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How to Replace Clutch 03-11 Honda Element

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Hey, everyone. Sue here from 1A Auto, and today we're going to be doing a clutch job on an '06 Honda Element. So excited to do it. Couple of good notes that we're going to need, we're going to show you some specialty tools, too, so if you need any parts for your car, click on the link below and head on over to

So, to do a clutch job, there's three really important parts and tools, shall I say, that you're going to need. They're shop tools usually. You can rent these from a rental company or even a parts store. Sometimes they'll rent this equipment out. So, first things first, obviously this is a tranny jack. Now, I have a post lift I'm going to be using. If you're going to be doing it on the ground, they do make tranny jacks that are on a jack that slides underneath. This is for a gas tank extension on this. We're going to be using this to hold the sub-frame up because the sub-frame will be coming down on this vehicle, so I'm going to use that to support the sub-frame when I lower it down. Easier to take it off of the jack. And then, the last thing really important is an engine bracket. This is an engine support bracket. It's going to go from one fender well to the other, and it's going to hold the engine up inside when we take down that sub-frame. So these tools are extremely important to do the job, so make sure you know where you can rent these or have accessibility to them.

The first step I'm going to do is I'm going to remove the battery and the battery stray. So just grab the battery and lift it right out. Take your tray out.

Next, we're going to take this whole airbox assembly out, and set it aside. Oh boy. I can't see. Disconnect the lower housing 10mm socket. Now, we have to take the battery tray out that mounts to the body. Take off, the negative battery cable is attached to it, and the harness. And there are two bolts up here and then two bolts down below. Now, we just have to detach the negative battery cable, the bracket right here, and then there's two bolts that you can see out in the open to remove this metal tray. I just had to use a pair of pliers to help. These have that little plastic tab on them that you push your finger down. Pull the tab out away from the slotted hole and work that cable off. Okay.

Next, we're going to undo the shifter linkage. We've got two cables here. You've got this one and the one over here, so we're going to take these pins out, little cotter pins on both of them, right there and there, and then we're going to take the mounting bolts out of the aluminum bracket the transmission and pull those aside. And there you go. So, if your cotter pins are as original as these ones are and rotted, it's not a big deal. I'm just going to get as much as I can out of the way and see if I can get this washer off. And then once this cable is off of that bracket, we'll just take a small drill bit, and we'll just drill the rest of that right out of it. And this one's really bad.

So the bushing is going to stay on this pulley, I mean this shifter on this bracket. The bushing is just going to stay on there. We can work with that. Now we're going to disconnect the three bolts through this shifter bracket. Now we can set this up inside this fender well, and we can get it out of the way.

Now, we're going to take the actual slave cylinder and detach it from the transmission block. There's a clip that holds the steel line, right here, onto a tranny bracket. I'm just going to pinch that plastic and pop that through, and break it. And that's what happens. So, now we just have to disconnect this part of the bracket, and the hydraulic line to the slave cylinder will be free from the transmission. Now we can set that aside for exam. We'll look at that later.

Ground cable, we have to disconnect that from the actual transmission. Now we're going to disconnect any electrical items you see attached to the transmission all the way around. Now we're going to take the actual two brackets off. There's a nut here, a nut here, and the stud comes out of the transmission, and then a bolt over here. I'm going to take those three off. I don't want to take just the center bolt out because this whole thing has to clear the s-, side of the body. And the same with this bracket. This bracket holds the airbox, so there's three bolts on the other side. I'm going to take those out so this bracket's out of the way. So, once we lift it up, and to work on this, we can drop it just a little bit to clear the side of this frame with n-, without anything s-, standing up.

Now I'm going to undo the actual bolts that mount the transmission belt housing to the engine block. There's two of them up here, right under this area. I guess I'm going to have to get a real gun. And that is a 17-mm socket. Now, I'm going to undo the mounts to the actual transmission.

Now comes time to put this engine support bracket, and it rests right there. Loosen this up. So now we have our engine support in. It's mounted on both fender wells, and I've got the support chain. There is no engine bracket or any open bolt holes, so I took this chain and I wrapped it around this aluminum housing. There's not a lot of weight on it and it's taut, and now we're going to see how it acts. Now, we're going to raise it up and take the tires off.

