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Fuel economy vs. throwout bearing

I have a dilemma I hope will be resolved with some advice. Firstly, I drive a Camry, but not just any Camry. I drive a 1997 V6 Camry with 5 speed manual transmission. That was the last year (I’m told) you could get the V6 3 liter engine and manual transmission together, and the original owners told me they had to special order the car and wait 8 weeks for it. I bought it in 2005 when it had 97K miles on it.

Now, this car can be a rocket ship for a Camry, but lately with gas at $4.21 / gallon here, it has been more like a city bus for I have been in fuel conservation mode, driving to and from work (a 20 minute drive) at 1400 rpm in 5th gear which comes out to about 37 mph.

I also do a lot of coasting, especially down hills by disengaging the clutch and letting the warm engine idle at 600 rpm. I do not put the shift in neutral; I just push in the clutch pedal for this.

I have been warned by do gooders that this will prematurely wear out the throwout bearing (there’s never any free lunch in this life is there).

My question is, is this true i.e. is coasting false economy, or should I ignore these people and keep doing what I’m doing?



You are only going to get told what people conclude,what I mean is I have never done a clutch job (except on a VW Bug) where I could look at the parts and say “Yep this is another one of those guys who has the clutch pushed in all the time”. It just stands to reason if there is pressure on the bearing more often than not that it will suffer from this pressure, it is not proven.

Now with the primitive VW Bug system and the 101 ways you could break the clutch system you certainly did not want to be holding the clutch in any more than absolutely required,a modern hydraulic operated clutch like yours, probably never matter at all, there is a good base to make an argument that it would matter though.

I am not even going to attempt to address if you are saving any gas as that is a complete new thread.

The “new higher gas prices” are tearing my transportation budget up into little pieces also. I would have thought we would be seeing more posts about ways to save on gas. The last time gas went to $4.00 we were flooded with all kinds of questions about what would get a guy just 1-2 mpg more.The only thing I can do as my vehicle is running in top form is drive less and combine trips. I go to physical thearpy (for my back) 12 times a month and I am sure this costs me another $100.00 per month, almost better to just let it hurt.

Drive it normally.

FYI, you’re probably wasting gas driving in 5th gear at 37mph. That engine’s powerband is probably closer to 3k rpm or so, and so if you’re quickly getting to fifth gear and then accelerating or climbing hills, you’re actually not in the most efficient RPM range of your engine. 5th gear is fine for cruising at a steady speed on flat ground, but other than that, you should be in a gear that’s more comfortable for the engine.

okay that’s interesting, thanks to you both. The terrain is mostly flat–by hills I mean low grade hills, gently rolling. The high gear is used for cruising; not going up steep grades.

Coasting in neutral for more than a few feet is:

  1. illegal
  2. unsafe
  3. wastes gas

Leave it in gear. While coasting, you are consuming fuel to keep the motor running. Going downhill in gear, the injectors are pretty much shut down.

Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen any posts asking about the water injection or the other stuff like last time either. Kinda odd.

he doesn’t put it in neutral he says, just pushes the clutch in

Riding the clutch will ultimately cause premature wear and failure…Not mentioned is the poor pilot bearing, small and not lubricated, it must support the clutch disc when the clutch is released and deal with high rotational speeds…Guaranteed problems…

We do gooders feel the same way.

Yes indeed; : ) well it is not hard to leave it in gear–thanks very much