There are four things every counterman should know when it comes to selling clutches:
1. Sometimes it isn’t the clutch that is causing clutch problems. The problem may be the release mechanism, linkage or linkage adjustment. If a clutch fails to release, the problem is often a bad master clutch cylinder, slave cylinder or hydraulic concentric release bearing. Replacing the master and slave cylinder at the same time is recommended to reduce the risk of future problems.
On older vehicles that use a cable release mechanism, the clutch may not release if the cable is broken or misadjusted. A problem with the pivot fork that operates the release bearing can cause similar problems.
Clutch noise is usually caused by a bad release bearing, but it can also be caused by a bad pilot bushing in vehicles that have a pilot bushing in the back end of the crankshaft.
2. Sell a complete clutch kit, not just individual parts. The clutch is a system so it should be replaced as a set: a new clutch disc, a new pressure plate and a new release bearing. A kit will contain the correct parts for the application and assure a trouble-free installation. Mixing parts from different suppliers can sometimes result in installation issues or a stack-up of manufacturing tolerances that prevent the clutch from engaging or releasing properly.
Labor is the most expensive aspect of replacing a clutch. Selling a kit that includes all three major components reduces the risk of having to do the job over if a part that wasn’t replaced later fails.
3. Sell the gaskets and seals your customer needs to fix an oil leak if their old clutch was ruined because of oil contamination. Oil leaks past a worn rear main crankshaft seal, transmission input shaft seal, or engine valve cover or intake manifold end gaskets can foul a clutch and cause it to slip. Installing a new clutch is a waste of time and money if the oil leak isn’t repaired before the new clutch is installed.
4. Recommend a clutch upgrade if a stock replacement clutch can’t handle the load. Premature clutch failure and frequent clutch replacement are signs that the stock clutch can’t handle the load (or the driver’s bad habits like riding the clutch or slipping the clutch excessively). Stock clutches are designed to handle stock torque loads, so if an engine has been modified for more power or more turbo boost, is driven aggressively, or is used for towing, off-roading or racing, a stronger, more durable clutch may be needed.
Many clutch suppliers offer a range of upgrade options including larger diameter clutches, higher clamp load ratings with stiffer springs and better friction materials. Such products may be labeled as heavy-duty clutches, performance clutches or racing clutches. Some are designed for very specific applications (like towing, racing or pulling) while others are suitable for everyday driving. The best advice is to follow the clutch supplier’s usage recommendations.
Higher clamp load combined with more aggressive friction materials[Insert image tag at cursor] can increase harshness when the clutch engages. The more aggressive the clutch linings, the harsher the engagement. That’s not an issue in a racing application, but for everyday driving it may be. A better choice would be a replacement clutch that offers an increase in performance and durability over a stock clutch, but is not as aggressive as a racing clutch.