Sprung Clutch Disc vs Rigid Clutch Disc – What Separates the Two Types?
- October 31, 2017
- Posted by: Richard Qu
- Category: Clutch Disc
You’re tasked with choosing the right clutch disc for a performance car build. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a car running the quarter-mile, a drift beast, or a road rocket – you’re only going to find two basic styles of clutch disc. It’s going to be either a sprung disc or a rigid disc that you come up with, but the two are extremely different.
You need to know the basics between the two clutch disc styles, and what they are good for. Otherwise, you’ll be burning out clutches in a heartbeat or the ride will be nothing like what you want.
The Difference Between Sprung Clutch Disc vs Rigid Clutch Disc
At first glance, you would never know that the two different styles could be used in the same application. Sprung discs are very different from rigid discs, and it’s important to know how each one is built and when it should be used.
Sprung Clutch Disc
If it’s an Original Equipment-style replacement you’re seeking where the performance is the same as stock, there’s no question it’s a sprung clutch disc you should choose. It provides a softer, more in-control shift than a rigid disc, and that makes it more pleasing to drive on a regular basis.
Otherwise known as a spring-dampened hub clutch disc, a sprung clutch disc is made up of several parts. The center splines are not attached directly to the carrier plate, but rather on a floating hub in the center. These springs, evenly spaced around the hub, absorb much of the unpleasant feedback when you engage and release the clutch. They also minimize noise in the car.
The friction material is nearly always in a ring around the outer edge of the carrier plate. Some performance clutch discs might use segmented ‘pucks’ around the edge for better grip on the flywheel.
Sprung clutch discs are best used in light to moderate power applications. They’re perfect as direct-fit OEM replacement and for street-purpose performance cars. If you’re making even 30 to 50 percent more power than stock, a sprung clutch disc is probably still a good choice.
Rigid Clutch Disc
A rigid clutch disc, or solid hub clutch disc, is a much simpler component but it must be selected wisely. It’s the choice for most manual transmissions run solely on the track where comfort is no concern. Engagement is harsher than a sprung clutch disc and it can be frustrating and tiresome to operate for any length of time. It takes finesse to operate a rigid clutch disc smoothly.
The simplistic design means the splined hub is part of the carrier plate. There are no springs to reduce vibrations or soften clutch engagement. The friction material may be a ring around the edge but more often is in ‘fingers’ instead. There can be six or more fingers, or as little as three, depending on the clutch style and use.
For cars dedicated to the track, it’s almost guaranteed a rigid clutch disc will be used. There are street applications for many makes and models, especially those with high horsepower capabilities. If the car has a specialty use such as drifting, there’s a good chance the driver will select a rigid clutch disc although it’s not always the case.
Choosing the right clutch disc is critical, and that includes the style of clutch disc. Sprung clutch disc vs rigid clutch disc must be settled on an individual application basis, and it’s important to know how they both work and their uses.