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Clutch judder and oil in clutch housing

Post by Ties » Subscribing Member » Wed May 29, 2019 10:40 am
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:17 pm
Posts: 58

During the last few months my clutch has started developing a judder when the engine warms up. I Started noticing it a few months ago after about an hour and a half of driving, but now it's started to become noticeable after only about 30 minutes. Only really in 1st gear and reverse when pulling away, all is fine after the clutch pedal is fully up. The whole van just starts to judder while the clutch is partially engaged. I looked into the clutch housing trough the access hole on the side and saw a bit of what I assume to be engine oil on the bottom of the housing, and there is quite a noticeable drip from the back of the engine where it meets the clutch/gearbox.
after doing some reading on here I fear I may be dealing with a leaky rear crankshaft seal, and, from what I read, this requires some intense engine-out surgery to replace, and I really don't have the facility to tackle a job like that at home... :(

Normally I only drive my van short distances (anywhere between 10 and 45 minutes) so it's not been to big of a problem, but I'm planing on taking the van on quite a long road trip after the summer, and I'm starting to worry she's not going to make it far in her present condition.

Is there some kind of temporary stop-gap measure I can try to minimise the oil leaking on to the clutch? Or am I simply going to have to bite the bullet and pay someone to take my engine out and replace my rear crankshaft seal?

Thanks for any help!

Re: Clutch judder and oil in clutch housing

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Post by Phil Bradshaw » Club admin » Wed May 29, 2019 1:00 pm
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:15 pm
Posts: 4758
Check the left hand engine mounting for squished appearance, sogginess and shearing from its end plate/s.

Also check the torque reaction bar if fitted between the transmission and its mounting -


Bushes (2) should be compressed when correctly assembled.

Oil leakage from the crankshaft rear seal normally cannot find its way onto the clutch linings: there's a lump of flywheel in the way that spins oil off and out from the bottom of the clutch housing.

Oil leakage from the front of a Vauxhall transmission needs investigating (there's not a lot of oil to lose before bearings suffer) but bear in mind that engine oil can migrate rearwards inside the clutch housing.

At least check the security of the transmission on the clutch housing, especially the lower 2 bolts inside the clutch housing.

If gear oil leakage is confirmed (smell of a thousand tomcats, frequent topping up required) then check the transmission breather before worrying about removing the transmission -


Cap can be levered off; choked breather can be cleaned out using a greased twist drill to draw out crud rather than poke it inside the housing. Use pliers to crimp the cap back in place so that it spins free without falling off.

On all but very early transmissions oil leakage through the front bearing seal escapes via a drain hole at the rear of the clutch release bearing sleeve and should not reach the clutch.

Seepage past the selector shaft end caps and transmission to clutch housing gasket is common, usually the latter for lack of a gasket...
  • What is real is not the appearance but the idea, the essence of things. Constantin Brâncuși

Re: Clutch judder and oil in clutch housing

Post by Ties » Subscribing Member » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:47 am
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:17 pm
Posts: 58
Thanks yet again for your suggestions Phil, its always very much appreciated!

I'll check the engine mounts and investigate if the oil could possibly be coming from the transmission instead of then the engine.
Will post again have I a bit more time again to investigate.

Re: Clutch judder and oil in clutch housing

Post by Ties » Subscribing Member » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:08 pm
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:17 pm
Posts: 58
I realise i'v never posted an updated to this...

I checked the engine mounts and all seems well there. I checked the gearbox oil level and that was full enough to drip stinky oil all over me from out of the level hole so that also seemed fine...

The oil leaking from the bottom of the clutch housing was definitely engine oil, but after closer examination I suspect it to be engine oil leaking from the rear of the engine trough the gasket between the camshaft housing and the head, witch has slowly found its way down the side/back of the engine, onto the clutch cable, and from there into the housing and (I assume) finding its way onto the center of the clutch, before getting flung of and leaking out of the bottom of the clutch housing that way. I'm guessing this is what happened anyway, but after I cleaned the oil from the back of the engine the clutch judder was gone after a few drives and hasn't been back since, even after long drives.

So for now my "solution" is to wipe down the back of the engine every once in a while before the oil can get down onto the clutch cable, but I'm probably going to have to address the oil leak from below the camshaft housing at some point...

Re: Clutch judder and oil in clutch housing

Post by zoidberg » Subscribing Member » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:13 pm
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:08 am
Posts: 119
If your engine is leaking from the head its possible that the gasket at the valve cover is leaking, this is a pain to change if done wrong, i needed 3 to get it to work. The trick is to coat the gasket in dirko ht, and stick it in the cover using clothes pegs Image. This helps a lot with dirty engines and losing oil.

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