DIY - MKIV 12v VR6 Tranny Removal / Clutch ReplacementFor Clutch replacement or for Lower Timing Chain replacementUPDATE: There are those who have performed this DIY on a 1.8t with no problems at all. The steps are very similar, with the possible exception of a different sized socket needed.The MKIV VR6 transmission removal is required to perform lower timing chain replacement, as well as upgrading or replacing the clutch. To fully understand how the clutch operates, there are some excellent articles in the manual transmission forum, but I will cover the basics before we begin.
In order to take the rotation force provided by the engine and send it to the transmission, we have two basic methods. The first, used in automatic transmissions, is called a Torque Converter. In the torque converter, two impellers (like propepeller blades) are placed inside a chamber filled with fluid. As one impeller rotates, it transfers its energy into the fluid, which also rotates. The force travels through the fluid, and eventually rotates the second impeller. This motion allows the engine to rotate at a different speed while the transmission and wheels catch up.
The second is the use of friction. In a manual transmission, the rotation from the engine ends with the flywheel. The flywheel provides a mating surface between one side of the clutch disc, and on the other side, the pressure plate. So as the flywheel turns, frictional force turns the clutch, which is pressed against the flywheel by the pressure plate. When you step on the clutch pedal, you are separating the pressure plate from the clutch disc. Since the pressure plate is what keeps the clutch disc pressed against the flywheel, separating the two reduces the force transferred from the engine to the clutch. To get the force to the transmission, the center of the clutch has a splined shaft that the transmission input shaft goes in to.
A word of note from your friend and mine, Gary (VgRt6):"When the tranny is out, it's the perfect time to replace the thermostat on a VR6. That job is a real PITA when the tranny is in place."
This is exactly what I did (and you can see why later on in the thread) but it will add a couple of extra hours to your job. Seriously worth it if you have not done it yet. It will fail. And I recommend draining the crack pipe before pulling anything off if you decide to do it by performing step 15 of the T-stat replacement DIY as follows:"15: Drain the crack pipe. This one is messy. The drain has to be accessed from underneath the car, and is just next to the block where the water pump housing fits. The stock pipe will need a flathead screwdriver and a turn or two, then it pops off. WEAR EYE PROTECTION!!!"Here's the plug, you can only see it from underneath the vehicle. If you just crack it about a half turn open, a nice steady stream of coolant will come out into your awaiting bucket. Wait 1/2 hour while draining and take a break...MUCH MUCH better then spilling G12 all over your garage floor.
Some very important cautions:
PLEASE label all the connectors, parts, and bolts you remove from the vehicle. This will really help when you are ready to put it all back together. Also, some bolts are different lengths but look exactly the same as other bolts. Use whatever labeling scheme works for you, I used about 50 zip-loc bags and a magic marker and some paper.
-Moly grease/lubricant (available at your local auto-parts store, also called Spline Lube)
-New Clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing(if you are doing this procedure, I recommend replacing regardless of mileage)
-New Flywheel (optional
-Lots of Zip-loc bags (or similar, for labeling)
-2 Liters of MT-90 or similar manual transmission fluid (or reuse the old fluid)
-10 new 10 mm triple square flywheel bolts (if removing/replacing the flywheel)
-6 new 10 mm 12 point pressure plate bolts
-New bolts for the pendulum (dog-bone) mount if you are replacing them (recommended)
-27 mm socket
-10 mm socket
-13 mm socket
-16 mm socket
-18 mm socket
-10 mm 12 point socket
-17 mm allen wrench (optional, but recommended)
-10 mm Triple Square (12 point) bit
-12" ratchet extension
-Small blade screwdriver
-Spray penetrating lubricant
-Medium phillips head screwdriver
-Impact wrench (optional, but HIGHLY recommended)
-Small blocks of wood
Note: I cannot be held responsible if something goes wrong during the performance of this procedure. I have done my best to make it as accurate as possible, but there may be some mistakes. Please use your head when working with the jacks and the engine/transmission combo.
Before you begin....
i. Drive the vehicle to a well lit spot and chock the rear tires. You will be here for a couple of hours, so make sure you can leave the car here undisturbed.
ii. Once the vehicle is parked, raise the hood.
iii. You may need the radio code for OEM radio if you still have yours since the battery will be disconnected for a while.
