How to choose the right clutch kit for your needs
- January 22, 2018
- Posted by: Richard Qu
- Category: Clutch Kit
There are plenty of choices out there for clutches, and choosing the right one requires a bit of understanding. After reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for in a clutch. It’s something you’ve got to live with for a while, so make the right choice upfront.
Think about this before you choose a clutch
First things first, what are you going to be using your car for? Do you take it to track days often? How much power does it have? How are you going to be driving it? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then start looking at different types of clutches. The way you drive and the car you’re using has a huge influence on the type of clutch you ought to get.
Full and Puck-Style Discs
By looking at the appearance of a clutch disc, you’ll find full disc clutches that are circular in shape and others that look like an odd star shape. They’re known as ‘puck-style discs’.
The reason some clutches don’t have a full disc is simple. Puck-style discs have less surface area, which means it can dissipate heat quicker. Because the surface area is smaller, there’s more pressure on the disc, allowing it to heat up to operating temperature faster. This can cause it to wear out quicker and it may be noisier. Puck-style discs are better suited for racing applications.
How many discs do you need?
The power your car is making will naturally dictate the number of discs you need. You may hear the terms ‘twin plate clutch’ or ‘triple plate clutch’ thrown around in the high-performance community.
Multi-plate clutches are pricier and are more suitable for track usage. As the name suggests, multi-plate clutches mean that they have more than one disc in the assembly. By utilizing more surface material, they can generate a lot more friction and handle more torque.
Because the individual discs can then be made thinner, properly engineered multi-plate clutches are lighter and allows for quicker shifting. However, with more moving parts, multi-plate clutches can be noisy and produce more vibrations.
They are also generally trickier to engage, meaning that it’s easier to stall a car with multi-plate clutches. Not the easiest to use in heavy traffic.
Thanks to the advancement in technology, clutch materials have come a long way. Nowadays, there are a ton to choose from and it should be something to consider when looking out for clutches. The most commonplace type – the organic clutch. Is what you normally get installed by manufacturers.
These clutches constitute of multiple materials and are generally steel-based with woven fibers. They are forgiving, engage smoothly, and are durable. Good organic clutches can stand hard us but will overheat fast and start slipping easily with too much torque.
Right now, a modified organic facing is very popular used in Stage 2 clutch system. It has more copper mixed with multiple materials.
On the other hand, ceramic clutches are hard-wearing and are designed to endure much higher temperatures. It’s a more aggressive material, meaning that it bites harder and is able to handle more power, but is also abrupt when engaging. Puck-style ceramic clutches may be noisy, causing chattering in traffic.
If puck-style clutches are better at dissipating heat, and full disc clutches are easier to drive, why not combine the two together to get the best of both worlds? That’s what you get with cue segmented material clutches. These are basically full-disc clutches but with gaps in between.
As a result, they are similar to puck-style discs in heat dissipation, but can still be relatively smooth in operation. It’s common to find segmented ceramic or kevlar clutches in high-performance applications.
For the really serious racers, where maximum acceleration is key. Check out sintered material clutches. Sintering is a manufacturing process usually reserved for materials with an extremely high melting point. That’s why it’s common to find iron in these discs.
Sintered iron clutches work great in drag racing and formula cars. They’re violent in operation and engaging them is like an on/off switch. They can endure extreme operating temperatures and actually produce more friction as the temperature increases. Meaning that they can handle a lot more power.
Make the right choice
There is a lot of science behind clutches and this article just touches the surface. Do check the capabilities of a clutch before purchasing one. Or feel free to contact us. Our experienced team of staff will be happy to help you choose the right clutch for your needs.