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Clutches


Taking a moment to understand the Clutch and how it works will help you to better understand what is needed to repair it. 

First, let us talk about transmissions; there are Automatic and Manual (or Standard) Transmissions both of which use the term clutch. In an automatic transmission there is a clutch pack located internally in the transmission which consist of steel and friction discs.  When these discs are worn they will start to slip, showing that it is time for a full transmission rebuild.

Next, a manual transmission is what we will discuss from here on in this article. The manual transmission has its clutch inside the bell housing of the unit which means it can be replaced without having to dismantle the entire transmission, but it also cannot be opened and inspected on the inside without the removal of the transmission. This removal and inspection can be very timely and cost-prohibitive unless we are sure that it is necessary, especially on a 4 wheel drive vehicles.

Typically when customers bring us a Manual Transmission car the concern is they step on the gas pedal, they see the RPM’s on the tachometer go up but the vehicle does not want to accelerate (slipping internally) Sometimes the customer concern is that the vehicle will not go into gear or it just won’t shift correctly. Either concern means the clutch disc is worn and will need to be replaced.

Since the Clutch controls the transfer of power from the engine to the transmission, it is in a high heat and high wear situation, and as a result the clutch is known for going out or starting to slip.  When the transmission disc is forced into the spinning disc on the crankshaft, both spin together, and this transfers power from the engine to the transmission. The clutch disc takes the brunt of the engine torque and has friction material that wears out over time causing the clutch disc to need to be replaced.

A worn clutch disc can cause slippage and sometimes damage to the engine flywheel and pressure plate.  An overheated flywheel can have cracks or be hardened or warped as a result, causing other symptoms or damage.

A typical clutch repair consists of replacing the clutch disc, pressure plate, throw out bearing, pilot bearing and either replacing the flywheel or having it machined to a new smooth surface. All of these items are either in constant motion or put into motion at high speeds and subjected to high temperatures and extreme conditions. The reason we replace all of these components is to assure that all high risk components are in top shape when all is reassembled inside the transmission as no one wants to go and do the same job twice when another part fails later.

Vehicle design, the climate, and your personal driving style all affect the lifespan of your clutch. Lots of stop and go driving can cause damage sooner than highway driving.  When a driver brings their vehicle to Jammin’ J Auto for Clutch slipping, grabbing, dragging, weird noises or vibration trouble, or just won’t go into gear, our technicians have what it takes to get you vehicle shifting smoothly again!

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