Author Topic: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?  (Read 6628 times)

catccc

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Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« on: November 07, 2013, 09:35:15 AM »
So, I believe our family's 2005 Toyota Matrix needs new shocks/struts and clutch.  I don't know much about cars.  I can change the oil, and replace brake pads.  That's about it.  Any thoughts on whether DIY is a good idea or bad idea? 

ketchup

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 10:01:56 AM »
I did my clutch last year with about as much experience as you do right now, but I had someone helping me that knew exactly what he was doing.  If you have someone like that, I would say yes, do it.  Or if you have an amazing amount of time to throw at it.  If you don't, and need the car every day (meaning you can't have it sitting in the garage for a week while you pick away at it), I would not DIY.

DIY for car stuff is incredibly satisfying, and very money saving, but can also be a nightmare if you need-it-done-right-now and can't figure something out.

Trirod

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2013, 10:12:38 AM »
What makes you think it needs a new clutch?  Is it slipping?

I am in the middle of a clutch job right now, and it's not that bad.  I will say that it's on my "summer fun" car (not very mustachian I know) so it's not like I'm in any hurry to get it done, which is a good thing based on how long it's been up on axles stands in my garage.

The shocks and struts are easy (unless there's anything unusual about the Matrix), but the clutch is likely to be a lot more complex.  I do a lot of work on cars and have gotten reasonably competent at it.  I think the clutch will be a good experience if you enjoy that kind of thing and plan to do more in the future, but if not, you might just want to find a good independent mechanic.  There's a pretty long learning curve with working on cars, not to mention the cost of assembling a toolkit of sufficient quality and quantity to do the jobs you need to do.


catccc

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 10:23:00 AM »
I think I need a new clutch (or will sometime soon) because it seems that the pedal needs to be pretty far out before the gears "catch."  Does that make sense?

The shocks/struts, it was recommended at a recent inspection that their time might be up soon.  The car just feels clunky on bumps, too.

ncornilsen

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 11:05:57 AM »
Depending on the type of clutch your car has (hydraulic, cable, or mechanical, it may just be a matter of adjusting it.

Greg

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2013, 11:20:48 AM »
As ncornilsen says, it may need adjusting or it may be adjusting itself.  If you have a hydraulic clutch, it self-adjusts, and the pedal level where engagement occurs will change over time.  If you have a cable actuated clutch, you can usually adjust it at the transaxle end.

New shocks make a car feel like new, and often there are rebates or specials on the parts.  Usually shocks are easy to change, but if you have MacPherson struts its more difficult and dangerous.

Is your Matrix FWD?  Removing the transaxle is not too hard but could be above your ability.  It involves removing the drive axles at the transaxle, disconnecting things and supporting the engine while the transaxle is removed.  Getting it back in is always more difficult because you have to align it carefully while supporting it, it often balks.  An experienced helper is a great idea.  You would also need a torque wrench.

Usually when the transaxle is removed, it's also convenient to remove the flywheel and have it surfaced at a machine shop, and while that's out replace the rear main seal of the engine.  Usually the clutch kit will include a pressure plate and throw-out bearing as well.  Sometimes there's a pilot bearing in the end of the crankshaft that needs replacing also, and can be tricky to remove.

Not sure that helps but it gives you an idea of what you might be in for.

ritchie70

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2013, 11:35:53 AM »
I have no expertise on clutches.

The rear shocks should be fairly easy - you may have to remove some interior panels to get to the upper mount, but they're just normal shocks.

On the fronts, you'll need a spring compressor to get the springs off the old and onto the new struts. You can probably borrow/rent something from a parts store.

You might be able to remove the assemblies and run them by a muffler shop and have them do that swap for you. You'll also want to have the alignment checked when you're done, because I'm assuming the lower end of the struts is an alignment point.

In looking at what parts on your car look like at monroe.com, I noticed that they sell an all-in-one assembly for the fronts that includes upper mounting plate and spring as well as the strut. This makes it easily DIY but it's $110 instead of $68 per strut. (Prices from Amazon.) But you are getting new springs and upper plates, from a reputable manufacturer.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 09:51:45 AM by ritchie70 »

catccc

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2013, 11:54:51 AM »
Thanks all for the info.  The matrix has 120K or so miles on it and nothing major (except tires) has been replaced ever, so I'm not surprised this stuff needs to be done, I guess.

Maybe general lack of knowledge about my car/cars means this is not a DIY possibility...  I don't know what a flywheel or transaxle is, macpherson struts, what?!   I don't even know what kind of clutch my car has.  It is FWD, I know that.

But I'd like to learn.  You know, maybe when I'm FIRE, I'll want to be a car mechanic.  That would be cool.



the fixer

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2013, 01:56:24 PM »
Not knowing anything about cars shouldn't be an obstacle to trying this work yourself. My blog has a few stories from over the summer where I was forced to learn more complex car stuff than I knew at the time. The key is to research and be open to learning what you don't know. Contrary to what MMM says I think buying one of those Haynes manuals is great for getting started with learning these things, but it's not 100% comprehensive; look for other sources online regarding how to do the specific repairs you want to do, and you might find a few good tricks for how to get something done in a better way than your repair manual says.

