Choosing the right
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If you are reading this, you might be in the
market for a new clutch, and if so, you may have discovered there
are many options. This segment was put together to help you choose
the right one.
There are many things to
consider. First, it is important that you learn a little something
about a clutch. What it is, what it does and why one clutch might be
considered "better" than another.
When people ask us for advice, we often hear
the phrase "I just want the best clutch you have". Most customers
believe that if one clutch has a higher power rating than another,
that it somehow means it is better. That is not necessarily the
are several reasons you might need to upgrade your clutch. You have
increased the horsepower and torque of the engine, you may exceed
the recommended towing capacity or the truck, or a combination of
both. There is also the group of people who build up their trucks
for competitions like sled pulling or drag racing.
So when you have people
who just drive their trucks, people who work with their trucks and
people who play with their trucks, you come to realize that they may
all need different types of clutches. So the question is not "which
is your best clutch?" it becomes "which clutch is best for my
So do this. First figure
out how much power you truck has. This may not be as easy as it
sounds, because, unless you have had your truck on a dynamometer,
there will be some guess work involved. It is important to get as
close as you can. Many people don't realize that you can over-clutch
a system. A clutch designed to hold 550 hp may not act right in a
truck that only puts out 350 hp to the rear wheels. We often hear
people say that they "might" add more power in the future. Realize
that if you choose a clutch based on that, and you don't upgrade
later, you might end up with parts you're not happy with.
Next. Decide what you want
to do with your truck. Is it just a daily mode of transportation? Do
you do any towing with it, if so, to what degree? Do you want to
compete with it, if so how often? What size is your truck? Is it 2
or 4 wheel drive? Be specific. These are all important factors.
Here are some general rules:
The hp rating of the clutch should match or
slightly exceed the estimated hp of the truck
Any truck used
for competition sled-pulling should use an SFI approved
Trucks that regularly tow 15,000 lbs or more
should use a double disc clutch designed for the street,
regardless of the hp level.
Trucks that are
above the 450 RWHP which are used primarily for towing should
use a street double disc. A full metallic single disc clutch is
likely to engage too aggressively, especially on 2WD trucks.
High torque clutches often incorporate
metallic linings which may cause an aggressive engagement. This
may be even more apparent when towing.
high torque clutches may feel, drive or sound different than the
Remember, when vehicles are modified
beyond their factory specifications or used above the factory
limitations, to the point where a performance clutch is necessary,
things are going to feel different. By choosing the right clutch for
your application, you can minimize these effects. However, some of
the differences in how a clutch feels or sounds may be necessary to
make the clutch hold and last.
Here are some unreasonable requests:
My truck puts 800 hp to the ground and I
drive it every day and I want a clutch that doesn't push hard.
My truck only
has 400 hp, so I just need a single disc clutch, but I want to
sled pull once in a while.
I pull 20,000 lbs every day but I can't afford
a double disc clutch. How many miles do you think I can get out
of a single disc clutch?
This is the
last clutch I ever want to put in my truck.
You need to realize that each clutch
has limitations and that clutches that are built to hold extreme
horsepower may not be the easiest clutch to drive on the street
every day. So, as I said before, you need to decide what you want to
do with your truck and understand that you are responsible for some
of the consequences of trying to do too much.
When you are buying a clutch, keep one
thing in mind. No clutch is indestructible. No matter who made it or
what it is rated for, you can destroy it in a hurry if you don't use
it properly. So if you are careful when choosing it and reasonable
when using it, you can get the most out of your clutch.