Friday , December 3 2021
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DIY: Changing a R33 Skyline Clutch

Have you ever thought “I could do that, so why not?”. Those were exactly the same words that ran through my mind when the time came to replace the clutch on my car. The thought of paying $400 or more of your hard-earned cash to get some mechanic to do a half-arsed job doesn’t appeal to most able, modern, non-useless males. Having said that, the thought of dropping a heavy rear wheel drive gearbox without a hoist would send shivers down most mechanic’s spines let alone a backyard bush mechanic.

The original clutch in the car...slipping on stock power
The original clutch in the car…slipping on stock power

If you asked me to do it again, I would probably say no and point to the closest mechanic with the proper machinery to make life easy. What made matters more challenging, was that fact that it was in winter when my friends and I attempted this clutch replacement, possibly the worse time to do it as everything felt like frozen chickens and buckets of ice.


Remember, good project planning is vital here! If you know you suck at project management or coordinating, I highly suggest you get someone that has some level of planning to assist. In the end, the clutch installation took over one day, but the second day only involved fitting up the tail shaft and brackets here and there.

At the end of it all, everyone’s vocabulary was reduced to mainly these three words:

  • F^&k
  • S*^T
  • C&!T

Those magical three words would appear in a sentence at least once, with even some dialogue being pieced together with those three words only!

Tools required:

  1. 10,12,14,15,16,17 mm sockets & spanners (ratchet spanners are golden here) DIY_Clutch07
  2. 2x ½” extension bars
  3. uni-joint
  4. Impact wrench (makes life easier to crack those nuts)
  5. 1x trolley jack for gearbox, 1x scissor jack for motor

Steps involved:

  1. Disconnect the negative (-ve) battery terminal
  2. Place the car on ramps at the front
  3. Place car on jackstands at the rear DIYClutch01
  4. Remove exhaust system from end of down pipe
  5. Remove tail shaft
  6. Remove gearbox to exhaust mounting bracket
  7. Disconnect speedo sensor plug & reverse light plug
  8. Unbolt starter motor (this is why we disconnect the battery as there is a constant (+ve) to the starter motor)
  9. Loosen up all visible and bolts in reach
  10. Crack the gearbox mount to chassis nuts
  11. Place trolley jack under gearbox and apply pressure DIYClutch05
  12. Remove all gearbox mount nuts
  13. Lower gearbox as far as it can go down
  14. Remove all bellhousing/gearbox nuts
  15. Place another jack at the front of the motor to maintain the hanging angle (easier to get the box back on)
  16. Take a deep breath, get all the boys ready to pull off the box
  17. Impact wrench off the pressure plate and remove both clutch plate & pressure plate
  18. Impact wrench off the flywheel
  19. Go get flywheel machines, should cost under $30 at most auto spares shops DIYClutch03
  20. Do everything in reverse order DIYClutch06


  • Make sure you use locktite on the nuts
  • Use a clutch alignment tool! Nothing worse than not being able to get the gearbox spline to line up with the plate and motor.
  • Torque on the flywheel evenly, you don’t want it exploding at 7000rpm rev dumps
  • Securely prop up the car, makes sure there are extra fail safes if anything fails – using old rims stacked up is always a good choice
  • Bed the clutch in with at least 1x tank of fuel gentle driving. I don’t recommend riding it too much, as this may glaze the flywheel as I’ve been told

Total Cost:

  • $750 clutch kit
  • $30 machine
  • $41 case of beer
  • Loads of swearing

Lessons Learnt:

  • Go hire a hoist at  mechanic instead
  • Try not to do it in winter, skin contact to cold metal is not pleasant
  • Use a wooden or MDF board between the gearbox and the jack for stability
  • Block up the rear output of the gearbox with a rag, on extreme angles gearbox oil will come out
  • Replace the motor’s rear main seal at the same time (I didn’t because I am planning for this motor to be rebuilt)


About Johnny

A typical car nutter that likes to get his hands dirty. Skyline and Silvia fanatic not to mention trak-life's own personal tuner and mechanic. Doesn't mind sparing a few days at the gym to stay fit and definitely likes to eat to keep the balance right.

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