Transmission, Manual

Clutch Release Lever Bushing Replacement

Clutch Release Lever Bushing Replacement

My nylon "ball socket bushing" at the top of the clutch release lever has disintegrated over time, so I am attempting to replace it with a new one. I have the bottom clutch housing removed and was able to move the clutch release lever some, but not enough to be able to install the new bushing. It looks to me like I need to remove the release lever in order to replace the bushing. Is this true?

Reading the workshop manual, it seems to indicate that the release lever does not come out by itself, but will come out if the entire clutch is removed. Is this correct, or is there some shortcut method to remove just the release lever?

Now pages 30-6b to 30-6c cover clutch removal/installation for my car. Many of the steps make sense to me, but a couple just leave me scratching my head and asking for help. Do I really need to do these steps to get the clutch out?:

10. Fabricate three sheet-metal angles (2 mm thick), if no angles are [already] installed.

11. Insert angle in notch of pressure plate and slacken mounting bolts. Drive centering pins out of flywheel toward pressure plate.

Is it really is necessary for me to do these two steps? If so, please explain exactly what it is I'm doing here.

Waiting patiently for enlightenment ...

+Greg Nichols
'87 928S4, 5-speed, Venice Blue Metallic

Here is a shortcut you can try, it will be easier than removing the clutch and arm, if you can do it. Even though Wally still doesn't believe it can be done (gotta show him one day :-) I will tell you anyway !

(A) Install our 3-piece 928 Service Covers ($65) to protect your fenders (Yes, shameless plug, but they are COOL! )

(B) Remove Airbox assembly (upper and lower)

(C) Look at the top of the "bell housing" or "clutch housing" where it mounts to the top of the block. You will see a rectangular opening. Within this opening just off center towards the drivers side you will see the top of the clutch release arm and part of the stud it snaps on to.

(D) Take a suitable prying device and pry the top of the lever towards the rear and then towards the passenger side of your 928. This can sometimes be easy, sometimes it take more pressure than you feel comfortable with, but it will come off. The main thing to be aware of is to not pry on the ball stud, if you snap it then you will have to remove the clutch AND clutch housing to repair. Hasn't happened to me .... yet (crossing fingers), but I have heard of it happening.

(E) Once you have the clutch release arm off and to the side you can proceed to dig out the remains of the old bushing from the hole in the top of the arm.

(F) Insert new bushing, lube accordingly and then work it back over the ball stud and snap into place (sometimes just that easy, sometimes a little stubborn)

IMHO this is much easier and a LOT quicker than removing the clutch assembly to replace the bushing. It is trickier, but once you understand the procedure it gets easier, and you can do it without even jacking up and getting under your 928 !

Good luck and let me know how it goes,

David Roberts

Just loosen the bolts holding the clutch so that you get some movement of the clutch in place. Do not remove the clutch entirely!!!! You have to follow the steps you listed in your initial e-mail if you do that.

Then you will be able to wiggle the lever so that it moves freely with no problem. The lever will not come out completely unless you remove the entire clutch assembly, however, once it is free from the ball you may be able to reach it from above or below to replace the bushing. If it is necessary to press in the bushing, then you'll need to retighten the bolts, put in the angle brackets that you described, and remove the clutch assembly. I faced and handled the exact scenario with mine about a month ago! Be sure to retorque the bolts when reassembled, of course.

Daniel Shapiro
'82 928 5 speed

Assuming that you have done everything else according to the book and you are ready to drop the clutch. Remove the air filter and lower air filter housing. The top of the clutch release arm is staring right at you through the top of the bell housing. Use a very long screwdriver or pry bar and gently pry the release arm off of the pivot ball. It only takes several minutes to remove the air filter box and this will save you tons of frustration. You will want to update your release bearing, guide tube and release arm to the newest version, it make shifting much smoother. If you have the new style release bearing you MUST use the new arm and tube as well. The parts are not interchangeable. You must use the 3 angle pieces of metal in the clutch, if you don't it will never drop down. The 3 pieces keep the pressure plate from releasing just enough to clear the bell housing. The new clutch plate will have the pieces installed at the factory ready for install. Look at them if you need help with size or placement. BTW, resurface that flywheel and change the rear main seal and pilot bearing.

Good Luck,

Mark Rosenfield
89 S-4 New Clutch @ 115k

The angle pieces take the slack off the pressure plate so you can remove it more easily. Otherwise you have to loosen one bolt a few turns, turn the crank, loosen another, turn crank yada yada...

