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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2004 TJ Sport with the NV3550 tranny. I was driving around today and noticed that sometimes it was difficult to change gears. At one point, I was stopped with the clutch pedal depressed in first gear, and I heard a clunk followed by a few seconds of squealing/rumbling. After that, whenever I stopped with the clutch pedal depressed in first gear, the vehicle would occasionally clunk and lurch forward a bit.

Right now it is parked in neutral, and it is nearly impossible to get it into first gear. I sometimes hear gears grinding, but not always. I also know that it is not fully disengaging because I can hear the tranny input shaft in neutral turning even with the clutch pedal fully depressed (the sound usually goes away when I depress the clutch pedal).

What gets me is how sudden this is. I just drove 500 miles this weekend no problem. I also drove around town yesterday no problem. I didn't notice any clutch slipping or difficulty shifting any time before today. The time between when I noticed the difficulty shifting to when the vehicle started to lurch forward even with the clutch fully disengaged was a matter of 5 minutes. This is the first manual I have owned/driven, but I didn't think that a clutch would fail so quickly.

I have had the Jeep since 86k miles. It is now over 110k miles, and unless the PO replaced the clutch, it is still the original clutch. I have only driven a few manuals in my time, and 2 things I noticed about my clutch pedal even when it was working is: 1. The pedal is stiffer than any other manual I have driven, including a 6-speed TJ, 2. Most if not all clutch pedals I have used seemed to have engaged the clutch sooner than my clutch pedal does.

Does anyone have any suggestions at this point?
 

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Could be any or all of the following: clutch slave cylinder has low fluid or is worn out, throw out bearing shot or pressure plate worn out.
My guess, based on the squealing sound, is that your throw out bearing is shot. Also, could be pressure plate issues too, since that's what the T/O bearing contacts when you depress your clutch. About the only other component that could be involved is your slave cylinder. Be sure the fluid level is proper in it, as low fluid would cause it to lose pressure and not fully engage your clutch. If you have to replace the T/O bearing, might as well do pressure plate and clutch disc at same time, since it isn't that much more labor involved, once you pull the tranny. Good luck!
 

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Agree with Old Chief, most likely TO bearing, pressure plate, or both. It really doesn't really matter which, bottom line is a clutch job. Hydraulics don't make noises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK sounds good, thanks for the advice. I'll check the fluid in the slave cylinder first (how do I do that?). If the fluid looks good, I guess I'll have to take it to a shop because I do not have the knowledge nor the tools to do a clutch job myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just thought of something else. I have noticed in the past few months, sometimes when I start the engine, I would hear a squeal kind of like what I heard today (even though it only lasted a few seconds) that would go away after about 10 seconds, or if I shut the engine off and then turned it back on. Could this have been a symptom of the clutch starting to fail?
 

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Could have been, if you heard the squeal when the clutch pedal was pressed. If you heard it with the clutch pedal up, check your serpentine belt. Other than the inconvenience, it doesn't really matter whether you caught it sooner or not. That part of your clutch going out isn't tearing up anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok so how do you check the fluid level on the slave cylinder? I know where it is located, but I don't know how to check the fluid level.
 

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Ok so how do you check the fluid level on the slave cylinder? I know where it is located, but I don't know how to check the fluid level.
Master cylinder...not slave cylinder (it's next to the brake master cylinder). Unscrew the cap, pull the diaphragm out, and check to see if fluid level is at the indicator ring on the outside of the housing. Unless there has been a loss of fluid somewhere, the clutch fluid will actually rise a little as the clutch wears. The hydraulic system shouldn't require additional fluid under normal circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There definitely appears to be plenty of fluid, so it looks like I am double clutching my way to the shop tomorrow.
 
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