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Old 08-30-2014, 11:54 AM   #1
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Blown clutch after 12K miles (don't laugh)..shifting help needed

Happy modding day...unfortunately, no modding for me as my JKU's in the shop.

A couple weeks ago, my clutch started creaking really bad while shifting (noisy as hell with the top off) and soon later, I could barely get into gear as my Jeep lugged around town.

Brought it to the dealer and it's a blown clutch at about 12,200 miles.

They think it exploded inside and he suggested it might've just been a bad part--not necessarily from me being an idiot.

Anyways, I have a 2013 JKU 3.21 manual and I want to be sure I'm not shifting incorrectly. Where it drives like a truck, I try to shift slow and smooth (besides 1st to 2nd). Here are my shift points...please correct me if I'm wrong:

1st gear: 0-10 MPH, let the RPM go to about 2500/3000 and then a quick throw into 2nd. A bit clanky.

2nd gear: 10-20/25 MPH, let the RPM get to about 2500/3000 and then a longer shift into 3rd. This is usually the smoothest of my shifts.

3rd gear: 25-35 MPH, RPM to 2500, then a shift into 4th. Sometimes feels like it could use a bit more gas or more RPM before shifting, so I've been trying to get to 40 MPH before making the move to 4th. I use 3rd for cruising mostly.

4th gear: 40-50 MPH, RPM to 2500 again before a shift to 5th. I use this for cruising at higher speeds or merging onto the highway.

5th gear: 55-60 MPH, RPM maintained at 2000 while in 5th. I use this for 50 MPH highways and going uphill on a highway.

6th gear: 65+ MPH, I shift from 2000-2500 RPM in 5th.


Of course, there are more factors to shifting than RPM, but I don't think I was shifting poorly enough to blow a clutch after a year/12200 miles. I had a manual mustang before this, so maybe I'm stuck in that mindset and shifting too quickly? Or am I playing it too safe and wearing out the clutch by slowly letting out for shifts?

More info: seems that the "sticking point" for shifting is pretty high up on the clutch. I usually can let the clutch out about 1/4 of the way without needing to give it any gas.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

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Old 08-30-2014, 12:05 PM   #2
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unless your hard as hell on your clutch and doing burnouts the clutch should have lasted alot longer then 12k lol

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Old 08-30-2014, 12:35 PM   #3
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It was bad. Plain and simple.

In my track car, you don't want to know what I did to that clutch on a daily basis....and I'm pretty sure even it lasted more than 12k miles.
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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My son is a clutch's worst nightmare and his poor 86 Yota's clutch is still going strong (and you should see what I do it when I drive it cause I don't have to pay to fix it ) I'd imagine it's a bad clutch. You can't drive a stick worse than my kid.
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:55 PM   #5
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As an European, I'll try to avoid the joke about americans and manual shift

Anyhow, by your post, you don't seem to do anything wrong -and any clutch, even abused, HAVE to last longer than 12k. Example : my other car, a Porsche 911 on its first clutch - mind you that lots of burnouts and 0-60 times were.. erm.. experimented which DO wear the clutch prematurely and even still the thing lasted for over 30k. And trust me, it was well beyond abused.

A clutch is worn fast by either : you don't press fully the clutch and therefore it "skids" and of course, the "fast launch", where the engine is at high RPM and the clutch isnt and then abruptly everything comes together - ie, your car isnt moving, you press clutch down, you crank up the revs and then all the sudden you just drop the clutch pedal and therefore you just start like a rocket, lots of tyre smoke and a bit of burned clutch in the process

city driving doesnt help as well - it wears the clutch much faster, since you are playing with the clutch all the time

but still, 12k is a ridiculous low number for a clutch - it must be faulty.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:18 PM   #6
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Also remember there are only 2 times you need to use the clutch...

1) shifting gears

2) coming to a complete stop

Make sure you are not pushing in the clutch when going around a corner or riding the clutch...these 2 things you may be doing and not even knowing it.