Now, we're going to take the front plastic shield down all the way over just by taking the body clips out. Now, we're going to take the front driveshaft. Detach it from the actual front transfer case. This is a 12.10-mm-hmm socket, and it might not be easy to get to or easy to take off. Now, we can just detach that. Just set it aside. Actually, this bracket is going to end up holding it up because when that subframe comes down, that's going to end up stopping it right there.

Now we're going to take this actual motor mount center bolt out. Now the pry bar. I'm just going to lift it up just enough so I can use my hand and take this bolt out of here. Now we're going to take the front mount bolt out. Now we're going to remove the actual ball joints, so I can take the castle nuts off and cotter pins out. I'm going to take them out of the actual control arms. So, now I'm going to put the tranny jack with the gas tank attachment on top here, and I'm going to bring this up so that it rests on the actual subframe and support it, and then I can undo my four main bolts and lower the subframe down with no problem.

I'm going to take a marker, and I'm going to mark where my subframe meets the actual body. I want to draw a line straight down, and one over here. I'm going to do this to all four corners, and I might just go like that, because it's just, it needs an alignment after because once you remove that frame, you can throw the alignment off, but I want to put it as close as possible so that there's no trouble driving to the alignment shop. And after I've my marks, I've got a 17 mm socket, and I'm going to let all four of these bolts down.

Now, we're going to take this housing off where the oil pan meets the transmission housing and this motor mount. So, I've got to find a place to pry on this because I need to take it down. Now, we're going to take this side axle out, driver's side axle out of the actual transmission. There's six bolts total holding the transmission to the actual block. We have one facing this way in the front, the bottom of the starter bolt, so I'll do it as we go. There's one, two. Now, we already got two, the other two up on top, which makes four, and then we're going to come back here, five, and then there's one right in there, so I'm going to need to get a extension. Okay. And then the sixth bolt is right here. There we go. Okay, I've got the front. I've just to get the rear down. There it is. And this beautiful thing is in the way, so this is coming down. Yeah, that flywheel would not go past that. I'll lower the jack.

Now, the transmission's down, and we have the actual pressure plate exposed. We're going to unbolt the pressure plate. There's six bolts going around, so we can remove the pressure plate and the disc, and see the condition of the flywheel. This is a 12-point 10-mm socket. Now, this pin's here holding it in. I'm just going to place my bolts down and get a little pry bar. Make sure you hold the disc plate on the inside. You don't want that falling out. Try not to. It's, kind of, a- You can see all the disc falling out. Wow. This is our pressure plate and this our clutch disc plate. We are going to get the flywheel surfaced. The good news is there's no heat cracks. It looks in shape. It should be fine and able to turn.

Now, we're going to take the flywheel down, and we're going to loosen up. We'll take all the bolts down, and it's a 12 point socket, 17-mm. Now grab firmly and just twist it off. And there's our flywheel. Now when we're preparing for the new clutch, and after the flywheel's been turned, you always want to clean this backing plate. You want to get rid of all this old clutch disc. And you want to examine the rear main seal and make sure we have no leaks because now is the time to change it.

Now, we have the transmission on the stand. We can actually see the, uh, pilot bearing, this is what a, throwout bearing, shall I say? The throwout bearing is located on the end of the clutch fork, and that's exactly what the job does. It goes in and out and spins. In this one, you can hear the bearing. It was on its way out, so it's a good thing that we're changing, changing this and you can see all the old disc powder, so we're going to clean this up. A couple of things we're going to do once this is clean and take that throwout bearing off, we're going to examine the shaft on that aluminum transmission spindle. So, to take this off, I'm going to bring it forward and twist it and see if we can get that clip undone. There we go.

