How to change a clutch on a Volkswagen Crafter

Available in many model ranges, the Volkswagen Crafter is a rebadged Mercedes Sprinter but with a VW powertrain. This ‘clutch clinic’ from LuK takes a look at how easy a clutch replacement can be on the CR35TDI LWB variant.

Launched in 2006, the Volkswagen Crafter is becoming a more popular vehicle on the UK roads, so it’s likely you will see these applications coming through your workshop.

The clutch replacement is pretty straight forward with no special tools required for the repair. In this article we used a four-post ramp a long axle stand and a transmission jack.

First, disconnect the battery earth lead and raise the vehicle. Remove both gear link cables by popping them out of the linkage arms and stow to the side.

How to change a clutch on a Volkswagen Crafter

Remove the gearbox cross member support which is held in place by a four nut and bolt arrangement to the chassis and two bolts into the gearbox.

How to change a clutch on a Volkswagen Crafter

Mark the propshaft position and remove the centre support bearing bracket. Remove the bolts for the propshaft on the gearbox side and disconnect from the gearbox. Secure the propshaft to the side, as you do not need to remove it completely to lower the gearbox.

Remove the support bracket for the DPF which is attached to the exhaust and gearbox.

How to change a clutch on a Volkswagen Crafter
A wiring harness is also attached to the bracket which is held by one bolt; this will also need to be removed.

How to change a clutch on a Volkswagen Crafter

Remove the hydraulic pipe and, using a blanking plug, block the pipe so you do not lose any fluid. Cut the cable tie holding the oxygen sensor cable to the gearbox.

How to change a clutch on a Volkswagen Crafter

Remove the 13 bell housing bolts and put them in order of removal. As they are all different lengths this will make it easier when putting the gearbox back in place. Carefully lower the gearbox to the floor and remove the worn clutch.
Remove the worn clutch cover and clutch plate. In this example the dual mass flywheel (DMF) was also replaced with the clutch and bearing. In most cases, however, you have no need to replace the DMF as this can be checked whilst on the vehicle for signs of heat stress and evidence of grease loss. The DMF should also be tested for free play and rock between the primary and secondary masses. LuK tool number 400008010 is specifically designed for this purpose. Full instructions and DMF tolerances can be found by searching “DMF data sheet” at

Refitting the gearbox

Clean the first motion shaft splines and any debris from the bell housing (especially important when a release bearing has failed). Put a small dab of high melting point grease (not a copper-based product) on the first motion shaft splines and make sure the new driven plate slides freely back and forth. This not only spreads the grease evenly but also makes sure you have the correct kit. Wipe any excess grease off the shaft and driven plate hub. Using a universal alignment tool and checking the driven plate is the correct way round (note “Getriebe Seite” is German for “Gearbox Side”) the clutch can be bolted to the flywheel evenly and sequentially.

Before fitting the gearbox make sure the locating dowels are in place and not damaged. Refit any that have become dislodged and refit the gearbox. Make sure the gearbox bell housing bolts are secured before lowering the jack. Refitting is the reverse of the removal.

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