LuK: Fiat 500 Abarth Clutch Replacement

Fiat 500’s sporty little offspring set us a challenge larger than the car itself. With a book time of 5.5 hrs and a manufacturer recommending the engine should be removed to change the clutch we felt that was a bit traumatic (and impossible) so we set out with a more conventional approach even if it was going to take us longer!

When it was comfortably on the ramp (take care here, extra blocks of wood were required to get to the jacking points without damaging the Arbath body kit on the ramp legs) the first thing we noticed was we were going to have to modify a standard socket if we wanted to remove the driveshaft nuts as there was a generous radius in the cavity (see fig 1) preventing a standard socket getting on the nut so we decided we were going to leave the wheels on and swing the complete strut assemblies with driveshafts attached to release the CV joints from the gearbox.

Fig 1

After a few more observation it was clear the battery and tray needed to be removed to gain access to the gearbox mount and upper bell housing bolts so we set to. Disconnect the battery terminals and strap and lift the battery out of the car. With the Fiat being such a small car most things under the bonnet were attached to the battery tray (see fig 2) by a myriad of clips and they all need to be removed.

Fig 2

Disconnect and remove the diverter valve first with its flashy red filter (see fig 3) then disconnect the two ECU plugs. Not unsurprisingly quite a few cable and hose retaining clips later not forgetting the three fixings, the battery tray can be lifted free (see fig 4). 

Fig 3

Fig 4

Needing a break from ‘clip designers heaven’ we ventured underneath the car and released the bottom ball joints and the three bolts retaining the driveshaft support bearing (see fig 5) in its housing. The gearbox was entombed above the subframe but with the LH subframe side leg removed we may tease it out, however this required the removal of the LH wheel arch liner and the front bumper cover both retained with nuts and screws and not forgetting to disconnect the spotlights and indicators when you can see the connectors.

Fig 5

With the bumper cover removed you can see the LH subframe leg retaining bolts shared with the bumper armature (See fig 6) so these were removed. At the rear of that leg are two additional fixing which again needed to be removed.

Fig 6

Exhaust pipe support bracket was in the way of some bell housing bolts so that needed to be removed and at this point it became clear the whole subframe needed to be lowered (except the RH leg) so after disconnecting the oxygen sensor lead multiplug and unclipping the lead the subframe bolts needed to be loosened. We felt the steering rack and anti roll bar could stay in place so removed the bolts retaining them to the subframe. After removing the engine tie bar mounting bracket bolt and strapping up the steering rack to stay where it was, the subframe bolts were removed and it was carefully lowered.

With the job opening up (see fig 7) we had to go back up top to release yet more clips starting with the water temp sensor plug and all the other multi plugs preventing the harness from being stowed safely out of the way of the bell housing bolts. The intercooler pipe is retained by a bracket and nut that needs removing and the clutch concentric slave cylinder can be disconnected and the pipe stowed safely after removing it from yet another clip or two.

Fig 7

After removing the upper bell housing and starter motor bolts it’s time to support the engine and gearbox. Two transmission jacks were deployed, one for each, then remove the driveshaft CV joints from the gearbox. We had a split boot on the LH joint so it came apart when pulled. The gearbox is supported by a mount on the LH side with three bolts conveniently on the end of the gearbox in the wheel arch so remove these then the lower bell housing bolts can be removed leaving the gearbox and engine to be split and the gearbox to be safely lowered to the ground.

Before removing the old clutch always observe the direction the clutch plate is fitted
(see fig 8), in this case “LATO CAMBIO” is Italian for Gearbox Side but ideally sit the cover and plate together in the correct orientation until you have the new parts fitted in a similar fashion.

Fig 8

​​​​After cleaning the bell housing and carefully replacing the CSC (following any instructions in the box) the new clutch can be fitted with a clutch alignment tool to the Dual Mass Flywheel.After making sure the gearbox dowels were in place the gearbox can be replaced and the rest of the car can be reassembled taking care to carefully utilise every one of those dam clips!

Information on Schaeffler products, fitting instructions, repair times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT garage portal, or calling the Schaeffler technical hotline on 01432 264264 You can also download the REPXPERT APP on the APP Store or Google Play Store.

Written by:

Published on: June 22, 2021

Filled Under: Technical Articles

Web site:

Comments are closed.