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K. Wiggins
K. Wiggins, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Jeep
Satisfied Customers: 2914
Experience:  ASE Certified Technician, Associates Degree in Automotive Technology, 15+ years in the trade
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I'm considering a 1998 Wrangler...went to see it today...all

Customer Question

I'm considering a 1998 Wrangler...went to see it today...all is well except this noise related to the clutch
JA: Has the clutch been slipping? Are you having any trouble shifting?
Customer: No slipping...makes a "spinning" sound when in neutral, sitting with clutch pedal out
JA: Are you fixing your Wrangler yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I'm considering buying this one. as soon as you touch the clutch pedal it gets much quieter. Owner says its been like that for years but always performs well.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: This seems to be the same symptom
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Jeep
Expert:  K. Wiggins replied 11 months ago.

Hello, the noise you here when the clutch is released is a classicsymptom of a bad throwout or release bearing as some folks call it. Replacement will require transmission removal. While the trans is out I would recommend having the flywheel turned and replacing the clutch and pressure plate as well as the pilot bearing along with the throw out bearing. Labor should run around 5 hours and 150-200 for the parts depending on what brand clutch kit you buy.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The current owners says he has driven it like this for several years...he has owned the vehicle for past 7 years. He thought it was a common thing for jeep wranglers to have this "sound". Seller is on Craigslist. What is the risk of continuing to drive it like this? Any chance a fluid change would help? How much of a discount should I ask for on the price?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Sounds like about $700 job.
Expert:  K. Wiggins replied 11 months ago.

It should run smoothly, it's real hard to know if someone is being honest about a vehicles past unfortunately. FLuid change will not help the issue. Continuing to drive it may cause the gasket to blow out more resulting in quick ovverheating issues. Asking for 500-700 off for repairs would be reasonable. If it's something less than a bad head gasket you would come out better.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
are you mixing answers - I didn't say anything about a head gasket issue ;)
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
What is the function of a throw out bearing?
Expert:  K. Wiggins replied 11 months ago.

I'm so sory helping another jeep custoemr as well

Expert:  K. Wiggins replied 11 months ago.

i'll post below how it works one moment please

Expert:  K. Wiggins replied 11 months ago.

The throw out bearing applies pressure to the clutch pressure plate allowing the clutch disc to disengage the engine from transmission. When the clutch pedal is pushed in the bearing is loaded and spins against the pressure plate. When you release the pedal it is not leaded but still spins with the plate. See here

Expert:  K. Wiggins replied 11 months ago.

it may run like this for an unkown period of time, usually the noise gets louder and eventually it fails and stoops rotating. This leads to damage to the clutch pressure plate and inability to change gears.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
OK - thanks - so sounds like you advice would be this is not something to ignore or accept as normal on this car. I shouldn't buy unless the seller is willing to discount the car $500 or more.
Expert:  K. Wiggins replied 11 months ago.

Sorry for the delay. Exactly, you would be looking at 500-700 to have it fixed.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I just read that this flywheel is dome shaped and should not be turned.
Expert:  K. Wiggins replied 11 months ago.

A competant machine shop will know how to turn a dual step flywheel. if the clutch isn't chattering when releasing it more than likely will not require turning, it's just something most shops do as a best practice to prevent problems.