So that is your throwout bearing right there, and it's in bad shape, but this is the part that we want to look at right here. You can take the fork out. There's a pin in the back here that it's located on. Just unclick this d-, connect, because you want clean that up, too because you're going to put some grease in there when you reassemble it. Now, we need to really clean that up. Good. So, we're looking for any burs, cracks, roughness to it because you want that throwout bearing to slide smoothly on that aluminum shaft. Looks pretty good. I might take a thin, thin coat of emery cloth, and I'm just going to, just skim it lightly by hand because I feel some roughness to it. And then we'll clean it up and recheck it.

So now, we're going to remove the pilot spacer. Sometimes there's a pilot bearing in there. This particular model design it's a sleeve. It's just a steel sleeve to stop the input shaft from bottoming out on the crank. So, we don't really have a puller, so we're just going to use a s-, it's like a hook, a slide hammer hook. So, you pull on it, and you just tap here, and work your way around. There we go.

Here we have our brand new clutch kit from 1A Auto, and here we have the clutch that we just took out of our '06 Honda Element. This is the actual pressure plate, the disc, throwout bearing, and a pilot spacer. Our kit comes with a new pressure plate, a disc plate, a throwout bearing, and a new pilot spacer. We also come with a guide tool, and the grease for the throwout bearing shaft. The disc plate is measured to manufacturer's specs. You've got a nice smooth surface. It comes with the same exact pilot holes that you need for the guide pins and the fact that it comes with this nice alignment tool makes an easy installation. If you need this part, or any other part for you car, click on the link below and head on over to

We're going to apply the grease that comes with the clutch kit. There's a little tear-off. And you don't need a lot of it, you just need a dab. And we'll just put it all around. See? It is not grease that you would think for grease bearings, it's a specialty grease that is really thin. They don't want it to be thick. You don't want it to bunch up and cause the throwout bearing to get stuck on the shaft. That's why they limit the amount, and it's a special temperature type of grease. We want some on that pivot point, too. Now we're going to apply the, put the fork in. These metal prongs is what holds that on that bearing, that little pivot point. So I'm going to slide this back through there, put my throwout bearing on, line that up. When I feel it's lined up, I'm just going to push on it and let it snap right into place.

Now, you'll see the fork is sticking out here, and this is how it works. Our slave cylinder will be attached right here, and the plunger goes right there under hydraulic pressure. It pushes the fork back and forth.

Now, we're going to install our pilot bushing. This is their version, Honda's version, instead of a bearing on this particular model car. I'm checking to make sure there's no burs in there. It's a nice, smooth surface. It does have a split to it, so it is will adapt to the size of the hole quite quickly. And now, I just want it to go in a little bit more so I have a brass punch and, hopefully, I can catch the edge enough and tap it in. See, that's off center just a hair. A little bit more. There we go. Perfect.

Now, let's get the flywheel. Okay. So now we're going to take our flywheel and place it up in there. We're going to line up the bolt holes. There is only one way for this to go on, and I found it. By hand, you want to put all of the crank bolts for the flywheel on because they can be off center, and if they are, then you have to rearrange the pattern. I'm going to use my battery-operated gun because I just want these to bottom out because I have to torque them to the manufacturer's specs. So a 17-mm-hmm 12-point socket. Just bottom them out in a criss-cross pattern. So, the torque specs for the manufacturer, torque specs for this flywheel is 76 foot-pounds for these crank flywheel bolts. I've already taken the liberty and I put a 19-mm with a breaker bar on the other side so that way the crank won't turn while I'm torquing down the flywheel bolts. I'm going to start on the bottom. Same criss-cross pattern. Okay, that's all of them. Now, just double-check real quick. This one, you don't need to do a cross pattern.

Now, we're going to install the clutch disc. You can see there's two sides to this disc. The manufacturer almost on every clutch disc, you'll see the si-, right here it says,

Tools needed for replacement:

    Air Powered Tools

  • 1/2 Inch Air Impact Gun

  • General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Jack Stands
  • Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Rust Penetrant
  • Brake Parts Cleaner
  • Anti-Seize Grease

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Side Cutters
  • Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Torque Wrench
  • Ratchet
  • Swivel
  • 1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Pry Bar
  • Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 10mm 10-Point Socket
  • 17mm 12-Point Socket

  • Specialty Tools

  • Trim Tool Set

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • Complete Metric Wrench Set

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