If you own a manual transmission car, then chances are you will need to replace the clutch at some point if you intend to keep it for several years. Choosing the right clutch can be intimidating at first, but it is actually very straight forward. Here are some things to keep in mind. Most clutch plate manufacturers will follow the same basic designs and materials.
Diaphragm or Long?
Long type clutches were used in older vehicles, and it is easy to see why they are no longer used. Long type clutches require much more force to press the clutch than diaphragm type clutches. Diaphragm type clutches require much less pedal pressure, but they provide better clutch pressure. This means that your clutch is going to hold better. At the same time, your clutch pedal is much easier to press, making driving easier.
There are three main types of clutch materials; they are organic, Kevlar, and steel. Of these, only organic is ever used alone, but it can also be combined with the others. Kevlar can be the sole friction material, but it will be layered. Generally, for stock replacement, you will just get an organic clutch. For mild street/strip engines, a Kevlar, organic mix is recommended. Kevlar clutches are usually better for heavy duty use since they last longer, but they are often not available in smaller sizes. A Kevlar and steel clutch should not be used on the street. They grab too hard, too fast for most drivers to tolerate on the street. There is no feathering a steel and Kevlar clutch.
Be sure to buy the right clutch material for your application. If you are building a race engine, then you do not want to pair it with an organic clutch, for instance, since it will wear out very quickly. Likewise, if you are building a mild daily driver, then you do not want to use a steel clutch since they engage too hard and fast for most drivers.
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