North American Turbocoupe Organization



Chirping squeaking clutch; broken TOB retainer
BradM Offline
Member
#1
There is nothing new here for the folks who’ve been through this before. I’m just documenting this for future use.

1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe w/T5 WC

Symptom: With the clutch released and in neutral or in gear, the transmission makes a chirping, squeaking noise. If you apply a very slight pressure to the clutch pedal, the noise stops. Sometimes you can pump the pedal a few times and the noise will stop. Sometimes the noise doesn’t occur until the car is hot.

Problem: The throw out bearing (TOB) retainer clip (spring) on the clutch fork is broken. See the first picture. These TOB’s are eccentric by design, so they will wobble. If the retainer clip is broken, the TOB will be allowed to move side to side and will begin to wear down the two areas on the clutch fork (see red arrows). This is where the chirp is coming from. Mine actually started to create a groove in the fork. I’ve seen some forks worn almost completely through. For these, the missing material can be replaced with weld and ground back to original. If you hear the noise, you should address it. I’ve also seen the input shaft bearing retainer worn down as well (this is what the TOB slides on). Only one company makes a replacement for those (Hanlon Motorsports) and these are unique to the T5 mated to a 2.3L.

Solution: No one makes a replacement clutch fork (E7 SR-7515 AB). But you can replace the TOB retainer with one from another style clutch fork. I used a Pioneer CF-119 but ATP Automotive ZA-125 and Summit Racing SUM-700140 should work as well (or E6ZR-7515-BA). Just get the cheapest one.

Observations: You do not need to rivet the new retainer. I used two low profile machine screws, lock washers, and LocTite. The heads of the screws cleared the TOB but I ground them down a bit for extra clearance. There is no need to remove the bell housing. The clutch fork can easily be removed through the back of the bell housing. You cannot remove the fork through the side opening in the bell housing. The new retainer has a different shape on the tips than the original and these needed to be ground off about 3/16” to clear the fork when the retainer is compressed (see the blue arrows).

Other Solutions: These are things I found on the forums. Remove or break off the other retainer ear and run without the retainer. Use a TOB for a Jeep (National 614017) which has its own retainer. I have no idea if these work.


Attached Files Image(s)
                   
1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
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Kuch Offline
Senior Member
#2
Awesome write up and great job. thank you
1988 Turbo Coupe, Black/Black, 5 Speed, Moonroof,  T3/T4, ported E6, 255LPH, Kirban, Stinger Exhaust, MGW shifter, K&N, Gillis valve, BP1.5, PIMPx, Koni's
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, 390 6V, Big Solid cam, Headers,3.89's, 4 Speed, Vast and fast
1960 Ford Starliner, 292 Y Block, 312 4bbl intake, headers, 3 Speed, slow and low
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