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Old 09-11-2014, 12:06 PM
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Clutch Issues

2008 Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited 40k miles

About a week ago i started noticing a noise when driving my jk. With the clutch fully in, and then shifting into 1st or reverse it almost sounds like a rock is bouncing around or some metal on metal contact. This is only when the clutch is fully depressed. I have only noticed it when stopped or just rolling, so im not sure if it is happening when in 2-6.

Yesterday I noticed a grind when shifting from 5th to 6th on the highway. The shift seemed to require more effort to get out and into gear. First has now become very difficult to shift into, and requires a significant amount more effort. When driving today, shifting into all gears is more difficult, especially 1st to 2nd and into reverse.

I am fairly good with a wrench but have not worked with my clutch before. Any help in diagnosing the issue or repairing/replacing would be helpful.

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Old 09-11-2014, 12:16 PM   #2
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Hard shifting between gears and grinding usually means the clutch isn't fully releasing. The noise when the clutch is depressed could be the throw out bearing.

I'd try bleeding the system and seeing if the shifting issue improves. Brake fluid takes on moisture, and as a result can cause the clutch not to fully release when depressed. It will cost less than $5 to bleed it. If that doesn't work I'd say its time for a clutch job.

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Old 09-11-2014, 12:23 PM
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Hard shifting between gears and grinding usually means the clutch isn't fully releasing. The noise when the clutch is depressed could be the throw out bearing.

I'd try bleeding the system and seeing if the shifting issue improves. Brake fluid takes on moisture, and as a result can cause the clutch not to fully release when depressed. It will cost less than $5 to bleed it. If that doesn't work I'd say its time for a clutch job.
How can i diagnose if it is the throw out bearing? Also do you just mean just bleed the entire brake fluid tank and lines?
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Old 09-11-2014, 02:36 PM   #4
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I suggested you bleed the clutch slave cylinder.
However if the TOB is shot you should do a clutch hob anyway since you'll have to drop the tranny to get it out.
This should help diagnose the noise. HTH

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Old 09-14-2014, 09:26 PM
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Bump for more advice/pictures/guides for diagnosing/solving. I have not done any clutch work before but am pretty handy, how difficult can these repairs be?
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:55 PM   #6
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It involves dripping the tranny. That's the hardest part. Well and putting it back in. But actually changing the TOB and clutch is not hard at all. And yeah that noise is the TOB.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:24 PM
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It involves dripping the tranny. That's the hardest part. Well and putting it back in. But actually changing the TOB and clutch is not hard at all. And yeah that noise is the TOB.
Any ideas to the difficulty shifting into and out of gear? So far its the slave or master cylinder.
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:15 PM   #8
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How's your fluid look? Dirty or burnt fluid can cause hard shifts.
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:54 AM
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How's your fluid look? Dirty or burnt fluid can cause hard shifts.
What fluid should I be checking?
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:48 AM
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What fluid should I be checking?
If I am correct, it is the brake fluid and its located in the upper right corner of the engine compartment. My fluid is dark, so it looks like ill bleed and change the fluid. Hopefully that fixes it.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:17 AM   #11
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The noise you are hearing is the release/throw out bearing.

The way a clutch works is like so:

The crankshaft has a pilot hole in it that the input shaft of the transmission goes into. There is a tiny bearing/bushing that sits in that hole. The input shaft is supported in this hole and spins around it.

The flywheel bolts to the crankshaft and the pilot hole is in the middle. So now the input shaft to the transmission is sitting in the crankshaft with the flywheel rotating. Spin the flywheel and it turns the crank shaft. (The starter actually articulates with the teeth on the edge of the flywheel, so when you turn the key, it turns the crankshaft and gets the engine going.)

The clutch fits on the input shaft. Turn the clutch plate and the input shaft turns.

The pressure plate mounts to the flywheel and turns with it. The clutch spins freely between them.

The pressure plate has a flat friction surface similar to the flywheel. There are large leaf springs on the pressure plate. When you push the clutch pedal, the slave cylinder articulates the end of a fulcrum (called a fork) with a piston. The fork inside the bellhousing holds the release bearing. When the fork shoves the release bearing into the spinning pressure plates leaf springs (remember it's turning with the flywheel) the release bearing rotates with it. The springs release tension on the pressure plate and disengages the clutch plate from the flywheel.

The noise your hearing is the balls in the release bearing grinding and not spinning correctly because the housing is trashed for whatever reason.

The grinding you are hearing could also be a result of the release bearing depending on how damaged it is. If the surface of the release bearing is completely disintegrated, then it's possible it's not pushing the leaf springs of the pressure plate in far enough to completely disengage the clutch plate. The input shaft of the tranny remains spinning slightly (and the subsequent gears in the gearbox are spinning.) shift gears and crunch.

