How to Replace the Flywheel in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The flywheel of a car or Vehicles connects the engine's crank shaft to the Vehicles through the torque converter. Both manual and Vehicles connect to a a flywheel. The flywheel is engaged by the electronic starter when the Vehicles is turned over using the key and ignition. The starter has a small gear that is electrically pushed onto the flywheel and spun to turn the flywheel and crank shaft to start the engine running. If the flywheel loses one of its gear teeth because of the starter, it should be replaced to avoid further damage to the starter and flywheel. Replace the flywheel on an Vehicles when the starter has broken one of the flywheel's gear teeth or the flywheel has become warped or damaged during use.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Flywheel in a Chevy Truck

Block the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from rolling. Remove the gear shift lever by removing the rubber cover and lifting it up onto the gear shift handle. Make sure that the gear shift is in "Neutral." Remove the bolts holding the lever into the top of the transmission. Lift the lever and cover out of the transmission.

Raise and support the front of the truck with the jack stands. Remove the drive shaft. Support the transmission with the floor jack and remove the transmission mount bolts and the cross member. Remove the hydraulic line from the slave cylinder if the slave is in the bellhousing. If the slave is not in the bellhousing, leave the line on and remove the slave cylinder from the side of the transmission. Just remove the two bolts and move it aside. Remove any electrical connectors.

Remove all the bolts in the bellhousing. Pull the transmission back while supporting it on the jack. Lower the jack just slightly and pull the transmission back enough to gain access to the flywheel. Lift the jack enough to pin the transmission to the floor of the truck so it won't fall.

Remove the flywheel by removing the center bolts. When the flywheel comes off, be careful as it is heavy. There is a center plate under the bolts holding the flywheel--save this plate for the new flywheel.

Install the new flywheel, making sure that the dowel pin fits into the rear of the flywheel. Install the plate in the back of the flywheel under the head of the bolts. Install the bolts and make sure they have the lock washers under them. Torque the bolts to specifications of 80 foot-pounds.

Install the transmission by lowering the transmission slightly and carefully inserting the input shaft through the center of the clutch and into the flywheel bushing. Install and tighten the bolts in the bellhousing. Install the cross member, its bolts and the bolts in the transmission mount. Lower the jack.

Install the slave cylinder and its two bolts, and tighten. If it is an internal slave, install the hose to the slave and bleed the system of air with the small Schraeder valve on the side of the slave. Install the electrical connectors. Install the driveshaft. Install the gear shift handle into the socket in the shift arm in the transmission, then install the cap and bolts.

Items you will need

  • Set of 3/8-inch sockets

  • 3/8-inch ratchet

  • 3/8-inch extension

  • Common screwdriver

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Set of ½-inch sockets

  • ½-inch air gun

  • Phillips screwdriver

 How to Replace a Flywheel on a Chevy Malibu

Disconnect the negative battery cable. Remove the battery and the air intake and filter box assembly.

Place a floor jack underneath the middle of the engine and raise the Malibu. Support the sides of vehicle with jack stands.

Remove the lower engine splash shields, using a screwdriver or socket wrench. Remove the front tires. Place two floor jacks underneath the transmission to help support the transmission once it is unfastened from the engine.

Use a torque wrench to unscrew the hub nut and remove the rotors, tie rod ends, steering knuckles and ball joints. Remove the starter from the engine. The starter can be found by tracing the positive battery cable, which splits between the starter and alternator.

Unbolt the shift linkage and wiring connections to the transaxle. Install engine support fixtures to hold the engine in place while the transaxle is being removed.

Remove the front suspension support brace. Unscrew the engine mount strut from the strut bracket. Install more engine support fixtures for the suspension support assembly, then remove the bolts from the suspension support assembly so you can disengage the steering coupling from the transaxle.

Unscrew the fastener bolts from the drive axles, disconnecting them from the transaxles. Unscrew the engine-to-transaxle bracing. Unscrew the transaxle converter cover's retaining bolts. Use a marker and pieces of tape to designate the proper locations of the bolts and assembly for the flexplate-to-torque converter and unscrew the bolts.

Unscrew the transaxle mount-to-body fastening bolts, using a torque wrench. Make sure any connections, hoses or wiring between the engine and transaxle are completely unfastened before lowering the vehicle.

Lower the transaxle from the vehicle slowly.

Use a marker to mark the position of the flywheel on the crankshaft. Use a torque wrench to unscrew the flywheel mounting bolts, then remove the flywheel and its shim or spacer (if it is equipped with one).

Use thread locking glue to coat the bolts of the flywheel as you install the new one. Hand tighten the flywheel mounting bolts. Tighten the mounting bolts in an alternating star pattern, so that bolts opposite from each other on the bolt circle are tightened one after another. The mounting bolts should be tightened using a torque wrench to 22 foot-pounds on a 2.4 liter engine and to 52 foot-pounds on a 3.1 liter engine.

Tighten the transaxle bolts and fasteners according to the specifications for your year and model. For a 2000 Chevy Malibu, the transaxle-to-engine mounting bolts should be tightened to 99 foot-pounds. The flexplate-to-torque converter should be tightened to 46 foot-pounds and the converter shield to 18 foot-pounds. The transaxle-to-engine brace bolts should be tightened to 32 foot-pounds.

