Two Important Tips for Clutch Discs

Posted by on Thursday, January 31st, 2013

If you’re familiar with clutch replacement jobs, you know that most of the time you simply replace a worn out clutch disc with a new one and down the road you go! But today, I would like to discuss with a couple important factors about clutch discs that you should keep in mind.


Different types of clutch discs


Safety.  Back in the good old days clutch discs were made of asbestos. Asbestos is an extremely dangerous material that is known to cause lung and other types of cancers. Asbestos discs have not been made in a very long time but that does not mean there are no more left in service. When working on an older vehicle, especially one that was seldom used and might still retain an old disc, you need to check for asbestos before starting the repair.

There are kits are the market that you can use for checking for the presence of asbestos. If you do run across a vehicle that still has an asbestos disc in it, and you are replacing it for someone, I would turn the job down. Beside the possibility of getting you or your employees sick, you could end up on the wrong side of a very expensive law suit down the road.

Another thing to look out of when replacing a disc are small metal fibers. Sometimes the clutch disc will use a mix of organic material and metal shavings for better holding power. These small metal shaving can easily get into a finger and let me just tell you from experience they hurt like crazy! One more thing to keep in mind is that a clutch disc may still be hot when you remove the transmission from the vehicle. Use proper gloves, like those made by Mechanics Wear, to protect yourself from burns.


Dangers of asbestos exposure



Clutch material composition. There are many different types of material used to make clutch discs. Some are designed specifically for racing and should not be used on a street driven vehicle. Discs are commonly made from non-asbestos organic material, industrial ceramics, Kevlar, segmented Kevlar, carbon ceramic and sintered iron. Non-asbestos is good for general street use. Sintered iron is great for applications that might see high temperatures and is generally good for up to 700 plus horse power. Carbon ceramic is also well suited for high temperature use and will usually handle 500 + HP. Kevlar is a highly durable material and is good for use in vehicles that get abused such as race cars. Segmented Kevlar is similar but is designed to handle higher temperatures.


ceramic clutch disc


There are many more things to know about clutch discs, but the two mentioned above are the most important.  Next time we will go into greater clutch detail and explore the many options that you have when it comes to clutch discs!

A transmission will not last forever, regardless of how well you take care of it. If a decision has to be made to replace the transmission, I highly recommend you consider a re-manufactured transmission as your first choice. They differ from a rebuilt transmission in the fact that they are as good as a new transmission at a greatly reduced price and often include modifications and upgrades that make them much more durable. A re-manufactured transmission also comes with a much better warranty: three years compared to 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.

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