The ECS Tuning clutch kit is a lightweight replacement for the factory-installed VW MK4 dual mass flywheel. The single mass flywheel conversion kit bolts directly to the crankshaft without modification, and comes with a mating clutch package that includes friction disc, pressure plate, release bearing, and pilot tool, plus new flywheel and pressure plate bolts.
Steps in this tutorial apply to a VW MK4 Jetta with a 1.8T engine and ve-speed transaxle. Steps for other engine and transaxle combinations are similar, but not necessarily identical.
The external clutch slave cylinder design in this car bolts to the transmission. The hydraulic slave cylinder actuates the clutch release bearing through a pivot arm located inside the bell housing. If the slave is unbolted and pulled to the side as an assembly, there is no need to bleed the system.
The stock air box on our car has been replaced with an aftermarket air filter. If your car still has the stock air box, plan on removing the box and ducts to make room.
Please refer to this diagram to identify main fasteners and their locations:
Prepare the Vehicle:
Disconnect the Battery.
NOTE: Disconnecting the battery erases all computer module keep-alive memory that requires a constant voltage source. Make sure you have access to your anti-theft radio code and don’t plan on taking a scan tool emissions test until all onboard monitors have had a chance to run again following the installation.
We will remove the battery and battery tray entirely to make added room. The car has no stock air cleaner housing to get in the way.
Support the Engine.
Install an engine support. Our crossbar engine hanger (ES#2804772) is ideal for this job. It straddles the entire transverse width of the engine compartment, and its long threaded adjustment screw lets us lower and raises the engine as we work.
We realize that some of you will not have access to a lift or dedicated drivetrain hanger. If you are improvising, plan carefully to devise a safe alternative support mechanism that ensures your personal safety and prevents vehicle damage.
This is an ideal time to drain and reinstall the transmission.
NOTE: The original ll plugs can be very tight and di cult to remove.
While you’re at it, why not install a new ECS Tuning magnetic drain plug to catch and hold ferrous particles between fluid changes?
The ECS VW transaxle service wrench makes the job easy; it has a 17mm box end and 17mm hex head to t both old and new plugs.
Under the Hood:
Things to remove or disconnect under the hood
• Shift cable support bracket
• Gate selector cable (remove snap clip)
• Gate selector relay lever (remove nut and pull lever from shaft)
• Vehicle speed sensor (VSS) electrical connector (unplug)
• Main positive cable to starter (remove nut and cable)
• Electrical connector to starter solenoid (unplug)
• Backup light switch connector (unplug)
• Negative battery cable (remove nut from top front engine bolt stud) • Top bell housing-to-engine bolts
• Two transmission mount bolts
Unbolt and remove the support tube between the transaxle and transmission mount bracket.
(The tube is a bent length of black pipe that acts as a stiffener.)
Remove the shift cable mechanism as an assembly.
Start by removing the three bolts holding the shift cable bracket to the transaxle (arrows).
(Slave cylinder and engine labeled for reference.)
- Remove the snap clip (left arrow) from the gate selector shaft and slide the shaft out of its tube in the transaxle. (Note: We enlarged the clip and labeled it so you can see it better. Pry on the clip center tab as you remove it.)
- Remove the nut holding the gate selector lever to the shaft (right arrow). Then lift the lever straight up to remove it from the splined gear selector shaft. (See note in Step 4.)
- Leave the shift cables connected to the lever. Pull the arm and cables aside as a unit and tie them out of the way with mechanic’s wire or a bungee cord.
The splined transmission selector shaft has one wide tooth that matches a mating wide tooth in the selector arm.
Later, when you reinstall the selector arm on the shaft, align the wide teeth as you slide the arm in place, restoring it to its original position. (Since the cables, bracket, and shift arm were removed and reinstalled as an assembly, no shift linkage adjustments will be needed.)
The front top engine bolt has a threaded stud where the negative battery cable attaches.
Remove the nut on the cable and pull it from the stud.
This is a great time to sand the cable eyelet down to bright metal, ensuring a good connection later when you reinstall the cable.
Reach in under the hoses on the left side of the engine and remove the two top transaxle-to-engine bolts (arrows).
Remove both slave cylinder bolts (left arrows).
Don’t disconnect the fluid lines. Free the lines from their support clips and pull the slave cylinder with its uid lines o to one side. Tie the assembly out of your way.
