Why and how of Clutch overhauls

Why and how of Clutch overhauls

A clutch system basically comprises of three main components – the clutch plate, the pressure plate and the release bearing. Briefly put, the clutch helps transmit power from the engine flywheel to the transmission shaft which is connected to the wheels of the car.

When the car is in gear, the clutch plate is pressed against the flywheel, forcing the transmission shaft to rotate. Every time you push the clutch pedal with your foot, the release bearing helps disengage the the clutch plate from the flywheel allowing the driver to change gears. The pressure plate helps apply pressure on the clutch to keep it pressed onto the engine flywheel when the car is in gear.

Due to this continuous friction between the clutch plate and engine flywheel, the clutch tends to wear out after sometime making it difficult for the driver to change gears.

What are the usual symptoms of clutch wear and requiring an overhaul?

  • Clutch Slippage – happens when the clutch plate is worn out, the engine rpm rises higher than necessary at a particular speed, vehicle also shows reduced fuel economy as a result
  • Shuddering – if there is excessive shuddering at low speeds while disengaging the clutch

Typically clutch overhauls (replacement of clutch plate, pressure plate and release bearing) are required every 70-80,000 km but also largely depend on driving style.

The following are the steps involved in changing the clutch kit of a Hyundai Fluidic Verna, which is a front wheel drive car. This car exhibited both the above symptoms. 

The front wheels are removed.

The link rods and tie rods are disconnected from the wheel hub.

This helps free up the wheel hub which facilitates the removal of the drive shafts.

 

The vehicle is then raised up with the help of a lift so that the various components that are in the way of the gearbox can be disconnected. The clutch is located in the heart of the engine bay which means a number of components like the battery and ECU need to be removed in order to get to it.

 

Once all the components are out of the way, the drain plug on the gearbox is removed and the gear oil is drained out of the gearbox.

Then, the bolts that keep the lower portion of the gearbox connected to the main engine block are removed. The car is then lowered down with the help of the lift and a hydraulic jack is placed underneath the engine block for support. Once this is done, the bolts from the upper portion of the gearbox are removed as well and the technicians remove the gearbox from the engine block. This process requires the work of at least two technicians.

Once the gearbox is removed, the clutch plate and the pressure plate is visible. The clutch plate and pressure plate is removed.

Hyundai genuine clutch kit was procured for this car – clutch plate, pressure plate and release bearing.

Hyundai genuine clutch plate and pressure plate is fitted in place.

 

On the gearbox, the new release bearing is installed in place of the old one. Before installation, the release bearing is greased properly.

The gearbox is mounted onto the engine block and bolted in place. All the other components surrounding the gearbox are fitted in place along with the driveshafts. The link rods and tie rods are bolted to the wheel hub and the wheels are mounted back onto the wheel hubs and are fastened in place with the help of wheel nuts.

 

In the end, the gear oil is filled up inside the gearbox.

A final drive test is carried out to ensure that the clutch was installed successfully.

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