What would be the minimum required work to install the thrust bearings? Remove trans and install new bearings with the engine mounted? Or will you need to pull the engine completely?
Man that sucks, especially with the OEM DMF, no one is safe. I do find the clutch issues you had before it happened interesting and wonder how/if a failing thrust bearing would cause it to feel like a failing slave cylinder. Crankwalk always seems to sneak up without warning, which is why Im interested in this.
I did exchange an email with the guys in the UK and they said it is possible to replace the thrust bearings with the engine in the car. I can't validate that from experience, but it seems possible. It looks like we would have to remove the crank pulley, lock the inner pulley to prevent timing slip, remove the lower timing cover, zip tie the timing chain to prevent moving, remove the oil pump pulley/chain, then drop the oil pump and its support frame that sits between the pan and block. That will expose the bearing caps. Remove the main bearing cap that contains the thrust bearings and it should be possible to push/rotate the half moon bearing out with a new bearing.
Regarding the clutch feel question, it makes sense now. Clutch pushes on flywheel which pushes on the crankshaft - if the crank moves outward due to missing bearing, then there's an extra 2mm of travel in the process. Then, it moves back inward and it all starts again. It "feels" like the slave cylinder is failing to return to its original position.
The problem is that this is a binary issue - it's all good until that bearing pops out of its location. Then it goes from fractions of a mm to 2mm instantaneously. There is no warning and it's not obvious enough when it does happen.