Remove both of the large bolts that secure the transmission mount to the mount support bracket (right arrows).
Lower the engine/transmission until you can reach in through the left side wheel well and remove the side bolts from the transmission mount (upper arrows).
Slide the mount out and lay it aside.
Remove the bolt from the power steering tube p-clamp at the bottom of the transmission (lower arrow).
Under the Car:
Things to remove or disconnect under the car
• Positive battery cable (remove from starter)
• Starter solenoid electrical connector
• Backup light switch (disconnect)
• Starter bolts (very long bolts with a threaded stud for the power steering hose support bracket) • Power steering clamp (removed in step 7)
• Flywheel inspection plate (see step 9)
• Driveshaft-to-drive flange bolts (six at each axle)
• Left driveshaft (no need to disconnect the outer end of the shorter left side driveshaft; just unbolt it from
the drive flange and hang it up as high as possible with a rope, wire or bungee cord)
• Right driveshaft (unbolt it from the drive flange; unbolt the right side ball joint, then pivot the base of the
right strut with the axle outward far enough that the axle does not interfere with the transaxle.
• Remaining large bolts securing the bell housing to the engine block
• Special Note: we chose to unbolt and remove the drive flanges from the transaxle. Doing so gave us
much more clearance and prevent interference between the head of the flange and the chassis. Do not interchange the flanges.
Compare these photos to the illustration on the previous page. Note the location of key components.
- Disconnect the starter electrical and backup light connectors.
- Remove the positive battery cable.
- Remove the nut on the lower starter bolt stud and tie the power steering pipe support bracket away from the transaxle.
Working at the rear of the engine, remove the small retainer bolt holding the flywheel inspection cover plate to the right rear of the engine, above the right drive axle.
Unbolt both drive axles from their flanges. There are six bolts on each flange.
An extended reach driver like the Schwaben triple square makes it easier to reach in and break the bolts free. It is part of a six-piece driver set made for jobs like this, where extra reach is needed (ES9011).
Need a fast and easy way to hold the drive axles as you loosen or tighten the drive axle bolts?
Just slide the tip of a screwdriver into a brake rotor vent slot. The screwdriver will stop when it comes up against the brake caliper, and keep the axle from turning as you loosen or tighten axle bolts.
Reposition the screwdriver as you rotate the drive axle to reach all of the drive axle-to-flange bolts.
After disconnecting the left drive axle from the transmission flange, use rope or a length of mechanic’s wire to tie the axle up, out of the way.
To make extra room on the right side, remove the bolts from the right ball joint. Then slide the right ball joint out of the control arm.
Pull the bottom of the strut (with right drive axle still attached) away from the control arm. This will move the axle outward, adding much-appreciated space between the inner drive joint and flange.
Prop the strut in this position, and support the axle with a wire or bungee cord.
(We recommend replacing these bolts.)
We feel that removing both drive flanges actually saves time and a lot of aggravation by adding wiggle room when you pull the transaxle.
Use a 6mm hex to loosen and remove the center bolt. The spring-loaded axles will pop out easily. Mark them for location and do not swap them!
Place a clean rag into each flange hole to keep oil in and dirt out.
Remove the dogbone bolts at the transaxle and chassis.
Inspect the dogbone for signs of damage or cracking. Ours is cracked from age and will be replaced with ES5669.
- Remove the remaining bell housing bolts (see diagram page 3).
- Make sure the transaxle has been lowered far enough to clear the chassis when it is removed from the engine.
- Support the transaxle (securely!) with a jack.
- Double check: Are all electrical cables and connectors disconnected?
- Wiggle the transaxle away from the engine. Move it away just far enough that the transaxle input shaft clears the pressure plate fingers.
- Lower the transaxle slowly, making sure it clears the engine and chassis at the same time. Minor wiggling required.
Prepare the Transaxle:
At 154,000 miles, the inside of the bell housing has accumulated a lot of clutch grime. We’ll clean this away before installing the new clutch.
To reduce our exposure to clutch dust, we wet the inside of the bell housing with spray cleaner, and wear a dust mask as we scrub.
Press on the spring clip at the clutch release arm pivot (arrow) until it pops out. Save the clip.
Pull the release arm/release bearing assembly o the sleeved guide surrounding the input shaft.
