That "300 clicks per minute" sound you hear is your clutch trying to get your attention.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1990 Ford Ranger pickup with 125,000 miles on it. About six months ago, it started making a rapid ticking/tapping sound at the rate of about 300 ticks per
minute. It happens all the time, regardless of whether or not the truck is in gear. When I push in the clutch pedal, however, the noise stops. And when I let the clutch
pedal back up, it returns. When this first started, the sound disappeared with the pedal about halfway down. Now, the clutch pedal needs to be nearly at the floor before
the noise stops. I've had no trouble changing gears yet, and some people tell me it's the throw-out bearing. Others friends say if it were the throw-out bearing, it would
MAKE the noise when I pushed in the clutch pedal. Do you have any idea what it could be? -- Tom

RAY: Well, Tom, first of all, we hope this reply gets to you in time. Because, based on our calculations, you have about 50 miles left in this clutch!

TOM: And by the way, we're really sorry we let your letter sit around since 1995.

RAY: It's not the throw-out (or "release") bearing, Tom. Your "other friends" are right that a bad throw-out bearing's symptoms would be the opposite of what you're

TOM: It's much more likely to be the pressure plate. The pressure plate on this clutch has about 12 or 15 metal fingers. Normally, when you step on the pedal, the
throw-out bearing presses against those fingers. But my guess is that one of the fingers is loose or bent or is, for some reason, sticking out all of the time, and it's going
"bing, bing, bing" on the throw-out bearing every time it spins around.

RAY: When you step on the clutch, you push all of the fingers in, and, eventually, they're all in the same plane and the noise disappears -- only to reappear when you
take your foot off the pedal.

TOM: So you probably need a pressure plate, Tom. And since the cost of a clutch job is 90 percent labor, have the rest of the clutch replaced while they're in there
(that'll cover us in case we're wrong, too!).


Spending a little money now on "preventive maintenance" can save you big bucks down the road. Find out how by ordering Tom and Ray's pamphlet "Ten Ways You
May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It!" Send $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Ruin, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-

Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or e-mail them by visiting the Car Talk section of on the World Wide Web.

?(C) 1999 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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