My Clio 182 is making an odd clicking noise, which I really hope is not gearbox-related. It occurs when coming off the throttle in gear, mostly when driving straight ahead, and also when turning left when moving at speed. However, if I dip the clutch, the noise becomes much faster – probably twice as fast – and it makes no difference if I put the gear lever into neutral. The noise does not occur when I go back on the throttle or when turning right, and it stops when I press the brake.
The noise first started after I had the car jacked up to check the suspension components with a pry bar, as I had been getting knocking/clonking noises when going over bumps and turning right, but I couldn’t find any wear. I know the engine mounts are a bit of a weak link on these models, particularly the lower twistedtype one, but I’ve had my pry bar on it and there is a bit of movement backwards and forwards of about several millimetres.
My MOT tester had a look at it and didn’t seem to think it was a problem. What constitutes excessive movement on those mounts? I couldn’t hear the engine knocking against anything when levering the mount forward and back. However, if I sort of jab the throttle in, say, second gear at low speed, I can hear a knock.
I also removed the offside front brake caliper when checking the suspension as I have an issue with massive uneven disc wear on the inner face of the discs on both sides. I found that the upper caliper carrier guide pin bore measures 10.3mm and the bottom one is fairly even all the way round at 9.6mm. I lubricated the pins with copper grease and refitted the caliper the same way I’ve always done. Could it be the caliper chattering away if it hasn’t gone on square? But why would it get faster when dipping the clutch?
Also, I had to put a new offside driveshaft gaiter on the outer joint. When doing this, I washed the joint out with copious amounts of brake cleaner. I later realised this was probably a bad idea, because when I was manipulating the joint to work in the grease, there were dry points on the cage where it meshes with the outer body of the joint. The joint also had fair amount of slop in it, but I don’t get any clicking noise when driving round in a circle on full right or left lock.
The Clio has covered 65,000 miles and has its original shafts and joints. I changed the gear oil at 60,000 miles with fully-synthetic Castrol SLX which I believe is 75w85. It is a little bit thicker than the Tranself, but I did consult with a mechanic and he said it would be fine because he uses a 75w90 semi in these boxes. Anthony Pattinson
You will appreciate that diagnosing a noise without hearing it is not easy. The fact that depressing the clutch alters the noise is a good starting point. When depressing the clutch, you are effectively disconnecting the engine and any braking force it is exerting. This will result in the torsional pressure being released from the engine. If the noise was due to engine mounting problems, I would have expected it to stop when the clutch was depressed.
This leaves the clutch and transmission system. As the noise starts before the clutch is depressed, it is unlikely this is the cause, although I would try exerting a very light pressure on the clutch pedal to eliminate the possibility of it being a clutch bearing.
The remaining components that could be causing the noise are the gearbox and final drive system. It would appear from the details you have given that the input shaft bearings may be failing. By depressing the clutch you are allowing this to overrun without being secured by the clutch plate. Free play in the bearing could be allowing this to whip slightly, increasing the noise.