Clutch replacement

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It is inevitable that at some point you will have to face changing the clutch. It dips in and out of the mud on a regular basis as the bell-housing is not sealed. Eventually the clutch thrust bearing will start rattling and the action will become stiff and heavy.

Changing the clutch on a Jimny seems to be not for the faint hearted. It’s a very physical task and it is not pleasant struggling with the gear box under the car. It is a very tight fit in the transmission tunnel.

The symptoms of a worn clutch/clutch mechanism:

  • Judder as clutch is released
  • Slipping as engine power is applied
  • Burning smell or smoke from under car
  • Bearing squeal or rumble when clutch pedal pressed.

If this hasn’t put you off then its time to start work.

Note Icon.pngThis article was written based on a RHD petrol Jimny configuration. LHD petrol Jimnys should be quite similar. However, diesel (DDiS) Jimnys have many smaller and larger differences concerning the parts mentioned in this article. Therefore, there might be significant deviations compared to this guide.


Spanner Icon.png
  • Standard metric sockets and spanners
  • Assorted screwdrivers
  • Breaker bar
  • Clutch alignment tool
  • Strops to pull engine forward
  • 10mm Square Drain plug socket

General procedure

It goes without saying that you should jet-wash the underside of the car if possible to remove as much of the muck before it drops on you!

There are two ways of changing the clutch, one is to take the engine and gear box out and the other is to drop the gear box off. The Suzuki factory manual suggests the gear box dropping method so that is the way I have gone.

The factory manual suggests it is not necessary to remove the transfer box, but I have removed it as you will need all the space you can get, I thoroughly recommend that you also remove the transfer box.

If you have the luxury of a bit of time then spray the visible bolts with WD40 a day or so before. In particular you should try and spray the bolts holding the exhaust front section and the bolts around the gear box housing as these are difficult.

Removing Items


Starting inside the car it is necessary to remove the console, the gear lever and the transfer box lever.

Centre Console

Figure 01 - removing the centre console
  • To remove the gear box lever, you have to remove the centre console.
  • This is held on by four screws on the side at the front and back.
  • The console then lifts out.
  • Mine was more of a problem as I have a switch panel fitted.
  • Therefore, I then needed to remove the gear lever before the console would come completely away, but this has to be done at some point anyway.

Gear levers

Figure 02 - removing the gear lever
  • Pull the gaiter away to reveal the three bolt heads around the base of the gearlever.
  • Undo the bolts and carefully lift out the gearstick.
  • Note that there is a small spring and a cup that should not be lost!

Lower Gaiter

Figure 03 - removing the lower gaiter
  • With the console removed, you will then see a frame that holds in a second gaiter.
  • Simply undo the bolts and lift the frame clear.

Transfer Lever

Figure 04 - removing the transfer lever knob
  • If you are removing the Transfer Box then you need to remove the gaiter etc. around the Transfer Box Level.
  • First locate the small screw at the rear of the transfer knob and remove it.

Figure 05 - removing the transfer level gaiter
  • Unscrew the frame around the gaiter and pull the frame and gaiter clear.

Draining the Oil

Figure 06 - gear box drain plugs
  • Move outside the car and disconnect the negative cable at battery.
  • Now drain the oil from the gear box and transfer box.
  • If you are not doing any work on the transfer box then it is not strictly necessary to drain the oil providing you keep it upright to stop the oil coming out of the lever hole.
  • On my Jimny, the drain plugs are square and therefore a SQUARE 10MM drain plug socket should be used.
  • However, the square end of a 3/8 socket driver fits if you are pushed.
  • Always undo the filler plug first, because if the filler is stuck you do not want to drain the oil and not be able to fill it again.
  • The gear box filler is hidden up the side of the gear box and lack of space is a problem.

Removing Front Exhaust Section


Figure 07 - transfer box fillers and connectors
  • On the Transfer Box, disconnect the 4WD switch wire at coupler and unclamp harness.
  • Then disconnect the speed sensor coupler.

Figure 08 - exhaust bolts
  • Now remove the front section of the exhaust pipe.
  • This is held in place by pairs of springs with bolts inside.
  • Due to the heat and stress, the front bolts were really, really difficult to move.
  • So much so, I think there is real possibility of shearing them on some cars.
  • There is a pair at the front and a pair at the back.

