clutches

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i know some about 5 speeds and such...but i was wondering what exactly 'burns up' a clutch? a friend of mine drives absolutely wild in his car and his is still fine. is it caused by constantly dumping it for racing purposes? that's the only thing i can think of.

posted by  galacticninja

It's all about the swithc man. It should be as smooth as possible!

posted by  drowningseason99

i just meant what specific things can you do to burn one out....see my goal is to not do those things and theoretically my clutch will last longer- i'm about to get a new car (like on monday) and it'll be a 5 speed i hope, i've just always had to pay for repairs. is shifting faster a plus...because you use the clutch less?

posted by  galacticninja

By switching faster you arn't using the clutch any less. You just wan't to make sure that you are running at the right amount of rpm's before you switch. Listen to the engine, she will tell you everything. You car shouldn't buck when you switch gears. A perfect switch is when someone in the back seat could sip tea without spilling.

posted by  drowningseason99

yeah but isn't the concept of a manual tranny the idea that i can switch whenever i want? what's the difference if i'm doing it at 3k for normal driving or close to red if racing?

posted by  galacticninja

generally said, doing everything harsher, quicker, faster, harder will kill anything mechanical quicker than normal
but, on the flipside is doing things too slow, to soft, etc. can be bad as well

example:
dumping the clutch = bad
letting your foot ride on the clutch pedal will let the clutch slip, this can be bad because it will slowly wear it

don't baby it, but don't beat it like a red-headed step child either

posted by  asa67_stang

shifting high when racing is to maintain peak HP/torque so you don't slow down

shifting low when driving is to save gas, save wear and tear, etc.

posted by  asa67_stang

Listen to asa my son because he is leading you down the right path. Burning up a clutch is one thing but has become a generic term for a damaged clutch. There are basically two things that will decrease the life of your clutch.

Slippage - As asa said riding the clutch, excessively slipping it during shifts or taking off, especially on hills or trying to pull to heavy a load will severlely shorten it's life span. This is whwere the burning up occurs. The clutch assembly is nothing more than a friction disc clamped between the flywheel and pressure plate. To much slip, too much heat. The more you do it the worse it gets and the cycle continues. Slippage causes all clutchs to wear out over time (normal use) but too much can kill it in short order.

Abuse - Harder to explain, easier to understand. All parts have a breaking point, so does your clutch assembly. If you abuse it enough, such as side stepping the clutch pedal at high rpm, eventually it will break. Hope this helps.

posted by  vwhobo

.
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Proper clutch use is about the dance of the left foot on the clutch and the right foor on the accelerator. IMU

posted by  BavarianWheels

riding the clutch damages it, but you can take it to a place and they sand it down for ya, but you wouldnt want to screw your clutch to bad coz a new clutch kit costs like $700 AU and about $200 in labour! my workmate had to fix a clutch on a pajero on friday and it took him ages and the gearbox on them monsters are huge.

posted by  stringer001

That's the my next business venture. I'll call it vwhobo's Clutch Sanding Service. It'll make millions. :rolleyes:

By the way stringer, congratulations on your spelling efforts. Not so hard, is it?

posted by  vwhobo

Someone told me that clutches wear out substantially quicker if the pedal is left pressed in to the floor a lot i.e. leaving the car in first gear with the clutch depressed at traffic lights. Could you just confirm that they’re blowing smoke please vwhobo?

posted by  snoopewite

Not the clutch per se, more correctly the throw out or release bearing. The only time the release bearing is working is when the clutch pedal is depressed or partially depressed such as when someone drives around with their foot resting on it. This however is not as much of a problem as it used to be thanks to the march of technology. Most modern release bearings are long lasting sealed bearings as opposed to old style ball, roller or even carbon slide bearings.

As a side note I should mention that in the situation you describe, you're also putting undue strain on the clutch cable, obviously on cable systems, which will shorten it's life. Not only that but the most likely time for the cable to break is when the clutch is disengaged. I wonder how many rear-enders have been caused by a car in first gear and a broken cable?

posted by  vwhobo

So because the situation that that I described was made out to cause premature clutch plate wear by someone who I know, it was still an inaccurate statement on their part. That was an interesting side note about clutch cables though. Thanks for the enlightenment vwhobo.

posted by  snoopewite

I know that this is a double post and this isn’t a new thread but I’ve got something else to ask about clutches.



Is that why some cars have hydraulic clutches? My ‘98 Ford Fiesta had one for example.

posted by  snoopewite

There are a few of reasons for hydraulic clutches. In no particular order;

1. A hydraulic line can be routed essentially anywhere. A cable needs to have a fairly straight line of travel. Because of this the hydraulic clutch can be easier to package.
2. With hydraulic's it's easier to increase the mechanical advantage, thereby giving a lighter push on the pedal.
3. Because of no cable friction, a hydraulic clutch tends to feel smoother.

I'm sure with some effort we can come up with other reasons but I would say those are the most important.

posted by  vwhobo

4. If the pedal is depressed, the cylinders don't get stressed like cables do?

posted by  snoopewite

Yes but... No matter what you'll never teach everyone to drive correctly. Also, while not unheard of, low pressure hydraulic systems don't usually let go all at once, they normally develop a leak and the pedal starts to go away slowly. An alert driver will know something is wrong before it becomes a crisis. Sort of the lesser of two evils.

Keep in mind that 60 or so years ago cable actuated brakes were the norm, until someone figured out the packaging and safety advantages. However I think cable and mechanical linkage will be with us for years due to simplicity and low cost.

posted by  vwhobo

Well vwhobo, I can now say that I'm content with what I know on the subject of clutches :) Thanks.

posted by  snoopewite

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