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Old 07-10-2016, 10:16 AM   #1
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

I've looked at different ways of getting the transmission out to do a clutch job but always seem to come back to dropping the subframe as the easiest and less time consuming method.. Fortunately, dropping the subframe only requires a little more additional work and may in fact be the easiest / fastest way to get access to the clutch.

The job is to replace a blown out slave cylinder (leaking fluid faster than I can put it in). While I 'm in there, I'll put in a new clutch, pressure plate, and also replace the axle seals rear main crankshaft seal, and replace the jack shaft drive bearing.


Special tools

An impact driver (electric or air) will help a lot, but a breaker bar may work ok.

Floor jack

Shop crane / engine hoist with a balancer is ideal, but not absolutely necessary ( I did not have one)

A couple 2x4s and two pieces of chain (used to hold the engine up)


Removing engine subframe / transmission

Center the steering wheel with the wheels pointing straight. Loop the seat belt through the steering wheel so it can't be moved to far. This will prevent anyone from turning the wheel to far and damaging the air bag clock spring.

Disconnect and remove the battery

Removing battery box (four bolts). Remove the positive battery connections from the fuse box. The fuse box will then unclip from top of battery box, and the battery box can be removed. You need to unclip numerous wire harnesses from the battery box.

Remove the air plenum from the air filter and throttle body.

Remove the hydraulic line/bleed assembly from the slave cylinder. Remove the clip and the line/assembly will pull out. Make sure to install a new o-ring on the fitting before inserting it into your new slave cylinder.

Using impact driver, loosen axle nuts, both sides (BS), put the nuts back just far enough to protect the axle. You will need a 34mm socket for the axle nuts.

Loosen the axles from the hub. Smack the center of the axle (with the nuts protecting the axle) with a hammer (BS), Watch very carefully and you'll see the axle pop free from the hub and slide inward 1/8 - 1/4 inch, just enough to free the axle from the hub assembly. The axle will NOT come out yet, We only do this to free the axle from its pressed in fit.

Raise car, tires need to be at least 4 inches off the ground. Place on jack stands. Remove wheels, (BS).

Remove the plastic splash skirt from the inside of the drivers side wheel well. (no need to remove the passenger side)

Remove the three plastic clips that hold the front air dam to the engine cradle.

Drain fluid from transmission, When you remove the plug, note that it may not have washer on it. I strongly recommend putting a cooper washer on the plug - Reinstall and tighten the drain plug.

Remove the sway bar links from the strut (BS), I used a vise grip to hold the back side of the bolts.

Remove the brake calipers (BS) from the hubs. Use some wire and tie the calipers as high as you can on the strut springs to get them out of the way.

Loosen the two large nuts on the strut bolts (BS). Back the nuts almost all the way off. You'll need to drive the bolts out, so back the nuts out to protect the bolts while you hammer the bolts out. Remove the strut bolts, the hubs will now swing down.

Rotate the hubs down, the axle shafts should now slide out of the hub (BS).

Remove the axles from transmission and jackshaft. You'll need a large screwdriver to pry the axle away from the transmission (driver side) and the intermediate jackshaft (passenger side).

Remove the axle jackshaft from the passenger side. Either remove the entire mount from the engine (three large bolts) or remove the three small bolts that hold the shaft to the mount. Be very careful if you remove the shaft from the mount, The small shaft bearing cover will separate from the mount, pry using a small blade screwdriver. Do NOT break the aluminum casting or you are screwed.

Remove the steering shaft u-joint from the rack and pinion shaft. You may need to turn the steering wheel a little to get access to the bolt. Remove the bolt, re-center the steering wheel, then use a long screwdriver to tap the u-joint upward and off of the rack/pinion shaft. )Make sure the steering wheel is secured so it can't be turned)

Remove two electrical connectors from the transmission - Vehicle Speed Sensor, and the Reverse switch. Remove any wire hold down clamps.

Unplug the upstream O2 sensor, the one thats mounted on the exhaust manifold.

Place the gear shifter in "N". loosen the clips that hold the shifter cables to the transmission. If you have the orange ones, squeeze the tabs together and the cables pull straight up. They may not come out of the groove until you release the cables from the balls in the next step.

Removing the shifter cables from the balls - there is a black plastic "U" shape clip that pulls out. you need to press down on the plate or lift up slightly on the clip to release it so it will pull out. This will release the top flat plate and it will now come off - ALSO - there is a small rubber ring that may be stuck to the bottom of the top plate or stay attached to the center of the bottom plate. look for it.

