How to destroy a clutch
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  1. #1
    Member Malcolm's Avatar
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    Default How to destroy a clutch

    I would like to know how to destroy a clutch so I can avoid doing it. I feel my clutch going away and would like to know if this is due to driver error or natural wear and tear.

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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Having the clutch somewhere between engaged and disengaged will wear out the clutch. Obviously this is unavoidable, but don't leave it in-between for longer than neccissary. I often do this when taking off ('riding' the clutch) if I'm concentrating on something else (like your avatar )
    Someone will provide you with a more technical answer I'm sure.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm
    I would like to know how to destroy a clutch so I can avoid doing it. I feel my clutch going away and would like to know if this is due to driver error or natural wear and tear.
    The ways to destroy a clutch are long and varied:

    Here are a few

    Driver related clutch issues:
    Riding the clutch (light pedal pressure on clutch all the time)
    Flareing during takeoffs/gearchanges (not engaging the clutch quickly enough causing a flare of engine revs or extended period of clutch use)
    Holding the car stationary on a slope using the clutch...
    Feeding the clutch from high engine revs to accelerate quickly from standstill...
    Dumping the clutch from High RPM to get wheelspin...
    Holding the clutch pedal to the floor while waiting at the lights (excess wear on the clutch release bearing, not really the clutch)

    Mechanical issues:
    Oil leaks contaminating friction surfaces
    Poor Clutch Adjustment
    Worn components

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts edgedweller's Avatar
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    Malcolm hey,

    don't tow anything anywhere near heavy.

    don't use clutch to "balance" on hill starts - use handbrake

    don't ride clutch prior to, or at take off - the less you use it the longer it will last.

    If your clutch is taking longer to engage than normal or revs increase disproportionately to speed then you have slipping clutch. Some clutches have adjustment, many don't.

    ed ge

  5. #5
    Tadpole
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    When I worked in the Garage we had a Vicar who got the habit of driving with his foot resting on the clutch pedal, used to put about two clutches a year in his car, An old Xantia I had some work on killed its clutch towing a Toyota stacker truck, when it came out it looked like it had been left on a fire for a while, theres two ways for you.
    Stewart

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger! pips's Avatar
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    Taking off in 3rd every day on the way to work, like my mates g/f does.

    She use to whinge it was my mates car, an old shitty 86 Corolla.

    She just bought a brand newie of the same make. I'm not sure what she blames her driving on now, but after 2 months, she's had to pay up for a clutch, and wondered why it wasn't covered under warranty.

    I feel so sorry for the car, regardless of make. I have too much mechanical sympathy.

    Anyway, that's another way to destroy a clutch.

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  7. #7
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    I once dropped the clutch in my Mazda when I was 17 yrs old, smoked up the tyres, or so I thought, untill I realised the smoke was the clutch frying. The upside was the clutched lasted a fruther 2+ years, and it still had the same clutch when I sold it. I guess I was lucky, or burning out the clutch badly as just a once off is ok.
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  8. #8
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    I've found two "bad clutches" that were actuation problems. One - the trusty Toymota - slave cylinder AND clutch master went bad together, and second a brand "H" with mechanical linkage that bent...

    "n b j"s clutch smoke may have been light contamination burning off.

    Cheers, Adam.

  9. #9
    WLB
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    Malcolm,
    If the clutch is used normally and as intended when designed, it should last for years and years (1,000s and 1,000s of km). It's designed to slip and transmit power while doing so. It's not designed to be suddenly or heavily shocked or over-heated. It has built-in shock absorbing springs but these aren't intended to repeatedly handle "dropping the clutch" to get tyre spin or rapid acceleration. Constant slipping will overheat it and shorten the life.
    If your clutch is slipping under load due to wear or poor adjustment you can often identify this by driving up a reasonable hill in top gear then flooring the accelerator. If the engine revs increase but the car doesn't immediately go faster, then the clutch is slipping and it shouldn't if your foot isn't on the clutch pedal.

    Here's some other clutch-related stuff from an old post.

    Warwick.

    The term is double declutch, not double the clutch. (Sounds the same if you say it fast). The act of pushing the pedal is declutching the gearbox. (No longer clutched together so to speak).

    When you let out the pedal you're letting in the clutch, not letting it out.

    Riding the clutch and slipping the clutch can be the same thing, referring to letting it slip to hold the car on a hill. Not the preferred method.

    Riding the clutch more commonly however relates to the not uncommon practice of using the pedal as a footrest. This wears out the thrust bearing (oiled carbon on old Pugs) unnecessarily, but not the pressure plate diaphram spring or the friction plate facing, because they are still engaged.

    The clutch is designed to slip in order to get the vehicle moving, and there is a certain amount of slip with each gear change. However, a good driver in a familiar vehicle is likely to have no slip at all during gear changes as the revs are matched.

    You've got to be bloody good to back a trailer without slipping the clutch for the simple reason that car engines don't have much torque at low revs and you need to both travel slowly AND have enough revs to prevent stalling.

    Slipping the clutch (technique) as distinct from riding the clutch (bad habit) is a legitimate part of driving if the task requires it. The clutch was designed to overcome the short-comings of the internal combustion engine.

    A well-executed double declutched down-change on a non-synchro box is a joy to be experienced.

    Old Land-rovers had 4-speed boxes with no synchro on 1st OR 2nd.

