Audi A4 Clutch Replacement

After doing the timing belt, valve cover gaskets, and couple of other small repairs it is time to tackle the last big thing; the clutch. Along with the clutch I will be replacing the rear main seal (also called the rear crankshaft seal) and the input shaft seal on the transmission. Although this guide is specifically made for the 2.8L engine, a lot of the information can be applied to the whole Audi A4 B5 generation (1994-2001).

Required Parts & Tools:

  1. Torx set, Hex set, and a triple square socket set.
  2. A couple of long socket extensions and some swivels. Also find some kind of bar for leverage.
  3. Sachs (or any other) clutch kit. Should come with release bearing, pilot bearing, clutch disk, and pressure plate.
  4. Optional: New flywheel.

audi a4 clutch removal tools

Car Specs:

  • 1998 Audi A4 Quattro
  • 2.8L V6
  • ~94,000 Miles
  • 5 Speed Manual Transmission

Update - 11/22/2011: The Audi now has a little over 126,000 miles;on it and the resurfaced flywheel is holding up well. No slipping so far.

Update - 04/15/2013: Last year my Audi A4 was involved in an accident and had to be junked as a result. Wish I could have kept it longer as I wanted to see how many miles I could get out of the resurfaced flywheel. The car had around 132,000 miles when it was junked.

Preparation And Disconnecting The Driveshaft

1. Put the car on jacks. I would not use anything smaller than 6 ton because they provide not only the correct support but also plenty of height. audi a4 manual

2. Remove the exhaust by following the Audi A4 Exhaust Removal Guide.

3. Remove the exhaust heat shield ( if there is one). The shield covers the drive-shaft and is secured with 4 small bolts.

The drive shaft must be disconnected from the transmission and moved out of the way. Because of the two-piece design and the rubber center bearing, it is crucial that the drive-shaft is aligned properly during re-installation. If you have to completely remove the drive-shaft, make several marks so that you will be able to reinstall it correctly.

audi a4 drive shaft

4. Remove the bolts from the front of the drive-shaft. These are allen bolts. Apply e-brake to keep the drive shaft still. If you are only moving the shaft out of the way, then remove the shield from the transmission and slide the drive shaft out of the way. audi a4 driveshaft transmission side

I removed the bolts from the rear of the drive-shaft. audi a4 rear driveshaft bolts

And finally removed the center drive-shaft support bolts. Once those are removed, the drive shaft could be taken out of the car. audi a4 center drive shaft support

5. Remove the front axle shields. Start with the driver side. Use the 2' extension and a swivel to reach the shield bolts. These are allen bolts, again. Might have to play around with different extensions to reach these. audi a4 drive axle shield

6. Do the same thing on the passenger side. I couldn't access the passenger side top shield bolt with the extensions. Instead I got it by feeding a wrench from the bottom. Tricky.

7. Disconnect all the electrical connectors. The nice thing about the 5 speed is that there are only three. All of them are on the driver side of the transmission.

audi a4 transmission connectors

# Raj 2014-04-20 01:42
Wow, nice writeup and great pictures
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# sheldon bell 2014-04-30 12:45
Did it the clutch made a rumbling noise when pressed in and no gears worked. What did I do wrong?
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# Gabe 2014-05-02 18:23
probably bent the shift rod or the thing he said not to bend and be careful with when putting the transmission back in. if so ive seen a post where a guy made that mistake so he just bent them back and it worked for him. just be sure to look into more before attemting
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# Artem Vestsorov 2014-05-02 21:59
What do you mean by, "no gears worked"? Were you able to put the shifter into the gears but the car did not move? You may have installed the clutch backwards. I've seen it happen. When you installed the clutch did you properly tighten down the pressure plate all the way and was the clutch disc secured tightly between the flywheel and the pressure plate? Without more details it could be anything - wrong parts, bent shift rod, backwards clutch, slave and/or master cylinder may need bleeding, etc...
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# Franck 2014-07-19 17:14
Thanks for the great write-up. It was very helpful on our '96 A4 Quattro. The only thing i did differently was how i installed the slave cylinder. I found another write-up that recommended to grease up the the rubber boot while avoiding the end of the piston. This allowed me to seat the slave cylinder by hand without using a bent screw driver. this was much easier. I had the slave cylinder in under 5 minutes.
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# mike the mechanic 2014-10-04 15:56
I cleaned the hole with wirebrush when gearbox was off, then lubricated slave cylinder with non-silicon "rubber care"lubricant, it took couple of minuts to install.
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# Clutch Kits 2014-11-24 10:50
thanks for sharing such an knowledgeable post. looking forward to see more good posts by you.
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# dikgang 2014-12-29 14:42
Clutch pedal is loose,does nt pump
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# toyo toe 2015-04-17 22:24
Excellent write up. Thank you for sharing.
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# anthony 2015-05-09 16:35
what side is the slave cylinder on? i need to replace it. drivers or passangers?
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# Jimmy 2015-05-11 11:10
Driver's side near the top of the transmission. You can see the 6mm Allen bolt after removing the front driver's side wheel.
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# vict0ar 2015-06-10 00:21
I recently did this job and this guide was quite helpful. On my early 99betwo, there were a few differences.

