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How to Change the Clutch on a 2001 Dodge Dakota

by Cayden Conor

When the clutch wears out on a 2001 Dodge Dakota, the transmission must be pulled to replace it, as the clutch is located in the bell housing of the transmission. You can purchase just the clutch, but it is recommended that you purchase the clutch kit with the disc, pressure plate and throwout bearing. The clutch kit also comes with an alignment tool that allows you to line the clutch up properly.

Disconnect the negative battery cable and lay it aside, ensuring that it does not touch metal. Jack up the Dakota, using the floor jack, then support it with jack stands. Remove the floor jack. Unbolt the U-joint bracket on the rear driveshaft, using the appropriate wrench, then remove the driveshaft. Make sure the U-joints don't fall and hit the ground. If the caps come off, the bearings inside will fall out, and you'll have to replace the U-joints. Stuff a rag in the tailshaft to keep the transmission fluid from leaking.

Unplug the crankshaft position sensor. Remove the retaining bolts, then pull the crank sensor off the block. Remove the wiring from the starter, using the appropriate wrench. Remove the starter's retaining bolts, using the appropriate socket, then remove the starter. Remove the transmission dipstick tube, using the appropriate socket.

Slide the drain pan under the transmission cooler lines, where they enter the transmission. Remove the lines from the transmission, using the appropriate line wrench. Block the holes in the transmission for the line, using rags, to keep the transmission fluid from leaking out.

Unbolt and remove the transmission converter access cover. Unbolt the torque converter bolts through the access cover, using the appropriate socket. Turn the torque converter until you find and remove all the bolts. Unbolt and remove the transmission oil dipstick tube.

Unplug the vehicle speed sensor wiring harness connector from the VSS located on the transmission. Unplug the park/neutral switch wiring harness connector. Unbolt and remove the shift cable and the throttle valve cable.

Slide the floor jack under the transmission and raise it up enough to touch the transmission. Unbolt and remove the transmission mount, using the appropriate wrench. Unbolt the transmission crossmember, using the appropriate socket. Remove the crossmember. Make sure that the jack is at a point under the transmission where it will be balanced properly -- for safety reasons, you should have a helper with this part, but it can be done by one person. Remove the transmission flange bolts, then pull the transmission off the engine. You might need to pry it with a prybar if its removal is difficult.

Remove the pressure plate by loosing the bolts 1/2 turn each until the bolts come out -- the pressure plate is under pressure and will whack you in the head if you are not careful. Remove the disc and throwout bearing, using the appropriate sockets.

Install the new throwout bearing, using the appropriate sockets. Install the new disc and pressure plate, using the appropriate sockets. Tighten the pressure plate bolts in 1/2 turn increments to 21 foot-pounds of torque.

Make sure the torque converter is seated properly in the transmission. Jack up the transmission and line it up on the engine. Push it into place, ensuring the dowl pins are fitted into the guide holes and that no wiring or hoses have fallen down to get trapped between the transmission and the engine. Insert the bolts and tighten them as far as possible, by hand. Tighten the bolts to 65 foot-pounds of torque.

Reinstall the driveshaft, transmission mount and crossmember. Reattach the throttle valve cable, shift cable, park/neutral switch connector, VSS sensor connector, and the transmission oil dipstick tube. Tighten the torque converter bolts to 23 foot-pounds of torque, using the appropriate socket, if the converter is a 10.75-inch converter, and 35 foot-pounds of torque for a 12.2-inch converter. Reinstall the torque converter access cover, transmission cooler lines, starter and crank sensor.

Items you will need

About the Author

Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.

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