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Triumph Repair/1972 triumph spitfire clutch release bearing


QUESTION: Hi, I am replacing the release bearing on my 72 triumph spitfire and noticed that the release bearing mounting hub is loose where it fits in the lever that engages the clutch ( it is held in place by 2 retaining plugs with small pins in place)Is it normal for this to be able to move and turn in the lever? Also the imput shaft has some movement (up and down and side to side) where it fits into the  ball race . Is it possible that this ball race is worn? I hope i have explained this OK,  THANKS, Wayne.....

ANSWER: Hi Wayne,

There is a lot of free play between the two pins and the bearing sleeve and the bearing sleeve should fit snug on the tube that it slides in and out on. When the two short pins get worn they will get flat sides on them where the bearing slider contacts them. They should not get loose on the fork though.

However, there should not me much up-down right-left movement in the input shaft. Put a straight edge of some kind across the face of the bell housing and use that to gauge how much movement the end of the input shaft has. With a ruller or scale measure how much side to side free play there is at the tip end and let me know.

Because the input shaft bearing is a ball bearing there is a slight amount of movement however the bearing between the input shaft and the main shaft will take most of that free play out. So when new there is only a slight feel of free play but as both bearings ware you can feel some free play. If you measure about a 1/32" free play it is ok and it is starting to ware if it gets up to a 1/16" free play but if it measures a 1/8" to 1/4" it is getting worn too much and any more then a 1/4" it is needing attention.

On most gearboxes the syncros go first. Second gear syncro usually goes first. When you start to get a lot of gear clash shifting into 2nd gear you can usually get a little longer life out of the box by switching from gear oil to engine oil.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you very much for the answer, There is only approx 1/32 " free play in the bearing. Just wondering about where the bell housing  mates to the gear box, there is a sleeve in the bell housing that is threaded??.is there supposed to be some kind of oil seal that would screw in this sleeve to allow the imput shaft to go through.Otherwise why would there be threads on this sleeve and what would stop oil from leaking into the bell housing?, Thanks again, Wayne.......

The sleeve that the release bearing slider rides on is clamped to the front of the gearbox by the bellhousing and there is no seal in it for the input shaft. They did put a seal on the later 1500 Spitfires.

If the end of the input shaft has only 1/32" free play it is ok. Don't forget to check the pilot bearing in the back of the crankshaft.


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


Triumph TR-4 up & Spitfire, and Engine theory


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

Associate member SAE EAA member

Import Car magazine

ASE Master Auto with L-1 certification up to 2000

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