I was able to replace my release lever bushing from the top by going behind the motor. Sure it was a pain, but it sure beat dropping the whole clutch.

Scott Mohr

A big "thank you" to all who responded so quickly to my request for advice yesterday, David Roberts, Daniel Shapiro, Mark Rosenfield, and Scott Mohr. I ended up using DR's method to successfully pry the top of the clutch release lever loose. Let me add a couple of my own notes, for the sake of posterity:

1) I found it helpful to rotate the pressure plate such that the bottom of the release lever was engaged in one of the three small recesses in the rim of the pressure plate (where the part numbers were stamped.) This extra millimeter seemed to make the job a little easier. Use a 27mm 1/2-inch drive deep-socket to rotate the crankshaft on the front of the motor, or use a "flywheel turner" tool if you have one.

2) I was able to rotate the release lever free to the right side of the ball by a combination of prying on the top side and hammering with a rubber mallet on the bottom side.

3) The best vantage point for working on the top of the clutch release lever is, of course, laying right on top of the engine. To accomplish this comfortably (?!) I used a combination of fender covers (of the cheap non-928 variety, unfortunately), wooden slats, and towels. Small and medium sized crowbars seemed to be just the ticket for prying the release lever off and and then back on with the new bushing. A minor amount of damage to the rim of the new bushing occurred as I pryed it on. No big deal.

4) When installing the new bushing, I used a jackstand to support the bottom of the release lever to keep it in the proper position. I also sprayed a light coat of lithium grease onto the new bushing.

Hope this helps someone else in the future.

+Greg Nichols
'87 928S4, 5-speed, Venice Blue Metallic

I had been experiencing a lot of vibration during shifts. I traced the problem to the anchor point in the bell housing for the clutch arm. This functions in the same way as the dreaded shift cup, with a nylon sleeve holding the arm onto a knob. Well, the nylon was long gone, and the addtional friction from every shift had caused the knob to unloosen from the bell housing and wobble around making it's hold bigger with every move. Only solution (mechanic told me) is to pull the torque tube, pull the clutch send out the bell housing for refurbishing. So, I went for it, the estimate for the work was about $900.00 dollars (ten hours of shop time). And low and behold it worked! Shifts were smooth and clean, life was good...until the hydraulic line to the clutch blew out! .......the only problem with owning these cars is no one has any sympathy for the guy in the Porsche when he's dead in the middle of traffic.....phoned the garage...they sent the flat bed to pick the shark up, and now we wait for the final official version of what happend when they open the girl up this morning. All you shifters out there, check that anchor point for the clutch arm. You can see it (on my 81) when you take off the entire aircleaner assembly and look down, way down to
the bell housing.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop
Guy DuHamel
81 5spd

Been there done that. The new clutch arm ball stud part number comes 2mm larger than the original so all you have to do is tap drill and tap. I had to remove about 2 mm from the spot face on the bell housing because my ball stud broke off and wrecked it. I then put a 2mm thick washer under the new one to compensate for height. I also ended up with a new pilot bearing, new clutch kit, resurfaced flywheel and int. plate, new guide tube, new master and slave cylinders, and replaced the blue and black hoses (deep breath).

To get in there I undid the tranny mounts, the torque tube coupling, removed the clutch assembly and flywheel, undid the torque tube at the bell housing, undid the bell housing at the motor, slid the tranny torque tube assembly back about 4" and yanked the bell housing out to take it to the machine shop. Oh yeah, I forgot the front section of the exhaust system. On a 20 year old car this is 10 bloody knuckle job and prepare to have every orifice in your head filled with grease and road dirt/rust. Oh yeah 2, you have to remove and dangle the starter/lower bell housing half to get in there too. That's why you need a new hose a week after your done. When you bend that 20 year old hose so you don't have to disconnect it it stresses the fitting at the frame rail.

I know you have already been there most of the way but I think that anyone else with a 20 year old (or approaching) 5 speed should take heed! The ball stud is a $20 dollarish part that can create the need for all of the above. It is easy to check as Guy has said. The rubber hose that connects the hard line from the master cylinder to the slave under the car is just about mandatory after say 10 years of ownership unless you like being flatbedded to the shop.

Sorry for the diatribe but this hasn't been mentioned in a while and it is a simple piece of mind thing for those who haven't BTDT.

Jay Kempf

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