Lotus Elan

Is This Noise The Clutch Release Bearing?

PostPost by: Stevie-Heathie » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:57 pm

Hi all,

Please could I ask you to view this 20 second film and confirm that the noise you hear is my clutch release bearing on my ‘67 S3.

https://youtu.be/gxEqKuYre7I

(Turn the volume up. It’s a high pitched squeaking / squealing while the clutch is depressed)

If it is the release bearing do you think I’d be okay taking the car on a trackday? (I’m going to Goodwood next weekend, it was booked in to be sorted but my mechanic has let me down).

Clutch action is fine, the noise is present during the entire travel of the pedal.

(The noise is much louder on the film than in reality - I guess because the iPhone picks up the high notes more).

Many thanks in advance. I’d be gutted to miss Goodwood but don’t want a catastrophic failure!

Cheers
Steve
Last edited by Stevie-Heathie on Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:48 pm

Doesn't sound like the release bearing. Sounds as if the pedal pivot bar is not rotating smoothly.
Any sounds like this when pushing the brake pedal?
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PostPost by: Stevie-Heathie » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:44 pm

Thanks gjz, no there is no noise from the brake pedal.

I’m pretty confident it’s coming from the clutch mechanism itself rather than the pedal.

In “real life” it’s not as loud as in the clip. You certainly can’t detect the noise during normal driving, only when stationary.

Cheers
Steve
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PostPost by: Stevie-Heathie » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:58 pm

(Turn the volume up. It’s a high pitched squeaking / squealing while the clutch is depressed)
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PostPost by: Europatc » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:29 am

I've just replaced my release bearing. When the clutch pedal was depressed the 'growl' stopped unlike the noise you have
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PostPost by: Stevie-Heathie » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:24 am

Thanks Europatc.

So the symptoms of your faulty release bearing were constant noise which disappeared when the clutch pedal was depressed?

If so that would mean that my noise (which only occurs while the pedal is pressed) is caused by something else - perhaps clutch not engaging fully? The gap is correctly adjusted at 2mm and it’s a new MC and slave cylinder so perhaps it’s the clutch itself which is worn out.

Any other thoughts please guys?

Best
Steve
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PostPost by: Concrete-crusher » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:43 am

I had a noise a bit like that , I did change my clutch bearing but I also found a worn thrust washer , anyway after changing both , no more noise.

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PostPost by: Craven » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:55 pm

The thrust bearing is only operational when the clutch is depressed, possible reason for premature bearing failure being incorrect push rod clearance keeping the bearing continually rotating.
Steve, your noise is classic thrust bearing running dry.
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PostPost by: Stevie-Heathie » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:21 pm

Thanks for the responses, folks.

Craven, your thrust bearing suggestion makes a lot of sense. I know it’s hard to say, but what would you think about the wisdom of taking the car to Goodwood for the trackday with that issue? It’s all paid for and I’m really looking forward to it (my first trackday) but obviously don’t want to risk serious damage.

Opinions on the wisdom of taking a car with iffy thrust bearing on the track would be much appreciated.

Best
Steve
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PostPost by: Craven » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:36 pm

Confirmation of dry rather than worn or about to collapse bearing is, car in neutral = no noise.
Press clutch down slowly as the space between the bearing and the clutch is taken up at the point where contact is made between the two the thrust bearing will start to rotate = noise.
Usually continuing to press down opening the clutch the noise stops.
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PostPost by: jk952 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:56 pm

I had a similar sound, a long time ago, turned out the D ring had been partially dislodged so when clutch depressed it rubbed on the side of the rotating bearing, can have happen from bumping the clutch lever on assembly into the car or other inadvertent lever movement. ( if recently occurred, - have you had to adjust the clutch since the sound developed? ) There was a noticeable curve worn from the ring; unfortunately you know what it takes to find out..engine removal...!
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:17 pm

You should get around 10,000 miles of driving between noisy and really badly worn based on my experience (admittedly not with a Ford, but should be similar). I wouldn't worry about it. The pedal is going to tell you long before it's critical. You seem to be in early stages.
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PostPost by: Stevie-Heathie » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:29 am

Just following up folks to say that the clutch operated just fine throughout the trackday and the drive there and back (100 miles on track, 100 on road) apart from the noise of course.

So thank you for the advice, I was able to enjoy an amazing day at Goodwood because of you guys.

New clutch going in tomorrow.

Best
Steve
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fb2d105c-95d2-469a-b400-3eb37a0e062b.jpeg and
Elan just before her first Goodwood track session
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PostPost by: adigra » Mon May 14, 2018 6:35 pm

My car is having this exact same noise. New clutch, bearing, slave cylinder, and the noise was there from the start. Doesn't affect actuation, shifting, etc, it's just annoying. In the past when the bearing started to go, it was more of a constant "hissing" sound quite different from this. I'm leaving it until it starts affecting the operation, but am really curious to hear what, if anything, you find out when you take the old parts out.

...and, that's a beautiful car!
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PostPost by: Stevie-Heathie » Mon May 14, 2018 9:06 pm

Hi Adigra - it was indeed the release bearing. My mechanic showed me the old one which he took out - the grease in the race was all gone and the bearing would just about crunch around by hand.

Best
Steve
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