The shifter cable will now lift off the ball, but the bottom plate will still stay attached to the ball, thats OK, just make sure to find the small rubber ring.

Using two pieces of wire, tie the top of the radiator to the top of the radiator support. The radiator rests on the subframe, this will keep the radiator from falling down when the subframe is removed.


SUPPORTING THE ENGINE

There are seven (7) bolts that secure the transmission to the engine. I removed all of them with the exception of one on top and one on bottom. NOTE - The bolt tucked under the water pump tube is hard to see. The bolt above the starter is also a little hard to see.

NOTE - If you are using an engine hoist with balancer, use this to lift the engine instead of a floor jack in the following step.

Take the weight off of the subframe. Center a floor jack between the engine and trans, use a piece of wood to protect the engine/tranny. Raise the jack just enough that you see the engine tranny come up a 1/4 inch or so.

Loosen the three bolts on the passenger side motor mount about two turns each. This allows the engine to pivot a little on this mount.

Remove the three bolts on the drivers side "trans to frame" mount, these are under the battery box.

Remove the long bolts from both, the forward and the rear motor mounts.

From underneath, remove the three bolts that hold the rear motor mount to the transmission.

Remove the three bolts that hold the front mount to the engine. IMPORTANT - One of the bolts is short, make sure to mark which hole it came out of.

If you don't have a hoist with balancer, prepare and install some type of engine support 2x4s, or whatever you will use to support the engine from the top.

NOTE - Your engine support from the from the top should now be tight and holding most of the weight of the engine/tranny. We are getting ready to drop the subframe.

Slowly lower the floor jack.

NOTE - The subframe is heavy, so I made "T" from 2x4s and positioned it against the bottom of the subframe. Position the floor jack against the "T" so its about even with the wheels. Thats about the center of balance.

Raise the floor jack against the "T" so the weight of the subframe is now on the floor jack.

Remove the four subframe bolts. One of my forward bolts was spinning the nutplate. There is a small square opening that you can see the nutplate. I used a sawzall to cut the opening a little larger so I could get a wrench onto the nutplate.

With all four bolts removed, slowly lower the jack a little at a time, verify we're not hung up on anything and that all wires bolts, fasteners are removed.

Also verify that the top engine support will hold the engine.

Lower the subframe as low as it will go, When everything is clear, I pulled the floor jack out from under the subframe.

With the subframe on the ground, drag it out from under the car and push it off to the side.

REMOVING THE TRANSMISSION

Goal - Tilt the engine / tranny combination so the top of the transmission will clear the drivers side wheel well. At that point the transmission will slide off of the guide pins on the engine and can then be lowered to the ground. NOTE - The transmission weight 50-60 lbs. When I was ready to pull the transmission, I placed a floor jack under the transmission to help support the weight. I also placed a couple scraps of thick plywood in front and behind the transmission in case I dropped it. It would land on the plywood rather than hit the hard cement floor and maybe break the casting...


Loosen the two remaining bolts so they can be removed by fingers.

If you're not using a hoist.

Reposition the floor jack so its under the engine oil pan only and doesn't touch the transmission (protect the pan with a small block of wood) Raise the engine to take the weight off of the 2x4s.

Reposition the chains on the top support 2x4s so the engine will go down a couple more inches.

Lower the floor jack slowly until the weight is once again supported by the 2x4s and chains. While lowering, verify none of the wire harnesses are snagging or catching. Lower the combination until the weight is once again on the chains.

With the weight now supported by the chains, reposition the floor jack so it somewhat centered on the transmission (use wood).

You should have a helper standing by to work the jack.

Raise the jack slightly and remove the two final bolts.

Have your helper ready on the jack.

Pull the transmission away from the engine. It will probably not balance on the jack so you will need to help support and guide it while your helper lowers the jack.

Once the jack is all the way down you can either roll the jack out or slide the transmission off the jack and onto the plywood.

