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 [Install] AX-15 New Clutch Install « View previous topic :: View next topic » 
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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 9:25 pm    Post subject: [Install] AX-15 New Clutch Install Reply with quote

Site Founder
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Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 1769

AX-15 5 Speed Transmission Clutch Replacment Guide
The First of Its Kind! Repair guided by and performed with Never Monday!
Revision 1.0: 05/15/2008 May need some correction.


It was since the rear main seal repair that I started noticing very faint grinding noise which I could only hear under the Jeep.

I didn't think much of it because I thought my Jeep turning 10 years old; I assumed it would be my clutch on its way out. Thinking from my past experience with normally worn clutches, they start slipping then eventually stop catching the flywheel altogether. This keeps the vehicle from moving as there is no power transfer from the engine to the transmission.

Here is a good primer on how a manual transmission works.

Since it wasn't slipping, I was just putting the job off till the summer and replace it when I actually have some free time.

Well, Murphy's law has proven itself, a week before my return home which was about 250 miles away, the clutch developed very loud squeal every time I step on the clutch pedal; metal on metal squeal.

Then lucky me, Never Monday(Pat) was near me and was very generous to teach me how to perform this job in his shop at his time!! I was the monkey with the wrench this time around. :)

I am glad that we fixed it right away. When we separated the transmission from the engine, metal balls from the bearing started falling out. Obviously, they are from the throw out bearing and as suspected, the throw out bearing had seized (and separated!) causing the squealing on the pressure plate fingers.

Notice the discoloration from the heat.

JFYI, there is also a write up available at, it also shows great deal of detail in clutch replacement which I suggest you to use as another reference.

I believe we have done things quite differently and somewhat efficiently that it deserves another write up.

Parts You Need:

Basic standard and metric socket sets
E-Torx sizes E12 and E10 (which one was this Pat??)
Socket Extensions
Another set of hands - Required!
Slide Hammer and Pilot Bearing Puller Attachment (From Autozone, Free Rent)
New Clutch Set (Includes new pilot and throw out bearing, new pressure plate, clutch, alignment tool, and small amount of grease for spline)
Transmission Adapter for Hydraluic Floor Jack (Optional and Recommended)
Floor Jack and Jack Stands
Transmission Fluid (3qts)
LUK clutch set (~$153 from Autozone with free overnight delivery to the store).

The pressure plate and the throw out bearing on the right side.

Here are some close up shots of the throwout bearing.

Comment on the difficulty of the job:

I believe it is the unfamiliarity/uncertainty of the job that is scarier than the actual job itself. It is always good idea to be cautious at every job, but not to be scared of it, keeping you from starting altogether. How would you ever learn like that?

Some will tell you to leave changing the clutch to the professional, but it is certainly not like a playing a piano that requires years of practice. It is surely doable if you know how to read and do follow the direction. You got a good write up based off of someone who did this many times. ***If this is your very first time picking up a wrench, then I suggest you pick some other projects to begin your wrenching hobby.

I was quoted about $1000 for the clutch job at the dealer. It ended up costing me about $160 and a day of my time.

Job Hours:
A full day at a leisure pace for the first timer.


1. Disconnect the negative ground.

2. Place the jack stand or similar to the transmission gear case to keep it from dropping. The following link will show you how to do this exactly.

3. Disconnect the speedo, oxygen sensor, 4x4 mode selector electrical connectors, and transfer case breather.

4. Remove the 4x4 linkages where it is connected via plastic bushings. Remove the driveshaft. Hold the shifter loosely as shown in the picture and separate the shifter from the transmission.

Here is a decision to make, if you have opted to get a transmission adapter for your floor jack. Strap the transmission to the adapter real tight around the gear box. This procedure is well outlined in the 4x4xplor write up ( If you opted to do so, you won’t need to separate the transfercase from the transmission. Also, if you have polyurethane or aftermarket motor mount that is not as flexible as the factory one, you would have to use the transmission jack adapter. You can skip step 5 and step 10.

We didn’t use the transmission adapter jack for our job, but we knew and were capable of handling the weight of the case and the transmission.

Some may argue separating the transfercase from the transmission is not necessary. Yes, it can be done without separating it, but there is more than one way to skin a cat. :)

There are people that gets offended by what I do with my personal homepage. Believe it or not there are quite a few anti-fans of DDTJ. I am just trying to help here. If you don't like what I do, I am sorry that I can't suit you.

5. We are going to separate the transfer case from the transmission. Before we do that, drain the transmission, otherwise, it will leak through the opening where the transfercase input shaft mates into the transmission.

