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Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mitsubishi
Satisfied Customers: 8609
Experience:  Mitsubishi employed and Factory trained ASE certified technician
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2003 mitsubishi lancer: replacing the clutch..fork..slide..screwdriver

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i have a 2003 mitsubishi lancer evo MR. i am replacing the clutch, and i am having a problem disengaging the throwout bearing from the clutch. i know i have to push the clutch fork all the way towards the clutch, slide a flat head screwdriver between the bearing and the clutch and turn it sideways. but i can't seem to get the bearing to disengage. it seems that even with the transmission still bolted to the engine, i cant get the bearing close enough to the clutch to allow it to disengage. i have even tried prying on it to get it closer to the clutch, but to no avail. i also put a c clamp on the fork and tightened it down towards the clutch slave cylinder mounting bracket, which gets it quite a bit closer, but still not close enough to disengage the bearing
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Doug C :

It sounds like you are emphasizing the clutch fork condition a little bit too much. The big thing you need to do is make sure you have a long enough and adequately sized width screwdriver to access the bearing to separate it. Once you are in position, it will just pop loose, you can just have thumb pressure on the fork to assist, nothing more is typically needed other than a light twist of the screwdriver.
I would be concerned at this point that the lock ring on the pressure plate has been damaged.
I believe I have a good diagram showing/explaining the process.... it may be the same one from your manual, but I will post it just in case.

Doug C :

Again, this should be very easy to do; if you have binding you likely will either have an inadequate screwdriver for the job, or the lock ring has been damaged either from improper prying or perhaps the c-clamp forcing the fork around.

Doug C :

I just got a request here but don't see any text... if you posted more information could you repost it please? Thanks

Doug C :

Hmm, I am receiving emails of the messages but nothing is showing here for some reason. I am going to switch this to a Q&A page to see if that corrects the problem.

Sorry for the difficulties, I'm not sure what was going on there. Try posting here and see if that works.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i was unable to remove the bearing even before prying or using the c clamp. is it possible that the bearing has seized in the sleeve?
Thanks. Sorry for the difficulties before.

It is not real likely. The bearing will stay on the transmission when it separates; the part that separates is between the bearing and the spring (lockring). There is nothing there to seize.
What can happen is if the spring gets mangled up, it can get bent in such a way to grab the bearing and not release it.

I think I have a picture of the system disassembled, let me see if I can find that, it may help you understand how it comes apart/what is possible to happen here.

Just a moment
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i have actually replaced clutches in two cars identical to this and never encountered this problem. both times before, the bearing disengaged no problem. is there any way to remove the clutch with the transmission?

Sorry for the delay...

Do you know if it is the original clutch in this one? I have run into after markets that were a royal pain to disengage before.... not on Evo, but on V6 Eclipse (same design).


There is no safe way to split them with the bearing engaged. All you can do if the ring is mangled etc, is to just dig at it until it is broken free. At this point, odds are you will need a new pressure plate anyway.


Here is what it looks like when they are separated... as you can see the metal snaps onto the bearing, but there is nowhere for the bearing to seize etc.


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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
sorry about that. i got a notice that you replied, but i dont see anything

No problem. There are some weird things going on with the site tonight.


Do you know if the clutch is original? I have run into issues with aftermarket clutches (primarily on the Eclipse with this style clutch) that were extremely hard to release, as well as previously replaced units that were banged up pretty bad on the previous replacement.


There really is no safe way to separate them with the bearing intact... I don't think you'd even be able to access the pressure plate bolts effectively, but even if you could odds are it would bind badly from the tension the more bolts you got out, and would risk tearing up the threads in the flywheel on the way out with the last few.


Here is the way they look apart so you can see what stays where... nothing really to seize but that lock ring can get jammed up in the bearing pretty good.



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Edited by Doug C on 9/12/2010 at 3:34 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i dont believe it is an oem clutch. but i bought the car used from a guy that was getting deployed overseas. so no idea really it just looks aftermarket. and all of the forums i have read said to just take the pressure plate off, but if i am going to damage the flywheel that is not an option.

If it is aftermarket, all bets are off.


Do you think you have sufficient access to the pressure plate bolts? Remember they are quite tight...

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i can see two from the access port. i am sure i can rotate the clutch and get to the rest

RIght, its just having sufficient room to remove them, providing good leverage etc.


If you think you can do it, and you are -sure- it isn't coming off the proper way, I would go ahead and attempt the pressure plate removal... but take your time doing it. Do 4 turns or so per bolt and do them 180 degrees apart the entire way out. This will keep even pressure on all the bolts until pressure is released. If you take them off in a circle like you would torque converter bolts etc, you are more likely to end up cocking the plate and that is when you end up with excess lateral pressure on the remaining plate bolts, potentially pulling threads out of the flywheel.


Considering that the plate is not only potentially aftermarket but probably borked at this point anyway, personally I'd go nuts trying to release that thing some more. If it still fails, goto plan B... not my favorite idea though; I have never run into one I couldn't release, just very tough ones that like I said before were presumably damaged on install.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i appreciate the help man. have a good one

You're welcome, sorry for the site issues tonight, it is usually much smoother.


If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask, I'd be happy to help.

Doug and 2 other Mitsubishi Specialists are ready to help you