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Old 09-17-2018, 02:55 PM   #1
BigTuna
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Squeaking Clutch Noises NOT Related to the Throw Out Bearing

Hey guys,
I just wanted to put a post out there about an issue I had recently, and a simple solution that fixed it. I had looked all over the internet and found a few threads on some other cars that had some good advice, but nothing with the twins.

TL;DR: Squeaking when clutch fully engaged, pedal fully out. Solution was to grease the clutch fork pivot ball.

About 2 weeks ago, a buddy and I tackled a clutch job on my BRZ. The overall process went well, besides just taking a long time. However, after doing the clutch job, the car developed a noise. It was a squealing sound similar to the dreaded TOB high pitched squeaking (but a lot louder than the crickets), however, this was only when the clutch pedal was all the way out and the TOB was not touching the diaphragm spring. It was louder when I was in gear, but still happened in neutral. The instant I put any pressure on the clutch pedal, the noise would vanish. As I started getting familiar with the noise, when it happened, what things I could do to stop it from happening. I began thinking that the TOB was inadvertently touching the diaphragm spring or something of the sort or was somehow bad even though brand new. I did some searching around the internet, but for these cars, the TOB issue seems to be so prevalent that any searches of any of the keywords that i was using yielded results flooded with TOB issues and noises and not the types I was experiencing. I reached out to a friend with more mechanical knowledge than me for advice, @xkalelx, and also Exedy.

Turns out that it was a lack of lubrication between the clutch pivot ball and the fork. When I replaced the TOB with the new clutch, I didn’t take the clutch fork out of the transmission, therefore not properly lubricating the pivot point.

To fix the issue without taking the transmission out of the car was actually not too hard. I began by unbolting the slave cylinder and taking the rubber boot off the fork. I noticed that I could move the top of the fork far enough to see the pivot ball. I then unhooked the heater hoses and moved them out of the way. Since they are pretty much the top of the cooling system, not much coolant was lost, but I still pugged the lines coming from the firewall for the meantime. Once they were out of the way, I was able to have full access to the clutch fork hole. I bought a tube of graphite molybdenum grease at Harbor Freight for $5 and used a long q-tip to dip in the grease and stick down and lather the ball with lube. I put everything back together and held my breath as I started it up. Viola! The squeak was gone!

The reply from Exedy in case this happens to anyone else in which lubricating the ball did not work:
Quote:
The noise you described is related to the clutch fork not the release bearing.

The common point to check for this type of noise is the clutch fork pivot ball socket. If the socket was not cleaned and then greased properly it will produce a chirping noise. If this is the case you will see red dust on the pivot ball and socket area on the fork.

Another very common issue we see is the clutch fork bending which will make the release bearing contact the diaphragm spring unevenly.

Also if the pivot ball retaining clip is bent of not positioned correctly it will also cause a noise.

Any of the above conditions will cause a chirping noise at idle that will go away with slight pedal pressure. This noise is caused from the fork moving slightly. The slight pressure applied (this removes the free space between the bearing and diaphragm spring) to the fork puts a slight load on the fork and stops the fork from moving/chaffing.

If the release bearing was the cause the noise would ONLY be present when the clutch pedal is depressed as this is when the bearing experiences the greatest load.
I just wanted to put this out there to help anyone suffering from a similar symptom. This forum has helped me a lot through the years and I try to give back as much as I can.
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Last edited by BigTuna; 09-26-2018 at 03:55 PM. Reason: added TL;DR
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:43 PM   #2
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Nice job on the helpful post. I actually had my clutch/flywheel/tob done this weekend, and we made sure to grease the things bearing/fork related with the supplied stuff. My noise that I had before the job started also disappeared.
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Old 09-19-2018, 08:25 AM   #3
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Are all the retention clips properly placed?
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:12 PM   #4
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Great post and very detailed, but this is nothing new and is an issue that has been happening for years. Squeaking from the clutch is a 50/50; it's either the fork needs grease, or the TOB is cooked.

I already had my TOB blow up on me and had it replaced. Now I'm getting the clutch fork squeak but only when the car is cold. Doesn't bother me enough to do anything about it just yet, as it goes away once I've driven a bit and warmed everything up.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCTeeJ View Post
Nice job on the helpful post. I actually had my clutch/flywheel/tob done this weekend, and we made sure to grease the things bearing/fork related with the supplied stuff. My noise that I had before the job started also disappeared.
Thanks! Yeah, it's something that can be overlooked. Since I didn't take the fork off, it didn't even cross my mind.

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Originally Posted by chipmunk View Post
Are all the retention clips properly placed?
Must not have read the whole post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLVRSRFR View Post
Great post and very detailed, but this is nothing new and is an issue that has been happening for years. Squeaking from the clutch is a 50/50; it's either the fork needs grease, or the TOB is cooked.

I already had my TOB blow up on me and had it replaced. Now I'm getting the clutch fork squeak but only when the car is cold. Doesn't bother me enough to do anything about it just yet, as it goes away once I've driven a bit and warmed everything up.
It matters what input you're giving the car. If you're pressing the clutch, then it's likely the TOB. If you're off the clutch, the TOB shouldn't be touching anything, so it must be something else, in this case, the clutch fork not being greased.

If it's been around for years, then nobody has posted about it because I searched for a long time and only found threads talking about bad TOBs.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:51 PM   #6
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If it's been around for years, then nobody has posted about it because I searched for a long time and only found threads talking about bad TOBs.
https://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99578
http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56882
http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79617
https://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104393
https://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79617
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:05 PM   #7
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All of these are when you are pressing the clutch. Mine was not. It was when my foot was completely off the pedal. As soon as I touched the pedal, the noise stopped.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigTuna View Post
Hey guys,

To fix the issue without taking the transmission out of the car was actually not too hard. I began by unbolting the slave cylinder and taking the rubber boot off the fork.
Question:

Is unbolting the slave cylinder can be done without having to drain the brake fluid?

