Adjusting Clutch Pedal Freeplay

I hope this DIY makes it relatively easy to adjust your clutch free-play. This adjustment is claimed (and I personally back this claim) to improve shifting by ensuring your clutch is fully disengaged when you wish to shift- especially useful for those who wish to shift quickly. It reduces the grinding of 2nd ‘gear’ and improves the overall smoothness of shifting. I strongly recommend bleeding your clutch after doing this DIY. It’s even in the Corolla Repair Manual.

What you will need:

Paper towels
Liquid Wrench or WD-40
12mm line wrench*
needle-nose pliers

*Line wrenches [AKA flare wrenches - which I did not have access to at the time I worked on the pedal] improve the grip on hex nuts and bolts when working on hydraulic lines (or a lot of things for that matter). They prevent you from rounding the nut off. If you have the extra money, or have access to these, please use them! I didn’t use them and I rounded the retaining nut off completely – it took a needle nose lock grip pliers and lots of patience to break it loose- this is your warning!

Example picture of line wrenches

Notice how they’re wider, and would surround the nut/bolt better?


Step 1.
Get under the foot well in your car. For those of us who are tall, this is a pain in the ***- trust me.

Step 2.
Locate your clutch pedal (I hope you know where it is!) and identify the retaining nut and pushrod (see the following picture):

967d365110ec97726d1ca643e8b1a2e1  Adjusting Clutch Pedal Freeplay

Step 3.
Spray the nut with Liquid Wrench or WD-40 and allow it to soak in for a moment. Break loose the retaining nut using the 12mm line wrench (see the colorized picture below). Then, using a needle nose pliers turn the pushrod in the direction indicated to remove clutch play. If you want to add clutch play, turn it in the opposite direction indicated in the colorized picture. Clutch play is described as the free play in the clutch pedal before resistance due to clutch disengagement is felt.

Two things are important here. The first is that you go slowly with the needle-nose pliers. Because of the tight spaces, you will need to inch the pushrod in the correct direction, possibly while holding the clutch pedal in slightly (if you have small hands you are truly blessed). The next important thing is that you do not remove all of the play [warning!]. Removing all of the play has the same effect as riding the clutch- your clutch plate will be slightly disengaged causing all sorts of problems and could potentially ruin your clutch plate. Only remove as much play as you’re comfortable with. See the specifications at the end of this DIY if you want to stay within the bounds indicated by Toyota.

491efb06613a063665c3773dedb71e2e  Adjusting Clutch Pedal Freeplay

Step 4.
When you are satisfied that you have removed enough play, hand tighten the retaining nut and then tighten with the 12mm line wrench to 9ft-lbs [I have no idea how to measure this so I just recommend that you tighten it snugly]

Step 5.
Verify that you have removed play by turning the car on and driving it a short distance. You may notice that shifting is hard or worse than before. This is normal. Please continue by then bleeding your clutch via the other DIY thread. Then, enjoy an improved shifting experience!

Toyota Specifications:

Lock nut torque specifications : 12 N-m (120 kgf-cm, 9 ft-lbf)
Pedal free-play : 5.0 to 15.0 mm (0.197 to 0.591 in.)


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