CLUTCHES--noise, slippage,chatter, wear problems

chaotic42chaotic42 Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Ford
I have a 1991 Ford Festiva. It's a standard 4 cyl. The clutch went out on it about
a week ago. The pilot bearing was at the bottom of the bell housing. It made a
terrible crunching noise when I let off of the clutch pedal. I got it fixed ($200
labor, $110 parts) and test drove it. It was fine. I took the 30 mile drive home which consists of a long stretch followed by a turn. As I turned (downshifting from 5th to neutral, then to 1st), the crunching started again!

I borrowed my uncle's truck for about 4 days. I decided to try the car just for
kicks, and it worked! I drove the car a bit, increasing the distance and speed
each time. No problems. I drove it to work and after another long stretch and a
turn, the noise started yet again. I thought I could make it to work, drove a
mile to the red light, and the noise stopped yet again.

After work, I decided that the clutch was too soft. I tightened the clutch pedal
adjustor nut thing and drove about 100 miles in and out of town doing errands,
driving long 5th gear stretches with no problems. I went home and as I turned,
the noise started *again*, but it was much more quiet.

I just got done playing with it and I noticed that if I adjust the clutch adjustor
nut and run the car (put it in neutral with the pedal out) it's fine. When I play
with the clutch it slowly comes back. If I tighten the adjustor nut more, it stops
again and then slowly builds back up.

The mechanic that installed the clutch has no idea what's going on. Someone
told me that it might be the throwout bearing not being lubed, someone else
said the 4th-5th gear synchronizer might be bad.

Please give me your ideas no matter now far out! I'm moving to Indiana for a new job and I don't have the money for a new car.

Thanks in advance,


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Did you put a new throwout bearing in when the pilot bushing was fixed? Was the new pilot bushing lubricated and the input shaft as well? Given that the noise occurs when you let the clutch in or out, or when you adjust it, this seems to indicate throw out bearing problems.
  • chaotic42chaotic42 Member Posts: 5
    The guy replaced the pressure plate, throwout bearing, and the pilot bearing. I _don't believe_ he lubed it, but I can't get hold of him to find out for sure. I seem to be getting a lot of responses similar to yours. Looks like he might have another 2 days work ahead of him just to lube it.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well the throwout bearing itself should be a sealed bearing that doesn't need lube, but I was wondering if the clutch is sticking on the splines of the input shaft, or if he put a cheapo rebuilt clutch and pressure plate in there and it's rattling or giving way.
  • chaotic42chaotic42 Member Posts: 5
    I bought it myself from Advance Auto Parts, but I still haven't gotten hold of him yet. I tried the car again, and I can't get the noise to go away this time. It sounds as if it might be about to go out again.

    Maybe I'll just trade it in on a newer vehicle...
  • chaotic42chaotic42 Member Posts: 5
    I drove it down to the guy today. No problems.
    He said he lubed it and he test drove it. I couldn't reproduce the noise. He dogged the poor thing out, drove it harder than I ever would, and still no noise. I drove around town and it was fine.

    On my way home, I slowed down for a turn, and there the noise is again! Stupid clutch....
  • chaotic42chaotic42 Member Posts: 5
    Just an ounce of black paste. Could be the problem........
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    Have not driven my VW bus for a while and the clutch is rusted to the face. Have broken it loose in the past by startiting it in neutral and then jamming it into 3rd gear with the motor running. Makes a hell of a noise but broke the clutch loose in the past. Really stuck now-any suggestions other than pulling the tranny/clutch/engine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You need to start it in gear and get running down the road and then hit and release the gas. This is pretty dangerous, so you might want to do it on jackstands.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    The low tranny fluid was probably your problem, but if it wasn't, here's another thought: Is your clutch cable operated? If so, then you should always put on a new clutch cable when you install a new clutch (if you have never replaced it then you should definitely do so now; you would be amazed at how much lighter the clutch operates). They get stretched with age and can squeak and make crunching sounds. They also get progressively harder to push, until one day the cable just snaps or breaks the clutch pedal as it did in my VW Rabbit GTI.
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