How to Change a Clutch in a Ford Escort

Updated July 19, 2017

Changing the clutch on your Ford Escort requires attention to detail, aid from a helper and a place with enough room for you to move your vehicle. A garage with a level and clean surface is the ideal place for this job. Plan ahead, make sure you have all the necessary tools, and follow these steps to change the clutch on your Escort.

Open the bonnet and disconnect or remove any components that might interfere with the separation of the transaxle from the engine. Use wrenches, ratchet and socket, screwdrivers and other necessary tools. Label and place bolts, screws, and related components on a shelf for easy reassembly.

Loosen the wheel lugs on the driver side using a lug wrench. Remove the transmission- or transaxle-to-engine upper mounting bolts using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Raise the front of your vehicle using a floor jack and safely support it on two jack stands. Depending on your particular vehicle model, you may have enough room to change the clutch by disconnecting and moving the transaxle or transmission to one side; on other models, you may need to raise the front of your car higher to pull the transmission far enough for access to the clutch assembly.

Remove the tire and the tie-rod end from the steering knuckle from behind the wheel assembly using a steering-knuckle separator.

Remove the brake caliper and the brake disc using a wrench or ratchet and socket. Use a wire to secure the caliper to the vehicle and avoid damage to the brake hose.

Remove the CV joint from the wheel assembly using a gear puller. Support the transmission or transaxle with a floor jack.

Remove the rest of the transmission- or transaxle-to-engine mounting bolts. If necessary, label each bolt to install it in the same place it was before removing. Separate the transaxle or transmission from the engine using a large pry bar if necessary.

Mark the position of the clutch pressure plate in relation to the flywheel using a centre punch. It is better to replace the clutch disc and pressure plate at the same time, but if you are only replacing the clutch disc, the match marks are necessary.

Remove the pressure plate by loosening the mounting bolts a little at a time and working in a crisscross pattern. The pressure plate and clutch disc assembly is somewhat heavy; make sure you get a good hold as you remove the assembly.

Clean the clutch-assembly mounting area using a damp shop rag and brake-parts cleaner, then set the new clutch disc and pressure plate on the flywheel using a clutch alignment tool and drive in the clutch-assembly mounting bolts by hand first. Make sure to align the flywheel dowels with the alignment holes on the pressure plate. Start tightening the clutch-assembly mounting bolts two turns at a time in a crisscross pattern using a ratchet and socket until they are tight.

Install the transaxle, aligning the transaxle input shaft to the centre of the clutch assembly. Join the transmission or transaxle to the engine, making sure the dowels on the engine are centred on the transaxle guiding holes; then install the transaxle-to-engine mounting bolts. Remove the floor jack from the transmission or transaxle.

Install the CV joint in the steering knuckle, brake disc and caliper. Install the tie-rod end to the steering-knuckle assembly.

Install the tire, connect or install any components you might have removed in Step 1 and lower the vehicle.


You may rent a steering-knuckle separator, gear puller and other special tools from most auto-parts stores.


Dust deposited around components from clutch wear contains asbestos, which is known to cause cancer if inhaled in large quantities. Do not blow out the dust to clean clutch components. Use a damp shop rag to clean clutch components and surfaces, then wipe clean parts and mounting surfaces with brake-parts cleaner.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Screwdriver
  • Lug wrench
  • Steering-knuckle separator
  • Gear puller
  • Large pry bar
  • Shop rags
  • Brake-parts cleaner
  • Clutch alignment tool
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About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.