I think if you want to learn this stuff, you should at least try replacing the shocks yourself. There's lots of videos online about how to do it. The other stuff I think you should attempt unless you can't afford to have the car sitting around in undriveable condition for a few days. Also, make sure you have an easy way to get to the nearest auto parts store in case something goes wrong or you end up needing another tool/part.

catccc

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2013, 02:32:33 PM »
thanks for the encouragement, fixer.  I forgot I had a chilton manual at home, too, I should check it out.  That's how I learned to do the brake pads.  I think the trick will be finding time...  We have 2 cars, but this is our family car, and I work and DH will need it to tote around our 2 DDs.

schimt

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2013, 07:31:55 AM »
Thanks all for the info.  The matrix has 120K or so miles on it and nothing major (except tires) has been replaced ever, so I'm not surprised this stuff needs to be done, I guess.

Maybe general lack of knowledge about my car/cars means this is not a DIY possibility...  I don't know what a flywheel or transaxle is, macpherson struts, what?!   I don't even know what kind of clutch my car has.  It is FWD, I know that.

But I'd like to learn.  You know, maybe when I'm FIRE, I'll want to be a car mechanic.  That would be cool.

Definitely all doable at home with the right research, but like others said, someone who has done this type of work before mostly for the safety concerns, you need to proper support the engine while the transaxle is out, and you will be under the car!

FYI, transaxle is a fancy word for transmission for a front wheel drive car. A regular transmission has an input in the front and an output in the back which is connected to the back of the car through a driveshaft. Transaxle on the other hand has an input on one side and outputs on both sides going directly to the axles for each front wheel.

Flywheel is a round plate that is connected to the output of the engine and the clutch is bolted to the other side, it provides a surface for clutch plate to make contact with when you take your foot off the pedal. Also makes shifting smooth because it has momentum from its size and weight, when you step on the clutch the speed of the engine doesn't drop to idle instantaneously.

Macpherson struts are just an arrangement or design for the shock and spring. I believe someone named MacPherson originally design this setup

Good luck if you tackle the job, just be safe, it's extremely satisfying to do your own repair and mustachian

ritchie70

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2013, 01:34:07 PM »
thanks for the encouragement, fixer.  I forgot I had a chilton manual at home, too, I should check it out.  That's how I learned to do the brake pads.  I think the trick will be finding time...  We have 2 cars, but this is our family car, and I work and DH will need it to tote around our 2 DDs.

It might take a bit more physical strength, and getting under the car a bit more, but if you managed to do brakes, you can definitely do the rear shocks. Unfortunately that's also the cheapest of the three items you mentioned.

I used to own muffler shops. We let the junior sweep-the-floor-and-do-oil-changes kid do shocks. The hardest part will probably be putting the car's interior back together. (I'm assuming you have to pull out trunk panels to get to the upper mounts. I don't really know.)

catccc

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2013, 01:48:07 PM »

It might take a bit more physical strength, and getting under the car a bit more, but if you managed to do brakes, you can definitely do the rear shocks. Unfortunately that's also the cheapest of the three items you mentioned.

I used to own muffler shops. We let the junior sweep-the-floor-and-do-oil-changes kid do shocks. The hardest part will probably be putting the car's interior back together. (I'm assuming you have to pull out trunk panels to get to the upper mounts. I don't really know.)

2 things. 

First, I have to admit, I didn't do some of the work that required muscle (beyond my capabilities, which I estimate to be only slightly above average for my size.) for the brakes.  I instructed DH to loosen this or carry that. 

Two, the support here is great, but the more I learn about it, the less it seems like this makes sense to DIY right now.  I think this needs to be done sooner than later, and setting aside time to learn it and do it in the next few months will be tough.

Greg

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2013, 05:12:07 PM »
And, don't underestimate the value of the Chilton manual and gumption.  When I got my first car I could barely check the oil.  It had a Chilton manual in the trunk and I soon learned how to do the brakes, and so on and so on.  Now I can do just about anything given time and necessity.  Usually if someone put it together you can figure out how to take it apart or fix it.

schimt

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2013, 06:58:10 AM »
Also keep in mind that there are forums specific to your vehicle and more then likly you can find step by step write ups for this jobs by DIYers like yourself who documented the entire job with pictures or videos. Getting an idea from us about the possibility of doing this type of job is a good start, but you will get a better idea from people who have done it on your exact same vehicle

Trirod

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2013, 10:50:47 AM »
FYI, transaxle is a fancy word for transmission for a front wheel drive car.

Or on a rear wheel drive car where the transmission sits across the rear axle, as in a Porsche 944 :-)

schimt

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2013, 02:33:24 PM »
FYI, transaxle is a fancy word for transmission for a front wheel drive car.

Or on a rear wheel drive car where the transmission sits across the rear axle, as in a Porsche 944 :-)

Hahah Yes, and on the rare occasion where you have a rear mounted engine

Clemsonstache

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Re: Clutch, Shocks, Struts- DIY on '05 Matrix?
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2013, 01:52:15 PM »
http://wehavescissors.blogspot.com/2009/12/changing-clutch-in-pontiac-vibe-or.html

If you have time doable...this is step by step. I would not try this unless you had help honestly.

The struts will take you a day but i would recommend the full assembly mentioned earlier. Compressing springs etc can be dangerous but again

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CGgQtwIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DLEaevAxA8Gc&ei=Ss-LUsOCLKOziwL6v4GQDg&usg=AFQjCNECJh-4BsZePBgFW3tPdiyRFpHoSQ&sig2=wAVi0ztxgQu0L-J5UXKBuA&bvm=bv.56753253,d.cGE