Replacing a Spitfire Clutch Release Bearing

by Joe Curry

The Clutch release bearing on Spitfires is pressed onto a sleeve that is suspended between two slotted retaining plugs. The bearing can be replaced without removing the sleeve from the clutch actuator lever but it is far easier to remove it according to the following procedure:

1. Remove the rolled pin from one of the slotted retainer plugs using a very small punch or a nail of the appropriate size.

2. With the pin removed, the retainer plug can be pushed away from the sleeve far enough to remove the sleeve from the lever.

3. Place the sleeve with the release bearing attached in a vice, and, using two large flat blade screwdrivers placed on opposite sides, pry the release bearing off the sleeve.

4. Insert the new bearing onto the sleeve as far as it will go by hand and place it in the vice between two pieces of wood to keep from bending or distorting the bearing. Make sure it is placed evenly in the vice so it can be pressed on the sleeve without it binding.

5. Carefully tighten the vice until the bearing seats against the ridge on the sleeve. If binding occurs, reposition the piece and continue until seated.

6. Reinstall the sleeve and new bearing into the lever and insert the plug and retaining pin.

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