Lotus Elan

Clutch Release Bearing

PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:52 pm

If the release bearing is noisy, but has just lost its lubricant, then it is possible to introduce some 3 in 1 PTFE spray lubricant with the bearing still in the car.

You can make up a tube with a right angle at the end that fits onto the red tube that comes with the aerosol can. Take off the boot on the release arm and aim the right-angled end at the join in the bearing casing. Then spray away... Note an LED headlight torch is a must for this!

I have been doing this for many years since I messed up and cleaned the bearing lubricant out by mistake. Each application lasts for many months/ several 1000 miles and the bearing stays silent.

If however the bearings are breaking up - then it's game over, and may the curse of Beelzebub be on the manufacturers :evil:

Dave Chapman.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:56 pm

I used a Mondao/Contour unit when I put the Zetec in the Plus2. The bearing is spring loaded against the clutch fingers, which makes installing the gear box difficult as you have to compress the spring to engage the input shaft splines and the spigot bearing. Very difficult without having the gear box out of the car. The easiest way, was to have the engine on the engine stand with the nose down and the flywheel up. Using the hoist, drop the gear box straight down on engine, and its weight will do the hard work. A couple of alignment bolts threaded into the alignment dowel holes helps. Will have to see how long everything lasts. Not being familiar with the Saab cylinder, I am not sure if the bearing is in constant contact with the clutch fingers. I know a Tilton unit appears not to be in constant contact. Being able to remove the clutch throw out arm and the slave cylinder allowed me to keep the exhaust system above the bottom of the chassis until it drops down where it runs down the center of the chassis, thus no problems with speed bumps. As far as mounting the cylinder/bearing to the gear box, I turned up a new front gear box bearing retainer out of aluminum that spaces the unit at the correct location. The new unit works just fine with the standard clutch master cylinder. Bleeding the slave is now a one person operation, as I extended the bleed screw up between the brake and the clutch masters. Open the bleed, add fluid to the clutch master reservoir and the system self bleeds, reaching a common fluid level between the reservoir and the open bleed screw. As the fluid rises, it forces all the air out of the system.
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:42 pm

Thanks Dave, that's a good tip and something to bear in mind in the future. For now I have committed to replacing the bearing. Will report back when I've done it.
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:44 pm

A quick question - I have the engine separated from the bell housing so I can reach in to the release bearing. Can it be removed without removing the clutch fork? Does it just sit on the bearing carrier? I have tried pulling it but without result.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:20 pm

The bearing is attached to the fork with two circular type springs. #17 in the picture. It's a bit fiddly to
reattach.
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PostPost by: Craven » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:30 pm

Bearing is a light push fit to the bearing carrier which is attached to the fork.
Never tried it but you may be able to prise the bearing from the carrier in situ as just located on a small raised flange.
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:07 pm

As I understand it, it is the carrier which is attached to the fork, so I was hoping to be able to remove the bearing without having to fiddle with those springs. I will try to prise the bearing from the carrier.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:15 pm

Correct. Bearing is a press fit on the carrier.
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PostPost by: Elanman99 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:00 pm

daverubberduck wrote:As I understand it, it is the carrier which is attached to the fork, so I was hoping to be able to remove the bearing without having to fiddle with those springs. I will try to prise the bearing from the carrier.


Yes they are a bit of a fiddle but removing the operating arm is not that onerous so checking stripping it down and checking everything carefully as well as applying traces of lubricant is sensible whilst its all accessible. I have heard that the operating lever can fatigue and crack. I recently had access to the bell housing but did not follow my own advice above so now I regret it.

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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:48 am

Thanks Ian, I think you're right. Having taken so much off the car to get at this damn bearing, it would be stupid not to go that little bit further. I will remove the operating arm as you say.
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:16 am

I said I would report back after finishing the work, apologies for the delay. To recap - my release bearing had gone very noisy, despite being not that old. I had never removed an engine before but committed to doing it myself. Well I did it no problem (well, not too much of a problem anyway).

I bought a 1 ton crane from SGS Engineering in the UK. There are loads that are cheaper on the market but I suspect they are all Chinese crap, the SGS crane is very good quality. The only problem is that it doesn't have quite enough reach for a +2. The 2 ton version does, but that is much heavier and more expensive. In fact it wasn't a problem, I extended the crane beyond its 1/4 ton setting and it had not problem. I used a 1 ton 3m strap with loops at the end, from the hook going under the thermostat housing, back through the hook, down between inlet ports 2 and 3, under the engine mount which I left on that side (I didn't dare put strain on the inlet ports, even though Rohan does it that way), back up between ports 2 and 3 to the hook.

I removed the engine using Rohan's method from this thread:
lotus-twincam-f39/quick-engine-removal-and-replace-tips-tricks-wanted-t31028.html
and it worked fine. I have read some posts that say it is difficult to remove the engine without the box. Well I am a newbie at this and I managed it just fine. Putting the engine back in, the shaft would not go back in initially but I found that a spanner on the crank shaft and turning the engine slightly made it slot in.

Car is now running nicely and transmission is very quiet. We will see how long this bearing lasts. At least now I have the confidence to replace it again if necessary.

Many thanks for everybody's input. This forum is so vital to Elan ownership.
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:38 am

Congratulations, good to hear it all went relatively smoothly. There will always be a few challenges but it?s satisfying to overcome them. Happy motoring!
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PostPost by: SADLOTUS » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:09 pm

Hi, any news on your thrust bearing? It?s been nearly a year now.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:52 pm

After a long delay getting my engine back together, I am now looking at the drive train components. I knew it needed a new clutch & release bearing, so got both ready. I hadn't anticipated that the bearing carrier would be worn - see pics. Back to release bearings - my old one was absolutely knackered & noisy as hell. The new one is quite different in terms of its construction - see pics. The old one had a plastic inner race (?) and a slightly smaller contact patch. The new one appears to have a bronze inner race and more contact. Both are no names items, but from reputable suppliers. Interestingly the supplier I bought the current bearing from has a picture of the unit with the plastic inner, but the one supplied has the bronze one. I suspect the plasticky ones were cr*p..

Anyway, considering the effort involved in changing the bearing, surely someone has a 'Gold' standard bearing - other than old stock? No named manufacturers seem to supply these now, according to the suppliers. I for one would be happy to pay a premium..

Jeremy
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:47 pm

The original RHP 6W 1 3/8 bearing had a plastic inner sleeve. The current no name bearings from all the reputable suppliers have the brass sleeve and are variable in quality. Some work just fine some have a short life.

I have not seen a no name plastic sleeve bearing before but it looks like they also exist

https://www.orinocobearings.co.uk/

They can supply name brand original quality bearings from FKC and RHP at a signficant premium !

cheers
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