To change the release bearing, you have to buy a transmission jack, stick it up under the transmission. Disconnect all harnesses and the shifter knob, and everything from the output, unbolt the bell housing, and slide it out. Inside is the fork and the throw out bearing. There is usually a retainer spring that holds the bearing in place. Typically you have to either press the old bearing out of the housing and press the new one on, or buy a new housing and press the new bearing into it. Typically I just use a wood block, gently get the bearing started into the housing, then lower the vehicle onto the bearing and housing gently to press them together. That's the poor mans way of doing it without a hydraulic press.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:31 AM   #12
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Here's some shots of a transmission. Not a jk but the concept is the same.

See the round throw out bearing and the fork?


Here's a shot of a throw out bearing after being pressed into the housing/collar. The housing is the grey deal. It has a collar that's slightly smaller than the bearing. You press the bearing into that collar. The round lip holds the retention spring that holds the housing on the fork.


Here's a pressure plate. You can see the leaf springs that are in the center that articulate the friction surface on the other side. You can also see the teeth on the flywheel that is behind it.


Here's a clutch plate. This one is a little different. Standard clutch plates are circular and not pucked like this one.



What you need to get down to inside:


Here's the friction surface of the pressure plate:
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Old 09-16-2014, 11:18 AM   #13
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I just had mine replaced and I'm getting similar sounds. Its been awhile since I've driven a manual, so part of me thought that I was just rusty. But I'm starting to think that it wasnt put together correctly.
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:00 PM
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I changed the brake fluid about a week ago and it is still happening. The fluid was dark and now its at a clear yellowish. I could probably keep replacing it to get it clearer, but is that necessary?

I still am having a lot of trouble shifting into first and reverse. I really need to force it into get if I want to shift. Reverse almost requires two hands to get it back into gear.

I have also noticed recently that if I am coming to a stop in first with the clutch fully depressed, it feels like its about to stall. I'm not sure if this is because the clutch is not fully disengaging/engaging or what.

I'm going to check the brake fluid again when I am back from class to see what color it is. Immediately after the change shifting felt slightly better but not normal.

What should the next step in my diagnosis be? Transmission fluid change, slave and clutch master cylinder replacement, throw out bearing, brake fluid master cylinder change (if the fluid is dirty again)??? I am at a loss and need help because I want to avoid bringing it to a shop at all costs.
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:57 PM   #15
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As stated in my original reply. I would bet it's the throw out bearing not fully disengaging the clutch that's causing the issue.

I'd replace it.
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:12 PM
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As stated in my original reply. I would bet it's the throw out bearing not fully disengaging the clutch that's causing the issue.

I'd replace it.
you think the TOB is causing the entire problem, not just the rattle?
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:14 PM   #17
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The noise is the throw out bearing. That's that.
The hard shift can be more than one thing. Test the slave and master cylinders. When it's hard to shift, like into first or reverse. Pump the pedal about 5 times, then hold it in and shift. If it goes easily, or easier. Then one or both of your cylinders are shot. They don't need to leak to be broken. Now I say both because I always treated them like brake pads. Change both, not just one. Murphy's law, the one you didn't swap will break soon after. This is what normally happens. Tell by my name, I'm used to changing parts lol.
You can also change the transmission fluid, this is what I meant by dirty or old. Bad fluid can make hard shifts. Check these first and see what you find.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:44 AM
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The entire system has been bled and I have replaced the master and slave cylinders. The shifting seems better but reverse still requires some effort. I'm going to do the transmission fluid next, but what would be my next option? Should I go for the TOB next or the entire clutch? I have never replaced a clutch before so I don't know if I could do it. What would the cost be for the TOB or entire clutch in parts and labor?
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:29 AM   #19
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The entire system has been bled and I have replaced the master and slave cylinders. The shifting seems better but reverse still requires some effort. I'm going to do the transmission fluid next, but what would be my next option? Should I go for the TOB next or the entire clutch? I have never replaced a clutch before so I don't know if I could do it. What would the cost be for the TOB or entire clutch in parts and labor?
If the fluid change doesn't help then I would say that it's a problem with your clutch. The TOB won't cause this. It doesn't cause hard shifts unless it's blown up/destroyed. It will make one hell of a racket when it goes though.
There is a possibility of it being a bad syncro, but you will know when you change the fluid. If there is a lot of brass or gold coloured shavings in the fluid then it's safe to assume a syncro is shot.
The parts are cheap, I can get a whole kit with pressure plate, clutch and throat bearing. For $500. A shop will charge you a day and a little more for parts. So call and ask your closest shop and see what they will charge to swap a clutch. Base your decision on that. I would do it myself 100%. It's not that hard with the right tools and another set of hands.
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Old 11-29-2014, 03:43 PM
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If the fluid change doesn't help then I would say that it's a problem with your clutch. The TOB won't cause this. It doesn't cause hard shifts unless it's blown up/destroyed. It will make one hell of a racket when it goes though.
There is a possibility of it being a bad syncro, but you will know when you change the fluid. If there is a lot of brass or gold coloured shavings in the fluid then it's safe to assume a syncro is shot.
The parts are cheap, I can get a whole kit with pressure plate, clutch and throat bearing. For $500. A shop will charge you a day and a little more for parts. So call and ask your closest shop and see what they will charge to swap a clutch. Base your decision on that. I would do it myself 100%. It's not that hard with the right tools and another set of hands.

