A few month ago we replace clutch, P plate & TO bearing in our '97 TJ. The clutch just stopped working (peddle would not depress). Pulled tranny and found TO bearing retaining springs broken and bearing spring ears half pulled off. First thought it was the cheap plastic TO bearing piece of junk. Then started wondering if I put the release fork in the right way. I swear I made note of the position on teardown and installed it correctly. The TO bearing spring slots sit to one side (of center) on the fork. Other than that, the fork appears symmetrical and can be installed with the slots either to the left or the right of the trans input shaft while looking into the bell housing. With the slots on the left (pivot ball side), it seems the bearing springs would stretch as the fork travels out. On the right (slave cyl side), the slots would actually get closer to the shaft centerline.
So my question is; Do fork slots for the TO bearing springs go to the left (pivot ball side) of the trans shaft, or to the right? I remember them to the left and have seen pics of the same. But Iím questioning my memory because of the early and complete failure of the bearing housing and springs. If the slots do go to the left, what could have caused the bearing housing failure?
Thank you in advance for any insight you can share.