When I was instructing at track days I was always amazed at the number of students...generally older guys....who would out of habit engage the clutch when going around corners, almost stopping, etc..no need and causes wear. Also be mindful of what your left foot is doing when cruising....it may be resting just enough on the clutch pedal to slightly engage the clutch and create slight pressure which creates heat.

Just some thoughts.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:22 PM   #7
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I sold a girl a new Civic, she insisted on buying a stick. Her father and I tried very hard to convince her an auto tranny was better for her. 500 miles later she was in the shop for a clutch. They can be burnt out in no time flat, buy a rookie driver. I watched a salesman who couldn't drive a stick pull one off the line for a customer to test drive it. I could smell the stink of burning clutch about 2 minutes after him getting into it.

I'm not saying that is the case with the OP.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
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As an European, I'll try to avoid the joke about americans and manual shift
Who needs a clutch? .. Lazy Americans just drop the hammer and bang through the gears.

btw... a crash box is the only way to learn how to shift.



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Old 08-30-2014, 06:29 PM   #9
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I burnt my first clutch 20 yrs ago rolling back and forth at stop lights when on an incline. Doh!
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Old 08-30-2014, 06:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ssf556 View Post
Also remember there are only 2 times you need to use the clutch...

1) shifting gears

2) coming to a complete stop

Make sure you are not pushing in the clutch when going around a corner or riding the clutch...these 2 things you may be doing and not even knowing it.

When I was instructing at track days I was always amazed at the number of students...generally older guys....who would out of habit engage the clutch when going around corners, almost stopping, etc..no need and causes wear. Also be mindful of what your left foot is doing when cruising....it may be resting just enough on the clutch pedal to slightly engage the clutch and create slight pressure which creates heat.

Just some thoughts.
3. Starting the vehicle. (Generally)

4. Moving forward from a stop.




Oh and you don't have to always push the clutch to shift gears.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:25 AM   #11
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OK, thanks for the replies. Happy to hear I'm still qualified to own a stick, haha. Given what's been said, are these things incorrect?:

-On average, cruising at 1900-2100 RPM and shifting when I hit 2300-2800 (more precise than my OP). I noticed that on an automatic, it'll cruse anywhere from 1200-1700 RPM and shift at 2000-2300 RPM usually.

-Someone mentioned using the clutch more than need be. What if I'm in 2nd gear and the turn I'm slowing down for causes the RPM drop to ~1000 (Jeep starts vibrating at this point)....is it bad to push the clutch all the way just to avoid the vibration from low RPM? I will then slowly release the clutch (as if I were shifting) and give it some gas to bring the RPM back up after making the turn, but it's left in 2nd gear the entire time.

-City traffic...there are times where 1st gear is too fast for city traffic. Is it OK to sort of ride the clutch on and off? Say I'll be at a stop and start to shift into 1st, but I'll never quite get there because 1st would be going too fast, so right before letting off the clutch completely to get into 1st, I push it back all the way down and repeat. This happens in between red lights from block to block in the city, for example.

-Someone else mentioned at a stop light on an incline. Sometimes I don't keep on the brakes and I accelerate a bit, roll forward, push the clutch back in and let off the gas, roll backwards, then start to accelerate, roll forwards, roll backwards, repeat while I wait for the light to turn green. I should stop doing this?

-I never really downshift. I usually throw it into neutral and coast into a stop. If I throw it in neutral expecting a stop, and then the light turns green, is it extra wear on the clutch to go from gear to neutral to gear?

-When I get the new clutch, are there any suggested break-in techniques?


Thank you all again for reading my essays. Really appreciate the help and looking forward to Tuesday when I get my babay back!
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:40 AM   #12
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OK, thanks for the replies. Happy to hear I'm still qualified to own a stick, haha. Given what's been said, are these things incorrect?:

-On average, cruising at 1900-2100 RPM and shifting when I hit 2300-2800 (more precise than my OP). I noticed that on an automatic, it'll cruse anywhere from 1200-1700 RPM and shift at 2000-2300 RPM usually.
If I'm trying to conserve gas, I try to never exceed 2500rpms in any gear. Slow? Yes. But it's the best mileage.

