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MG MGA - Clutch engagement noise

Hi there,

I seem to have some sort of issue with the clutch, but I am not sure what.

The other day I took the car for a spin after 10days of not using it.
When I reversed out I felt the car 'Squeaked' just as the clutch engages. After that everything is fine and normal.
I tried later when stopped at lights and I could sometimes get it to do it again (but not all the time).

The sound is a high pitch sound like a squeak and only sounds as the clutch is engaging and not after or before.

Can any of you tell me if this noise is familiar to you? or synonymous of something that is going to happen soon?

The clutch was changed 1year ago and probably has like 2000miles on it, so I wonder what it could be.

Performance of the car is good, as usual but I am just startled...

Thanks for the comments!
Gonzalo Ramos

Gonzalo, make sure it's not a loose fan belt. If your car has been standing for a while, the battery could be down, this will put extra load on your generator, and if the belt is loose, it could slip, giving a squealing noise. This will be more likely to happen as you increase the revs before engaging the clutch. Just a thought, as nothing should have happened to the clutch while it has been 'resting', exept maybe a little surface rust on the flywheel and pressure plate.
Lindsay Sampford

I think that this is due to the spigot bearing in the rear of the crankshaft being dry. As the clutch is engaged the first motion shaft and the crank turn at different speeds and so the bush squeals. It's nothing to worry about and it won't do any harm so just live with it. In addition it is unlikely to make a noise after the car has warmed up.
Iain MacKintosh

Gonzalo, I remember having had two similar issues years ago with my previous MGA clutch which may help you diagnose your "squeak"

The first was due to the pivots on the clutch release arm becoming dry and they squeaked a little like a door hinge that needs oiling.
I have to admit that I gave them a tiny squirt of WD40 and it cured it temporarily.( not such a great idea to spray oil into the clutch housing!) The noise came back after a month or so but I cured it a few months later with a dab of high-melting-point grease when I took the engine out to rebuild it.
I think you may be just be able to apply a little grease if you can get the car high enough off the ground but (from my fading 20 years ago memory) it is not so easy to get to.

The second noise came from the spigot bearing which if I recall is the sintered bronze bush in the end of the crank into which locates the gearbox spigot shaft. It usually happened when I disengaged the clutch as the car came to halt in 1st gear (at traffic lights for example ) and made a distinctive whirring screech that decreased as the revs dropped.
The bush is porous and is pre-soaked in lubricant but you cant fix this without removing the engine to replace it.
I replaced the bearing during the engine rebuilt a year or so later.

To be honest, IMHO they may be annoying noises but they are nothing to worry about and I would just put them on the list of things to fix the next time ( your first time?) you pull out the engine.

If the clutch was failing the symptoms would most likely be either clutch-slip or clutch judder.

We havent seen a picture of your car for a while Gonzalo, it looked really good the last time you posted one.

PS could be the fan belt as Lindsay suggested, but that is a really distinctive sound that usually happens as you start up and pull away and tends to disappear as the load drops off the generator. Easy to check this and fix it though.
Colyn Firth

Thanks for that, I think you guys are hitting the nail on the head.
I will have a look to see if a small squirt of wd40 on the clutch lever arm make it go away temporarily. If so I know where the problem is. Of course I need to make sure it does not go into the clutch housing.

Indeed as Ian suggested, the noise disappears once warmed up.

I will also have to check the fan belt...
Since my incident with the started, I have the impression that the battery is not up to scratch. The starter cranks very slow now, but the car eventually starts.
The generator could be working hard. I shows around 14v when the revs a up. I installed a voltmeter under the dash which allows me to monitor this.
I does happen after starting the car and just as I pull back!
Do I just need to re-tension the belt?

Other than that I guess there is nothing to worry about then.
I was just concerned that it was something in the gearbox that was not being lubricated...

I guess there is no way to put some grease in the spigot bushing when the engine is in the car.

Thanks for the comments!
Gonzalo Ramos

That's correct, you cannot get to the spigot bushing with the motor and trans connected. A new spigot bushing needs to be soaked in oil (not greased) for a few hours before tapping into the back of the crankshaft.

G Goeppner

Hi there
Take of or loosen the fan belt and drive it around the block, see what will happen. Recharging the battery is easy,


Definitely check the fan belt first Gonzalo, it being loose and slipping under load can cause the squealing noise you mentioned but also check it to see if any oil has leaked onto it.
Oil will cause it to slip and squeal even though it is correctly tensioned.

Colyn Firth

My clutch has been doing this for years, and it's getting worse. Sometimes it's accompanied by dragging of the clutch. I've been told that it's the throw-out bearing, and that it's best just to endure the annoyance rather than pull out the engine to replace a $10 part. FWIW.
David Breneman

This thread was discussed between 06/04/2011 and 09/04/2011

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