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Old 11-14-2013, 03:58 PM   #1
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 290592
Join Date: Aug 2011
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Charlotte, NC
15 Outback,

Default 2006 WRX Clutch Replacement - a guide / retrospective


I recently replaced the clutch in my 2006 WRX Wagon. I found several guides around the interwebs that i used, as well as the FSM, but it struck me that i found nothing particularly useful from NASIOC during my searches. Hopefully this proves to be useful for someone in the future.

Like any technical anecdote, i have a few caveats.
  • This was my first time replacing a clutch, dropping a transmission, etc so i was likely much more cautious/slow then more seasoned mechanics.
  • I don’t have a lot of pictures- i was doing this with the help of a friend and we pretty much just plowed forward.
  • I was missing a couple tools that would have made this job a lot easier, namely a pickle fork and proper transmission jack.
  • This guide will be the “drop the trans” method. In retrospect, if you have an engine hoist, just pull the dang motor. It will take you much less time to do this job like that.

What you will need:
  1. Beer
  2. Coffee
  3. Gloves
  4. a loving and understanding significant other (Alternatively, no significant other)
  5. a trusty buddy
  6. 3/8” socket sets. I used pretty much everything from 10mm to 22mm, deep and shallow
  7. a couple 3/8” ratchets so you can tag team things
  8. A big 1/2” breaker bar. Not totally necessary, but a breaker bar is like a multitool.
  9. did i mention a 22mm socket? this is to put on the crank pulley and hold it in place while you break the flywheel bolts loose.
  10. anti seize
  11. high-temp, super duper multipurpose grease. I like Green Grease.
  12. Brake Cleaner
  13. Penetrating Oil (i used about one entire can)
  14. Trans fluid of your choosing
  15. Axle seals (just buy them. trust me. It’s $14 and it’s not worth smashing one up and not having spares.)
  16. buttload of paper towel.
  17. A creeper makes this much easier
  18. a good jack (or 2) and a TALL set of jackstands. For reference, the absolute minimum height the car can be at to remove the trans from underneath is the minimum height of a harbor freight 6 ton jackstand.
  19. Torque wrench. If you’ve been putting it off, go buy one. It’s a good investment and i would not do this job without it.
  20. a way to keep all your hardware organized. i used a bunch of yogurt cups.
  21. Patience, confidence, an abundance of caution, and some inherent mechanical aptitude.

Other guides have broken this up into “on the ground” and “In the air” and i like this approach, so i will flatter them by mimicking it.

On the ground:

(Note- i’m not one to cut corners but i am one to ask, “Does this really need to come out?” So if it’s listed here, it really needs to come out in my opinion)
(note 2- Read all the steps before you begin, and go ahead and spray every bolt you can get to that needs to be removed. Ideally you do this 3 or 4 times in the 24 hour period before you start)
  1. Open beer, set aside
  2. Remove battery
  3. Remove Intercooler
  4. Remove passenger side intercooler bracket
  5. I sheared off one of the bracket bolts. It was just not going to come out. Use caution
  6. Remove turbo heatshield
  7. Remove Visible turbo to downpipe nuts and bolts
  8. remove clutch slave cylinder from trans case, set out of the way. You don’t need to remove the clutch line
  9. Remove top 2 transmission case bolts. One sits next to the turbo and one goes through the upper starter mount hole. I think these are the only two you can easily get to from up top. Note that these two are the LONGER case bolts.
  10. Remove pitch stop
  11. Remove all the electrical connections to the transmission.
  12. There are 3 or 4 plugs that sit under the pitch stop
  13. don’t forget the little ground wire on the firewall next to the pitch stop
  14. I think that’s all