CONGRADULATIONS - You just done the impossible.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Clutch_Replace_8_800.jpg (109.0 KB, 113 views)
File Type: jpg Clutch_Replace_9_800.jpg (187.5 KB, 111 views)
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

Last edited by waiter21; 07-10-2016 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 07-17-2016, 02:06 PM   #2
TombedOrchestra
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Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

That's a great write up on how to get to even START the job! Thanks! I will use this if I need to replace the clutch on my vehicle. I have a 2005 2.2L Ecotech with 132,000. How long does a clutch typically last on these vehicles? It's not been abused on mine (at least since I bought it at 58k)... no regular grindings, no riding clutch, etc...
...
2005 Vue
2.2 Ecotech
Manual Transmission
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Old 07-17-2016, 03:39 PM   #3
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

I'm not sure about miles, I bought this as a project that someone did an engine / tranny swap and could never get it running.

The slave took a massive dump. When I took everything apart the clutch actually looked to be in fairly new shape. but I replaced it anyway.
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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Old 11-21-2016, 11:25 AM   #4
hoosierrun
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2006 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

Great write up! Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. As you probably know from my other post, I'm dealing with a rear main seal oil leak on an automatic setup. The vehicle has 160,000 + on it and I'm temporarily using Bars rear main seal stop leak to control it. I figure once the tranny starts slipping, I'll stick a reman unit in it and take care of the leaks. Otherwise, with my luck, I'd replace the seal, only to have the tranny go out in a few months.

I've done FWD tranny R&R's before, similar to what you did here, but never on a GM... or specifically a Saturn Vue.

I just hope my back can still handle it.
...
John.... 2006 Saturn Vue, 2.2, 186,000 miles Recently junked out - (threw a rod)
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Old 11-21-2016, 11:42 AM   #5
billysvue
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Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

Any dent's in the top of the fenders from the 2x4 braces? THEre'ld be hell to pay if they broke
...
'05 ,2.2L, FWD,5-speed stick with transaxle death rattle is history,,,
'17 Suby Forester

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Old 11-21-2016, 12:12 PM   #6
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2006 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by billysvue View Post
Any dent's in the top of the fenders from the 2x4 braces? THEre'ld be hell to pay if they broke
There is a thick steel ridge inside the hood edge on both sides that takes all the weight. No weight is on the plastic fenders. Otherwise you would need to build a frame all the way to the ground, but that might make it a bit unstable with all the weight.
...
John.... 2006 Saturn Vue, 2.2, 186,000 miles Recently junked out - (threw a rod)
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

What did you use to beat the new seal into the block? Did you use a peace of pvc pipe over the seal to position it into the block?
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:15 AM   #8
waiter21
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Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

A rubber mallet and a piece of wood.

Clean the crank surface the best you can, I use 1000 sandpaper wrapped around a Popsicle stick. wipe it with brake clean to remove any residue.

Clean the mating surface on the block, It doesn't hurt that when your cleaning the crank surface, you'll also be cleaning the bore surface on the block. make sure everything is clean before installing the seal.

Use a very thin film of gasket seal / adhesive on the edge of the seal before pressing it into the block. This will help seal and act as an adhesive when the seal is installed.

Put a thin coat of grease on the crank and on the inside of the seal to help lubricate it and reduce risk of damage when installing.

Make sure the spring is inside the seal, it squeezes the rubber seal against the crank.
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

Last edited by waiter21; 12-09-2016 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

Did this fix you're problem? My leak is slowly getting worse.

You mean apply the sealant to make it tacky to the outside of the seal but lube the inside of the seal (that seals against the crank shaft) with car oil or real grease to help ease installation of the new seal?

Should I get a GM seal or a Felpro seal? The GM seal costs me 28$ my cost
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Old 12-17-2016, 07:37 AM   #10
waiter21
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Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

I didn't have a crank leak. My thoughts, anytime the tranny/engine is split, always replace the crank seal.

Yes, you have it correct, sealant/adhesive (just a tiny bit) to the outside of the seal to hold it in place and grease on the inside to help installation.

Felpro is good ( I'd say better than OEM )
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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Old 12-19-2016, 04:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn Vue - Clutch Replacement

Appreciate the writeup, clutch is just starting to show some problems for me and I don't want to have to pay for the stealership to do it.

How was the rust, or anything else really hang you up with the disassembly? I'm living up in Michigan here and sometimes it can be a nightmare just to get a vehicle apart from the junk it collects over the winters. I see you're in Ohio, so not too much of a different environment.

Basically, how many hours would you estimate it took you, and would you ever want to do it again? I'm plenty handy, and I have a fairly complete set of tools at my disposal, but does this feel like a day, weekend, or week long project for one person to tackle?

Thanks again!

EDIT: if you could list the part numbers you bought that would be really helpful too!
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