Choosing the Right Clutch Alignment Tool
The clutch basically works because of friction between a clutch plate and a flywheel. If the two latter components are not aligned, the clutch cannot perform its job properly. More specifically, the splines in the clutch disc must be aligned with the pilot-bearing hole in the flywheel. This is the job of the clutch alignment tool, also known as the clutch pilot tool-it centers the clutch disc perfectly under the pressure plate, which gets bolted to the flywheel. A clutch alignment tool made of nylon is usually included when you buy a clutch replacement kit. Universal clutch alignment tools are also available at online auto parts stores. If you need to find a specific clutch alignment tool that fits your vehicle's clutch, however, we have put together a guide in choosing the right one.
Compatibility and durability
Clutch components for each vehicle are different. Look for a clutch alignment tool that fits your vehicle's make and model. It should be one that is the exact replica of your vehicle's shaft and spine-components found in the vehicle's drive shaft.
When choosing the right clutch alignment tool, you should be concerned about its accuracy in performing its function. Equally as important, though, is for you to look at the product's durability. There are standard-issue clutch pilot tools that are made of lightweight polypropylene plastic or nylon. However, if you are planning on buying one that will last a long time, look for a clutch alignment tool that is made of steel. This will ensure that the tool won't bend or warp.
The bottom line
Clutch alignment tools are mainly used by repair shop owners, clutch specialists, and part sellers, but that shouldn't stop you-the average car owner who's concerned about keeping his car in tiptop shape-from owning one. With prices ranging from $10 - $20, it is a good, dependable tool to have in case of emergency.
How to Use a Clutch Alignment Tool
To align the clutch disc perfectly to the flywheel via the pressure plate, a clutch alignment tool is needed. This relates to a suitable alignment of the engine and the transmission, which makes proper steering possible. Without this tool, it would be impossible to align the splines in the clutch disc with the pilot-bearing hole in the flywheel. Here we show you how to use the clutch alignment tool-also called the clutch pilot tool-to center the clutch disc to the pressure plate on the flywheel.
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools you'll need:
Step 1: Position the clutch disc on a table with the center springs facing away from the flywheel. The bevel on one side of the disc is your indication that the correct side of clutch disc is facing the flywheel.
Step 2: Push the clutch alignment tool inside the spring side of the clutch disc. While holding the disc with its spring side out, insert the clutch alignment tool into the flywheel through the pilot bearing hole.
Step 3: Make sure that you're holding the clutch alignment tool in the pilot hole before performing this step. Push the clutch disc against the flywheel until you feel that it fits snugly.
Step 4: Release your grip on the clutch alignment tool. Secure the pressure plate with bolts. Be careful not to let the pressure plate slip from your hands, as it is a heavy piece of the clutch assembly. Keeping the bolts nearby will prove to be very useful and convenient.
Step 5: Locate the two studs on the flywheel that serve as alignment guides. Then, look in the outer flange of the pressure plate for two corresponding holes. Use these as guides in centering the pressure plate on the flywheel. Carefully turn the pressure plate until the flywheel studs fit in the alignment holes in the pressure plate flange. You will find that they will fit easily.
Step 6: Place the bolts- but don't tighten them yet-on the pressure plate to keep the plate in place. Push the clutch alignment tool in through the pilot bearing hole again.
Step 7: Using a socket, tighten the securing bolts in the pressure plate. We recommend doing this in an
X pattern. At this point, the job of the alignment tool is done. Pull it out from the assembly.