February 23

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair



Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2008 Honda Fit that had a clutch issue. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner brought the vehicle to our shop, said the clutch didn't feel very good. Thought it was probably worn out. It was slipping basically is what was happening. So that's what we were tasked to look at. 

Mark: Yeah. 2009. That's a pretty good run. So what testing and diagnosis did you do?

Bernie: First of all, of course, there's a road test or attempted road test, and you can tell pretty much when you let the clutch out the vehicle barely went anywhere. The engine would rev up, but the vehicle wouldn't move. So that's a classic sign of a worn out clutch.

So we do an inspection of a few items, you know, just before we say, hey, let's replace the clutch. We look at the clutch hydraulic system, which basically when you push the pedal there's a master cylinder to a slave cylinder. So we inspect the sort of out visual components.

Look around at the drive train, just check the axles, make sure, you know, just other things that might need to be done, then we can prepare an accurate estimate for the job needing to be done. After doing that could we determine basically the clutch itself is worn out, which you could tell by driving it, but it's just worth doing a little extra digging to make sure you quote all the right things to the customer as opposed to, Oh, by the way, we're going to need this. Oh, by the way, we're going to need that. And people know upfront. 

Mark: So what work's involved in replacing the clutch on this car? 

Bernie: So basically removing the transmission or the transaxle is what needs to be done. It's a bit of work, but it's fairly straightforward. There's things to remove in the engine compartment to access the transmission. And then the axle shafts need to be removed and few other things, shift cables, hydraulic clutch hydraulic system, and then the transmission comes out and the clutch is accessible and can be removed or replaced.

We can go right into pictures, got a good picture show here. We've got lots of befores and afters. So this is a picture of the old clutch. This piece here that we're looking at, it's called the pressure plate, which bolts up to the flywheel. And the clutch disc sits in the middle. And that is basically the main part that wears out when your clutch is slipping.

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

But of course the pressure plate is been rubbing against that the whole time so it tends to get worn out. And if you see this sort of groove here, the clutch release bearing which is what moves against the pressure plate tends to get worn against the clutch pressure plate and the bearing so that they need to be replaced as well.

So this is the pressure plate removed. So this is the surface of the pressure plate. You can see a lot of black scoring and burn marks. This is the surface where the clutch disc rides. So that's an example of that piece.

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

Here's a photo of the new and the old. So you can see what a brand new pressure plate looks like. Quite the difference.

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

Here we have a closeup view of the old flywheel. So the flywheel is the other side where the pressure plate rubs against. This is bolted up to the engine. You can see these cracks, you know, this is basically from heat. Happens over time. It's pretty normal for a clutch that's worn out like this. And again, you can see the same kind of burn marks. Now this piece here on this vehicle, we actually have the flywheel ground. 

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

And after the flywheel is ground, it basically looks like this. So again, kind of like the pressure plate, there's a special machine, we don't have it, we send it out, but a special flywheel grinder, and it'll actually grind the flywheel smooth again. You can't grind them an infinite number of times, but you can do it two or three times and it won't affect the operation of the clutch. 

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

There's a view of the clutch disc. There's the old disc. There's the new one. Again, I mean, besides that, it looks shiny and newer. I got some closeups. We can look at some other views of this. So you can kind of see some of the details of the wear. 

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

This is a good example. If you look closely at this, this is sort of an edge on view of the clutch disc. Now, if you look at the bottom, that's the brand new disc and I'm moving my mouse pointer here at the edge of the picture, you can see how thick this is.

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

If you look at this, see how thin that is, that's basically worn out. This is like a, a fibrous material kind of like a brake pad. It's just designed to wear out over time. So that's basically it. It says a lot right there when you look at that picture. 

There's another edge on view of the disc. The other thing, of course, if you look at this, these are rivets that hold the fibrous material to the metal of the clutch plate. And it's always a classic sign it's worn out when the rivets actually touch the pressure plate or the flywheel.

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

And I should have a good view of the new disc here. There's the new disc. So you can see a lot of these ribs here are much more prominent, whereas in the old worn out one, you can't see them at all. 

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

So these are other items we replaced. So the clutch release bearing moves on this, this is the transmission input shaft and the clutch disc sits where I'm moving the mouse pointer here. And this item here is called the clutch release fork and it moves. So when you push the pedal, this part moves pushes this bearing here against the pressure plate.

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

So the bearing gets replaced. Everything here gets cleaned up, we pressure wash it, get rid of all the guck because all that dust, all that fibrous material is now accumulated inside here. So, I mean, we could put it back together and not clean it, but makes for a better job.

And as you can see, this is the new clutch release bearing, cleaned up fork. We lubricate everything here. There's a bit of grease that gets put on sparingly, just so everything moves properly. And again, the bell housing is all cleaned out, all the old fibrous materials removed. And I think that's a good show for now.

2009 Honda Fit, Clutch Repair

Mark: So is this kind of clutch replacement pretty standard across all different types of cars and trucks? 

Bernie: Pretty much. Now, this is a sort of basic clutch. A lot of vehicles since, I don't know, the last couple of decades, they've gone to what's called a dual mass flywheel. And the flywheel itself actually has springs and dampening springs in it. And it's actually has like sort of two moving parts. And those generally need to be replaced when you do the clutch, which adds an astronomical amount of money to the cost of a clutch job.

Now, sometimes they don't need to be replaced. Most of the time they do. And some vehicles they actually make kits where you can convert it from a dual mass to a single mass flywheel. The advantage of a dual mass is it's smoother engagement. Takes the vibrations out from the engine. So it's a smoother engagement, but to me, it's a lot of extra money and complication that you could eliminate. But on certain cars, of course, it makes for a nice feeling ride, for lack of better word. 

Mark: Yeah, for as few manual transmissions as there are in the world left.

Bernie: Yeah. And the interesting thing about a dual mass flywheel, you'll find them in a variety of different vehicles. Like you know, like a 2005 Dodge Ram Cummins diesel truck with a standard has a dual mass flywheel. A Nissan Versa, which is a very low end car, has a dual mass flywheel. 

Incidentally, I don't think we've ever changed the flywheel and those we've done a lot of clutches on them, but they seem to survive okay. But then you get them in like Porsche 911s, Audis, BMWs, and you know, generally on those higher end cars, they tend to be worn out pretty much when you do them. So as I say, it can make for an exceptionally expensive clutch repair job. 

But this Honda fit. What I like, and I dislike about them is, what I like about them is they're simple, which is good. What I don't like about them is things rarely go wrong, so that's not so good for our business. But that's a tip if you want a reliable car. 

Mark: So how did the car work after the clutch was done?

Bernie: Yeah, it worked really well. 

Mark: Again, we can address this, how our Honda Fits for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, it's a really good car. 

Mark: They're too damn good. 

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah, they're too good. Well, the interesting thing about this clutch, so it is a 2000, I would say eight or nine? So it's got a quite a few years on it, but the mileage was only just over a hundred thousand kilometres. So that's pretty young for a clutch to wear out in terms of mileage. So, you know, it might be either the person lives somewhere where there's a lot of very steep hills. Or you know, the driving habits are not great because, you know, a lot of times you can get a lot more mileage out of a clutch than just over a hundred Ks.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Honda product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them on their website, pawlikautomotive.com. You can book online right there. They'll call you back. They'll find out what's going on. They'll get ready for your appointment. Or you can call them at (604) 327-7112. Talk to them in person. They'll book your appointment. You have to book ahead. They're always busy. Pawlik Automotive Vancouver. BC, Canada. Thanks so much for watching and listening. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

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About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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