1. Start by removing some interior components. Perform steps 1.a) through 2.e) of the Starter Motor Grind Fix/Replacement DIY.
2.a. Remove the air filter. To do this, unscrew the two phillips head screws at the top of the air box cover. They will not come all the way out.
b. Lift up on the top of the air box cover, and slide the air box off of the retaining clips.
c. Lift up on the air filter to remove it from the air box.
3. Disconnect the MAF air sensor. Insert a screwdriver blade in to the small hole at the end of the connector, pry up gently, and slide the connector off.
4. Using a pair of Vise-grips, open and lock open the clamp connecting the air header to the air box. Leave the clamp opened for now.
5. Slide the air header off the air box cover by rocking the header back and forth and pulling it off the air box cover.
6. Disconnect the plastic hose attached to the air box cover. Squeeze the ribbed sides firmly and pull the hose off.
7. Release the clamp around the outlet of the air box cover by releasing the Vise-grips. At this point you should be able to remove the air box cover.
8. Remove the one additional bolt holding the air box inlet in place with a 13 mm socket.
9. Slide the air box out of the engine bay by pulling it to the passenger's side and lifting it up and out.
10. Remove the circlip holding the gate selector cable in place by lifting up on the raised tab with a small blade screwdriver and sliding the clip off.
11. Locate the shifter weight retaining nut.
12. While holding the shifter weight, remove the retaining bolt with a 13 mm socket and extension.
13. Spray a little penetrating lubricant into the spline area of the shifter weight. While it is settling, note that there is one thicker spline then the others. This ensures the shifter weight goes in only one way. Also see the white guide rail on the left side. This provides rotational guidance for the shift weight.
14. Once the spray has settled for a few minutes, wiggle the shifter weight back and forth to slide it off the spline. This is a shot with the weight removed and the white plastic guide rail exposed.
15. Remove the connector for the reverse light indication. The connector is rather difficult to get to, but it will come out.
16. Unclip the metal hose attached to the black metal bracket. This is the line to the slave cylinder.
17. Remove the three 13 mm bolts holding the black metal bracket in place. It is still attached to the transmission selector cables; leave them attached.
18. Slide the gate selector cable out of the transmission connection. Note the plastic sleeves on either side of the shaft. Remove these as well.
19. Located towards the rear of the transmission, find the heat shielding bag that encloses the vehicle speed sensor(VSS). Unsnap the two snaps that close the bag, and slide it up the cable.
20. Remove the connector from the VSS. Again, this may be difficult to get to.
21. Now you are ready to get underneath the vehicle. Raise the front end of the vehicle and remove the front wheels.
22. Remove the center splash guard by performing step 3 of the VR6 12V Oil Change DIY.
23. Remove the driver's side splash guard by inserting a long blade screwdriver into one of the slots on on the star shaped washer. Then unscrew the washer, and it will work the guard off of the stud in the frame. There are two of these washers for the guard. Once removed, the guard will drop right out.
24. Remove the driver's side fender well piece by unscrewing the 10 or so Torx-25 screws at the front and the back of the well. Once removed, the plastic piece should fall right out.
25. Remove the starter motor by performing steps 3.a) to 5.b) of the Starter Motor Grind Fix/Replacement DIY.
26. Remove the two 16 mm bolts holding the black support member in place. The bolt on the left actually has a nut, so do not forget to remove and bag it as well.
27. Remove the two bolts holding the slave cylinder in place with a 13 mm socket.
28. Carefully slide the slave cylinder out of the transmission. Do NOT depress the clutch pedal while the slave cylinder is removed, or you risk rupturing the rubber boot. The base of the slave cylinder is plastic, so be gentle as you remove it.
29. Locate the white plastic heat shield protecting the passenger's side CV joing. Remove the two bolts holding the plastic shield in place with a 13 mm socket.
30. You can see the passenger's side CV joint here. It is held to the transmission output flange by 6 twelve point bolts. This 12 point bit is commonly called a Triple Square bit, and is found in your local auto parts store. Remove the six 10 mm twelve point bolts, and the passenger's CV joint should separate from the transmission. If you have an extra person, it helps if they step on the brakes while removing the bolts. I had a lot of trouble removing these bolts until I got an impact wrench. Then they came right out.