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Clutch - Tips on check-up, common defects and replacement

The clutch is an important component that transmits the power generated from the engine into the transmission. In the tensioned state, a clutch must guarantee a steady transfer of the energy while in the relaxed (separated) state it must leave the torque completely up to the engine. The clutch must make between these two states a soft and well-dosed transition.

The construction of a clutch

The clutch unit mainly consists of a flywheel and an abrasive disc that stays freely on a pressure plate. The power from the flywheel is transmitted to the clutch disc which in turn transmits the torque to the engine through a centrally placed tooth bore. The clutch also includes cables and a diverting mechanism which is connected to the clutch pedal.

Defects in the clutch unit

A faulty clutch unit is visible in the form of a poor connection between the engine and the transmission. If the engine produces a loud howling noise when the clutch pedal is uncoupled and if the car moves forward sluggishly, the cause may be very likely a defect in the clutch. The abrasion disk consists of a central plate and a double-sided coating and is a consumable item. This coating is very similar with the brake coating of the disc brakes and it behaves the same in the aging process. The release bearing is another wearing part. It is designed to ensure that the gear mandrel has a smooth drive into the abrasion disk. In case of defects it manifests through howling or rattling noises. Finally, the deflecting mechanism can fail or clutch cables can break. The most common defect in the clutch unit is however a worn abrasion disk. This is always replaced in a set with the release bearing. The lifespan of a gradually-wearing abrasion disc is of about 120,000 kilometers. The wear of the abrasion disk is very much determined by the driving style.

How a clutch unit is being repaired

The repair of a clutch unit is not difficult, but it is very expensive. It is recommended to see such a repair at least once in practice before you try it by yourself. Essentially, this repair requires you to disconnect the transmission from the engine. Depending on the vehicle, it might be needed to detach the engine. In that case, it is recommended to replace all other components that require the detachment of the engine for their exchange (e.g. timing belt). When detaching the engine and the transmission you must drain the oil from both of them. This is an opportunity for the oil change, but which is not really cheap in the case of the transmission. If the transmission can be removed without detaching the engine, it is usually required to solve and detach the front wheel, the drive shaft and the ball joint instead.
Thus, you can also check the track rod ends and axle boots for tightness and function and replace them if it is required. The replacement of the abrasion disk requires a special tool but which you can easily build yourself: A centering pin aligns the abrasion disk in the clutch unit exactly in the center. This is important, because otherwise the gear mandrel will not fit in the new clutch. You can build the centering pin yourself using package tape and a tube or a wooden stick that has the diameter of the internal toothing of the abrasion wheel: Simply wrap tape around the tube until the diameter of the tube corresponds with that of the pressure plate. Now you can position the abrasion disk accurately in the center. This installation takes 2 to 3 hours for a specialist. Inexperienced home mechanics should expect the repair of the clutch unit to take them a whole day.

Find all parts for the clutch at AutopartsPro.co.uk

In our online shop you will find all the necessary spare parts for the replacement of your clutch. You can also find a wide variety of high-quality transmission oils in the catalog on our website. We offer professional centering tools that simplify the repair of a clutch very much.

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