My son has a Ford Ranger XLT 4-cylinder with a stick. A year ago, the clutch was repaired. I know for sure that the throw out bearing constituted part of the replacement kit. Anyway, recently the clutch started to make a grinding noise when disengaged. When you let out on the pedal, no noise is present. What exactly would a bad pilot bearing cause?
If your pilot bearing is bad it will cause the throw out bearing to go bad quickly. So you would get the same sound as if it were the throwout bearing. Also will cause damage to the transmision shaft. The only way to find out is to take upart and inspect.