Clutch issue. Throwout bearing? -
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-11-2013, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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1978 CJ5 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Richmond
Posts: 119
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
rah2eq is offline  
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post #2 of 3 Old 02-11-2013, 10:14 PM
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1981 CJ5 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Canon City
Posts: 464
I'm guessing your on the right track with the throwout bearing. Could have ran dry, gets too hot and expands to the point that it wont slide. Get a new clutch kit and replace everything while your at it

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Bojon is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 02-11-2013, 10:26 PM
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1984 CJ7 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Hazel, KY
Posts: 1,255
my 1984 model throw out bearing would do that sometimes, when i pushed the pedal, the throwout bearing would squeal, but i kept driving it and then one day i noticed that i had not heard it in a while.

since that day a few years ago, its never given me any trouble.

just be sure its adjusted properly, if hyd clutch, be sure it has proper fluid level.

if yours has a hyd cylinder on the side of the bell housing you might be able to shoot some type non oil type lub in there, but that is risky.

if it working as you say, just keep driving it,
it will get better or worse

just as long as it does not hang up and not release, then you must fix it

good luck,

spring time will be here soon and you will want to drive with the top down, so you may want to give it a good look see and be sure its safe, it you are hauling any grandkids.
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