Well it was going to be a busy day. I started the YJ and let it warm a bit since it's a bit chilly in the frosty mornings. Was going to meet a guy about 25 miles away, got in and got ready to take off, all's fine, shift from first to second, and a slight pop sound and no clutch. I shut it off thinking it was my master slave cylinder units but, no... Put it in four low, started it in gear and drove over to my 'Spot'. Well I sat a while contemplating pulling the trans and consulting the 'Forums'. WELL, I started with the rear universal, unbolting and then to the transfer etc. etc. till I could pull the entire trans (AX15) out. I aligned the trans jack and got the exhaust pulled over enough and with some wriggling the trans seperated and all was good. I lowered the trans jack and got entirely to the ground and pulled the throwout bearing which was only connected with one spring retainer. I pulled it loose and looked at it and it was apparent that one of the ears had broken and it had spun and was sort of cocked into the pivot arm. But pulling it out and looking at it, it was pretty clean but looking closer it looked like the bearing body, the part with the two ears, was made of some tough kind of plastic.......... what the heak, plastic......? Sure enough it was plastic....Come on....! WTH .......?!
Well....... So I pull the clutch assembly and flywheel, which look good by the way, and the flywheel which looks nice with no heat or spider-cracks, None, and then pull the thin plate between the block and flywheel too. Get the Deere with the pallet forks, grab a pallet and load everything onto it to take the whole mess over to my power washer area and grab some Gunk and spray it all up.
It's still setting there soaking overnight, and once the day warms up, about 8-9:00 I'll spray again and then power wash it all. Dry, refill both the trans and transfer with new oils and reassemble everything. Jeez-Louise, why would someone even make a plastic bodied throwout bearing? Oh well, everything's getting super cleaned. I got a clutch kit from Napa for about a buck twenty five, two cans of Gunk and a rear universal joint w/zert and all for a buck fortyish. Not too bad. The old pressure plate and clutch plate looked really nice though, but the dilemma was that 'Just' the throwout alone was 50 bucks from Napa, so for another 70, I could go all New again, and surely be good for about three quarters or a full 100,000 miles of future service. I got the Kit, a no-brainer.
Oh...... by the way........ the two top bolts to pull the trans are female Torx, another three buck socket from Napa. While first disassembling everything, I noticed the front u-joint on the rear driveshaft had ever so slight sideway play. Almost indiscernible, but if you played with it, it could be felt slightly, very slightly. Well since I'm running about 4"s of lift, the angle is slightly whats considered 'severe', enough to cause a likely rapid wear in the front u-joint. Pluss, while less strong ultimately, a greasable u-joint with the zerk fitting would suit me much better, as I could hit it every couple months or when I expected to go wheeling.
Well in about an hour It will all go back together, and it will be 'super clean', and serviceable for a Long Time!, plus new fluids to boot. So total cost.... about two bucks, $150 for hard parts, and $50 for oils for all the drive train, which I had bought last week. Of course I'm doing it myself, I'm sure a shop would tack on another 3-4 hundred to do it, maybe more in just labor, plus a mark-up on parts.
I'd caution everybody NOT to use a plastic throwout, it should be obvious. Before I bought the Napa Kit, I checked to see if it was metal or not, and it appears to be either forged steel or cast iron on the new one.
Well I'll follow up with the assembly once I get it back together, with all the results. Stay tuned.