1. Needed to remove the precat o2 sensors. I couldnt squeeze the pipes between the frame and mount with the sensors on. Borrowed the 22mm tool from autozone and used a 2' extension from the top.

2. Was able to get the top transmission bolts with a 3/8 drive 6 point socket and an adaptor to 1/2 drive ratchet. Was not able to get them with the multiple long extension method. Too much stuff in the way made it hard to properly engage the socket and the long extensions gave too much play.

3. Bolt 6 requires 16mm offset wrench.

4. Wasnt able to get the 8mm hex on the shifter linkage. Was off by millimeters with my hex tool. Proly coulda hunted down a smaller tool. Instead i loosened it from the inside, moved the transmission back a tad, and was then able to access the bolt.
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# vict0ar 2015-06-10 00:25
Should say early 99 quattro
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# Cj 2015-06-25 20:38
Thanks i had a buddie put my clutch in, i gave him the link to this tutorial it worked great! also i didnt get a new flywheel i had it turned at a local machine shop and i have had no problems with it, just a tip if you want to save like 400 bucks on a new one... not saying it will work for all flywheels i had it checked with a depth gage and mine wasnt that bad so i had it turned id suggest doing your research on the tolerances of your specific flywheel before having it turned, i paid 60 bucks and it worked great, so this tip might save u 340 bucks or so, like i said do your research first! i dont want any one to screw up their car lol :) thanks again!!! Great tutorial
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# kevin 2015-07-12 03:15
great write up! i was wondering when/if i should change my flywheel, my car is about to hit 175 i think ive been getting the throw out bearing squeel sound so im gonna do a clutch kit job just wanted your input
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# broke audi owner 2015-09-08 03:20
Accelerater was kinda stuck initially. Pushed a bit harder and it completely loosened and engine revved up to red line. Now every time i start it the engine insta red lines to like 7k rpms. Wtf did i do wrong, help pls?
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# Jimmy 2015-09-08 12:04
I can't see how anything with this job would affect the accelerator. If yours is a 97-99.5 1.8T it's an AEB meaning a drive-by-cable. Maybe when you reconnected all those electrical connections in the engine bay something snagged the cable? You should see a physical cable connected to your accelerator pedal that is controlling throttle input into the engine... follow that to see what is making it stick.

Other A4's were drive-by-wire, meaning an electrical signal is sent from the accelerator pedal to the computer, which is then sent as electrical signals to the engine. If you have disconnected the battery then you need to run through a procedure to have the ECU relearn the accelerator position to throttle mappings. Just google for the procedure.

My assumption is you have an AEB engine since you mention the pedal was physically stuck.

Good luck!
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# still broke 2015-10-13 22:57
Thanks for the ideas jimmy.

I was able to figure it out the next day after some rest. When torching the o2 sensor, i think i let the flame get a bit out of control and it melted the plastic housing the accelerator cable slides in causing the cable to hang up. I simply cut away the damaged material and everything works properly.
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# Jt 2016-06-26 23:06
I have everything removed but my trans will NOT come off. Help please!
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# R.F.B. 2016-11-16 03:09
((((Clutch/Tran smission)))((( PROBLEM---MYSTERY))))))
I have just purchased a*** 2001 Audi/A6, 2.7-T, V-6, Twin Turbo, Quattro:***
Symptoms: Turn motor over and engage the clutch, put in gear, disengage clutch, and NOTHING happens...IN FACT...You can take the Gear Shifter, while engine is running, foot completely off clutch...And go "Shift Crazy"...litera lly... AGAIN...NOTHING HAPPENS....I am BAFFLED...Pleas e somebody HELP/SOS...any and all input greatly appreciated, MUCH!!!!!!! (OR) IF you could even point me in the right direction , Thank you.
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# AudiA4 2016-11-28 20:19
Same exact problem here, we bleed it, pulled our the slave cylinder and all that is fine, about the bring down tbe tranny to access the clutch plate and clutch release bearing. We'll see how that goes but should be easier thx to this article.... I hope...
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# Artoes 2016-11-28 18:45
I followed this and also took the flywheel and had it resurfaced, put everything back together. The clutch and trans. work fine but my engine now chokes up at 1800 rpm, could I have messed up the timing when I reinstalled the flywheel, it would only bolt up one way.
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# Natedawg1954 2016-12-24 16:46
This was awesome !!best tutorial I've read which will save me a ton of time replacing these parts.Your post is the only one that I found on the internet that showed direct pictures and what to do.All the others was just lousy no pictures,no explanation step by step,no videos at all of a manual transmission or replacing the rear main seal.GREAT LITERATURE keep it up.
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# Mark tankersley 2017-12-11 20:19
Have a 2003 A4 1.8 liter quatro. I'd appreciate the required tools and technique applicable to the replacement of the entire clutch assembly.
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# Mark tankersley 2017-12-11 20:23
Would appreciate description of a clutch replacement on my 2003 A4 quatro 1.8 liter vehicle. Thanks MUCH, mark tank.
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# Nicholas Hall 2019-08-04 16:33
There are actually 10 bolts on my 98 A4. Took the 9 out and there was one more at the bottom. Just a heads up. Just got mine out, great write up.
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