All the current and previous talk about thrust (throw out) bearings has been
interesting inasmuch as I've never had similar problems myself. Maybe I've
just been lucky with clutches but in nearly 45 years of motoring have only
had two replacements to daily drivers. One was on a Volvo at 50,000 miles
and the result of an Engineering Recall, the other was the '74 Triumph 2000
whose PO claimed "the clutch is useless, only lasts 20,000 miles if you're
lucky." Quite likely, if it's used as a torque converter as his driving
style indicated. The bearing was certainly shot and in a later conversation
he told me he'd always sat at traffic lights with the clutch depressed
because that was how he'd been taught to drive!
So what makes a O.E. bearing or clutch fail?
Is it *use* or *abuse*?
I was recently going through some old maintenance logs that Dad always used
for his cars, for material for an article. These logs had actually been
'borrowed' from Engineering and everything but everything was recorded in
them - even additions of engine oil. His Standard Flying Twenty that was new
in 1936 completed 180,000 miles before it's 2500 6 cyl sidevalve engine was
changed in 1943. A new clutch was fitted at the time to the original gearbox
and that was the first clutch the car had had since new! I've just
re-checked his entry, it says "lining wear nominal, carbon block (the T/O
bearing) still serviceable!!" The exclamation points are his, not mine.
For the record, the second engine did 193,000 - still on the same gearbox
and the same clutch fitted in 1943. I know it was original because the log
was complete up to the time I took over the car on his death and I tried to
maintain the log as he had done until I eventually sold my whole
mini-collection to a museum some years ago. I used the Standard quite a lot
for events in the 15 odd years after Dad died but the clutch itself was
H_E_A_V_Y to push down. Even though the car had synchromesh (of the 1936
variety) on the top three gears, the up and down changes were always double
de-clutched, so this would have virtually doubled the wear on components,
but seemingly with zero effect.
Similarly, the stories of ancient cars still on original or ultra long-life
clutches are legion and I suppose we might yet be back to the old saying of
"what goes around, comes around"? Perhaps clutches and their associated
components of the type we've become accustomed to since the 1960's aren't
all they're cracked up to be and a reversion to non-diaphragm variants with
carbon block thrust releasers would be a better choice as an O.E. fitment?
Certainly, users will discover muscles in their left legs they never knew
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