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Unread 04-23-2015, 11:48 AM   #1
CoachDad
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canton, MI
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Clutch Issue FINALLY Resolved... Hopefully.

I bought my '03 X with a fragged clutch. I replaced it with a LUK kit, and then had to swap the T/O about 800 miles later. Well, after that, plus a new master/slave cylinder combo, clutch fork, pinion ball, and fluid exchange for Mopar 3500, I would still get pedal chatter and hard to engage shifting after only a day or two of driving.

A total clutch failure caused me to drop the trans for a 3rd time this year. My new T/O bearing was in 3 pieces, and the slave boot had torn and the rod had completely ejected. Low and behold, I finally found the root cause.

The main drive retainer (pictured) had lost it's sleeve, leaving just the mounting base in place. This has caused the T/Os to suffer and come apart due to looseness, and has cause me all of my headaches.

I am posting this for the benefit of any others who may have similar issues, and can't find the cause. It's easy to miss, since it breaks off cleanly at the base. I'll be putting it back together, and expect it to be honky-dory.

main-drive-retainer-5013306_799.jpg

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Unread 04-23-2015, 11:59 AM   #2
bbradUSMC
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Good to go
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Unread 04-23-2015, 12:05 PM   #3
jdunk813
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I actually need to drop my trans as well. I replaced the clutch, pilot, throw-out bearing but chose not to replace the seal to the input shaft of the transmission. It leaks out the front coating my clutch in trans fluid every so often. I did remove that piece to inspect it. Interesting that it would break cleanly at the attachment point. What would have caused this to happen?
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Unread 04-23-2015, 12:53 PM   #4
CoachDad
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I'm not sure what would cause it, but I can offer a guess. When I first dropped my trans, I found the clutch friction disc to be in fair shape, but the fingers on the pressure plate were badly worn, and a couple were missing. The T/O was busted up, and the clutch fork had come displaced and had a deep gouge cut in it. Given all of this, I suspect that the T/O bearing had caught in the pressure plate fingers, and had jerked the clutch fork so violently that it torqued the sleeve portion of the retainer and broke it off. That's just a guess, but it's my story and I can tell it however I like.
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Unread 04-23-2015, 03:54 PM   #5
JWebber
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My clutch fingers looked broken when I replaced mine, What caused it was a worn out and grooved front bearing retainer shown above. Granted I never replaced it after my first clutch change out. So I went 125K further and it damaged my clutch fingers due to it binding and not fully releasing. Replaced all and clutch is way better than before.
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Unread 04-23-2015, 06:53 PM   #6
Opihi59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDad View Post
I'm not sure what would cause it, but I can offer a guess. When I first dropped my trans, I found the clutch friction disc to be in fair shape, but the fingers on the pressure plate were badly worn, and a couple were missing. The T/O was busted up, and the clutch fork had come displaced and had a deep gouge cut in it. Given all of this, I suspect that the T/O bearing had caught in the pressure plate fingers, and had jerked the clutch fork so violently that it torqued the sleeve portion of the retainer and broke it off. That's just a guess, but it's my story and I can tell it however I like.
I think that's a pretty good forensic synopsis of the failure. I'd believe that one/do believe that one.

Buying those long-snout front bearing retainers, you'd think they were made from platinum. Sometimes you can find them on ebay reasonably cheap used, but most have to buy them from Crown new at about $150 plus.

Throw out bearings--there have been a ton of failures in those since they've started using plastic composite body rather than cast iron. They come in the clutch kit box, so Jeepers seem to feel compelled to use them. It is best to purchase one separately from the kit made of a cast iron body. I have saved one of my old cast iron ones and have this idea that somehow I'll be able to pull apart the composite one, and install that bearing on the cast iron body.......won't know til the next time I do a clutch, unless some enterprising Jeeper does it first and posts it up on the forum.
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