In the air:
  1. Get that mother trucker up as high as you can on jackstands. Your NAPA AC Delco 1.5 ton jack stands are not going to cut it. I used Kobalt 3 ton and Harbor Freight 6 ton stands. Make SURE you’re confident with your jackstand placement. You’re going to be shaking and pushing and shoving the car all over the place.
  2. Get the exhaust out of the way. Remove the downpipe and midpipe. Remember to disconnect the rear O2 and wideband (if applicable) before trying to pull the downpipe.
  3. Drain the trans. 06 is the infamous gigantor torx bit.
  4. While the trans is draining, undo the 6 14mm bolts of the driveshaft cover just in front of the rear diff.
  5. Break the 14mm trans carrier bearing bolts loose but don’t remove them yet
  6. Remove the 4 12mm bolts holding the driveshaft to the diff
  7. You will need to apply the handbrake and rotate the shaft in intervals to get to the bolts
  8. when the driveshaft is free from the diff, hold it roughly in place while you drop the bolts out of the carrier bearing.
  9. with all the shaft mounting points free, carefully slide the driveshaft directly back towards the diff and it will slide out of the tail of the transmission.
  10. Put the drainplug back into the trans if its done draining.
  11. Since you’re probably out from under your car to set the driveshaft somewhere, lets do some work out here.
  12. Take your front wheels off
  13. Take the hubs apart
  14. Remove both the 17mm bolts holding the strut to the hub
  15. remove both the 12mm bolts holding the brake and abs lines to the hub
  16. disconnect the endlinks, either from the bar or the control arm
  17. remove the 14mm bolt in the collar that holds the ball joint into the hub
  18. this may vary by model (wagon/sedan). The sedan has aluminum control arms and i think the mounting style is different. In the wagon, i could not remove the ball joint stud from the arm, i had to remove the ball joint from the hub. Which was an enormous pain.
  19. Did i mention this was a pain? Apply copious amounts of penetrating oil to the collar bolt and go chug a beer.
  20. Carefully start to back these bolts out of the ball joint collars. They are not big bolts, but they have an enormous amount of tension on them and are likely very rusty.
  21. Remove the ball joints from the hubs.
  22. A pickle fork is the appropriate tool for this, which did not have.
  23. a pickle fork, while the right tool, will likely destroy the boots.
  24. One side of the car i was able to wedge my breaker bar handle between the control arm and the hub and the ball joint popped right out.
  25. The other side required almost 3 hours of various attempts at mechanical advantage.
  26. Eventually we discovered that trying to hammer all manner of objects between the control arm and the hub was causing the collar to squeeze the ball joint. By placing the breaker bar handle end on only one half of the collar and hammering viciously with a deadblow, it sloooowly started to come free of the hub.
  27. This ball joint, for whatever reason, was horrifically rusted. Actually most of the rust was probably from the hub, but i spent another two hours later cleaning up both ball joints and hub sockets, and apply anti seize.
  28. The control arm bushings apply a lot of upward force on the arms. You will not get the control arms to hang free of the hubs.
  29. At this point the only things holding the hubs in place are the tie rods and the axles.
  30. Now that you’re violently frustrated, lets get back under the car.
  31. Remove the remaining transmission case bolts
  32. There is one more holding the starter on, and i believe 4 more around the bell housing. Two are studs with nuts. They’re pretty obvious.
  33. remove the starter. It should just drop free from the trans, but you will need a 12mm socket to remove the positive battery connection on the back. The black ground clip should just slide off
  34. Using either another jack, jackstand, appropriately sized 2x4, petrified dinosaur fossil, etc, apply tension to the crosspipe between the headers. The reason for this is that when you break the trans free, the motor is going to want to flop forward. This probably won’t damage anything, but it will make it nearly impossible to get the trans lined back up later. We want the motor to basically stay in a neutral, upright position.