-Someone mentioned using the clutch more than need be. What if I'm slowing down for a turn, I'm in 2nd gear, and the RPM drop to ~1000....is it bad to push the clutch all the way just to avoid the vibration from low RPM? I will then slowly release the clutch (as if I were shifting) and give it some gas to bring the RPM back up after making the turn, but it's left in 2nd gear the entire time.
i would just downshift in that situation

-City traffic...there are times where 1st gear is too fast for city traffic. Is it OK to sort of ride the clutch on and off? Say I'll be at a stop and start to shift into 1st, but I'll never quite get there because 1st would be going too fast, so right before letting off the clutch completely to get into 1st, I push it back all the way down and repeat. This happens in between red lights from block to block in the city, for example. i think this is unavoidable. I was in stop and go traffic for 2 hours the other day and I could smell my clutch. I just started sitting still until the traffic line in front of me got uncomfortably far away, and people started honking.

-I never really downshift. I usually throw it into neutral and coast into a stop. If I throw it in neutral expecting a stop, and then the light turns green, is it extra wear on the clutch to go from gear to neutral to gear? always downshift. coasting in some states is actualy illegal. (How they enforce it is beyond me.)

-When I get the new clutch, are there any suggested break-in techniques? just take it easy on it.


Thank you all again for reading my essays. Really appreciate the help and looking forward to Tuesday when I get my babay back!

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Old 08-31-2014, 02:54 PM   #13
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Probably a bad part. But 3.21's a manual and oversize tires are a recipe for wearing out the clutch faster. But 12,000 miles is pretty soon even for that.

You will have little or no wear on the clutch shifting gears. Almost all of the damage is done getting it started from a stop in 1st or reverse.

One thing my dad taught me years ago.

"Son,you have 2, or in some cases 3 pedals on the floor, anytime your foot is touching any of them it is costing you money. A good driver plans ahead and uses all of them as little as possible".
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Old 08-31-2014, 03:28 PM   #14
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You will have little or no wear on the clutch shifting gears. Almost all of the damage is done getting it started from a stop in 1st or reverse.
This was my thought too. I was pretty hard on my first clutch until I got the hang of pulling out from a stop without riding the clutch or making the truck buck. All the way in or all the way out doesn't wear the clutch, transitioning does.

That said, things would have smelled pretty bad to wear one that quickly. I agree with the bad part opinion.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:27 AM   #15
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You say to downshift in the 2nd gear around a corner scenario, but do I really shift to 1st? Seems like that'd be excessive.

Also, it's tought to maintain 1500 RPM cruising. It sounds clanky anywhere below that.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:09 AM   #16
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OK, thanks for the replies. Happy to hear I'm still qualified to own a stick, haha. Given what's been said, are these things incorrect?:

-On average, cruising at 1900-2100 RPM and shifting when I hit 2300-2800 (more precise than my OP). I noticed that on an automatic, it'll cruse anywhere from 1200-1700 RPM and shift at 2000-2300 RPM usually.

-Someone mentioned using the clutch more than need be. What if I'm in 2nd gear and the turn I'm slowing down for causes the RPM drop to ~1000 (Jeep starts vibrating at this point)....is it bad to push the clutch all the way just to avoid the vibration from low RPM? I will then slowly release the clutch (as if I were shifting) and give it some gas to bring the RPM back up after making the turn, but it's left in 2nd gear the entire time.

-City traffic...there are times where 1st gear is too fast for city traffic. Is it OK to sort of ride the clutch on and off? Say I'll be at a stop and start to shift into 1st, but I'll never quite get there because 1st would be going too fast, so right before letting off the clutch completely to get into 1st, I push it back all the way down and repeat. This happens in between red lights from block to block in the city, for example.

-Someone else mentioned at a stop light on an incline. Sometimes I don't keep on the brakes and I accelerate a bit, roll forward, push the clutch back in and let off the gas, roll backwards, then start to accelerate, roll forwards, roll backwards, repeat while I wait for the light to turn green. I should stop doing this?

-I never really downshift. I usually throw it into neutral and coast into a stop. If I throw it in neutral expecting a stop, and then the light turns green, is it extra wear on the clutch to go from gear to neutral to gear?

