I just put in the third replacement clutch in our 2005 Matrix which has about 98000 miles. This time I used a Fidanza 2.1 (http://www.fidanza.com/2Point1.aspx
) Let's hope it lasts longer.
I used the steps described at http://wehavescissors.blogspot.com/2009/12/changing-clutch-in-pontiac-vibe-or.html
. Here are my additional notes.
The clips that hold the shift cables to their bracket came off easily by spraying with Liquid Wrench and then clamping the top 1/4 inch that is bent over with 6 inch Vise Grips. First twist to break the corrosion, then pull up. Came right off. (I'm talking about the "upside-down U" clips on the bracket, not the cotter-pin-like clips.)
At the wheels, I removed the axle bolt and the 3 bolts from the ball joint, and the driveshafts came right out. I got the left driveshaft out of the differential with a heavy (3/4 inch diameter) pry bar using one of the differential bolts as a fulcrum, plus a 3-pound hammer. For the right side I used the "crossbar" that goes front to back for leverage, and the same heavy pry bar. Both sides had snap rings and were very tight. My big slide hammer was useless.
I supported the engine with a come-along attached to a sturdy support beam and a chain attached to two bolts threaded into the cylinder head. This was helpful to fine-tune the engine position when I was about to drop the transaxle. Be careful not to pull too much and pull the car off the jack stands! I also put some extra shoring under the car in case something like this happened. A friend of mine recently had a car fall on him--not a pretty picture.
I removed the front engine/transaxle mount in one piece, and the left mount in two pieces after removing the long pivot bolt. I also took the bolts out of the crossmember that runs front to back. It would not come out because one stud passes through it, but it was probably helpful to be able to swing it out of the way.
It looked impossible to remove the 3 bolts holding the rear mount to the transaxle. I removed the long pivot bolt from the rear mount, working from the driver-side wheel well using about 2 feet of socket extension. I loosened the rear mount by taking off all six bolts and nuts connecting it to the frame, so it would wiggle in place. The "head" of one of the rear mounting studs, whose nut is recessed into the the crossmember, broke free and started to spin when the nut was about half way off, so I never got the mount off completely. I was able to swing it enough to get the transaxle out with its half of the engine mount still bolted to it. It would have been a good idea to use some Liquid Wrench everywhere, even when using an impact wrench, to help prevent spinning the studs.
There are 6 bolts holding the transaxle to the engine (in addition to the two starter bolts). One of them, the upper one on the back side, loosened a few turns and then got harder and harder to turn until I could no longer move it, even with an impact wrench. Apparently it was corroded. I was able to cut off the head with a Dremel tool and an EZ cutoff wheel. Later I found that that the end of that bolt passes all the way through the transaxle housing, so I could have hit the other end with some Liquid Wrench.
With the 6 bolts out, I was able to pry open a gap about 1/2 inch on the front side, but the back stayed mysteriously closed up. After a lot of struggle I discovered that there was a frozen/corroded dowel pin between engine and transaxle just below the two mounting bolts on the back side. I eventually got it loose with a big hammer and a screwdriver with just the right amount of taper to force a small crack open. This frozen pin was just a few inches from the previously-mentioned frozen bolt; there was no obvious reason for the corrosion. I suppose salt water can wick into the cracks. There is another dowel pin near the top front mounting bolt.
I used a $79 scissor-type transmission jack from Harbor Freight, with the strap pretty well caught by hardware on on top of the transaxle and the strap's tightener to the front. It was a bit awkward but definitely useful. I had a helper while lowering the transaxle. It would have been easier to lower the unit if I removed the remaining parts of the shift linkage, particularly if working alone.
The clutch comes with an alignment tool, and a plastic donut that fits into the hole in the flywheel to simulate the missing pilot bearing. I measured things, and there would be zero clearance at the end of the transmission shaft with this donut in place, so I did not use it. I just measured the gap between the alignment tool and the diaphragm fingers all around.
Getting the transmission back in was straightforward--with a helper. It was easy to get the two halves of the rear mount lined up.
I got the driveshafts back in by hitting the outer end with my 3 pound hammer while a helper held them and pushed.
When putting back the plastic splash shields, I used stainless steel screws and nuts, after bad experience trying to get off rusted fasteners on plastic parts without breaking the plastic.