Lotus Elan

Clutch release bearing - when to replace?

PostPost by: jono » Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:42 pm

I put a new clutch release bearing in 15k miles ago and have removed the engine to fix some oil leaks.

On inspection the release bearing seems 'loose' but there is no grittiness and it was never noisy in use. I had a look at another one off a spare engine with a low mileage clutch and the bearing is exactly the same.

The bearing seems to have in built 'float' - presumably to take up any eccentricity in the clutch assembly.

So the question is to replace or not? How does a completely knackered bearing present itself on inspection.

Clearly I could just replace it as a common sense measure but I am sensing that the 'slackness' is probably normal and that I should expect way more than 15k miles out of a bearing (I'm in the habit of never sitting with my foot on the clutch at junctions and the like).

Any comments folks on how to establish if the bearing is shot or good to re use?

Cheers

Jon
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PostPost by: JimE » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:08 pm

I've heard that sometimes you can replace the release bearing with a new one and the replacement is worse or doesn't last long because of inferior quality these days. Sorry, I know that doesn't really help. Jim
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PostPost by: JimE » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:10 pm

As above.
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PostPost by: jono » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:17 pm

This is exactly my thought Jim - this was 20 year old NOS (so probably not Chinese) when I built the car and I can't believe it is not still 'good' after only 15k miles.

Jon
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:49 pm

Is it broke?
Then don't fix it!

I know that they're not truly comparable, or maybe they are, but I've had 250,000 miles each from release bearings on my 2 vw passats!
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PostPost by: Chancer » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:21 pm

330000 miles on mine, also the timing belt tensioner bearings etc, I never replace anything unless its shows signs of failure, even the best OE quality replacement (and how would you know one from another) is unlikely to have the same life as what VAG specified for the new vehicle. (A Skoda but probably the same engine as the Passat).

I would defintely use the same logic with a 20 year old OE clutch release bearing.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:09 pm

I'm afraid I did replace the bearings but only because the original clutches had worn out and I was having them done professionally.
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PostPost by: jono » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:23 am

Thanks guys, you are all speaking my language.

I am going to run with the existing bearing

Jon
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:49 am

Bl**dy clutch release bearings! My first one started being noisy a couple of years after I first got the car. I asked acouple of Lotus people and the consensus was to leave it until the engine came out for something else. If/when it fails completely, the worst case is that you lose clutch action and no further damage. After another couple of years, this happened and there was a bang and rattle while I was doing around 70mph, then all OK until I needed to use the clutch, when leaving the carriageway. I still had a little clutch, with graunching gears, but enough to get to a workshop. On examination the realease bearing had 'exploded' scattering ball bearings around the housing at speed, but no further damage. New clutch sorted the problem. 20k miles later, same problem... waited until engine out for new chassis. New bearing & clutch... 5k miles later.... bearing noise again! This is still in place, 35k miles later, making rustling noises when you use the clutch. Cheap and nasty new bearings I suspect.

Argh & sod it!

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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:59 pm

275,000 miles on my origina release bearingl. I have washed it in petrol and then soaked it in engine oil during a few engine-out jobs but that's all. Perhaps the troublesome ones are indicating another part of the release mechanism is wrong. Or is the driver "sitting on the clutch" instead of using neutral?

What is your car, Chancer, that has done so many miles?
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:57 pm

Quart Meg Miles wrote:275,000 miles on my origina release bearingl. I have washed it in petrol and then soaked it in engine oil during a few engine-out jobs but that's all......


I am not sure washing out the grease and replacing it with oil is going to be good for a sealed grease lubricated bearing.

I use the original RHP bearings recently, as I found a guy with a stock of the originals. The cheap Chinese no name brand ones that are sold new by everyone I don't like. SKF use to make them but i have not been able to get these in recent times and maybe they have stopped making them.

In my road Plus 2 I would change it when the engine comes out which is not often. The one in my Plus 2 did around 80,000 km before changing last time.

The one in my Toyota Landcruiser has done 400,000 km without a problem so far.

cheers
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PostPost by: Chancer » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:53 am

Quart Meg Miles wrote:What is your car, Chancer, that has done so many miles?


2002 Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi

Simple mechanical injection, the absolute minimum of electronics and emissions devices, bought for next to nothing at 3 years old with 188000 miles and only expected to get a year out of it, anything else would have been a bonus, 13 years of abuse later and I cannot kill it, the miles before my ownership were kind miles from my chauffeur friend.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:28 am

My 99 passat is same engine and initial usage 80k in two years so well run in.
I had to change head gasket at 180k and cross honing in bores still present.
Oil and filter every 6k and I get just under 50mpg from it!
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PostPost by: Chancer » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:01 am

Mine was only run it at 250000 miles, until then it needed a tiny top up between engine oil changes :lol:

Gods truth!

Plus it now goes 2 years between oil changes.

I get 55-65mpg on average, best ever was 72mpg over a days driving.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:01 pm

Chancer wrote:
Quart Meg Miles wrote:What is your car, Chancer, that has done so many miles?


2002 Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi ...

That certainly wasn't the answer I was expecting, Chancer! Do/did you run an Elan and if so what sort?

Rohan, I'm in shock :shock: having just read the manual again! So what was I washing off, dirt on the carrier? I certainly haven't changed a bearing in the clutch since 1970 (200,000 miles ago) and I don't recall doing it then despite changing the clutch assembly (as it was rattling at tick-over). My bearing must have been made on a Wednesday.
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