    If you're having trouble selecting a gear and the lever just won't go in sometimes, then your synchro rings have probably had it on that gear and the baulk rings are locking you out. The synchro rings bring the two gears to the same speed using friction so that they mesh without crunching. The baulk rings stop engagement if the synchro hasn't done its job.

    Changing down through the gears instead of using the brakes has been a waste of time for a very long time, unless you do it for fun or you race. The technique dates back to when brakes weren't very good. It's cheaper to replace brake pads or shoes than rebuild a gearbox.

    Sitting at the lights with your car in gear and foot on the pedal (pedal in, but clutch out - disengaged) is wearing out your thrust race and putting unnecessary aging on the diaphragm springs fingers. Springs don't mind being flexed; they're designed to do that. They don't like being held in one spot for a long time, so it will have some weakening effect.

    Driving instructors generally teach (and testing includes) doing a handbrake start on a hill. That's because it's a technique that you need to have, but not necessarily one that you must use. There are hill on which you could not get moving on without using the handbrake, but they are very steep and if you can't move off from a standstill on a hill without using the handbrake and without rolling back much, pig-rooting the car or thrashing the engine, you're either in an unfamiliar car or your footwork isn't up to scratch.

    There are clutches and clutches and clutches so you can't necessarily compare clutch life between cars. Friction material, surface area, pressure-plate stiffness, etc. Two cars of the same model made about the same time with original clutches can probably be compared with each other. That's all. Too many variables otherwise - not including the driver. Not to mention asbestos facings and non-asbestos.

  10. #10
    nJm
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    I always take off fairly briskly (I don't like to hold up traffic in my 70kw pug ), so tend to take off at 1500rpm in the 505. What I can't stand about driving instructors is the way they teach young drivers to take off in either 1st or 2nd with absolutely minimum revs so that the engine is almost stalling. Is that actually putting the clutch under more pressure?
    Nick
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  11. #11
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    It's simple, the more power you put into the clutch while it's slipping, the more heat and wear it's going to get.

    eg: If I was to do full boost 1st gear starts in my car .... It's clutch would last litterally a week tops. The idea is always get the car rolling *then* feed the power in. Revving a car up to it's peak power range, the flooring it while letting the clutch out puts massive heat and power into the clutch, creating a tremendous amount of wear.

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  12. #12
    WLB
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    Quote Originally Posted by nJm
    I always take off fairly briskly (I don't like to hold up traffic in my 70kw pug ), so tend to take off at 1500rpm in the 505. What I can't stand about driving instructors is the way they teach young drivers to take off in either 1st or 2nd with absolutely minimum revs so that the engine is almost stalling. Is that actually putting the clutch under more pressure?
    It's better for the clutch as long as it doesn't judder. Shouldn't bother the engine as long as it doesn't knock or labour. A lot of ifs.
    If it is going to strain the engine it's better to make the clutch work. That's what it's for. If there isn't an option, hammer the clutch not the engine. The clutch is a consumable (albeit with a very long life); the engine isn't.

  13. #13
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    All being well and if you look after it the clutch can last a long time. I had a 504 that had done 235,000 kms on the original clutch when I sold it.

    BTW my neighbour's old Range Rover has done over 600,000 km and STILL on the first clutch.

    Cheers Matthew

  14. #14
    Fellow Frogger! downunderyank's Avatar
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    Default speaking of clutches...

    Does anyone else find that about 80% of people you drive with these days have no idea how to drive a manual car? I let my coworker drive my new work Forester last week while I was with and he was riding the clutch and we got stuck at some road works and he left the clutch in for about 5 minutes until I very tentavely and politely asked him to put the car in neutral. He went off! Everytime I try to give any constructive criticism about how someone uses a clutch, they freak out. Seems no matter how bad somone is at it, they must think they're the bees knees.
    Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you judge them, you're a mile away and you've got thier shoes!

  15. #15
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WLB
    hammer the clutch not the engine. The clutch is a consumable (albeit with a very long life); the engine isn't.
    I can't see the difference: both can be rebuilt. It's just that rebuilding an engine takes longer, costs more and is more complicated.

    Roger

  16. #16
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Malcolm, you could always try changing gear without using the clutch. Basically you go through the motions of double declutching without touching the clutch. It's all about timing of when you move the gear lever and what you do with the throttle. No wear on the clutch at all, but potentially increases wear on the gearbox if you get it wrong.

    Roger

  17. #17
    WLB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wilkinson
    I can't see the difference: both can be rebuilt. It's just that rebuilding an engine takes longer, costs more and is more complicated.

    Roger
    Really?!

  18. #18
    Fellow Frogger! 206 RC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downunderyank
    Does anyone else find that about 80% of people you drive with these days have no idea how to drive a manual car? I let my coworker drive my new work Forester last week while I was with and he was riding the clutch and we got stuck at some road works and he left the clutch in for about 5 minutes until I very tentavely and politely asked him to put the car in neutral. He went off! Everytime I try to give any constructive criticism about how someone uses a clutch, they freak out. Seems no matter how bad somone is at it, they must think they're the bees knees.
    Jeebus!!! It's your bloody car...
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  19. #19
    1000+ Posts Pugnut403's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wilkinson
    Malcolm, you could always try changing gear without using the clutch. Basically you go through the motions of double declutching without touching the clutch. It's all about timing of when you move the gear lever and what you do with the throttle. No wear on the clutch at all, but potentially increases wear on the gearbox if you get it wrong.

    Roger

    Can be fun if you get it to work, big crunch noise if you don't. Probably not a very good idea though.
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