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Clutch makes whirring noise

We recently bought a used 98 Pathfinder LE with 146K miles. For what we paid, it’s in great shape. In the past week or so, the engine has been making a whirring noise - only occasionally - when in first or second gear. The whirring happens only when the clutch is depressed and stops when the clutch is fully engaged. There is no grinding or impact on the use of the clutch at all, just the noise. From our limited knowledge and what we’ve been reading, it appears that there may be a problem with a release bearing [whatever that it], but our question is this: would the truck be safe to take on a 350 mile trip so that a trusted family member can do the work for us cheaply? Or should this be fixed right away? Or is it just normal for a hydraulic clutch to make a noise when depressed. It seems to be happening with more frequency now. Thank you!

You’re probably right about the release bearing (also called a “throw-out” bearing), although often the noise is heard when the clutch is released and stops when you step on the pedal.

My guess is the bearing will survive the 350 mile trip, especially if most of the distance is on the highway. The only time there is any wear on this bearing is when you step on the clutch pedal.

Thank you for the reply! What exactly do you mean by “when the clutch is released”? Is that when you have let it fully out?

Yes. In my original post “released” means “foot off the clutch pedal.” I worded it wrong.