This is a good chance to change the old fluid with anew. I had 2 months old Redline in there. We saved it in a clean bucket.

Use this guide to for draining the transmission.

Once drained, before you forget, retightened drain plug.

Anyways, the removal of the transfer case makes smaller and lighter pieces for you to work with. Just for those nay-sayers, all in all, we completed this job just over 4 hours while taking 140 photos. Taking the transfercase out only takes minutes and can take a lot of frustration out of the job.

Now start undoing the nuts around the tranny to pull the transfercase. I believe the case weigh about 60 lbs. Make sure all the connections to the transfercase are loosened. Position yourself along the drivetrain with your head towards the rear of the vehicle. Hold tight on the transfercase and pull it towards the rear of the vehicle. Lower it (don’t drop it) on your belly. Use your helper so you can gently lower it instead of dropping it. It would be a good idea to keep a thick layer of towel or something on you to keep yourself from bruising on the blunt edges on the case.

This is how we pulled the transfercase and the transmission out.

6. Once removed, move the case away from the vehicle to make room.

Place the floor jack on the tranny. Slightly lower the engine and transmission combo and place the jack stand underneath the oil pan. This is done to gain access to the top reverse torx bolts at the top of the bell housing.

7. Undo the electrical connection for the crank position sensor near the intake.

8. Remove the starter and set it aside on the frame rail. Remove the tranny and exhaust mount combo from the transmission. Remove the slave cylinder from the bell housing and set it aside on the frame rail. Do not kink the plastic line.

Starter Removed.

Tranny mount removed.

Slave Cylinder Removed.

9. Using the long extensions, loosen the torx bolts (12 O’clock positions). Making your way around the bell housing and remove 3 screws(10, 2, and 6 O’lock positions) that hold the cover plates to the bell housing, and remove 2 bolts that holds the transmission to the block(9 and 3 o’clock) and finally remove two set of bolts and nuts (4 and 7 o’clock positions). Using a very long extension will help you removing those 2 “screws” from the engine bay.

Here is what the torx bolt looks like.

Here is the long extension we used.

10. Position yourself one more time just like we did in Step 5. Now get your knees on the bell housing to take some weight and pull on the transmission while you pull it with your hands. This is also a good idea to use your helper in anyways you can. ;) It should slide out. Once removed, mask the hole at the top of the tranny where the shifter sits on.

11. Now the transmission is out, inspect any damages. Obviously, some of the clutch components have seen better days.

Damages: The throwout bearing has seized and wore on the pressure plate spring fingers. Not only that, but it also vibrated so much, it grinded some impression on the fork (last picture in this step). Pat had a good spare for me to replace that with.

12. Reassemble the throw out bearing and the fork combo. It should just clip in like that. We used antiseize compound on the wear points, pivots and at the spline. Grease won’t hurt either but make sure you DO NOT PUT a whole bunch on the spline because it will be spinning and throwing all the excess everywhere. It can potentially contaminate the clutch by doing so.

Start putting the fork assembly back in.

13. Remove the old pressure plate and the clutch. Now the placement of the wrench will make your job easier as the crank will spin if you add too much torque to the bolt. Try to place your wrench’s torque arm pointing towards the center of the clutch combo and loosen the bolt. This will keep the flywheel from spinning. Keep one bolt at the top and just loosen it till the point you can remove with your fingers. Keep pressure on the pressure plate as you remove the last bolt to keep the disc from dropping. The clutch disc is sandwiched between the pressure plate and the flywheel thus upon removal of the pressure plate the clutch can drop.

Here are some pictures of the new and old clutch assembly. You can see burn marks on mine.

14. This is a good time to replace your pilot bearing. Mine was 10 years old. I thought I might was well replace it while I am this close to it. There are 2 methods for doing this. You can pack some grease inside of the cavity behind the pilot bearing and punch into the grease which pushes the bearing out of the crankshaft. Or use the pilot bearing puller and the slide hammer combo.

Location of the Pilot Bearing

Using Grease.

Here is a shot of the Pilot Bearing Puller with the pilot bearing on it.

15. Once the old pilot bearing is removed, drive the new pilot bearing back into where the old one came out of. You can grease this with high quality grease.
16. You can also change the flywheel or just LIGHTLY and GENTLY sand it with emery cloths to remove any glaze depending on the condition. Don’t SCUFF/DEEP SCRATCH it!

17. Shoot some brake cleaner on the flywheel and the pressure plate to remove any contaminant before reassembly.

18. Using the alignment tool, place the clutch on the pilot bearing.

The clutch have polarity on it.

