know that pain that replacing a clutch causes. The transmission is heavy. You’re sure to get oil all over everything, and if you don’t have a shop, then maneuvering anything into place underneath your car is the king of all frustrating tasks.
Now imagine getting out from under your car after a hard day of work, starting up your baby, and entering stall city. You see, without a properly aligned clutch, your car will have trouble shifting into first gear – if at all.
Ensure that you’re using your alignment tool after installing your new plate – no matter how exhausted and over the process you are.
1. Finding Your Clutch Alignment Tool
A clutch alignment tool will usually come pre-packaged in a complete clutch kit, but you have to buy one separately if you’re only replacing the plate.
Sounds simple, right? Well, each car has a different clutch set up, so you’re going to have to carefully choose your tool to ensure that you’re working with the right set up.
Basically, you need to find the number of splines that your transmission assembly has on it, and then you need to find the transmission adjustment tool with the same number of splines.
You can use an online tool finder to determine the right tool, or you can reach out to us. We’ll give you more reliable answers than any machine can.
Most importantly, never use the wrong size alignment tool for your clutch. If the tool keeps slipping, wiggles in a loose way, or you have to force it in, get a different tool. You don’t want an improperly aligned transmission that will ruin itself, a slipping clutch, and a bunch of wasted money on the wrong tool.
Reach out before you rock out.
2. Learn About What Your Clutch Alignment Tool Does
Your flywheel bolts to the crank at the back of your engine, and inside of the crank is a large bearing that allows the assembly to spin freely.
Allowing your flywheel to spin freely is essential for a properly working car — your flywheel stores rotational energy and allows your vehicle to continue idling even when the clutch is depressed.
If the flywheel can’t spin, then your car can’t shift into gear.
So, a freely spinning flywheel usually is what you want. However, to attach a new clutch plate, you need the flywheel to be stationary in the right orientation.
Keeping a flywheel stationary in the correct position is a clutch alignment tool’s job. The alignment tool slots into the bearing on the back of the crank that the flywheel spins on, keeping it stationary while you install your new clutch.
If you’ve been asking, “what is clutch alignment and what is it good for?” this is your answer.
3. Install the Clutch
A clutch plate has two sides. One side normally has a mark that will line up with a similar line on the flywheel. Those marks must line up to guarantee an easy-shifting car.
Remember, don’t freeze up and get stuck wondering how to use a clutch alignment tool – it’s easy.
First, slot the alignment tool through the clutch disc while both the tool and the disc are outside the transmission. Make sure the splines are exiting the disc on the side the alignment mark is on.
Next, line up both the mark on the flywheel and the mark on the clutch disc and press the disc into the transmission assembly.
If you’ve been worrying about how to align disc clutch and flywheel, yes, it’s really that easy.
The tool should continue into the transmission casing for a little bit as it engages the splines in the crankcase bearing.
Your clutch disc should not move at all once the alignment tool slots into the crankcase bearing.
4. Install the Pressure Plate
Now that your clutch is positioned on the flywheel, place your pressure plates onto the clutch disc and start bolting the disc down. Tighten everything in a star pattern to distribute tension equally across the clutch disc to prevent warping.
There’s always a small space between the clutch disc and the flywheel until the bolts get fully screwed down, so snug everything down gently at first to move the clutch disc into place before tightening them fully.
After you tighten down the disc, it’s time to tighten down your pressure plates. Give the clutch alignment tool a firm wiggle to make sure that everything’s still appropriately seated, and then tighten down the clutch plate’s bolts in a criss-cross pattern to prevent your clutch from seizing in the future.
5. Torque to Spec
Finally, torque everything to spec. You can find your car’s spec online or in your manual.
Once you know your torque spec follow this three-step process. First, hand tighten the bolts in a star pattern, then half-torque the bolts in a star pattern, and finally full torque the bolts in a star pattern.
6. Remove the Clutch Alignment Tool
Your clutch alignment tool should stay in the clutch until you’re ready to reattach the transmission to your car.
Yes, even if the process takes several days.
It’s much too easy for your disc clutch alignment to shift inside your transmission if you leave it unsupported during the replacement process (even though the pressure plate should stop everything from moving).
Once you’re ready to reinstall the transmission, take the tool out, put some gasket on the transmission, and bolt it back on.
7. Check your Tool for Wear
Check up on your tool!
A clutch alignment tool is normally made out of plastic so that it won’t grind on any metal surfaces. So, before putting away your tool, make sure that the teeth on it are sharp and not rolled over.
If you’re starting to see noticeable wear on the teeth of your tool, it’s time to buy a new one!
Are You Ready to Replace Your Clutch?
Replacing your clutch is not a task for beginners, but it’s doable for many people if they invest in the right tools and do their research.
Just remember, every transmission has a unique tool, so before you tear apart your old clutch, double-check your clutch alignment tool to make sure you have the right size.
We would love to help you out! Remember, always reach out before you rock out!