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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for some insight on my clutch issues. I've got a 2000 Sport with the NV3550 5 speed transmission, 129K miles.

Over the last couple months I'd had an issue when I push the clutch pedal in, it felt like it was catching on something about half way and it made a pop/click sound. It didn't affect shifting or anything, just more of an annoyance.

Fast forward to this week, I'm on the freeway and I push the clutch in to shift and it is almost too easy. Shifting still seems fine at the higher speeds, but once I pull off at an exit and stop at the bottom of the ramp is where things got worse. I couldn't put the shifter into gear. Tried 1st, tried 2nd, back to 1st again, and finally pop it into 1st. Once I get going I have a lot of trouble pulling it into 2nd. Then I run into another issue at the next stop light. When I push the clutch pedal in when braking to stop, it feels like the clutch is still partially engaged because the Jeep is still trying to pull itself a little bit until I move the shifter into neutral.

When the Jeep is off, I can move it in and out of gear with no issues. Once the engine is running is when the problems arise. I've tried pumping the clutch pedal 3-4 times before trying to put it in gear, but that doesn't seem to make a difference.

Considering I only have 129K miles, I have doubts that it is the clutch kit and/or throwout bearing. My initial thought is that it is the clutch master/slave cylinder assembly, but I'd prefer to get some of your opinions before I go out and spend $150.

Thanks in advance!
-Niel
 

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Does it feel like your clutch engages/disengages properly?

Or does it feel like it's more an issue with the transmission?

My initial impression feels like it might be synchros
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Does it feel like your clutch engages/disengages properly?

Or does it feel like it's more an issue with the transmission?

My initial impression feels like it might be synchros
It almost feels like it doesn't disengage fully. Even with the clutch pedal to the floor, it almost feels like it is still slightly engaged.

The worst issue is when I put I try to put it into reverse. I have to slam it in there and it feels like it is grinding a bit to get into gear.

When I was working on it over the weekend, I backed into the garage with the windows down and I caught a scent of smoke. Not sure if that was from the grinding or not.
 

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Either air is system and a leak or the shaft that fits into the pedal arm has issues


Sent from my iPod touch using Tapatalk
 

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I have the exact same issue right now. I just swapped in a transmission I rebuilt myself so I know the synchros are fine. Ialso replaced my clutch about 40k miles ago. I bled my slave, or tried to, by taking it out and pumping it with the cap off to help get rid of any bubbles. My popping/clicking noise is very intermittent however. Sometimes it goes away and it is easy to shift and other times it is a real struggle.

My best advice until you sort out where the issue is, is to double clutch. And blip the throttle before trying to shift into first or reverse. It's not convenient especially on hills, but it is better than trying to wrestle the shifter into gear harshly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for posting the video link.

My click/pop sound was similar, but not quite the same. The sound in the video seems to be at very consistent locations in the pedal travel. There are two pops, one on the way in and one on the way out. Mine would happen at very irregular locations, but only when the pedal was pressed on the way in. Sometimes it would pop right when it was pressed and sometimes it would pop close to the floor.

Hopefully both of our solutions are easy and inexpensive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Did you check the fluid? Look under the dash at the linkage while working the pedal?
I did check the fluid in the clutch assembly, looks fine to me.

I'll take a look under the dash again. I'll recruit some help this time, as I did get down there a few weeks ago to see if I could find anything unusual but I was having trouble pushing the pedal in with my arm. Any suggestions on what I should look for down there?
 

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Not specifically. Try to see exactly where the noise is. I mentioned it because the linkage popped loose on another Jeep and I popped it back together. As far as I know that was the end of that issue.

^^^ See that post above this one. Here's to hoping.

You could also listen with a pipe or hose to pinpoint the noise. Get help and don't let your Jeep run over you.

A test you could do would be to stop on a slope. Kill the engine so that it holds you on the slope in gear. Push the clutch pedal and see it fully releases or if it "drags". You should be able to freely coast down the slope. Try it in different gears and ranges on the transfer case.

Download the manual pages for the Jeep and look at the troubleshooting.

I pulled the transmission and transfer case on one of my XJs. It wasn't horrible. Not something I'd do for fun but not horrible.
 

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Did you do anything to get rid of the noise or did it just go away? And did you try double clutching?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Did you do anything to get rid of the noise or did it just go away? And did you try double clutching?
I was on the freeway and pushed the clutch in to go from 3rd to 4th, expecting it to be firm and make the snapping sound. Pedal went to the floor with little resistance. That's right when it became very difficult to put it into gear.

I haven't driven it at all since I first posted this thread.
 

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Probably rod came out at top of pedal arm so that pedal no longer moves piston in master cylinder


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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, I bit the bullet today and dropped $150 on a new clutch master/slave cylinder assembly. I was hoping it would be the fix, but unfortunately I'm still having the same issues.

It is still hard to get into gear and it still feels like the clutch does not completely disengage when the pedal is floored. When I took it out for a test after the install, I pressed the clutch to the floor and gave it some gas. The Jeep accelerated (very slowly, but still strange).

Taking it to a shop this afternoon.
 

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Back in 2012 when I was roadtripping to Tahoe to run the Rubicon Trail, my throwout bearing... disintegrated. I don't remember any popping noise from the clutch pedal, but I clearly recall the sudden lack of a functioning clutch. I had to drop out of the trip and have a clutch installed in Elko, Nevada (and I quickly figured out why nobody ever vacations in Elko). Making matters worse, I let the dude talk me into having him install a new slave cylinder... which he couldn't bleed properly... which forced me to drive the 260 miles back home by shifting clutchlessly... through rush hour traffic in Salt Lake City.

Anyway, my throwout bearing only had about 87k miles on it at that time. Yours could have easily given up the ghost at 129k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update:

Just took a look at the dropped transmission. Plenty of problems. Mechanic said when he pulled the transmission out, the pilot bearing fell out on it's own. Considering the stories I've read about how they are a bear to pull out, this doesn't seem good. Also, the fingers of the diaphragm are completely worn down and the flywheel looks like it has been machined in the past. The input shaft has a bit of play in it and there is a bit of noise coming from the transmission when the shaft is turned. The shift tower gasket was attached with silicone, which is likely not original.

It's apparent someone had some work done in the past, but it appears that the work was not done well.

I decided to have them take the transmission apart and investigate/replace the nose cone and bearing since it's impossible to tell if there is another issue there. I'm also having the rear main seal replaced. If there are more issues inside the transmission, I'll likely look for a used NV3550 or consider the AW4 swap.

Thanks everyone for your input and thoughts.
 
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