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MG MGB Technical - Clutch replacement time

The clutch has begun to slip on daily driver, lack of time and suitable workshop facility means I'm probably going to have to get this done by a local garage. Question is what is a reasonable time in hours for a fully equipped workshop to do this job?

Probably need about four to five hours to take the engine out change the clutch and put it all back in. Your looking at a fair bill for this work.
Iain MacKintosh

Had the clutch replaced in my BGT in 1986. I still have the receipt. I remember the local garage quoting me a price which was based on the 'book' labour time (which included engine removal) of 12 hours. I remember he took a bit longer than that but kept to his original quote. (1986 price for 12 hours labour was 70!). Parts charged for were clutch plate, pressure plate, release bearing, antifreeze. If he drained the oils I guess he put the same stuff back in.

Since then I've bought an engine hoist and done the last two clutch jobs myself - easy enough to do single-handed if you've got the time and garage space.
Brian Shaw

It took me 2 full days, with access to an engine lift and a 4 post car lift (what is the correct english term for that?).

It might pay to find an mg specialist in the neighbourhood? They should know what it takes and will probably have had more practise and may stock more parts if something else breaks.
Willem vd Veer

Reminiscing of a clutch replacement in a TR2 in 1968 for only 20 pounds!
Can you not do this job removing only the gearbox?
Art Pearse

700 in a garage I reckon, but it is a job that easier to do youself than many modern cars, ie Alfas and Renaults etc. I've changed three myself with ramps and an engine crane; few years back now though; took a day and a half the last one.
You will probably need to have the flywheel skimmed, on DIY that will add a day or two.
c cummins

I've done it in a day with a tripod and chain hoist, in the days before I had a crane.
Dave O'Neill 2

I recently did my own, with a lot of help from an able mechanic friend at his shop. So we had access to lift, jacks, power tools, etc. We had the engine out in 3-4 hours, and I suppose the reinstall took the same. This was done in evenings after work, so it several days to get all the hours together.


We found all sorts of things to do on the way in and on the way out. Like replacing the various arms, levers, bushings that go to the clutch, hose to slave cylinder, which then means time to bleed the system; all adding to overall time of project.

AND then there is cleaning of all the other things. The inside of clutch housing, etc.

On the bright side it cost $300+ in parts, $0 for labor, beer and food. But I still owe this friend a lot, because we all know how much I saved.

I did mine because the throw out bearing blew up while driving, had car towed to friend's. Now that is a sound you don't want to hear or forget. Upon removal we discovered the pressure plate was on its last bit of friction material anyway. So everything was replaced, including an engine mount on the way to putting it all back together.

So be prepared for the extras. Nothing like having an engine out to SEE all the other little problems.

R.W Anderson

Hope ok to drop in the thread - A side talks of skimming the flywheel - what does this involve, ie. how much should be shimmed off and where on the flighwheel, both sides or...?

hi mike,
had my old engine out and new one in in a day,and running. never done it before. done job on my own, borrowed hoist from friend. only took engine no box,bit of a job lining up when putting back trying to lower hoist and line up at same time. next time will get help for that bit.
bob 1970 bgt.

bob taylor

I think that is the best bet. If you have time, do the job yourself. Often, it does not mean you will do a worse job, just that it will take longer.Professional mechics may be quicker, but somtimes rougher. When I do my engine swaps, I will leave the box in the car if there is no need to remove, sure lining up is the tricky bit but not impossible. Mike
J.M. Doust

Leave box in car, use clutch alignment tool. use hoist and place trolley jack under box, jack front of box as high as it will go. Place engine gently on front of gearbox shaft and move slowly back in. align gaps. it should just slide in. Make sure box is in neutral so it can rotate.

Flywheel needs to be skimmed if the cklutch will not seat properly. Much like a disc rotor the flywheel surface where the clutch engages should be in good condition. Take you flywheel to an engine reconditioning place or a brake and clutch place and they will know what to do. Don't forget to mark with a punch (couple of dots) as to the relative postion between flywheel and crank before you remove it.
A J Ogilvie

AJ, doesn't matter flywheel to crank position as both are balanced individually.
Art Pearse


The extract from the BMC manual certainly implies that it is necessary to orient the flywheel, so I would second that you mark it before removing.

Being a bush mechanic, I have always rubbed the friction surface of the flywheel with about 120 grade emery paper, before replacing clutch plate, to remove any glazing. I've never had to have the flywheel skimmed, and have never had any issues.


Herb Adler

Thanks for comments on flywheel skimming - like the idea of emery paper - costs start to go up when one job leads to another...

Thanks for all the feedback guys. Clutch replacement is something I've done on a previous B and it took me around 1.5 days of a weekend working single-handedly, the most tricky part being getting the engine back on the gearbox shaft (colourful language time!) and I also had to deal with a broken engine mount with bonding agent, and a leaky seal on the hired engine crane. Mainly because of the garage height restrictions I left the gearbox in the car. Unfortunately I currently do not have the use of a garage so any DIY maintenance at the moment has to be done on a sloping driveway so it's tricky to manhandle the car.

In the end I took the car to a local independent garage as recommended by members of the local classic car club and am about to collect the car from them. I'm not sure how many hours they've spent on the car but it's been with then the best part of two working days. The price wasn't anywhere near as bad as I had originally feared (although it still hurts!) and the total bill comes in at 300 for labour, anti-freeze & sundries plus 64 for the clutch kit and new gearbox seal which I supplied.

All of the flywheels were stamped with a 1/4 mark in order to ensure that the flywheel would be installed with the mark in a vertical position when cylinders #1 and #4 were at Top Dead Center so that the engine would be dynamically balanced correctly. This mark is often obscured by light rust. Clean the flywheel using some steel wool or a ScotchBrite pad and you should find the markings. On the 10 flywheel of the 18G, 18GA, and 18GB engines the mark is on the outer edge of the flywheel on the engine side next to the ring gear, while on the 11 flywheels of the 18GD, 18GF, 18GG, 18GH, 18GJ, 18GK, and 18V engines it is on the upper side edge of the rim that faces the clutch.
Stephen Strange

Moss, Neglecting to re-surface the flywheel is taking a chance that the unit isn't warped or contaminated. As a rule, I have .040" removed from the surface, when I do clutch replacements. This ensures a smooth engagement between the surface of the flywheel and the clutch plate, as well as a surface one that is flat. It's a small investment in time and money over the long haul. RAY
rjm RAY

Re- balance. I think the 1/4 marks are there for convenience in timing the engine from front or rear when it is on the bench. It can gave no effect on balance if the flywheel is balanced alone. I deliberately shifted mine 60 deg to move the worn ring gear teeth to a different rest position. (Having said that, I have not yet run the motor).
Art Pearse

Yes rjm Ray, does sound like good advice...

This thread was discussed between 01/03/2011 and 05/03/2011

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