-When I get the new clutch, are there any suggested break-in techniques?


Thank you all again for reading my essays. Really appreciate the help and looking forward to Tuesday when I get my babay back!
Those shift points look fine. Like someone else said starting is really where most of the wear happens.

2nd gear scenario I would probably just leave it in a deal when the lug. Not sure what pushing the clutch in accomplishes if you're going to keep it in the same gear-you're still going to start back up at the same rpm. Depends on the situation though.

City traffic as bent said is pretty much unavoidable and I do the same thing and just people move forward. No point in moving ahead 3 ft just to stop again. I find reverse to be especially painful with the 3.21s. 99% of the time I have to ride the clutch in reverse as it will way too fast.

The stop on the incline. This is a big no no and will definitely wear out your clutch faster. Just keep your foot on the break until you are ready to move.

Downshifting or coasting in gear may get you better gas mileage than coasting in neutral. When coasting in gear the fuel injectors are completely turned off where as in neutral they need to be partly open to keep the engine going.

12k miles definitely is short though even if you were doing all of these.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:16 AM   #17
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-Someone else mentioned at a stop light on an incline. Sometimes I don't keep on the brakes and I accelerate a bit, roll forward, push the clutch back in and let off the gas, roll backwards, then start to accelerate, roll forwards, roll backwards, repeat while I wait for the light to turn green. I should stop doing this?
Yes.

Most everything has been covered pretty well. The bottom line is that any time the clutch pedal is in between fully depressed and fully released the clutch is getting wear on it. So the less you can do that, the longer your clutch will last.
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:09 AM   #18
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That's another good point.

If you coast in neutral, the fuel injectors have to squirt fuel to keep the engine running.

If you go downhill in gear, the injectors turn off entirely. The driveshaft actually keeps the engine running instead of using fuel.
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:26 AM   #19
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Sounds like a defective clutch. I have owned 7 manuals, driven over 100k in every one if them and have only replaced one at 2k miles because of a badly cast flywheel under warranty.

My advice is to always have the jeep in gear or neutral. Never ride the clutch turning. Not only will it wear or out faster, but it's dangerous.

Coming to a turn, corner, etc. ALWAYS have your Jeep in gear BEFORE turning. Let off the gas (engine brake), feather the brakes, clutch in, quick downshift, clutch out, then execute the turn under engine power.

Save your brakes. I always keep the Jeep in gear coming to a stop, usually downshifting a gear or two. Feather the brakes (just a tap will do) Let the engine do the braking instead of the brakes. I really only use the brakes during quick stops or holding a stop. Make sense? My GTI has 75k and the brakes are fine, front and rear. Just checked when we rotated tires.

I just read the other day some bullshit about how manuals cost more money because you have to replace the clutch eventually. I have seen many auto transmissions fall apart and it is obviously very expensive and the brakes will wear out twice as fast on a auto tranny. I'm sure they have come along way recently in reliability, but I'm not convinced long term yet.
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:50 AM   #20
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I just read the other day some bullshit about how manuals cost more money because you have to replace the clutch eventually. I have seen many auto transmissions fall apart and it is obviously very expensive and the brakes will wear out twice as fast on a auto tranny. I'm sure they have come along way recently in reliability, but I'm not convinced long term yet.
In general I agree with you, but on a wrangler ... not so sure. Seems like they have an awful lot of clutch and manual trans problems. The WA580 seems pretty bulletproof and even if you have an issue it will be covered for 100k, unlike a clutch.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:20 AM   #21
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In general I agree with you, but on a wrangler ... not so sure. Seems like they have an awful lot of clutch and manual trans problems. The WA580 seems pretty bulletproof and even if you have an issue it will be covered for 100k, unlike a clutch.
Powertrain may not cover the clutch, but it covers everything else in the transmission.

Changing a clutch takes about 5 hours of work and some simple tools. It's a DIY dream as opposed to an auto which are not so much.

So if you want to be married and rely on a service station to fix your problem for you and rip you off in labor, then sure the auto is fine.

If you want to save some cash and spend 80-90 bucks on a new clutch disk, and about half a day, you can install your new clutch easy peasy.


