Gearbox bearing problems

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Gearbox bearing problems

Unread post by eyspy » April 12th, 2015, 6:36 pm

I hav a 1999 Grand Vitara with a 2 litre JB motor coupled to a 5 speed manual transmission.

Problem which has recently developed is:

Engine going sitting there idling there is a noisy bearing ??
Put clutch in and it goes away ?

Get on the move and you can hear some bearing noise on the road, but not too bad, but when put into 5th gear becomes noisy again.

I have had conflicting reports from various people including qualified mechanics.

From Thrust bearing, to induction bearing or just a 5th gear bearing problem ??

Can anyone (without hearing it) give me more of a clue as to what may be the problem ?

I am only here asking because I am on an invalid pension, and money spent needs to be spent wisely, and I don't wish to throw it in the hands of a mechanic who is quite happy to just replace everything till he gets it right (e.g.. guess work)

Thanks in advance, and yes I have taken to mechanics for looking at.

Just to add, the motor has done 180,000 kms and my mechanic changed the gearbox oil last week in a exploratory solution. Do I trust him ? I don't know ? but his guess was full gearbox rebuild at $3,000 plus installation and removal costs equalling $4000, which is the value of the car !!!!

Peter Aawen
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Re: Gearbox bearing problems

Unread post by Peter Aawen » April 12th, 2015, 8:07 pm

Regardless of exactly which of those things it is eyspy, the gearbox is gonna hafta come out - and once it's out it should be fairly obvious if it's just a noisy thrust bearing. If it's not that, then the gearbox is going to hafta be opened, & a reasonably competent mechanic should be able to see fairly quickly what the problem is inside - all you need to keep hoping for is that it's just one bearing & it's been caught soon enough that they don't hafta replace anything else. However, given the kms your vehicle has done that's going to be a close thing at best, so it might be cheaper in the long run to get all the bearings, as well as any worn synchro-cones, gears, or shafts etc replaced at the same time, possibly even replace the clutch too - cos it's still going to cost about the same to pull the box out anyway, and unless it's just the thrust bearing (which you could probably do yourself in a few hours with the help of a spanner savvy mate) then it'd be a shame to replace just one bearing now only to find that you need to pull it all out again to replace the other end in a few thousand km... :(

Besides that, the other thing about replacing just one bearing inside a gearbox is that it is a right pain to do & effectively means dismantling the whole internals of the box anyway (hence why it might be best to do it all) and as a result of that & the time/skill it takes to do that sort of thing, most mechanics/workshops don't actually do internal gearbox rebuilds themselves anymore, they just swap in a re-co box that's been fully re-done by some other mob that does them all the time - and I'd be pretty sure that's what your mechanic has quoted you on.... easy for him, he just hast pull one box out, check/replace the clutch & thrust bearing, then put the re-co box in & bolt it all up; but that's possibly more expensive for you than it needs to be. It might pay you to do some calling around/searching the internet to see if you can find one of the gearbox re-build places and have a chat to them, see if you can get a box stripped and re-built only as far as it NEEDS to be re-built... but that might be hard/expensive cos you still run the risk of having to fork out to replace one of the other bearings or synchro cones etc in a very short space of time (one new bearing/synchro cone etc will mean the older stuff is stressed a little more & therefore more likely to fail sooner rather than later) and you'll be annoyed at having to fork out ANOTHER $1K or so to pull the box out again and get the next thing fixed, so most places won't do that anymore. Or maybe you could find a wrecker prepared to sell you a 'low mileage' used box that you could put in, but they usually only have a 3 month warranty (if that) & many don't last out the year/50,000km.... :(

So when it all boils down to the nitty gritty, probably the cheapest way in the long run to get this sorted properly is to find someone who can help you pull the box out & check the thrust bearing (it's in the bell housing, not inside the gearbox) maybe even replace the clutch (it probably won't last a heap longer anyway, especially once it's had the box pulled out/put back!) and replace it. If it's more than just a dud thrust bearing, then don't muck around, swap the box for a full re-build box & put it back yourself.... still gonna cost about the $3k mark unless you can find a cheaper re-built box. The 'used' boxes on offer might save you a few dollars now, but in my experience they are likely to cost you more in the long run, especially in the strip & refit time, effort, & repeat cost within the next 20-50,000km anyway... altho you might be lucky?!

This is just one of the hazards of owning older vehicles, if you can't do the work yourself, it's usually going to cost more cos many mechanics/workshops are really just 'new or replacement parts fitters' these days - and even if you find a good mechanic/workshop where they are prepared to diagnose problems properly AND fix the broken stuff themselves rather than buying in replacement bits they hafta cover the (greater) labour costs involved with doing that sort of stuff... Sorry
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Re: Gearbox bearing problems

Unread post by eyspy » April 12th, 2015, 9:14 pm


I hear what u are saying and to be honest that is what I expected. Buggered if I do and buggered if I don't. I have the time and skills on my side to do it, but the cost is the factor in the long run. Yes, my mechanic did outsource it with quotes, and I myself looked into it by phoning some experts like Rowe and Searle in Adelaide and it all looks bad. Trouble is the right thing to do is replace it all including the clutch but the cost of all that is the cost of the entire vehicle. I suppose I was hoping someone here might have said some magic like "No, it happened to me and here is your $50 fix" Wishful thinking I know. I have tried to source second hand box'x but seem to be rare as hens teethe !! All said and done I don't know how long it will last like it is ? It could go on for another 50,000 km or it could go tomorrow, but with my lack of funds it may be strip her down and sell her as parts ? Can't see the send=se in spending 4k plus on fixing when it's only worth at best 5k ? Parting her out I may get 3 to 4 k being better off and getting a whole new vehicle. F****K I hate vehicles when they mis behave :-(

Jimmy Wood
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Re: Gearbox bearing problems

Unread post by Jimmy Wood » April 12th, 2015, 10:30 pm

Doubt it is the thrust bearing. If you push the clutch in, it stops the box spinning, hence why it stops making noise.

That said, what about if you just slightly press in the clutch, not enough to disengage it, but just a bit of pressure on the thrust bearing. If that makes a diff, then maybe its the thrust bearing.

Personally, if it is not too bad, and it still drives, just keep going with it till its either worth fixing properly, or just get rid of the car. Unlikely to fail all of a sudden and leave you stranded hey. Maybe change the gearbox oil if your want. That might help a bit.

My HJ60 has a very noisy gearbox, and has done for the last 50,000kms....I just put up with a bit of noise. Cheaper than spending 3K to fix it.

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