  35. Position a jack under the trans just aft of the drain plug, and lift it to meet the trans. No pressure on the trans is needed.
  36. Remove the 4 14mm bolts holding the transmission mount to the transmission
  37. remove the 4 14mm bolts holding the rear section of the cross member to the frame
  38. remove the 2 17mm bolts holding the front section of the cross member to the frame.
  39. Set crossmember in the parts bin for now.
  40. Disconnect the upper shift linkage (the two cylinders welded together) and the front shift bushing (the thing stuck onto the rod on the transmission)
  41. Ziptie the linkages together and just let them hang there.
  42. remove the downpipe bracket from the rear of the trans case. this gets in the way
  43. Time to pop the axles out. On the 06+ WRX, this is almost a trivial task. Find something you can wedge between the CV cup (green thing) and the trans. A big screwdriver will work.
  44. Lever the axle away from the trans. with a bit of force, it will pop free. DO NOT REMOVE FROM TRANS YET. it won’t work.
  45. Now you need a buddy on the hub to give you some extra clearance.
  46. Turn the steering wheel in the direction of the side you’re removing to extend the tie rod.
  47. Press the control arm down and out of the way while you lift the hub clear of the ball joint.
  48. While your buddy pulls the hub away from the car, CAREFULLY guide the axle out of the transmission. We’re trying not to damage the axle seals here. But if you do, you have spares, right?
  49. RIGHT?
  50. Tie the axle up somewhere out of the way. Pulling them up into the engine bay made the most sense to us. You’ll need to secure them up there with bungies or something.
  51. Repeat on other side.
  52. Do a clearance check. At this point, there should be nothing holding the block to the trans except for the super glue that is years of road grime and heat.
  53. Removing the trans
  54. There’s not really a right way to do this, so here’s how i did it.
  55. Get a very sharp flathead or putty knife and start hammering it in between the block and the case from the top. Gently. We just want to see the smallest gap form here.
  56. When you see a gap, get back underneath and with your buddy, start wiggling the trans all around while varying the pressure on the jack.
  57. you may need to get back up on top and do some more levering.
  58. Eventually the transmission will start to slide off the dowel pins and off the long studs in the block. Supporting the weight on the jack, start to roll the jack back while lowering in small increments. Make sure the input shaft is free of the clutch assembly before you lower the transmission.
  59. If you’d like, you can keep the trans under the car. I was still waiting on a clutch so i pulled it out for a better look.
  60. Prepping the trans for reinstall and replacing the clutch
  61. Since we’re tired of screwing with the trans, let’s tackle the clutch. If you’re not in a hurry, it might be a good time to take a break and grab some beers/a sammich.
  62. The clutch sits under the pressure plate, which is held on with 6 12mm bolts. They have a low torque spec, so knock those suckers out. Be careful because the clutch and (very heavy) pressure plate could fall out on their own.
  63. Now remove the flywheel. 6 more 12mm bolts, but you will need to hold the crank pulley in place. Using your 22mm socket, and screwdriver and a breaker bar, block the rotation of the crank, clockwise if looking at the front of the car. Wedge the screwdriver into the adjustment channel on the alternator bracket so that the breaker bar will hit it when it rotates, and seat the 22mm socket on the breaker bar into the 22mm nut inside the crank pulley. It’s hard to actually see, so you’ll have to feel. Lethal has good pictures of this in his guide on scoobymods. http://www.scoobymods.com/showthread...wrx-12071.html
  64. You’ll have to walk the flywheel off the crank, but it’s HEAVY so be ready.
  65. Do whatever you’re going to do with the flywheel. replace, resurface, etc. If reusing, pop the old pilot bearing out with a big socket and a solid whack from a deadblow.