That's why a prefer a manual.
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:02 PM   #22
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Another advantage of not coasting is you can extend your brake pads A LOT by allowing the engine to slow the vehicle.

Also, OP, don't get too focused on the tach. Listen to the engine, it will tell you when it is time to shift, up or down. My first stick didn't have a tach or a decent radio. That was probably for the best.
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:21 PM   #23
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Just curious while I see the topic @ the top of the forum, what is the typical clutch life that people see? In my Audi days stock clutch on stock power would last a real long time.. Some people well over 100k miles. Obviously depends on the operator but just wondering what most see.

Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:18 PM   #24
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I've had many OEM clutches last well over 100K miles.

I'd bet that the clutch was bad myself, unless you're slipping the hell out of the clutch or doing burnouts frequently.....
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:57 PM   #25
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Powertrain may not cover the clutch, but it covers everything else in the transmission.

Changing a clutch takes about 5 hours of work and some simple tools. It's a DIY dream as opposed to an auto which are not so much.

So if you want to be married and rely on a service station to fix your problem for you and rip you off in labor, then sure the auto is fine.

If you want to save some cash and spend 80-90 bucks on a new clutch disk, and about half a day, you can install your new clutch easy peasy.


That's why a prefer a manual.
I have a four speed in my 65 GTO and I wrench on it plenty. I do not have my Jeep for wrenching on. The auto is covered under warranty for longer than I will have the Jeep. Plus I do a lot of towing a small travel trailer.

What works for some does not work for others.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:58 AM   #26
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Sort of on topic...

When you shift, are your shifts "long?"

I was shifting and my passenger (who also drives a stick) asked why I seemingly shift in steps versus one fluid motion.

I clutch in, wiggle out of gear and into the next gear, clutch out until I begin to reach the sweet spot, apply the gas, clutch all the way out. Total, probably 3 seconds tops.

Is that normal? Is it bad to really ease it into gear or does that wear the clutch, too?
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:13 PM   #27
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A little late but you are fine don't worry about it.It was definitely a messed up part.You are doing nothing out of the ordinary.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:23 PM   #28
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Sort of on topic...

When you shift, are your shifts "long?"

I was shifting and my passenger (who also drives a stick) asked why I seemingly shift in steps versus one fluid motion.

I clutch in, wiggle out of gear and into the next gear, clutch out until I begin to reach the sweet spot, apply the gas, clutch all the way out. Total, probably 3 seconds tops.

Is that normal? Is it bad to really ease it into gear or does that wear the clutch, too?
The Jeep transmission gates and longer throw kinda force you to follow the H-pattern pretty closely, which makes all the shifts take longer. From 2nd to 3rd, it's a definite UP then RIGHT then UP. Whereas, in other cars you can pop it diagonally from 2nd to 3rd. It's also clunky between gears, so I can see why your passenger may think that.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:35 PM   #29
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12000 miles is very early. My 86 CJ7 still has the original clutch and that includes teaching both my wife and son to drive a manual in it... One thing my dad drummed into me was to fully remove your foot from the clutch. In other words, never try to hover or rest your foot above the clutch. The theory is that you will lightly engage the clutch. No idea if it is true, but hearing "get your foot off the clutch" every day for almost year, made me always take my foot completely away from the clutch...
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Old 10-13-2014, 11:49 PM   #30
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My trick as I'm learning to drive stick is when I'm stopped at a light, slowly let off the clutch until I can feel the engine start to strain, then push it in again slightly so I'm just before the point of the vehicle wanting to move/strain the engine. (this is how I find the "sweet spot" I know about where it is now without having to let the engine strain)

my question: is holding the clutch where I'm holding it causing wear on it? Somebody mentioned earlier

"The bottom line is that any time the clutch pedal is in between fully
depressed and fully released the clutch is getting wear on it. So the
less you can do that, the longer your clutch will last."

Does the pedal really have to be as far down as it can go to not cause wear? Because the pedal moves quite a bit between where the car wants to move and the bottom. Holding the pedal in the middle, just before the "sweet spot" makes life a LOT easier

Thanks

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