Thanks guys, it does make me feel a little better. As common as fried clutch is, it would stand to reason that they'd build in a means to keep it from destroying the motor.
Maybe I was just being a bit hyper-sensitive, because of the whole clutch issue, but it was actually a vibration, not a noise, that caught my attention. Interestingly enough though, I first noticed it *immediately* after putting in a pair of uber-earplugs. Without all the usual noises, the vibrations were certainly more noticeable. So I pulled over at the very next gas station to check the oil. Like an imbecile, I had a brain fart and checked the oil with the motor running.
Well... let's just say I know for a fact that the oil pump is working just fine. It's a good thing my boots are oil resistant.
It's been about 500 miles since I replaced the clutch and I planned to drain the oil again anyway. I also wanted to run some sort of flush through the system, is Marvel Mystery Oil a brand name? Or is there anything else that would be better?
As far as cutting the filter open, are you suggesting to check for metal shavings or just the clutch material?
Thanks again all.