Troubleshooting a Toyota Clutch


Every manual transmission produced by Toyota uses a clutch, which is designed to gently and gradually connect the engine to the drive wheels. Pressing down on the clutch disengages the engine from the drive wheels. Determining the precise problem with a Toyota clutch requires that the clutch be visually inspected and, in some cases, disassembled. However, the vast majority of clutch problems can be traced to just a few possibilities, which minimizes the time necessary to perform the repair.

Clutch Slips

  • A Toyota clutch can slip for several reasons. Most commonly, the clutch linkage or clutch cable simply requires lubrication or adjustment. Clutch slippage might also occur if one or more of the pressure plate springs are broken, or if the springs are old and have weakened with the passage of time. Occasionally, grease will make its way to the face of the driver plate, which will also cause the clutch to slip.

Clutch Fails to Completely Release

  • When the clutch fails to completely release, the clutch linkage or clutch cable may need lubrication. If the release levers on the pressure plate are not adjusted properly, this could also prevent the clutch from releasing completely. Other causes include a loose or broken facing on the drive plate disk, or a warped or bend drive plate caused by excessive heat.

Grinding Sound When Pedal Is Depressed

  • If a grinding sound is produced when the clutch pedal is depressed, the problem can almost always be traced to two potential causes. The first is a damaged throwout bearing, which usually results from a lack of lubrication. The second cause comes from the teeth of the starter motor coming in contact with the teeth of the flywheel's ring gear, which occurs when the starter is improperly shimmed.

Squealing Sound When Clutch Pedal Is Released

  • If a squealing sound is produced when the pedal is released, meaning that the clutch is fully disengaged, the problem can likely be traced to a worn or insufficiently lubricated pilot bushing. If the pilot bushing appears to be in good condition, meaning that its surface does not appear gouged, lightly polish the bushing with an emery cloth, then lubricate the bushing with oil and apply chassis grease to the clutch shaft pilot hub. If the bushing is damaged but lubricated, it must be replaced. However, a bushing which is damaged but does not lack lubrication is most often caused by the misalignment of the clutch housing.

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  • Haynes Repair Manual: Toyota Pickups & 4Runner 1979 thru 1995; Chilton; 1998
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  • Today's Technician: Manual Transmissions & Transaxles; Jack Erjavec; 2005
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