Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Flipping of the wrenches

On most ratcheting wrenches there is a lever that turn the wrench from forward to reverse. From remove to install. Tonight was the night I got to "flip the switch". This simple action represents much more than just lefty loosy righty tighty. It is a sign of forward progress. A symbolic representation that the half way point has been meet, and actions from this point forth are towards the side of order rather than chaos.

About a week ago, when my buddy Ralf was visiting, I set forth on the task of dropping my transmission and replacing the clutch. I didn't really need a new clutch. Mine worked ok for the most part, except that it would slip if I dumped the clutch fast on a hard launch. It would slip under a few other circumstances as well, but I won't go into that. Another reason I wanted to drop the tranny was to do an inspection. I have been hearing some really bad noises coming from the tranny and clutch, and figured that I should take the time to inspect it in a controlled environment, rather than having something explode on me while running triple digits through the desert. I knew this job was going to take some time so I scheduled it for the winter, when the Z stays parked for several snowy months.

To my surprise everything looked OK. The clutch plates were in good shape, the throwout bearing spun smoothly, the seals held the oil where they were suppose to be. However when I drained the tranny fluid I found bits of gear teeth on the drain magnet. No problem, I'll just put these with the others I found the last time I drained the gear oil. But it was pointed out to me that the teeth were not the syncro mesh teeth as I presumed before. Those are made of brass and do not stick to the drain plug magnet; these were gear teeth. And the notchy shifting I experience was only to get worse till I couldn't shift altogether. Well dang...that couldn't be good. So I am currently looking for a new/used tranny. Though mine is still operational, I figure that the work involved in dropping the tranny is worth me replacing it while I have it out.

Along that same note, there are a lot of "while you are in there" type of repairs. One is the Rear main oil seal. The Z's RMS is a bit special. Rather than a simple seal pressed into the engine block there is a RMS retainer. (OK so other cars might have this as well and I just don't know about it) The RMS retainer contains not only the RMS, but a oil pan half moon seal, as well as a retainer gasket. While you have the transmission out, you might as well replace the seals.

When replacing a clutch, the throwout bearing and pilot bushing are two must replace items. These usually come with a new clutch. I did not have a pilot bushing puller, and thus used a chisel and hammer. Not too fancy, but it got the job done.

According the service manual a fancy drift and bearing separator are required to press the old throw out bearing off the sleeve. Instead, I used three sockets of various sizes and my home vice to press the TO bearing off. Getting the new bearing on simply required a swift whack of a hammer to a carefully placed socket. I have heard a golf ball also works.

With the new RMS in place, I was able to bolt up my new flywheel. Rather that just installing the stock flywheel back in, I opted for a RPS segmented lightweight flywheel. Oh so shiny. I thought I would take a picture of it cause (if everything goes right) I will never see it again.

Though I am still a long way out from completing this project, I am making good progress. The wrenches have been flipped!


  1. I'm glad that I got to read this article. It was very enlightening and captivating.

  2. You yourself seems to be very knowledgeable on the topic of wrenches. You too must understand the feeling when the "flipping of the wrenches" occur. Wrench on!!