Compress the retainer clips on the old release bearing and remove it from the pivot arm.
Snap the new release bearing into the arm, making sure the snap clips lock in place (arrows).
Apply a small lm of assembly lube to the splines on the input shaft, on the sleeve surrounding the shaft, and on the pivot stud.
Test t the clutch friction disc on the transmission input shaft. It should engage the splines easily, and slide smoothly.
Remove the clutch after the test, and lay it aside for now (do not get oil or paste on the friction material).
Replace the spring clip on the clutch arm removed in step 17.
Slide the release bearing over the sleeve and push the lower part of the release arm until it snaps in place over the pivot stud (arrow).
Grab the opposite end of the release arm and make sure the release bearing slides easily and smoothly on the sliding sleeve as the arm is moved.
Install the Clutch:
The old dual mass flywheel/pressure plate assembly is considerably heavier than a single mass assembly.
While it is possible to reach in and remove the flywheel bolts and remove the old flywheel/pressure plate assembly as a single unit, you may nd it more manageable to remove the pressure plate first to split the weight.
Unbolt and remove the old dual mass flywheel. You’ll need an M12 triple square driver and some muscle.
Clean the rear of the engine. Check the metal separator plate for damage. Make sure that it is properly positioned on the locator dowels, and sitting at against the engine.
Check the locator dowels; make sure both are in place, and that neither was damaged as the transaxle was removed.
Service Tip: If the crank seal is leaking, now is the time to replace it.
- Install the new flywheel. The bolt pattern is asymmetrical. The flywheel-to-crankshaft holes align only one way. If the holes in the flywheel will not align with those in the crankshaft initially, rotate the flywheel until all holes accept bolts.
- Cross-tighten and torque the new bolts to 10 ft-lb initially to ensure that the flywheel is seated uniformly. Install a flywheel lock (arrow).
- Torque the bolts in a diagonal pattern to 60 Nm (44 ft-lb) + 90 degrees. Use the new bolts.
- Remove the flywheel lock.
Insert the pilot tool from the Stage I kit into the clutch disc and push the tool into the recess at the center of the flywheel.
- Note the location of the three locator pins (arrows) in the flywheel for the next step. These pins are not symmetrical and align only one way.
Have the new pressure plate bolts handy. Install the pressure plate over the disc and align the holes in the pressure plate with the dowels in the flywheel.
Screw in the pressure plate bolts finger tight. Then draw down the bolts evenly. Cross tighten until all bolts are seated.
It is important to draw the pressure plate down evenly.
Using a 9mm 12-point socket, cross torque the pressure plate bolts to 20 Nm (15 ft-lb).
All flywheel dowels (one of which is indicated by our arrow) must be properly aligned with their corresponding holes in the flywheel. They align only one way.
After the pressure plate is installed, remove the clutch pilot tool.
The clutch/ flywheel assembly is now installed and ready for the transaxle to be reinstalled.
Retrace your steps to reinstall the transaxle.
We’ve added a few special instructions and tips we hope will help you on the following pages.
Due to casting dimension variations, your new flywheel/pressure plate may rub at one or more points inside the bell housing.
For this reason, we recommend the following:
Use the ECS Tuning MK4 bell housing clearance gauge to locate raised casting areas that will interfere with the flywheel, causing it to rub and bind.
VW recommends replacing several fasteners.
ECS Tuning stocks two kits containing related hardware associated with a clutch installation. These include the three ball joint bolts and three-nut plate for the left ball joint ES#205173.
Torque ball joint bolts to 20 Nm (15 ft-lb) + 90 degrees.
VW recommends replacing the axle bolts as well.
If your car needs a clutch, odds are the old dogbone is worn out as well. Ours had seized to the chassis bolts and was cracked, so we replaced it while we were there.
In addition to looking great, the ECS Tuning dogbone has high 88A durometer polyurethane bushings and comes with installation hardware (ES#5669).
Both drive flanges are spring-loaded. Push in to compress the spring until you can thread the center bolt in by hand. The springs are stout, so expect to have to push hard on the flange faces to compress the springs far enough to get the bolts started.
Use two of the old axle bolts and a long screwdriver to hold the drive flange while you torque the center bolts to 25 Nm (18 ft-lb).
Leaky crank seal? ECS stocks both OEM and aftermarket crankshaft seals. These seals come with a replacement flange.