Do you have any issue with reattaching the slave cylinder with the brake fluid in the system?

I mean is there any pre-load at slave cylinder rod when there is fluid in the system?
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Old 09-26-2018, 07:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec C Wannabe View Post
Question:

Is unbolting the slave cylinder can be done without having to drain the brake fluid?

Do you have any issue with reattaching the slave cylinder with the brake fluid in the system?

I mean is there any pre-load at slave cylinder rod when there is fluid in the system?
Nope. I didn't take the banjo bolt off the slave cylinder, I just took the 2 bolts holding the slave to the engine out and moved the slave aside. I didn't loosen any part of the bleeding assembly.
And no, there is no pressure at the slave cylinder, or at least any significant pressure. You are able to push the fork into the slave cylinder and compress the piston, and then it will slowly push itself back out, kind of like a suspension strut.
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Old 09-26-2018, 02:16 PM   #10
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Old 09-26-2018, 02:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Thanks! Yeah, it's something that can be overlooked. Since I didn't take the fork off, it didn't even cross my mind.



Must not have read the whole post.



It matters what input you're giving the car. If you're pressing the clutch, then it's likely the TOB. If you're off the clutch, the TOB shouldn't be touching anything, so it must be something else, in this case, the clutch fork not being greased.

If it's been around for years, then nobody has posted about it because I searched for a long time and only found threads talking about bad TOBs
.
Mine only did it when my foot was off the clutch. It made no noise at all when the clutch was pushed in. There is no disputing my noise was the TOB. These TOBs do indeed spin all the time. Maybe your issue wasn't the TOB but others should not write it off just because lubing the fork worked in your case.
Why would the fork be squealing whether pushed or not anyway? It certainly is not spinning at any point.
The fork squeak has been around forever and has hundreds of posts about it.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:20 PM   #12
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Mine only did it when my foot was off the clutch. It made no noise at all when the clutch was pushed in. There is no disputing my noise was the TOB. These TOBs do indeed spin all the time. Maybe your issue wasn't the TOB but others should not write it off just because lubing the fork worked in your case.
Why would the fork be squealing whether pushed or not anyway? It certainly is not spinning at any point.
The fork squeak has been around forever and has hundreds of posts about it.
The first posts about the fork squeak I found were the ones mentioned earlier, which indeed, were similar. And as suggested, the first thing I tried was greasing the slave cylinder/fork as suggested in all of those. However, when that didn't work is when I moved on to the thought of a possible ToB or something else.

A question to you is; How do you know that the TOB is always spinning? Have you seen it or have other confirmation that it is? The reason I ask is I know that there are types that do, and some that don't. I asked a few people with these cars, and all of them said it is the type that does not as the part number is shared with many Subarus.

To me, when the fork is not being loaded by the slave cylinder, it is "free" too make small vibrations, concentrated on the pivot ball. When the engine was idling, for example, I could place my finger on the top of the fork and the noise stop. It wasn't much force, just resting it on top. It makes sense to me that if there was some metal to metal contact making the squeak, that when touching the fork, my finger stopped the vibrations between the metal fork and ball (or whatever else managed to find its way in there). Then the cleaning, and grease was also enough to do the same.

This is definitely not an end-all-be-all type of solution to everyone's problems. But this was my process of coming up with a solution that I had not yet come across.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigTuna View Post
The first posts about the fork squeak I found were the ones mentioned earlier, which indeed, were similar. And as suggested, the first thing I tried was greasing the slave cylinder/fork as suggested in all of those. However, when that didn't work is when I moved on to the thought of a possible ToB or something else.

A question to you is; How do you know that the TOB is always spinning? Have you seen it or have other confirmation that it is? The reason I ask is I know that there are types that do, and some that don't. I asked a few people with these cars, and all of them said it is the type that does not as the part number is shared with many Subarus.

To me, when the fork is not being loaded by the slave cylinder, it is "free" too make small vibrations, concentrated on the pivot ball. When the engine was idling, for example, I could place my finger on the top of the fork and the noise stop. It wasn't much force, just resting it on top. It makes sense to me that if there was some metal to metal contact making the squeak, that when touching the fork, my finger stopped the vibrations between the metal fork and ball (or whatever else managed to find its way in there). Then the cleaning, and grease was also enough to do the same.

This is definitely not an end-all-be-all type of solution to everyone's problems. But this was my process of coming up with a solution that I had not yet come across.


There are several threads that state the TOB is always spinning on these. I have not personally observed it but have more reason to believe they do than don't. I know for a fact that my TOB made noise only when not loaded.


I was questioning the pivot because your first description was a "high pitched grinding" which would indicate more motion than just vibration.


I know it isn't an end all and you know it isn't an end all but anybody that has a "high pitched grinding" needs to understand that is probably not the action to fix it. They also need to understand that the TOB can indeed make noise when the clutch is not engaged or we are doing them a disservice when they ignore it to long and blow a clutch.


The very first thread that Strat linked was exactly the subject of greasing the fork so it is out there (doesn't hurt to have another though).
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Old 09-27-2018, 02:32 AM   #14
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Nope. I didn't take the banjo bolt off the slave cylinder, I just took the 2 bolts holding the slave to the engine out and moved the slave aside. I didn't loosen any part of the bleeding assembly.
And no, there is no pressure at the slave cylinder, or at least any significant pressure. You are able to push the fork into the slave cylinder and compress the piston, and then it will slowly push itself back out, kind of like a suspension strut.
Cleared. Thanks.

I will give my car a try to re-lube the pivot points of the clutch fork.
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