How to Fix a Truck Clutch

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The clutch assembly in your truck applies force against a flywheel connected to the truck's engine. The clutch is made of special material that is meant to "grab" the flywheel as it turns. The rotational force is then transferred to the wheels through the transmission. Over time, your clutch disc will begin to slip. This is an indication that the clutch disc is wearing down and needs to be replaced. You'll likely have trouble accelerating as the slightest amount of torque will cause the disc to slip off from the flywheel and spin. If you do not replace the clutch at this point, you risk damaging the flywheel. Accelerating in any gear because the clutch will lose the ability to "grab" the flywheel.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 floor jacks with 2 jack stands
  • Flat block of wood
  • Catch pan
  • Clutch alignment tool
  • Socket wrench and socket set
  • New clutch assembly
  • Brake parts cleaner
  • Torque wrench
  • Safety glasses and mask
  • Zip ties
  • Pliers
  • Flat tip screwdriver
  • Air compressor and impact wrench
  • Verify that the clutch needs replacing. Troubleshooting a clutch problem is rather easy. All you need to do is drive normally and check to see if the clutch slips off the transmission while you are in gear. If it does, it's time to replace the clutch. Since the clutch in your truck is a wear component the only way to "fix" it is to replace the entire unit with a new one.

  • Break the lug nuts loose on the front wheels by turning them 1/4 turn counterclockwise with a tire wrench, but do not unseat the wheel from the hub.

  • Disconnect the negative battery cable. Loosen the nut on the cable clamp holding the cable to the negative battery terminal and slide the clamp off the terminal.

  • Place the jack under the front jack point and jack up on it just enough so that you can slide a jack stand under each of the front pinch welds located under the driver's side and passenger side door.

  • Finish removing the lug nuts and pull the wheel off the hub assembly.

  • Remove the upper and lower caliper mounting bolts, and then pull the caliper off the rotor assembly.

  • Remove the cotter pin holding the drive axle nut in place. You'll need to use a pair of pliers. The cotter pin may be difficult to remove, but a good yank should free it from the axle nut.

  • Turn the air compressor onto the highest setting. Connect the impact wrench to the air compressor hose (it's a simple quick-connect mechanism), and remove the drive axle nut with an impact wrench by turning the nut counterclockwise.

  • Loosen and remove the tie rod end bolt with an impact wrench. You'll need to turn the bolt counterclockwise to remove it.

  • Swing the steering knuckle and wheel hub assembly to the side so that you can pull the axle out of the transmission. Pry the end of the axle out of the transmission with a flat tip screwdriver, but don't damage the transmission housing seal.

  • Place a jack under the transmission and support the transmission with a floor jack. Support the engine with another, separate, floor jack. Use a flat block of wood to spread out the force being applied to the engine so that you do not damage the oil pan (this is where the engine will be supported).

  • Place the catch pan under the transmission and remove the drain bolt to drain the transmission fluid into the catch pan.

  • Disconnect the shift linkage from the transmission using a socket wrench.

  • Disconnect the clutch linkage from the transmission using a socket wrench.

  • Disconnect the speedometer and electrical cables from the transmission using a socket wrench.

  • Remove the exhaust piping to manifold bolts. Unplug all electrical connections to the O2 sensors. Slide the entire exhaust system off the hangers attached to the underside of the truck.

  • Remove the transmission to engine bolts as well as the mounts.

  • Pull the transmission away from the engine and lower it to the ground. Since this is rather heavy, you may want an assistant to help you with this.

  • Support the clutch by sliding a clutch alignment tool into the center of the clutch while you remove the pressure plate to transmission bolts.

  • Pull the clutch assembly off the transmission and clean the surface of the new clutch. Clean the flywheel and surrounding areas with brake parts cleaner. Then, install the new clutch. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to torque all bolts to the torque specifications listed in your truck's shop manual. Exact clutch removal details may vary according to vehicle; for specific information, consult the particular vehicle's manual (see Resources).
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