Lambda Sensor

Figure 09 - lambda sensor on converter
  • Do not lift the exhaust of the rubber hangers yet.
  • There is a Lambda sensor connected to the top of the catalytic converter.

Figure 10 - lambda sensor connector behind here
  • This needs to be disconnected.
  • The Suzuki manual shows the sensor being unscrewed from the top of the converter.
  • However, the sensor has been subject to red hot heat, water and mud, therefore mine was firmly rusted in.
  • Instead, I followed the wiring back up to behind the engine.
  • Just behind the head on the passenger side is a set of connectors.
  • Unbolt the connector mounting bracket and prise the Lambda connector apart (this is very stiff as well!).
  • With the Lambda sensor disconnected, you can pull the front exhaust section off the rubber mounts.

Prop shafts

Figure 11 - mark the propeller shaft
  • Now remove the propeller shafts.
  • Paint some marks on each shaft paint, so they can be rebolted to the flanges in the correct position when you are re-building it.
  • Paint all the flanges and also mark the sliding joint in the front propeller shaft.
  • Remove the FRONT propeller shaft FIRST, followed by the gear box/transfer box shaft SECOND.
  • Where possible do the REAR propeller shaft LAST.
  • Reason - all the propeller shaft bolts are quite tight, and therefore you need to hold the propeller shafts in place whilst you try to undo the bolts.
  • As the front hubs are vacuum operated, there is no easy way to lock the propeller shafts if you have disconnected the rear first.
  • With the rear propeller shaft still on the rear wheels, keep the system locked.
  • I found out this trick the hard way.

Warning Icon.pngIt is very important to mount all the propeller shafts back exactly as they were, because they were balanced for that position in the factory!

Transfer Box

Figure 12 - transfer box mounts
  • Undo the 3 large mounting nuts on the transfer box mount and the 4 bolts on the mounting flange.
  • Now the transfer box should lift down.

Figure 13 - transfer box mounts

Gear box Remote Mechanism

Figure 14 - gear box remote mechanism
  • Now for the complex bit!
  • The Jimny has a remote gear box mechanism bolted onto the rear of the gear box and this needs to be removed.
  • It’s probably easier to see the part after it has been removed, as it is clearer what you are trying to achieve.
  • Note this is the top view, you will normally be underneath and quite nervous!

Figure 15 - remote mechanism in place
  • Remove gear shift control joint bolt and extension rod bolt.

Engine Mounting

Remove the Engine Rear Mounting bolts. There are three of them, one either side and one in the rubber bit. This is the mount under the gear box that rests on the chassis crossmember.

Using a long socket extension, reach into the remote mechanism and undo the 4 bolts that connect it to the gear box. These are hard to reach.

The entire mechanism should then be removeable complete with the mounts. Also unbolt all the other metal bits (including the exhaust mounting rubber) from the rear cross member as you will need to squeeze the gear box out later on.

Reversing Switch

Figure 16 - gear box reverse switch
  • Now remove the reversing light switch.
  • This is on top of the gear box towards the front.
  • It was more accessible from under the bonnet by reaching down the back of the engine on the passenger side (UK).
  • Tie it up out of the way.

Starter Motor

Figure 17 - starter motor (from underneath car)
  • Now for the next difficult task, removing the starter motor.
  • Clearly Suzuki never considered that a starter motor may go wrong and need replacing as it is in one of the most in-accessible places.
  • First of all, check that you have disconnected the battery.
  • Laying under the car, reach up the drivers side of the engine and unbolt the two bolts holding the motor in place and easy it back.
  • There is no need to remove it completely and no need to undo all the cables attached to in.

Clutch Cable

Figure 18 - clutch cable (unhooked)
  • We are nearly there now.
  • Remove plastic clutch housing cap and prise the end of the clutch cable from clutch release fork.
  • Then undo the two bolts holding the clutch cable to the transmission and withdraw the clutch cable assembly.
  • Also remove the small tin-plate on the bottom front of the clutch housing held on by a pair of small 10mm bolts.

Separating the gear box away from the engine

The official workshop manual now says to undo the bellhousing bolts and lower the gear box away from the engine. Whoever wrote this must have been smoking something very exotic, or was planning on quitting the job soon.

