Performance Clutch Kits

Improving the performance of a car is not just a matter of upgrading the engine and wheels. Other components also need to be upgraded if they are to handle the new conditions. This especially applies to the stock brakes and clutch which suffer more from overheating and excessive wearing. A performance clutch kit, often called a sports clutch kit, contain all the parts needed to replace a stock clutch with one that can handle high performance driving. The kits are expensive but they perform better and last longer than a stock clutch. Installing a new clutch is not a easy task but it can be done without the services of a professional mechanic.

To understand why a performance clutch kit is required, it helps to know how the clutch works. The flywheel is connected to the engine crankshaft, the clutch plate is connected to the drive shaft, and the pressure plate with diaphragm spring pushes the clutch plate against the flywheel. The friction between the flywheel and clutch plate is high enough that they both turn at the same speed. As the clutch pedal is depressed, the pressure plate moves away and the friction is reduced, causing the clutch plate to slip and turn at a different rate. When the pedal is fully depressed, the clutch plate and drive shaft spin freely because there is no friction.

A performance clutch kit usually contains a new clutch plate, pressure plate, and throwout bearing. A plastic alignment shaft is sometimes included to help with installing the clutch. The parts are made from strong but lightweight materials which gives them less inertia, allowing the clutch to respond faster to gear changes. The parts are also designed to dissipate more heat, making them less susceptible to overheating. The friction pads are made from either organic or ceramic materials that give the clutch plate a higher clamping force. While the kits do not usually include a flywheel, it may be necessary to replace the stock one as well.

The kits are marketed at racing enthusiasts who need a clutch with a faster response time and will not slip when accelerating quickly. The clutch also needs to last longer and not overheat under conditions that would quickly ruin a stock clutch. Most cars do not gain much from having a performance clutch kit installed, and the kit manufacturers only make them for cars that are classed as high performance. The kits are harder than a stock clutch and can actually make driving more difficult. Using a hard clutch for city driving can cause leg pain because of the extra effort needed to depress the pedal.

A performance clutch kit is expensive but it costs even more to have one install by a mechanic. Replacing any clutch requires a lot of time and effort, and it can easily take a whole day for an amateur mechanic. While the clutch parts can be changed without the need for special tools, the flywheel often needs to be reground if it is reused. Grinding a flywheel is a complicated task that should be done by a professional mechanic with the right tools. A flywheel that does not have a perfectly flat surface will cause much noise, vibration, and excessive wearing.

Before choosing a performance clutch kit, decide what type of clutch is required. There are different types for drag racing, street racing, drifting, and rally driving. The second task is to find a kit that is compatible with the car it will be installed on. It may be hard to find a kit for a car that is not classed as high performance. A new clutch often has a different feel to an old clutch so it may take a few days to become comfortable with using it. It may also take a lot of driving to fully evaluate the performance of a new clutch, so the old stock clutch should be kept in case it needs to be put back in.

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