Unexpected turn of events
I made up the test tool for checking clutch wear as shown in the Haynes manual. On the weekend I got under the car and fully expected the tool to confirm that the clutch needs replacing. I was very surprised when the tool indicated that the clutch is not yet worn out. While underneath I did confirm my suspicions of a slight rear main oil seal leak. Only minor though and not sufficient I would think to be contaminating the clutch.
Again I test drove the car and confirmed that the clutch takes up near the top of the pedal travel but possibly I am imagining that it slips. The slightest movement of the clutch pedal will allow it to slip though. Other than a little shudder when cold (maybe oil contamination), there appears to be no other possible indication of a problem. The pedal "feels" good and there's nothing to suggest anything else is broken and nothing to explain the top of the pedal travel take up. The hydraulics should allow the slave cylinder to self adjust as the clutch wears. I guess for now I'll just play that wait-and-see-what-happens game. If it continues to drive OK that's fine. If things get worse then maybe I'll have more symptoms to work with and will be able to justify pulling things apart. While under the car I also confirmed just how little space there is between the transmission and transmission tunnel in the floor, not a job I'm looking forward to.
Thanks again Larry for your comments. I'll keep you informed if anything further eventuates.
107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.