The 86 family of cars, which includes the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and the Toyota GT86, come from the factory with a very light clutch. Many have complained that it is too light and offers very little feedback on clutch engagement. Other issues that plague the factory clutches are that clutch / throwout bearing will fail prematurely, and this causes a huge headache for owners. We have seen the bearing start to fail gradually, causing extra clutch noise and some clutch juddering. We have also seen them completely fail without any prior notice, leaving the car stuck in, or out, of gear and leaving it inoperable. The only way to fix it is to remove the transmission from the vehicle and replace the bearing, and any other components that may have been damaged as a result. In this case, the customers' FR-S had a complete failure which left the vehicle stranded, so it was towed to out shop for repair.
Total failure of the stock TO bearing
The first step is to get the car on our lift and get the transmission removed. Sure enough once the trans was out we saw the issue right away, the release / throwout bearing had failed, and was grinding into the clutch pressure plate. It had also started to wear into the input shaft, which is common with a failure like this. The issue is, if the input shaft is damaged it needs to be replaced, which requires disassembling the transmission itself. This is why you should stop driving your 86 immediately if you think you have this issue, before you cause further damage! Thankfully the input shaft on this car was only lightly marred, and we were able to clean it up enough to make it work.
The stock clutch plate has been damaged by the failed TO bearing.
Since there is usually enough wear on the clutch components at this point, it's recommended to just replace the entire clutch assembly, and in this case the cover was damaged anyway. We used an Exedy OEM style clutch kit to replace the clutch disc, pressure plate, Pilot bearing, and the Throwout / Release bearing. The OEM flywheel was retained, and we had it resurfaced before the new pilot bearing was pressed into place (you should always resurface a used flywheel when installing it with a new clutch kit).
New clutch disc and pressure plate in place.
Another wear point on these transmissions is the clutch fork itself. It's made of thin steel and can bend and crack over time, and if this happens it will eventually fail. We have seen this happen a few times on the years, and this failure will definitely render the car inoperable, as pushing in the clutch pedal will no longer release the clutch because the fork is broken inside the trans. As a standard procedure here in our shop we replace the fork, pivot, and the spring pins to ensure these do not fail with the new clutch in place. As a last step before the trans goes in, we clean up the input shaft and grease it, this will help to prevent corrosion and a "squeaking" clutch pedal that can drive so many people nuts. Sometimes it's the small things done during a big job that can yield the best results!
Brand new pivot, springs, and clutch fork in place. Input shaft polished and greased.
With the transmission back in the car, it was time for a road test and a final check to be sure all was well. The clutch felt smooth, with no noises or issues and this car was ready for the road!
-Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando Florida. We specialize in performance upgrades, maintenance, ECU tuning, and fabrication. If you are interested in a build consultation contact us today!
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