by Robert Kuhn
Throw out bearing replacement
I feel that the throw out bearing should always be replaced whenever the clutch assembly is being replaced. Other people may disagree with me and say that it's not needed. The only reasons that I see for not replacing the bearing during a clutch R&R would be because the lack of money at the time or the bearing was replaced recently.
Otherwise, I don't see the logic in ignoring this simple R&R.
If you have a carbon release bearing, consider upgrading to the newer ball bearing type instead of another carbon block. Consult your VW dealer/parts place for the correct ball bearing type.
To remove the bearing, unhook the retaining clips and slide the bearing off.
A simple check (and probably the only check) is to lightly press the outer race against the inner race and rotate the outer race and feel for any binding/roughness. It should be smooth and fairly quiet. If not, it's defective and requires replacement.
All the throw out bearings that I've seen are prelubricated and sealed. So there is no way to re-pack this bearing. Do not spray any sort of lubricant inbetween the races either. And DO NOT WASH THE BEARING IN ANY SORT OF CLEANING SOLVENT !!! Wipe the bearing with a dry-clean cloth.
Before installing a new bearing, I like to lightly sand the plastic ring with a medium coarse emery cloth. Then I lubricate the sanded surface with a molybenum disulphate paste (they come in powder form too). This can be got at just about any auto parts store.
Now lubricate the contact points between the fork and bearing with lithium grease and place the bearing back in the tranny case.
Re-install the retaining clips and we're done.