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Clutch/bearing change for 4WD?

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Joined: 06 Dec 2018
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:26 pm    Post subject: Clutch/bearing change for 4WD? Reply with quote

My 4WD is starting to make clutch release bearing noises when the car is cold. Other than that, the clutch seems strong (no slip at all). I'm really sure it's the release bearing (we used to call them "throw-out bearings" when we were kids) - because it makes noise only when very, very light engagement of the clutch - any serious pressure, and the noise disappears. It goes away within a few minutes of driving. Lately it's strongest after overnight in the garage, but after sitting even on a hot day for a few hours, I can hear it a little bit with light pedal pressure (just before engaging).

According to the Haynes, these fail really slowly - but I'm paranoid about getting stranded on a road trip. I'm betting replacing this is a VERY difficult job with that transaxle, etc. Any guidance would be appreciated. I did find this... it looks about right:
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Joined: 06 Dec 2018
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still interested - how long do these take to fail after they start making noise?
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it a squealing noise? It may not be the throwout bearing but rather the pilot bushing. They did have some issues with them "back in the day." Usually a bad throwout bearing will make noise when it is engaged (pedal pressed down to the floor). Input shaft bearings will usually make noise when the clutch is not engaged. It's hard to say without hearing it for oneself. Regardless, to answer your question, it's impossible to say how something like a throwout bearing will last when it starts failing. They usually do take a little while, but how long that is will be anyone's guess.
The job is exactly the same as on a Nissan Hardbody, like in your video. If you're going to do that, it makes no sense to replace just the one piece. Get a clutch kit and replace the throwout bearing, pilot bushing, clutch disc and pressure plate. I would also replace the engine rear main seal and I'll usually clean up the back of the oil pan with brake cleaner and smear some RTV silicone along the oil pan rear lip seal, which is a common place for oil leaks. Nissan used to make a nice clutch kit under their "Value Advantage" parts line, which was reasonably priced. If you go aftermarket, I'd stick with Valeo or Exedy, both of which make OE clutch parts for Nissan.
2006 Pathfinder LE VQ40DE AWD, aftermarket radiator, Airlift 1000's, Bilstein HD rear shocks, Doug Thorley shortie headers and mid-pipes, Magnaflow 12580 muffler, aFe Momentum GT CAI w/ dry filter, XTP plenum spacer, Superchips Flashpaq tuner
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Joined: 06 Dec 2018
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for the reply. Not a squeal - more of a rumble/vibration, with maybe a hint of low-frequency squeal in it... As time goes on I'm hearing things (and feeling through the shifter) as I shift other gears (not just initially). It's getting more difficult to get back into first sometimes, so now I'm thinking that it's the transmission - which seems to be what you're suggesting. Noises are more often noticed changing gears (including the noise I initially noticed) - so I think it's a bearing on one of the shafts going out. I had a problem like that on a gremlin I was driving back in the '70's, and my brother just changed a bearing at the end of one of the shafts and it was back on the road. I'm seeing google searches give $2500 for just the rebuilt transmission itself for this pathfinder, so I'm a bit flummoxed on how to proceed! Maybe I could find a used (rather than rebuilt) transmission - although I'm not sure where to go for that nowadays.

EDIT: It looks like it *is* likely the pilot bearing(ish) problem. Now, when I try to downshift to 3rd, I get the noise when I move the shifter-lever toward 3rd (through neutral from 4th, appropriate engine RPM for that), independently of pressing on the clutch. So, it's the transmission, not the clutch. So, I'm wondering if simply replacing bearings is an option (rather than buying a fully-rebuilt). The synchros seem fine.

EDIT2: Now that I have driven it more, the synchros are great, so maybe I should just ask for a new clutch, pilot bearing (or is it a bushing on this car??), and rear main seal. It seems like that would be easier than trying to rebuild the transmission - as I said, the synchros are OK.
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