I replaced the fluid and it felt great for a couple, but then it started going down hill again. I went on thanksgiving break for a week, and ordered a new clutch and parts. Since I caught a ride home, it sat in my driveway for a week. Now, I'm back and its driving fine.

I'm wondering if it took a week of driving to get the synchromesh to work its way through the transmission. I only do like 10-20 miles of driving on average during the week, as I bike to class when it's nice out. Or, because not all the fluid will drain out, could it now be mixed with the sychromesh causing on/off stiffness? Its definitely better and even when it occurs again, its not nearly as bad as it was. I'm wondering if I should replace the fluid again, hoping that cleans out any remaining contaminants, drive it a bunch this week, and if it comes back replace the clutch.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:34 PM   #21
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I replaced the fluid and it felt great for a couple, but then it started going down hill again. I went on thanksgiving break for a week, and ordered a new clutch and parts. Since I caught a ride home, it sat in my driveway for a week. Now, I'm back and its driving fine. I'm wondering if it took a week of driving to get the synchromesh to work its way through the transmission. I only do like 10-20 miles of driving on average during the week, as I bike to class when it's nice out. Or, because not all the fluid will drain out, could it now be mixed with the sychromesh causing on/off stiffness? Its definitely better and even when it occurs again, its not nearly as bad as it was. I'm wondering if I should replace the fluid again, hoping that cleans out any remaining contaminants, drive it a bunch this week, and if it comes back replace the clutch.
That's not a bad idea to change the fluid again. It's basically a tranny flush. It helped. So that means it's probably not the clutch. If you can afford another fluid change then I would.
Drive it like it is for a bit. Try and get a 100miles on this fluid. Then change the fluid. I bet it'll be a lot nicer. If your problem continues, which I don't think it will. Then you should consider putting that clutch in.
But I'm leaning away from that because it did get better after the fluid change. If it was the clutch, there wouldn't have been a difference.
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Old 11-30-2014, 02:57 PM
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Ok, I changed the transmission fluid again. Going to drive it around as much as I can this week and update.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:35 PM   #23
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Ok, I changed the transmission fluid again. Going to drive it around as much as I can this week and update.
You probably didn't need to change the fluid that soon. How many miles did you get on the first change? If close to 100 then ok. Now that you have this next change in there. You shouldn't have to change again. It's getting better though. So it has to be related.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:44 PM   #24
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Maybe you got lucky and the fluid was spent. You'll know soon enough because a fluid change is not going to silence a bad TOB, or get a bad clutch that isn't fully releasing to work properly either. Keep us updated.
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:03 PM
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Maybe you got lucky and the fluid was spent. You'll know soon enough because a fluid change is not going to silence a bad TOB, or get a bad clutch that isn't fully releasing to work properly either. Keep us updated.
I actually haven't heard any noise from my throw out bearing in quite some time. My main concern right now is the spotty shifting.
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:11 AM   #26
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I actually haven't heard any noise from my throw out bearing in quite some time. My main concern right now is the spotty shifting.

Time will tell, you'll know soon enough if the fluid change was the fix.
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Old 12-01-2014, 08:55 AM   #27
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I actually haven't heard any noise from my throw out bearing in quite some time. My main concern right now is the spotty shifting.
Probably you already look at this but, for the problem with the shifting, is there any interference with your clutch pedal like a loose aftermarket carpet peventing to fully depress the pedal?
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:25 AM
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Probably you already look at this but, for the problem with the shifting, is there any interference with your clutch pedal like a loose aftermarket carpet peventing to fully depress the pedal?
Nothing loose, I'm able to fully depress it. Sometimes shifting is perfect and sometimes its rough. Never the same throughout the day.
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:03 PM   #29
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I had the same problem. Hard to get into first. And sometimes would even Pop out of first and make a Big Bang. Scare the crap out of me.
Anyway, ended up being the syncros and not the clutch. And also the ahifter boot just under the console. You will need to change each syncro for each gear that grinds.
Hope that helps you out, know that was my problem and sounds the same as what you are having.
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:18 AM
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I had the same problem. Hard to get into first. And sometimes would even Pop out of first and make a Big Bang. Scare the crap out of me.
Anyway, ended up being the syncros and not the clutch. And also the ahifter boot just under the console. You will need to change each syncro for each gear that grinds.
Hope that helps you out, know that was my problem and sounds the same as what you are having.
I had that problem in my 2dr but it doesn't feel like that. Its difficult to shift into 1 then 1 to 2 then 3 gets a little easier and so on. Reverse sometimes is almost impossible to shift into.

I guess it could be the synchs but all of them failing at the same time would be strange. Or if one of them fails could it effect the rest? And I think reverse is unsynchronized so it probably isn't that.....I think.

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