19. Put LockTite on the bolts and put 3 of them around the pressure plate onto the flywheel, but don’t tighten it all the way. Tighten them evenly around, so the clutch plate is held in place. The flywheel has clocked bolt holes. The pressure plate mounts only one way. Once mounted, slide the alignment tool in and out of the clutch and see if things are lined up and moving freely.

Make sure you don’t contaminate the clutch surface during the installation.

20. Install rest of the mounting bolts and torque them at 38ft.lbs. Use cross pattern to torque them.
Use the torque arm placement method shown in step 13.

Here is a good shot of the transmission fork/throwout bearing assembly right before mating.

21. Now place yourself under the Jeep with the transmission on your belly with your knees on the bell housing ready to lift the tranny. Lift the transmission and have your helper guide the output shaft into the pilot bearing. Once it is in, get a bolt started at the top. There are dowels on the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, you can use that to guide the transmission. ** Make sure your Crank Position sensor wire is well out of the bell housing before bolting things down.

22. Once mated, put the bolts and screws back on the transmission as you have removed in Step 9. Put Locktite on them.

23. Push the transmission up and install the shifter assembly. You won’t have a view like the photo below. We just happened to get the camera up in there and got this shot.

24. Install the transfercase back on the transmission, don’t forget to re-install the shifter bracket and reconnect the linkage.

Install the tranny mount bracket back on. Use hand tool and make sure the bolts are going into the thread so you don't ruin the threads!!

25. Reconnect the breather, 4wd mode, speedo and oxygen sensor connections. Zip tie them if necessary. Keep plastic away from the exhaust tubing. There are hooks and brackets where the harnesses and lines get tied to. Remake those connections. Don’t forget the crank position sensor connection.

26. FILL the transmission with lube.

27. Recheck and make sure all the electrical and breathers are reconnected. **It is always good idea to document your own progress so you can review them to check your work in case you have to troubleshoot.

28. Install the skid plate/cross member. Raise it up from both side with your helper and align the 4 bolts sticking out from the transmission mount into the skid plate. Raise the skid plate along with the drivetrain using the floor jack and install 6 bolts around the skid plate on the frame. Finally install the nuts (4) on the tranny mount.

29. Reinstall the driveshaft and the slave cylinder. Make sure the vent is pointing up. Reinstall the starter.

30. Check the floor and make sure all the bolts and nuts are installed back on the Jeep. ;)

31. Reconnect the battery cable.

32. Try pushing on the clutch pedal without starting the vehicle and check for abnormal conditions. If everything seems normal, start her up and enjoy your new clutch. *Mine felt significantly smoother after putting in the new clutch.

33. Pat yourself on the back for saving about 800 dollars for doing this at home.

Special Thanks goes To:

Never Monday(Pat)


I tried my best to document as much as possible along with pictures. I hope you find them useful. However, do use the information provided here "as-is". or the author does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, or process disclosed. Use the information at your own risk.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Posts: 211
Location: Patterson, California

This is going to be so helpful of getting an idea on how to change the tranny.

However im running a 2.5 so I have the AX-5 instead of 15. probably gonna be about the same though.

thanks mike
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never monday
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I Helped!
I Helped!

Joined: 10 Jan 2008
Posts: 105
Location: Lanna, Jawja

That was a lot of fun. Clutches are an intimidating repair for most people. Really it's a simple system. After you've done 1 or 2 (hundred LOL) you've mastered it.
These steps should be effective with all the TJ tranny options, with only minor differences.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Site Founder
Site Founder

Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 1769

Pat, I also had fun doing this job. It was quite a learning experience. I hope this write up will help a lot of other people out there.

Thanks for your help, Pat!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:26 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the write up !!!! Reply with quote


Joined: 31 Mar 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Atkinson NH

Been about 30yrs since I have done major work on my cars. I have a 1998 wrangler that had a clutch/transmission problem, unable to downshift, locking into 5th gear, locking into 4th gear.. Went buy a local Jeep shop and was given a price of $1850 for new clutch and used replacement tranny. So I started searching the web and found your posting.

I picked up a pdf jeep manual off e-bay for $5 so I would have 2 references yours and the factory manual. I picked up a used tranny for $295 and a LUK clutch kit from Auto Zone for $149. Long story short, I did the work myself and saved a bundle.... If your ever in NH let me know I'll buy ya a beer or 2. Excellent write up!!!!!!!!

P.S. Problems I encountered.
1) skid plate bolts spinning. Ground them off and pulled new 1/2" grade 8 bolts through the frame.
2) With all the rain we have been having the garage got flooded twice.
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