Items you will need

  • Engine lift

  • Engine support fixtures

  • Floor jacks

  • Jack stands

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Flywheel on an Automatic Transmission

Park the vehicle on a level floor. Jack up the front, then the back, of the car to place one jack stand under four supporting frame points to carry the vehicle at least 24 inches off the ground to replace the flywheel on an automatic transmission.

Lift the hood of the vehicle and remove the red positive battery cable from the positive post of the automotive battery. Pull the loose cable end away from the battery and secure in place when you replace the flywheel on an automatic transmission.

Separate the drive shaft from the rear of the automatic transmission. For rear-wheel drive vehicles this involves disconnecting the universal joint where it secures to the rear axle yolk. Remove the two U-bolts and turn the axle until the universal jointsfrees from the yoke. Pull the drive shaft out of the tail housing of the transmission and place off to the side.

Loosen and remove the torque converter bolts that secure the transmission to the flywheel on an automatic transmission. Six bolts, three short and three long, will need to be removed with the use of one or two closed-end spanner wrenches. Each bolt should be loosened before being removed to eliminate pressure being applied to the remaining bolts unevenly after most have been removed. Protect the parts that are still good by using this procedure for all fasteners that have multiple securing points that need to be tighten or loosened evenly when you replace the flywheel on an automatic transmission.

Place the floor jack under the vehicle and raise the lifting arm up to the bottom of the transmission fluid pan. Place a piece of plywood between the pan and the lifting arm to protect the pan when lifting and lowering. Lift the floor jack high enough to press upwards on the transmission, which will take some of the weight off the transmission mount and cross member bolts.

Loosen the transmission mount bolts and cross-member fasteners that secure the cross member to the car. With the cross member removed and the transmission mounts loosened, the remaining bell housing bolts are all that hold the transmission to the engine block. Always be aware of the weight distribution on the floor jack and adjust to center correctly throughout the remaining process of removing the automatic transmission to replace a flywheel.

Disconnect the speed sensor, the shifter linkage and the transmission temperature gauge using small spanner wrenches and pliers to pull the shifter linkage cotter pin. Wires that connect to an automatic transmission either have a plastic pull adapter or an eyelet that sits over a small stud in the side of the transmission. Separate these connections, and you can move on to the final bolts that hold the automatic transmission in place and get to the flywheel to replace it with a new one.

Pull the transmission bell housing bolts after removing the one that secures the transmission fill tube in place. Normally this bolt is located at 1 o'clock and has the fill tube bracket held in place. Remove this bolt entirely and pull the transmission fill tube out from the transmission from within the engine compartment. Store all bolts and pieces off to the side until installation is required when you replace the flywheel.

Remove all the transmission bell housing bolts after each has been loosened until they are all out. The transmission now sits on two dowel (alignment) pins. Pull the transmission away from the engine block, and the weight will sit entirely on the floor jack. Lower the floor jack until the transmission is lowered all the way down. Use wood blocks to brace the transmission on the floor jack while you replace the flywheel, which can begin now.

Grasp the flywheel with a pair of vice grips. As you begin to loosen the flywheel bolts the flywheel will try to turn, making it hard to loosen or tighten these bolts correctly. With the vice grips attached to the edge of the flywheel the vice grips will run into vehicle's body or frame rail. When this happens you can loosen any tightened bolt or tighten any loose bolt because the vice grips will stop the flywheel from turning.

Loosen and remove all of the flywheel bolts. Pull the flywheel off the end of the crank shaft protruding out of the engine block. Center the new flywheel over the bolt opening and begin to insert and tighten the new flywheel in place. Tighten all the flywheel bolts using a foot pound torque wrench to approximately 120 foot pounds, each in a crossover pattern to evenly apply the pressure of each bolt across the entire flywheel.

Raise the transmission and begin installing the bell housing bolts until they are tight but not fully tightened. Install the torque converter bolts one at a time. Tighten firmly but not completely. Use the starter to advance the flywheel so that you can insert the next torque converter bolt until all are installed and tightened completely.

Insert the transmission fill tube into the transmission and use the correct bell housing bolt to secure it to the vehicle. Reassemble the cross member and transmission mount and tighten all bolts accordingly. Connect the shifter linkage using a new cotter pin and connect electrical wiring with the factory adapters or small stud to secure the needed gauge sensors and shifter linkage.

Push the drive shaft into the back of the transmission and combine the rear axle yolk and the drive shaft together via the universal joint and two U-bolts tighten securely. Check the fluid level of the automatic transmission, fill where needed. Remove the four jack stands from under the car using the floor jack and then start the vehicle and run the transmission through its gears as it sits in place. Close the hood and drive.

Items you will need

  • Torque wrench (foot pound)

  • Spanner wrenches (open & closed end)

  • Ratcheting wrench (1/4" x 1/2")

  • Socket set (standard)

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Rags

  • Pliers (NN & standard)

  • Vice grips

  • Wood blocks

  • Flywheel (flexplate)

  • Anti-seize bolt compound

  • Assistant

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.