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Thread: Screwball Clutch Issue

  1. #1

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Screwball Clutch Issue

    Some of you will remember that I've been fighting with my brand new Exedy clutch, which won't release for some bizarre reason. I've checked the cable operation, cable free-play, clutch adjustment, pedal condition and even R&Red the trans a 2nd time to verify my installation. Still, it won't release.

    Well, I finally figured out my problem. It's the sort of thing you have to see to believe.

    Here is my test fit of the pressure plate in the flywheel. Note that the friction disc has been left out.




    It looks good, but there's a giant problem. If you look closer at the bolt hole in the pressure plate, you'll find that the pressure plate is still a good 1/4" away from the flywheel. It won't go any further because the spring petal on the pressure plate is actually contacting the flywheel. Again, there is no friction disc, so this part should slot into the flywheel without any trouble.




    Here's a slightly different angle.




    Here is a different spring petal that shows the same problem, but not as bad.




    Notice the tiny shiny spot on the flywheel notch that indicates the petal has definitely been making contact there. It's especially pronounced because I've been beating on the pressure plate for the last 5 minutes with a dead-blow hammer.




    Let's pull the flywheel and have a look at it again, on the table.




    Once again, there is no friction disc here. Normally, the friction disc will push the pressure plate 1/4" out. As you tighten the pressure plate down, the gap closes while tension is applied to the pressure plate spring. It's really easy to miss this problem unless you specifically test fit the pressure plate without the friction disc.

    If you put that clutch together like it is and tighten it down, it won't release. It only took me 3 R&R's, plus these to figure it out:




    This was a new flywheel from Rock Auto (I think). It was sold for an 89 Accord. The clutch is an Exedy for an 89 Accord, which lots of guys here use. The old clutch fit without issues, but 3 different new clutches did not. I'm not sure how this happens, but my guess is that this is a parts interchange problem. As parts makers eliminate parts for our cars, they find the next best part that might still work to replace it. Some intern figures out that the bolt pattern and diameter of an '05 Civic flywheel, for example, is the same as ours, so we start getting '05 Civic flywheels instead of 89 Accord flywheels. I'm speculating here, but it's the best explanation I can come up with.

    I took the flywheel down to a machine shop that specializes in clutches and had them clearance the notches to fit the new pressure plates. I was hoping they'd do this on a mill, but it looks like they just used a die grinder. I asked if they balanced it afterward and got some jive followed by a quick redirect, so that's a no. I'm too tired now to fight about it and there's so much vibration in the A engines, I probably won't notice a little more. The lesson here, is that if you come across this problem at home, don't bother taking it to a machine shop. Just handle it yourself with a grinder. This is what sucks about Hondas. If I'd gone in with a 33-year-old Benz flywheel, they would have oooed and aaahed about my "vintage" Benz and done the job right (maybe). When I come in with a 33-year-old Honda flywheel, it's just an old car and they do crap work. This is how small businesses sink themselves.








    Here's the final fitment, which is correct.




    I'm sure this is another of those obscure and difficult problems I encounter that no one else ever will, but if you do, this thread is for you.
    Last edited by Dr_Snooz; 02-13-2022 at 11:51 AM.
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


    1989 Honda Accord LX-i Coupe, 240k miles, MT swap, rear disc swap

    Shop manual downloads available here: CLICK TO VIEW



  2. #2

    ShiRen's Avatar
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    Re: Screwball Clutch Issue

    If you find out what car the flywheel actually fits we can probably use the pressure plate, or even the whole clutch kit from the newer car. The flywheel for an 05 Civic is not the same though, idk if that was just an example.

  3. #3


    Join Date
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    Re: Screwball Clutch Issue

    Dr. Snooz that one picture do you think the pins are off on the flywheel. Thats what I thought on mine that the pins were off but the bolts holes were correct.

    I still would give the splines on the new clutch disc a good look at, mine were a mess. It looked like they broached it from one side got half way and then flipped it over to do the other half and they didnt line up well enough.

    Good work going thru all this! I guess I shouldnt complain about my Clutchnet setup so much!
    1988 Lxi owner since August 1995
    336k miles running strong!
    Now running E85.

    Oldblueaccord <<< MY YOUTUBE PAGE!

  4. #4

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Re: Screwball Clutch Issue

    The splines looked good when I gooped them, and the movement of the friction disc across the input shaft was nice and smooth. I didn't really scrutinize them though.

    The car runs and drives great now BTW. I went to DMV to take it off non-op and got a nasty surprise. Apparently, I didn't put it on non-op, so there was a fat time-to-leave-California reminder payment due on it. Ugh. So much for being ahead this month.

    It's like a bad relationship where you keep hoping the other party is going to wake up and realize what a mess they are making, but it just keeps getting worse. I'd say 90% of the people here are all wearing masks again. It's like I'm living in a lunatic asylum, but I'm not insane. You hit that point where you don't want to argue anymore, you just want to leave.
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


    1989 Honda Accord LX-i Coupe, 240k miles, MT swap, rear disc swap

    Shop manual downloads available here: CLICK TO VIEW

  5. #5


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    Re: Screwball Clutch Issue

    Well is nice to see the Exedy clutches are back in stock. I think thats the set up I got 225k miles on.
    1988 Lxi owner since August 1995
    336k miles running strong!
    Now running E85.

    Oldblueaccord <<< MY YOUTUBE PAGE!

  6. #6
    DX User fortekosakku's Avatar
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    Re: Screwball Clutch Issue

    It doesnt help when the person I bought it from tells me the tranny isnt stock, the flywheel isnt stock and he doesnt know which models the parts came from. One cv axle is out of proper length due to the tranny being different and so i gotta buy two different sets of cv axles but which ones? Who knows. Now I got an exedy clutch in my closet for my car right now, and your showing me flywheel to clutch issues. GREAT, because my flywheel is also a mystery. I got to count the damn teeth on mine when the time comes. I also bought a new one just cause. Im glad you did this before I did because I BET I will run into the same damn problem. Thanks

    I got a harmonic balancer replacement because i also care about engine vibration but if i have to grind on my new flywheel that pretty much screws any chance of my new balancer and flywheel harmonizing. I swear to god, if my Honda didnt look like the AE86 hatch I would have sold it by now happily, due to all the headaches of finding parts, and workers and knowledge on it.
    Last edited by fortekosakku; 05-03-2022 at 01:49 AM.

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