  66. You need to press the new pilot bearing into it. I did this with a 22mm socket, press in from the back (friction surface) side of the pressure plate, make sure it’s square, and should be flush with the face of the flywheel. make sure the center does not bind once it’s in. The center of the pilot bearing should be lightly greased.
  67. Get the flywheel back onto the block. Switch the orientation of your screwdriver/breaker bar setup so you can tighten the bolts.
  68. Thread them in by hand, then torque them in a star pattern to ~52.8 ft lbs.
  69. Thread your clutch alignment tool into the new clutch, then into the pilot bearing in the flywheel. Make sure the clutch is snug against the flywheel and not drooping on the alignment tool.
  70. Seat the pressure plate on the clutch and thread in the pressure plate bolts. Keep checking to make sure the clutch is pressed against the flywheel so it stays as centered on the pressure plate and flywheel as possible.
  71. Torque the the pressure plate bolts in a star pattern to 11.8 ft lbs. This will take a couple minutes, and you’ll see the fingers of the pressure plate turn in as you tighten the plate against the clutch.
  72. Pull the clutch alignment tool out.
  73. Give it 30 minutes and come back and check the tq on the pressure plate bolts again. You’re pulling against two springs here (lock washer and pressure plate) so they might settle a bit after your initial torquing. better safe than sorry.
  74. Now onto the trans. push the tab of the fork towards the back of the trans and it should pop the TOB off the snout. Get rid of that nasty old thing, and bust out the brake cleaner.
  75. The bell housing is probably pretty grimey so give everything a really thorough cleaning. You can remove the fork by pulling up to release the pivot knob from the spring inside the fork.
  76. Grease:
  77. Snout
  78. input shaft
  79. fork pivot dimple
  80. fork...forks.
  81. pretty much all the friction surfaces of your new TOB. Exedy instructions say to even grease the inner race that contacts the pressure plate tines.
  82. Reassemble the TOB and fork assembly and actuate the fork tab to check for smooth operation.
  83. If you messed up an axle seal, replace it now.
  84. Woohoo! time to put it back together.
  85. By whatever means necessary, get the trans repositioned on a jack, under the car, ready to lift into position behind the block.
  87. DO NOT use the transmission case bolts to draw the input shaft into the crank. This is a big no-no because if you’re misaligned, you can crush the pilot bearing/bend the clutch/start a nuclear holocaust.
  88. Raise the trans into position and get it threaded over the two big case studs towards the bottom.
  89. Slide it as far forward as you can like this, wiggling and trying to keep the gap around the block and the case even. Either it will go pretty much all the way, or it will stop because the splines of the crank and input shaft are not lining up.
  90. To make sure everything is aligned, go ahead and start getting the driveshaft back into position. We set the tail end on a jackstand under the diff and slid the nose into the output shaft of the transmission.
  91. Turn the driveshaft in small increments while you continue to wiggle the transmission into place. It won’t be easy, but it should continue to move a little at a time.
  92. When you can, go ahead and get the nuts on those two bottom studs, just a little bit. This will keep one of them from slipping off as you wiggle back and forth. Note that if you drop the trans, you're going to snap those studs. Go slowly, be careful.
  93. When you’ve got about a half inch gap left, you’re pretty much good to go. Out of an abundance of caution, we were able to close the gap almost all the way by hand.
  94. Get all your case bolts back in there except for the starter (because that axle will probably be in the way) and tq them to ~37 ft lb
  95. The only tricky part left is getting the axles in. Get your buddy in position on the hub again, and lift it up and out to give you plenty of room to guide the axle in. Watch the seals, man. The axle will go in until there’s about 1 inch left, then it will stop. Your buddy needs to give it a REALLY good shove and it should snap all the way home.

