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Whether you are new to working with clutches or need help explaining how a clutch works, the following information will help you better understand how the clutch system and its various components work.
The clutch system engages and disengages the engine from the transmission, enabling the driver to start, stop, idle in neutral and shift gears.
(5) Pilot bearing/bushing
(6) Rear main seal
(7) Transmission input shaft
(8) Bearing retainer
(9) Release bearing
(10) Release fork
(11) Input shaft seal
Disengaged: when the clutch pedal is engaged, the release system pushes the fork against the release bearing. The bearing pushes against the clutch diaphragm spring to release the pressure plate clamp load on the disc, allowing the crankshaft and flywheel to rotate at engine speed, while the disc and transmission input shaft coast. Engine power cannot flow through to the transmission.
Engaged: when the driver selects a gear and releases the clutch pedal, the release system retracts the release bearing, the disc slips briefly to provide smooth engagement and the clutch clamps the disc against the flywheel. The clutch, disc and flywheel "lock" together, turning the input shaft. Engine power flows to the transmission.
The clutch is a subcomponent of the transmission that is designed to engage and disengage power flow between the engine and the transmission.
Today's passenger cars and light trucks are almost exclusively equipped with diaphragm spring clutches, because they maintain higher clamp load than lever style clutches throughout the service life of the clutch. As disc friction material wears, clamp load increases during the first half of clutch life before decreasing gradually to its original level. The pedal effort required to disengage a diaphragm spring clutch decreases at the end of the pedal stroke, reducing stress on release system components.
(2) Pressure plate
(3) Diaphragm spring
(4) Pivot ring
(5) Drive strap
Lever style clutches use coil springs to produce clamp load. As the friction material of the disc wears, the springs expand, reducing their clamping force and increasing pedal effort. Because of these disadvantages, passenger cars and light trucks are almost exclusively equipped with diaphragm spring clutches.
The disc is a critical component in providing long service life for the clutch system. It provides smooth engagement and dampens engine vibrations. It is mounted to the input shaft between the flywheel and the clutch. It can slide forward and backward on the shaft, but cannot rotate without rotating the shaft.
(1) Friction material
(2) Cushion segment
(3) Stop pin
(4) Friction washer
(5) Idle damper spring (1st stage)
(6) Idle damper spring (2nd stage)
(7) Main damper spring (1st stage)
(8) Main damper spring (2nd stage)
(10) Retainer plate
(11) Cover plate
(12) Hub flange
Disc Torsion Damper
(1) Idle damper spring (2nd stage)
(2) Idle damper spring (1st stage)
(3) Cover plate
(4) Main damper spring (1st stage)
(5) Main damper spring (2nd stage)
(6) Stop pin
(7) Retainer plate
(8) Friction washer
(9) Hub flange
Bolted to the end of the crankshaft, the flywheel provides the mounting surface for the clutch. When the clutch is engaged, the pressure plate clamps the disc against the flywheel.
Among its many functions, the flywheel acts as a heat sink, dissipating heat and moving it away from the clutch pressure plate and disc friction material. The flywheel must provide a smooth flat surface in order for the clutch to operate properly.
The dual-mass flywheel absorbs engine vibrations before they are transmitted to the driveline where they can create gear rattle. A dual-mass flywheel is split into two sections: a primary section that bolts to the crankshaft, and a secondary section, onto which the clutch is bolted. The primary section of the flywheel contains springs to isolate engine vibrations and a torque limiter to prevent engine torque spikes from exceeding engine and transmission component strength. When torque spikes occur, the torque limiter allows the primary section of the flywheel to turn independently of the secondary section, preventing damage to the driveline and transmission.
(1) Primary flywheel
(2) Secondary flywheel
(3) Arc damper spring
(4) Torque limiter
(5) Ring gear
The release bearing is attached to the fork and slides on a bearing retainer that is attached to the front of the transmission. The movement of the fork causes the release bearing to slide across the bearing retainer and press against the tips of the diaphragm spring fingers. Ball bearings in the release bearing enable it to turn while applying pressure to the fingers. In order for the clutch to function properly, the bearing retainer must be exactly parallel to the input shaft and provide a smooth surface for the release bearing.
Used in hydraulic release systems and self-adjusting cable systems, these bearings stay in constant contact with the diaphragm spring fingers. Self-centering bearings are designed to compensate for slight misalignment between the engine and transmission. It is normal for these bearings to be "off center" until they contact the diaphragm spring fingers.
Part of some hydraulic release systems, this unit replaces the release fork, pivot ball and bearing retainer with a single component. Its location inside the bell housing makes it difficult to troubleshoot. To avoid comebacks and added labor costs, LuK recommends replacing the concentric slave cylinder when the clutch is replaced.
On many vehicles, a pilot bearing or bushing is located in the end of the crankshaft. The pilot bearing supports the end of the transmission input shaft and centers the disc on the flywheel. Types of pilots include conventional ball bearings, needle bearings and sintered bronze bushings.
A small and relatively inexpensive component, the pilot bearing or bushing should always be replaced during clutch installation. The variety of problems caused by a worn or defective pilot bearing or bushing are not worth the risk of having to remove the bell housing and transmission to replace this component later.