Removing a Manual Transmission

How to replace or remove an automotive manual (standard) transmission for rear wheel drive vehicles, though appearances may vary, the process is the same on most vehicles.

Begin with the vehicle lifted enough to access the transmission while using jack stands for safety, wear protective eyewear and gloves.

Step 1 - Start by removing the negative battery cable end to help prevent electrical short circuits while the job is being done.

Disconnect Battery

Step 2 - In most cases the exhaust system will need to be removed before the transmission.

Please visit our exhaust system removal guide for further instructions.

Exhaust System Removal

Step 3 - Once the exhaust system has been removed, start by removing the driveshaft mounting bolts.

Remove Driveshaft Mounting Bolts

Step 4 - Pull the driveshaft slightly forward and down to separate it from the differential.

Remove Driveshaft End

Step 5 - Locate and remove the driveshaft carrier bolts (Note: Some vehicles do not have a carrier, skip this step).

Remove Driveshaft Carrier Bolts

Step 6 - Locate and remove the front driveshaft mounting bolts, the driveshaft will become loose so keep your hands on it, (Note: Some vehicles have a slip yoke that can be simply pulled out of the transmission).

Remove Front Driveshaft Mounting Bolts

Step 7 - Gently lower the driveline from the vehicle.

Removing Driveshaft

Step 8 - Once the driveshaft has been removed, grasp the U or CV joint and rotate it throughout it range of motion, it should move freely with no rough spots or play, if either of these symptoms occur replacement is needed. (Note: Failure is sometimes accompanied by a rust colored powder around the joint.)

Rotate U Joint

Step 9 - Position a transmission jack under the transmission case and raise it slightly, enough to lift the weight off the transmission mount.

Transmission Jack

Step 10 - Locate and remove the transmission cross member mounting bolts. (Note: The partial weight of the transmission is now on the transmission jack.)

Remove Transmission Cross Member Bolts

Step 11 - Next, remove the transmission mount bolts or nuts, the cross member will become loose, keep your hands on it.

Remove Transmission Mount Nuts/Bolts

Step 12 - Grasp the cross member and remove it from the transmission and body.

Remove Transmission Cross Member

Step 13 - Use a wood block to sandwich between the engine pan and frame of the vehicle, this will support the engine once the transmission is removed, slowly lower the transmission jack, the wood will compress slightly.

Wood Block

Step 14 - Once the transmission has been lowered slightly, remove all wiring connectors such as the vehicle speed sensor VSS.

Removing Wiring Connectors

Step 15 - Next, remove shifting linkage, this will vary, for example, some transmissions have a plate where the shifter enters the transmission, this must be removed.

Remove Shifter Mounting Bolt

Step 16 - Some starter motors are bolted to the transmission bell housing and will need to be removed.

Please visit our removing starter for further instructions.

Removing Starter Motor

Step 17 - Using a pick or screwdriver, gently pry the retainer clip from the clutch hydraulic line at the bell housing, (Note: If an externally mounted secondary cylinder or cable is used, unbolt or unclip from the transmission).

Remove Retainer Clip

Step 18 - After removing the retainer clip, gently grasp the line and pull it from the slave cylinder, fluid will start to leak, insert a rubber cap to stop the leak.

Rubber Cap

Step 19 - Locate and remove all engine plate or dust shield bolts from the bell housing.

Remove Engine Plate Bolts

Step 20 - At this point everything on and around the transmission has been removed or disconnected except for the main engine to bell housing mounting bolts, the upper bolts can be difficult to remove unless a long extension with a universal is used.

Long Extension with Universal

Step 21 - Guide the extension over the top of the transmission to gain access to the upper bell housing bolts.

Position Extension Above Transmission

Step 22 - Remove upper bell housing bolts.

Removing Upper Bell Housing Bolts

Step 23 - Use a flashlight to check that all but the bottom two bell housing bolts remain.


Step 24 - Securely reposition the transmission jack underneath the transmission and attach the safety chains around the case to avoid damage and injury.

Transmission Jack

Step 25 - With the transmission supported by the jack, remove the last two bell housing bolts.

