Replacing the Clutch in a 1988 Honda Civic DX Hatchback

September, 2013.

The clutch gave out on the '88 Hatchback several months ago. I finally found a few minutes to play in the garage, so I put the car on the lift:

I will try to follow the directions in my Haynes auto manual.

To get to the clutch, I have to remove the transaxle, so I have to take off everything that is connected to the transaxle. I removed the wire from the negative terminal of the battery and drained the oil from the transaxle. Next, detach the shift linkage and torque rod from the transaxle. Here is the safety clip that covers the roll pin that joins the shift linkage with the transaxle:

It was under that rubber dust cover. I had to push it back to reveal the clip. The arrow below points to the roll pin:

The manual says to "pull out the pin." No. After some frustrations, I used a punch and whacked it several times with a big hammer:

The tapered punch wanted to get stuck in the hole so I pulled out the punch and used a 1/4" drive extension to tap the pin out the rest of the way:

I sprayed Liquid Wrench (penetrating oil) on the weld nut on the torque rod, let it sit while I was fighting with the roll pin. I removed the bolt holding the torque rod without much trouble. Here are the linkages separated from the transaxle:

The starter motor has to come off. Disconnect the wires:

More starter wires.

Starter out but the solenoid has to come out, too, I will realize later:

I have opened the Chilton's manual, too, to get some confirmation on this procedure. Both books leave out some important details for the weekend warrior.

I disconnected back-up light switch wires and the clutch cable.

Then to the axles. Take off the big axle nut after unbending the indented safety tab:

Spray penetrating oil on all nuts that must come off, the ball joint castle nut on the lower left and the damper fork lower bolt on the right:

Loosen the castle nut with a little breaker bar and a pipe extension:

Break the ball joint loose with a ball joint separator from Harbor Freight:

Remove the lower damper fork bolt:

Loosen and remove the pinch bolt at the top of the damper fork:

Pull the fork out, lift the ball joint post out of its hole and pull the axle out:

Do the same on the other side.

I have to support the engine because the power train (engine and transaxle) are bolted together and supported as a unit by four rubber and metal mounts. I also have to support the transaxle so I can relieve the pressure on the three mounts that are directly connected to the transaxle.To that end, I placed a piece of iron bed frame across two blocks of wood to span the open hood area and tied the engine to this support with yellow tow strap. I supported the transaxle with a purple support strap attached to my cherry picker:

Then I tried to remove all the bolts holding the transaxle to the frame.First I removed the mount bolts. Here is one, on the side mount:

I thought I could just remove the big bolt through the big round rubber part of the mount but that would not allow the transaxle to pull back from the engine, so had to remove the bolts that held the transaxle to the mount, like the one above.

There were three bolts on the rear mount. Two of them came out without much difficulty. One was very stubborn. I worked it, sprayed it with Liquid Wrench, worked it again, sprayed, several times. Finally, it snapped. I probably said, "Oh, snap" or I chose other words. I don't remember. Here is the snapped bolt:

This is the only bolt that snapped. All the others look good, most look almost brand new. I continued to remove bolts. Here is one on the front mount:

I got all the mount bolts out, then removed 5 bolts that hold the transaxle to the engine. I thought I was done. No. Theengine and transaxle wouldn't separate. So I looked again and found a long bolt through the starter base:

After removing that bolt, my son and I were able to pull the transaxle off and put it on the floor. It probably weighs 70 pounds.

Very dusty. Here is the pressure plate with clutch inside:

The old clutch is shot on this side and it scored the pressure plate:

Here is the dusty flywheel. Smooth where it mates with the clutch, not scored significantly:

I used a straight edge to see how flat the shiny region is. Flat:

New clutch, new pressure plate:

I sprayed the flywheel with brake parts cleaner do get rid of the dust, wiped it down several times with towels.I mounted the new pressure plate, clutch inside, bolts loose. I inserted a pilot tool (came with the clutch kit) to center the clutc, then tightened the bolts in a criss-cross pattern to prevent warping the pressure plate:

The clever auto designers prevent you from putting this on wrong. There are alignment pins but they are not equally spaced around the flywheel. There is only one way to put this plate on:

I replaced the throw-out bearing in the transaxle bell housing. New one around the shaft, old one on the bottom of the case:

My other son helped me wiggle the transaxle back in:

Put everything back, bolts, starter, clutch cable, wires, axles, damper forks, ball joints, big nuts,wheels, transaxle oil, the torque rod:

The roll pin for the shift linkage went in the same way it came out, with a punch and a hammer:

After all that, I also had to throw in an alternator. The old one wouldn't spin, probably didn't like the wet Spring. It was its own little adventure but I'll only show the happy ending:

I tried the clutch pedal. I first felt some resistance, then the pedal went all the way to the floor and didn't come back. Ummmmm...I ...uh what does that mean? I adjusted the cable and the pedal came back. I started the car after charging the battery for an hour. I tried the clutch with the car still above the ground a few inches. OK, wheels turn when they are supposed to. I put the car down, tightened the axle nuts and keyed them by tapping in a safety tab with a hammer and punch. I started the car, backed out of the garage and drove back in. Clutch works. I'll trickle charge the battery before I take it out for a test drive.