Figure 19 - gear box bolts
  • The first problem is to locate all the bolts on the bellhousing as they are well hidden.
  • Take a close look at the picture and locate all the bolts.

The next problem is undoing them as there is no room to get a socket set in. I had to use a complex combination of extensions and flex joints from two socket sets to get to a couple of the bolts. Also note that there is very little chance of the gear box falling off once the bolts are undone so don’t spend a lot of time supporting it.

Separating the gear box from the engine can be a real pain (literally). The gear box is located on studs and corrosion can hold it in place. I had to hit the bellhousing edge with a large hammer (protecting the metal with a wooden block) before it would separate.

Figure 20 - pulling the engine forward with strap
  • Once it is separated you have to drop the gear box down.
  • The transmission tunnel is so tight that this appears to be a near impossible task.
  • I had to jack the engine forward to gain as much room as possible.
  • You will also find that the gear box will move backwards a little way in the tunnel.
  • This means you can then open a useful gap around the clutch.

Figure 21 - gap between gear box and clutch with engine pulled forward
  • Some people have changed the clutch using just this gap.
  • Instead, I undid the clutch cover bolts and removed the clutch assembly with the gear box still in place.
  • Removing the clutch then meant there was just enough room for the gear box to be pulled out.

Replacing the Clutch

Figure 22 - clutch release bearing
  • Within the clutch kit should be a new cover, new plate and new release bearing.
  • The old release bearing is removed by prising the spring clip out of the mounting and sliding it out of the spring.
  • Re-assembly is just as easy.
  • Make sure that the splines are lightly greased and the inside of the release bearing where it slides on the shaft is greased (not the bearing itself – this should be lubricated by the factory).

Put grease on the moving points of the clutch release arm as well.

Figure 23 - wrong release bearing is on right
  • I originally purchased a cheap kit (CPK1086) from Ebay, this was before the Bigjimny shop!
  • The quality seems OK (it is stamped as being made by AISIN – who supply Suzuki with parts).
  • The only issue being that it was supplied with the incorrect release bearing.
  • The company immediately shipped the correct bearing free of charge and assured me that the correct bearing should have been in the kit.
  • Also note that the new plate has 4 springs whilst the old one has 3, again I have been assured that this is OK.

Figure 24 - new clutch plate on left

Figure 25 - new clutch cover on left

Figure 26 - clutch assembled
  • Assemble the new clutch mechanism using a clutch alignment tool.
  • I got mine cheap - £1 – as it was a girlie pink colour and had remained unsold in the shop for a long time.
  • With this tool you assemble the clutch off the car and then lift the whole unit into place and bolt down the clutch cover to the flywheel.
  • Remove clutch alignment tool.

Figure 27 - clutch with alignment tool

Figure 28 - clutch back in place

Figure 29 - grease the mounting face of the gear box
  • Wipe a layer of grease around the mating face of the gear box.
  • This should mean it doesn’t stick in the future and should make it easier to re-assemble.

Extended breathers


Note Icon.pngSee the wiki article "Transmission breathers" for more info about the installation of these breathers.

Gear box breather

  • Note that you may want to fit extended breathers to the gear box while it is dismounted from the vehicle.
  • This is the perfect opportunity to do it.

Transfer box breathers

  • If the transfer box is also dismantled, adding extended breathers to it would also be an excellent idea.
  • The transfer box has two breathers.
  • The process is similar and simple like when doing the gear box breathers.

Refitting everything back


This is generally a reverse procedure compared to dismantling. Enjoy doing it.

Below are some notes on specifics.

Refitting the gear box

With the engine still jacked forward it should be possible to jack the gear box back into place using the weight of the car to help force it into position. Before trying to mate it back with the clutch allow the engine to drop back into its proper position (not too far back) – this will make it easier to align.

It should now be possible to wiggle the gear box forward.

Warning Icon.pngFirst of all check that nothing is in the way – I failed to notice the reversing light switch had fallen down and I severed the cable which had become trapped.

Fitting the gear box is one of those tasks where you will have repeated attempts to get it to go and then it will suddenly “click” – it will need lots of tiny jiggles to creep it onto the studs.

Refit all the bolts that hold the gear box in place (use Copper Grease on the bolts to make it easier next time!)

Page last edited on 21/02/2019 by user Bosanek