Remove Last Bell Housing Bolts

Step 26 - Even after all of the bolts have been removed, the housing could be stuck on the alignment dowels mounted in the engine block along with the input shaft inside the clutch disc, use a large pry bar and gently wedge it between the engine and transmission, apply pressure to "pop" it loose from the engine, further work the pry bar to fully separate. (Note: The transmission must be at a "neutral position" to separate, in other words the jack cant be too high or low.)

Using Pry Bar

Step 27 - The transmission will then be loose behind the engine, keep the transmission steady as you begin to lower it.

Transmission Loose

Step 28 - Slowly lower the transmission while keeping it steady. (Note: If a transmission becomes unstable on the jack and is falling, step back! Never try and catch a transmission, serious personal injury can occur.)

Transmission Removed

Step 29 - Once the transmission has been removed inspect the rear of the engine for damage or leakage, the clutch, flywheel and rear main seal will now be exposed and ready for repair.

To replace your clutch please visit our clutch replacement guide.

Transmission Removed - Engine Rear

Step 30 - After repairs have been made or new/rebuilt transmission positioned on the jack, slowly raise the unit into position behind the engine.

Rebuilt Transmission

Step 31 - When bringing the transmission up to the engine and while the installation is in progress, keep the gap between the engine and transmission equal, clean all wiring harnesses and vacuum lines etc. from between the engine and bell housing, this is a common problem, (Note: If the transmission is allowed to hang from the engine at this point it could bend the disc which will cause the clutch not to disengage).

Equal Gap Between Engine and Transmission

Step 32 - As the gap becomes less while the input shaft pushes through the clutch disc, push forward while wiggling the transmission into position. (Note: If the transmission doesn't want to go into position, back the transmission up and slightly rotate the input shaft, repeat.)

Push and Wiggle Transmission

Step 33 - Once the input shaft is fully in the clutch disc, the gap between the engine and transmission will begin to close.

Transmission Gap Closing

Step 34 - While keeping the gap even, install one mounting bolt on each side and slowly tighten (evenly) to close the gap completely.

Install Transmission Mounting Bolt

Step 35 - Continue to install and tighten and bell housing bolts evenly.

Tighten Transmission Mounting Bolts

Step 36 - Upper transmission bolt holes can be difficult to access.

Upper Transmission Bolt Hole

Step 37 - An old automotive trick is too add a small piece of paper to wedge the bolt into the socket for easy installation.

Paper Wedged

Step 38 - Once all bell housing and engine plate mounting bolts have been installed and tightened, remove the rubber cap from the hydraulic clutch line and push it back onto the secondary cylinder. (Note: Reinstall retainer clip before installation.)

Reinstalling Clutch Hydraulic Line

Step 39 - Reinstall the starter motor and attach wiring and cable.

Install Starter Motor

Step 40 - Reroute and install the transmission wiring harness and connectors to the reverse light switch and vehicle speed sensors VSS.

Installing Wiring Harness

Step 41 - Reinstall shifter and strut rod mounting nuts and bolts.

Reinstall Shifter Nut

Step 42 - Raise the transmission jack up into position, install the transmission cross member mounting bolts and tighten.

Reinstall Transmission Cross Member

Step 43 - Once all cross member bolt are tight, lower the jack while guiding the transmission mount into place, install and tighten nuts/bolts.

Lower Transmission Jack

Step 44 - Reinstall the transmission mounting nuts and bolts.

Reinstall Transmission Mount Bolts

Step 45 - Reinstall the driveshaft by installing front mounting bolts, or sliding the spline into the transmission, finish by tightening the differential flange mounting bolts.

Reinstalling Drive Shaft

Step 46 - Reinstall the exhaust system including gaskets and hangers.

Reinstall Exhaust System

Step 47 - Once the job is completed, check and refill the transmission fluid, use a flashlight and inspect for any missing nuts, bolts or connectors.


Step 48 - Lower the car and reconnect the battery, there might be a small spark while connecting, if a large spark occurs, recheck starter connections.

Reconnect Battery

Step 49 - Locate the clutch fluid reservoir and refill. (Note: Some vehicles use the brake master to supply fluid to the primary clutch cylinder.)

Refill Clutch Fluid Reservoir

Step 50 - Most hydraulic clutch systems are self bleeding, just pump the clutch pedal until normal pedal operation returns.

Pump Clutch Pedal

Helpful Information

When test driving a vehicle after a major repair listen for any strange noises or sounds which can be an indication of a problem that will need further investigation.

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