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2003 EX, 5spd, bone stock atm
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Good day!

New to the element life, just bought an 03 ex fwd that needs a clutch. I have the full shop manual already and it calls to remove the subframe to remove the transmission. I've recently done the clutch on the wife's 2010 civic and managed to do it all in the vehicle without removing the subframe (it was quite the pain in the....). Has anyone attempted to do clutch work without removing the transmission out of the engine bay or has anyone done this without the subframe removal?

Thanx and hope to bring knowledge to the forum soon :)
 

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Having changed the clutch in my element myself, I can confidently say that there is no way to change the clutch unless you drop the subframe and transmission. If you have access to a lift, or a friend who would let you bum theirs for ~a day or so, do everything in your power to get on it. I don't have a lift, and that clutch job was one of the worst mechanical experiences of my life. If you don't have access to a lift, make sure you have the car high enough off the ground you have room to work. To support the engine when the clutch/subframe are out use a hoist instead of cradling it from the bottom or something, as the subframe will be laying on the ground for the entire job if there's a jack/wood/tire/etc. supporting the engine. Other than that you should be ok. I would suggest replacing the mounts you take off while you're in there. Element mounts are not noted for their longevity. Those mounts will be the lower rear transmission/subframe mount, the driver side transmission/body mount, and the front transmission/subframe mount. Also. Driver side body mount. Just take it off. Don't think "oh I'll just finagle the transmission out and leave it connected." Ask me how I know 馃槵. Anyways welcome to the forum. It's not a complex task. Just hard? Does that make sense? I hope so. Hope this helps. If not, reach out!
 

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2003 EX, 5spd, bone stock atm
Joined
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Having changed the clutch in my element myself, I can confidently say that there is no way to change the clutch unless you drop the subframe and transmission. If you have access to a lift, or a friend who would let you bum theirs for ~a day or so, do everything in your power to get on it. I don't have a lift, and that clutch job was one of the worst mechanical experiences of my life. If you don't have access to a lift, make sure you have the car high enough off the ground you have room to work. To support the engine when the clutch/subframe are out use a hoist instead of cradling it from the bottom or something, as the subframe will be laying on the ground for the entire job if there's a jack/wood/tire/etc. supporting the engine. Other than that you should be ok. I would suggest replacing the mounts you take off while you're in there. Element mounts are not noted for their longevity. Those mounts will be the lower rear transmission/subframe mount, the driver side transmission/body mount, and the front transmission/subframe mount. Also. Driver side body mount. Just take it off. Don't think "oh I'll just finagle the transmission out and leave it connected." Ask me how I know 馃槵. Anyways welcome to the forum. It's not a complex task. Just hard? Does that make sense? I hope so. Hope this helps. If not, reach out!
Thanks! Just confirming what I thought. The 8th gen civic let me have a lil less than a foot clearance with it disconnected and hangin in the engine bay held with cargo straps. It was enough for tools to fit in so I could replace the flywheel, both main seals (while were in there ;)) and all the other clutch n goodies. I should've led as well that I'm a dual ticketed mechanic back in school for millwright so tools isn't the big issue, I was just being lazy and wanted to avoid an alignment after removing the subframe that's all. I also debated what would be easier; pull the engine tranny assy out the top and then repair/replace while out of the car or just suck it up and do subframe.

I will for sure take your tip and definitely upgrade those mounts while at it as well :).

Clutch is 1 week away in the mail so I'll keep posting my findings ;)
 

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YOU MUST BE A WIZARD 馃え. I used a silver sharpie and outlined the bolts on the subframe, and haven't had any problems, and that was back on the other side of winter from now. No problems in snow or anything. Gotta ask. Have any big plans with the car? I'm intrigued.
 

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2003 EX, 5spd, bone stock atm
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yeah I don't feel like fighting it in that tiny space and will take your advice and remove the subframe.
Plans are: stage 4 clutch being installed next week. A/C system not working... conveniently, it has to be removed for a supercharger...;) that would be the plan by next year. Probably stock wheels on some aggressive knobbies, not too sure yet about suspension. Replace torn drivers seat. Camping n hauling groms for this year is where it's at. Oh and paint ;)
Soooo, yeah. Pretty much going to be tires, paint and clutch this year.
Been drooling over the j32 swap and awd conversion but I'll buy another box instead of modding this one if that's the route I take.
 

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2003 EX, 5spd, bone stock atm
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like a plan! A supercharger should match up well with our engines! Keep us updated.
So....... update is..... all 4 lobes on the exhaust cam are ground to a pulp...... I need an engine swap. I have it all out of the chassis but have no running engine to attach to the tranny atm. I am in a pickle. I want to get the k24a2 and do the swap but I've been trucking at this ride for a good 1.5 months now and don't want to get into too much more complicated stuff. From what I gathered so far, I will need another ecu to make it work. Hopefully, if I buy a used tsx ecu that will work?! Idk atm. A lil deflated by this soft cam bs. Definitely wasn't ready for a full blown swap when it was supposed to only be a clutch job
204812
 

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2003 EX, 5spd, bone stock atm
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well, it needed rollers too and since I pulled the whole engine tranny combo out already to do the clutch, I was going to do a swap anyways (although it was supposed to be late next year). I also didn't know the history of the vehicle since I bought it without driving it because of the clutch. I just picked up a k24a2 and a 6spd lsd tranny with 120000 less kms on em than what the E had. Basically rebuilt the whole front of the E so far... tierod ends, control arms, ball joints, clutch,engine, transmission, brakes... all that hasn't been touched yet is the steering rack (wich ima flush with all this room in the engine bay atm lol) and the shocks. That's where I'm at so far ;)
 

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Oh wow. You鈥檙e a doer then! I鈥檒l just leave this here. One of these days I鈥檓 gonna try using it to street tune something a little more crackly for my exhaust. It鈥檒l help keep costs down. I鈥檝e done some research. Tell you what. If you鈥檙e unsure about it, I鈥檒l get my throttle position sensor situation figured out on Friday and pull the plug and then let you know if it could be useful for that a2 of yours.;)
 

Registered
2003 EX, 5spd, bone stock atm
Joined
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Oh wow. You鈥檙e a doer then! I鈥檒l just leave this here. One of these days I鈥檓 gonna try using it to street tune something a little more crackly for my exhaust. It鈥檒l help keep costs down. I鈥檝e done some research. Tell you what. If you鈥檙e unsure about it, I鈥檒l get my throttle position sensor situation figured out on Friday and pull the plug and then let you know if it could be useful for that a2 of yours.;)
I'm definitely intrigued! I'm currently trying to understand ecu tuning and was debating using the aem ems-4 but if this seems like it's way cheaper, I'm allllll ears :)
Gl!
 
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