From here on it’s just putting things back together in reverse order.

Some other notes:
  • When you have the slave cylinder back in, it’s probably a good idea to check the operation of the clutch.
  • Make sure you can turn the driveshaft independent of the motor with the clutch in or the trans in neutral.
  • Double check pretty much everything. faster to do it now than when it starts to fall apart later.
  • Grease, antiseize everything you touch, and torque to proper spec where it makes sense. If you’re going to be tackling maintenance yourself, these steps will give you some peace of mind, prevent rust, and make life a lot easier when you have to take something apart in the future.

Hope someone finds this useful. You veterans let me know if i missed anything big. I'll work on adding some pictures in the coming days.
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:43 PM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 197384
Join Date: Dec 2008
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: MWV NH
2006 WRX Ltd


I read through most of it, the post, "hubs" should say "knuckles". Also you can drop the ball joint at the taper. Either using a pickle fork or on steel control arms with a hammer. Wish the wagon had aluminum from the factory
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:41 AM   #3
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Member#: 61721
Join Date: May 2004
2006 WRX
Steel Grey Metallic


Awesome writeup. I plan on doing a clutch/fw/half shafts/shocks job on my 06 one of these years. Ive had the parks laying around for 4 years now, but the stock clutch just wont die. Though truthfully, I haven't made a solid effort to kill it yet.

Anyway, that's some fine penmanship by grease monkey standards. Thanks.
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Old 11-30-2015, 02:58 PM   #4
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Member#: 61721
Join Date: May 2004
2006 WRX
Steel Grey Metallic


I finally did the job over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Took me three solid days, but did the clutch, flywheel, new axles, new tie rod ends, new ball joints, new shocks and springs, and probably a couple other odds and ends I'm forgetting about.

The biggest pain in the ass by far was the ball joints / knuckle. Both pinch bolts were seized, and the bolt heads twisted off. I wound up pulling the knuckle, and drilling them out with a cheap little drill press I picked up a couple years ago for no particular reason. Guess I finally found a reason, and it was indispensable. Finally after drilling them out, no amount of pulling, beating, hammering, wedging, or hosing down with PB blaster would remove the old ball joints. I finally turned to a staple in my arsenal of tools or mass destruction, The angle grinder. I removed the top flange with the grinder and knocked the ball free from the socket. Then I slotted the cup where the existing slot was for the pinch bolt. Then I finally worked my way around the lip of the cup with a chisel. After a few good minutes of beating, the slot in the cup began to narrow, so I slotted it again with teh grinder, and repeated my work with the chisel around the lip. This eventually created enough clearance to rock it out of the bore. There was a horriffic ring of rust where the recess in the ball joint was. No amount of PB blaster or puller would have broken it free. I had to grind it down with a dremel and a wire brush just to get the new ball joints in. But I guess 132K worth or salty northeast winters will do that to the ball joints.

Anyway, the rest was fairly straight forward, and I used your post as a guide. The car was buttoned up just around nightfall sunday evening, and it got me to work monday morning. Thanks again for your post!
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:52 PM   #5
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Member#: 360985
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Somerset, NJ
1993 Impreza 1.8L


We are trying to change the clutch on my buddy's 04 WRX. My buddy swears that we dont need to remove the front axles in order to get to the clutch. What are your guys thoughts on that?

The biggest pain right now is the transmission. We have only been able to open a gap between the case and teh engine by jamming a screw driver in. We still have the transmission mount on the transmission (off the frame), so we have tried pulling the transmission out using the mounts as support, but as soon as we let go the gap closes again.

Do you think the axles are holding back the transmission? How difficult was it for you guys to slide the transmission off the pins?
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Old 12-10-2015, 01:07 PM   #6
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Member#: 61721
Join Date: May 2004
2006 WRX
Steel Grey Metallic


As far as I know, the only way to keep the axles in is if you roll the motor forward instead. Some people thing that's the easier method. As for knocking it off the pins, it took a good bit of persuasion with a mallet against a block of wood, hitting the top pitch stop mount. Once it started going, it was relatively easy.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:07 PM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2015

Thank you for this guide, very useful!
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:04 AM   #8
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Member#: 422442
Join Date: May 2015

Just did the clutch on my 2011 WRX. This was the first major work I've done on my car (I bought it just about a year ago) and also the first clutch I've ever done.

Kind of jumped into the deep end with this but so far nothing I and my friends haven't been able to handle or had a solution to. Currently at the halfway point with everything OUT of the car. Decided to do some maintenance/upgrades while the access is easy. Bushings mostly.

Huge thanks to mechatricity for such a well done write up. The mixed in humor and thoroughness made this job much easier.

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