Clutch issue. Throwout bearing?
Thought I'd throw my CJ's most recent problem out here to the intelligent minds of the CJ forum to see what everyone thinks.
I've got a 78 with a 304 and t-150. Up until about two weeks ago, my CJ5's shifting and clutch has been fine. It periodically required double clutching reverse but it was seldom. Then about two weeks ago, it started some light grinding when trying to shift in reverse. It feels and seems as though the clutch isn't fully disengaging. Its always had a slight metallic whir to it when the clutch was all the way to the floor. Since I had a mechanical linkage, I assumed that it wasn't adjusted well enough, as I had a few inches of pedal play. Now I replaced some of the clutch linkage with the one with heim joints and shortened the free play as much as I could.
Now it seemed alright when it was cold, and would grind the tranny a little bit when shifting into any gear. Reverse was the worst because the engine speed was very far from wheel speed. When it got hotter (20 mins of stop and go traffic), shifting became almost impossible. The pedal pressure has increased to astronomical levels, so much so that my girlfriend cannot push it in completely. We're talking around 175 lbs of force to get the clutch in.
I decided that I should probably tear into it and replace the clutch. Who knows whats in there currently. However, normally when the clutch is bad it's the opposite problem: not sticking enough.
Now for the fun part. Yesterday I tested it and the pedal was extremely hard to push and I got grinding. Tonight I went out again and the clutch felt better than it ever had, releasing completely and no grinding whatsoever. I must have engaged and disengaged the clutch around 25 times. On a couple of those, the clutch pedal stiffened right up and the old symptoms arrived until I reengaged.
My question is: what the heck? Can a slightly whirring throwout bearing on a slightly rough transmission input shaft be my culprit? Or is the transmission input shaft rubbing too much on my pilot bushing and causing the grinding (probably not the heavy pedal pressure).
I did notice that there is no rubber grommet where the throwout fork enters the bellhousing, but I can also see that my pivot ball is intact and functioning correctly. The throwout fork looks dirty/greasy even into the bellhousing, and the clutch pressure plate that I can see seems nice and shiny.
Last but not least, the only thing that I changed between yesterday and today was not leaving it in gear.
Thanks for reading along if you have gotten to this point. Wanted to know everyone's input before/if I end up dropping the tranny and t-case in order to check everything out.
1978 CJ5 - 304 V8 - Twin Sticked and sitting on 35's
2010 JK- Rock Krawler 2.5" on 35" KM2's