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I have some time off from my business, and since I have decided to keep my Esprit (I was selling it but came to my senses) I'd like to get it to shift smoother, so im finally going to bite the bullet and check out the clutch assembly in person. I have the inboard brakes on my car, what can I still leave connected and pull the transmission back far enuf to check out my clutch. My car has always been notchy getting gears, and something in there creaks off and on when I press the pedal, im betting on the pressure plate being bad. I know I have to pull the muffler off, but do I have to remove the rear calipers, brake lines and transaxle shafts? I have a transmission jack, but I would assume I have to support the motor once I pull the trans. rearward right?

Im thinking this may be a good time to replace the rear crank seal as well, because im sure thats where the oil is coming from under my car that I have never been able to seem to locate when everything from the underside of the clutch bell housing back has oil on it.

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated from someone who may have done any of this work before. And maybe what to look for in my diagnosis, im thinking though I should just buy a clutch, bearing and pressure plate, I just dont know from where yet.
 

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Never working on an esprit, I am going to take a shot in the dark here and say it is similar in design to the elise, but just with a bit more room to work with.

I would guess you will have to remove one or both half shafts, will require you to break the axle nuts first, and then figure out how to swing the hub out and away. That probably means you will have to remove/hang the brake calipers somewhere up on the car so that it can be free from the hub.

Then support the motor, undo the transmission from it's various points, and then drop it. You will have to completely remove the transmission to see the clutch/pressure plate, as the disc is under the pressure plate (sorry, not sure how familiar you are with it, so I am just covering my bases). If I took a guess, I think you throw out bearing probably is what is making the creaking noise and needs to be swapped out (mine was making a noise at certain RPMs and during engagement/disengagement points as well).

Hope that helps. Other than that, find a manual and just follow what it says.
 

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Mark - I agree with the strategy you said last. If you are going to all that work, best to just put the clutch in anyway. While not free, the 4 cylinder clutch costs a fraction of the V8 clutch. I can't imagine doing all that work, and reinstalling the old parts.
 

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Never working on an esprit, I am going to take a shot in the dark here and say it is similar in design to the elise, but just with a bit more room to work with.
Not even close.
 

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your '88 is a bit different than my 89 SE with the Renault transmission, but it is possible to separate the transmission enough to change a clutch. Or remove the engine in my case.





The engine is supported byt the 2 ending mounts and a bottle jack with wood as a 3rd point. THe exhaust system is removed, along with the exhaust hanger, and the shifter mechanism. The transmission mounting bolts are removed, the starter, and all of the bellhousing bolts. It would help to remove the air intake hose. ANd you need to disconnect the ground and the flywheel sensor (in the case of the 89+).
 

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The frame member above the transmission can easily be removed by removing the 4 bolts. Rent an engine crane and lift the transmission up and over the rear of the car. Or get two big, strong friends to help, the transmission isn't all that heavy. I would go for the engine crane, it is more controllable and doesn't drink any beer. By getting the transmission out you have a lot more room and you will need it if you have to replace the rear seal on the motor or remove the flywheel. It also gives you a much better look at everything for inspection. You said that is the main reason you are doing this anyway! Get towels and blankets to cover the fenders and rear bumper/facia to protect the paint. Label any wires you have to disconnect. Keep track of the lengths of all of your bolts so you put the right ones in the right spots when you reassemble. Take pictures and make notes. You should have the parts and service manuals for reference.
Take your time, this kind of a job is best done "off-season" in the winter if possible.
David Teitelbaum
 

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I would go for the engine crane, it is more controllable and doesn't drink any beer.

rotfl

The trick is to HIDE THE BEER until the job is complete! :no:



Keep track of the lengths of all of your bolts so you put the right ones in the right spots when you reassemble.
There are pictures and lengths noted in the parts manual, but it's still useful to stick the bolts in a piece of corrugated box cardboard in the proper position.

If the crossmember resists removal, gently jack the chassis by the hoop under the trans.

Unfortunately I removed my engine and trans as a unit, so I can't help with the questions about "how far to disassemble".



PS the clutch disc costs ~$190 USD from JAE, I just bought one. -poke-
 

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Releasing the chassis cross-bar can be a real pain since the chassis will bend and distort once released. It can be very difficult to get enough leverage to bend the chassis back into shape to bolt the cross member back in. been there done that several times.
 

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Releasing the chassis cross-bar can be a real pain since the chassis will bend and distort once released. It can be very difficult to get enough leverage to bend the chassis back into shape to bolt the cross member back in. been there done that several times.
Would it work to put a jack under the cradle and lift up until the bolts holding the cross-bar are easy to remove so the chassis doesn't distort?
 

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in my case the chassis relaxed outward and downward, and the force required to bend the chassis back together for the cross-bar was greater than the weight of the rear of the Esprit (including engine and trans), so jacking things up wouldn't do it, the car would just raise. It finally took 3 guys with long prybars to get the bolts back in the cross-bar!

A ratcheting strap might have helped...
 

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in my case the chassis relaxed outward and downward, and the force required to bend the chassis back together for the cross-bar was greater than the weight of the rear of the Esprit (including engine and trans), so jacking things up wouldn't do it, the car would just raise. It finally took 3 guys with long prybars to get the bolts back in the cross-bar!

A ratcheting strap might have helped...

That's wild -- thanks for sharing the info!

I always see people removing the engine and gearbox in one unit (including the Wheeler Dealers episode), but it sounds like it's better to separate them and remove them individually without removing the cross-member.
 

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depends on what you are doing.

I've removed the tranny and left the engine (removing the cross-bar), I've removed them both together, and I've removed the engine leaving the tranny (by far easier).

For just a clutch change, I would just pull the tranny back, as I show above. For major work I would remove both, and if the tranny is known good (seals, synchros, and clutch) then I would just remove the engine for engine work...

On the Renault tranny, the axle roll pins can be a major ordeal if something goes wrong! I've done them many times on several cars, and they can be tricky to seal, sometimes they shatter... If the seals are good, then don't disturb them.
 

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If you're using a lift, removing the cross member is not an issue. I've done it many times on several different cars and never had an issue getting the bolts to line back up.

I can see if you were lifting from the center under the chassis hoop that it could cause a problem but generally putting the weight back on the wheels will allow the holes to align again. They may not be perfectly aligned but are usually close enough to bolt one side and then use a large tapered punch in one of the holes on the other side to bring it into place.
 

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You really should not be having that much trouble with the frame. If it is that difficult then something must be tweaked on that car. I also have done several and did not have much trouble reinstalling and lining it up. I agree if it is that hard then maybe leaving the tranny is a good option. As for the roll pins, in many cases if you take something apart once-in-a-while it is better than never touching it. When you finally do have to take it apart it is dam near impossible! If you have good drift punches you should not have that much trouble with the pins. Resealing is a problem but if you clean the parts up well and do it right, it shouldn't leak. Sometimes you really can't inspect things properly unless you disassemble more than you really want to. If it is your time (not a mechanic you are paying by the hour) then it is worth overdoing the repair just to be sure you don't overlook anything. Typically you take short-cuts to save time, that is not important when you are doing it yourself. By choosing to leave the transmission in you are backing yourself into a corner when you realize you don't have any room to remove the flywheel to grind it or replace the rear seal.
David Teitelbaum
 
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