Common issues faced after fitting a brand new performance clutch kit

Unlike buying a fresh brand new pair of tires, which should instantly improve handling. When you install a brand new performance clutch kit, it may sometimes bring about new problems such as difficulty changing gears or poor power delivery, which may not have been an issue prior to installing it.

You could blame the problem on a bad clutch kit, but often the problem lies in the thickness of the friction plate being incorrect. To explain why it’s so important to have a friction plate of the correct thickness, let’s see what happens when you release the clutch to change gears.


What happens when you press the clutch pedal?

Pressing the clutch pedal exerts a pressure in the center of the diaphragm spring through a mechanical or hydraulic system. When the center of the diaphragm spring gets pressed, the outer edges of the diaphragm spring will move away from the friction disc, which disengages the power flow to the transmission or gearbox.

In most standard gearboxes, if the power delivery isn’t temporarily paused, you can’t shift gears as well. Why? Because you’re trying to shift against the engine torque while the gears are running at speed. You may hear a grinding sound when this happens, which is sound of gears going through a lot of stress. This will unnecessarily wear them out a lot quicker.

This is why it’s important that every time you change gears, this operation of the pressure plate works properly.


Is Your Clutch Friction Plate Too Thick or Thin?

The problem with a friction plate that’s too thick

If the friction plate is too thick, you could experience a dragging clutch. Here’s what will happen. When you press the clutch pedal and the diaphragm springs release the pressure on the clutch disc. It could still be slightly engaged and transmitting engine power to the transmission.

Yes, the pressure on the clutch disc will be reduced, but if the clearance isn’t sufficient due to a very thick friction plate. You’ll still find it difficult to change gears, even when pressing the clutch pedal.


The problem with a friction plate that’s too thin

When the friction plate is too thin and you try to change gears. It won’t engage properly and this won’t allow reliable power flow.

You can feel this when you reach top gear and accelerate. The engine revs will rise a lot faster compared to how much speed you pick up. It could mean the clutch disc is not able to receive torque from the pressure plate very well since there’s not enough friction between the two surfaces. This is typically what happens when a clutch disc starts getting worn out.


Other important considerations

Making sure you’ve got a friction plate of the right thickness for your pressure plate is key. Feel free to ask us about choosing the right clutch disc and pressure plate combination.

Every part of the clutch kit needs to work together. So sometimes blaming the problem on the wrong cause could lead you in the wrong direction. The issues listed above could also be due to an improperly adjusted clutch linkage or an old release bearing. Every part must be adjusted with care. Use a clutch alignment tool to align the friction disc with the crankshaft, and don’t forget to keep all surfaces clean when doing so.

You might be tempted to floor the throttle and go fast as soon as your new clutch disc is fitted, but do remember a clutch break-in can take 500 miles of clutch actuation. During a clutch break-in, you slowly keep building up the stress like running in a newly rebuilt engine. The clamping force and effectiveness of a clutch disc will be reduced if not broken in properly.

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