October 6, 2022

We converse to the consultants at Helix Autosport to take a more in-depth take a look at efficiency clutches, how they work, and why you may want one; it’s our clutch information!

Information from Quick Ford journal. 

The principle goal of an uprated clutch is to interchange the usual merchandise which might’t deal with the extent of torque the automobile is producing. It typically will depend on the automobile and driver, as a tough used, however much less highly effective engine will put on its clutch out far sooner than a extra highly effective engine pushed gently. Clutch put on might be as excessive as slipping immediately underneath load, or it might probably happen whenever you use full energy for brief durations together with drag racing, drifting, or throughout quick highway use.

Normal clutches are designed in order that even the least proficient motorist can drive easily. However the payoff is a shorter life and incapability to deal with additional energy. Many supercars for instance wrestle to launch exhausting various instances with out destroying the clutch for this actual motive. But when the producer had put in a clutch that would successfully deal with the facility underneath exhausting use, it could be too troublesome for many homeowners to make use of.

Learn on via our clutch information and also you’ll turn into an skilled within the discipline!

What’s a clutch and what does it do?

In easy phrases, a clutch is the element that connects the engine to the transmission to drive the wheels. It really works by utilizing a friction disc (linked to the gearbox) that’s pressed by a sprung stress plate towards a flywheel (which is linked to the engine) to switch drive between the 2. Disengaging the clutch – by urgent the clutch pedal – separates the friction discs and the flywheel, breaking that connection between engine and gearbox. In flip, this lets you change gear or cease altogether, with the engine working but not offering drive on the wheels.

Clutch information: Are all of them the identical fundamental design?

Most automotive clutches use the identical precept: some type of spinning friction disc clamped to a flywheel by a stress plate to switch energy. However the sorts of friction supplies used, the scale and design of the discs themselves, and the variety of friction discs utilized in any platform or software can differ.

The unique clutch is sufficient for the standard automobile, however as soon as you start to extend energy – or extra precisely, torque – you will want a clutch with stronger stress plate and extra aggressive and hard-wearing friction supplies.

Helix presents a number of totally different upgrades, starting from gentle kits with good road driveability, proper via to full race objects with a number of friction plates required to deal with the large toque hundreds and aggressive driving of racing, however are much less involved with day-to-day driving necessities.

What are clutches product of?

The outer stress plates are typically a sprung-metal design, and the clutch friction discs themselves will use varied friction supplies relying on the appliance and energy dealing with. The most typical supplies fall underneath the next:

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Easy, sturdy, often quieter, and simpler on the opposing mating floor. Natural supplies are frequent however do endure in very high-performance purposes because of their intolerance to extreme warmth and their shorter lifespan.


Comparable clamping properties to natural supplies, with easy operation however in a position to stand up to elevated warmth significantly better when mated to a high-rated stress plate.


Providing the best friction co-efficient, the ceramic materials itself offers extra grip – which frequently means you don’t want such a excessive clamping pressure. The flip facet is that ceramic supplies put on the flywheel floor, generally inflicting shudder and a harsher really feel. Primarily for competitors use and purposes the place you’re considerably growing the inventory energy output.

How do aftermarket clutches differ to OEM ones?

OEM clutch kits are designed to work with the car’s manufacturing facility energy output and most will start to fail should you considerably improve that via tuning. Efficiency clutches (like these Helix produces) can be found in several rankings to have the ability to work at a lot increased energy and torque ranges, which means no matter your automobile’s energy or driving fashion, there can be a clutch obtainable to swimsuit.

Additionally, many efficiency clutches are lighter than inventory (particularly when mixed with a light-weight flywheel), which means much less rotational mass for the engine to show, equating to freer revving and decrease transmission losses.

Why, or when, would you must improve your clutch?

It’s worthwhile upgrading your clutch in case you are planning a substantial improve in energy and torque – for instance, enhance will increase, re-mapping and engine builds – as this may place extra pressure on the entire drivetrain and put on out a inventory clutch extra rapidly. That is whenever you want a efficiency clutch.

The choices obtainable to you’ll rely in your degree of energy improve and meant utilization.

How essential is it to get the appropriate clutch?

Except for ensuring you get a clutch that bodily matches your transmission, you additionally want to contemplate your energy and torque ranges, plus your driving fashion and the way you plan to make use of the automobile. There isn’t a level merely shopping for the strongest clutch obtainable in case you are not going to have the facility to warrant it, however under-specifying your clutch can result in it sporting out prematurely and never being match for goal.

You’ll additionally must remember that pedal weight and ease of modulation are additionally a priority if you wish to take pleasure in your automobile on the road, or need it to drive properly and be useable in visitors –whereas for pure race purposes an aggressive, snatchy clutch is much less of an issue so long as it might probably take the fixed abuse and hard-launch begins. The perfect factor to do is converse to a specialist like Helix, who will be capable of talk about your necessities and recommend an improve that can give you the results you want.

Clutch information: What causes clutches to fail?

Clutches are sturdy, however heavy abuse or elevated energy/torque will imply they put on way more rapidly and want changing extra typically. If the clutch slips, the friction disc may wish changing. You possibly can inform in case your clutch is slipping by flooring the throttle in a excessive gear at low engine revs and watching if the revs rise with no corresponding improve in velocity. If that is so, your clutch is on its approach out. Clutches can put on out from repeated slipping similar to stop-starting on inclines or from hard-launching the automobile with excessive revs.

What different mods do you have to think about when uprating your clutch?

You need to think about upgrading the flywheel – whether it is obtainable for the car – and at all times substitute the discharge bearing and flywheel bolts when putting in a brand new clutch.


Helix presents full three- or four-piece kits, together with the friction plate, cowl meeting, launch bearing, and flywheel when relevant, which frequently work out considerably cheaper than shopping for the element components individually.

Are there any downsides to uprated clutches?

With single-disc clutches, driveability (particularly in visitors) tends to endure whenever you transfer to extra aggressive designs similar to paddle clutches That is due to their snatchy, all-or-nothing nature, which implies helpful clutch slip (to assist modulation when participating) is just about non-existent.

The answer might be to make use of a number of friction plates. This will increase the torque capability of the general clutch system however doesn’t essentially have the snatchy chunk and exhausting pedal really feel related to a standard race-spec paddle clutch; this primarily happens when your car is working most energy.

Multi-plate clutch upgrades are quick changing into extra frequent for tuned highway vehicles today, as a result of energy ranges might be extremely excessive however homeowners nonetheless have a requirement for usability on the highway.

Clutch information: What makes up a clutch? 

A clutch is pretty easy with three primary elements in a single plate instance. It mainly consists of two surfaces; one linked to the engine and one linked to the gearbox, and a central friction disc that transmits torque between the 2.


That is the half that’s bolted to the crankshaft of the engine and due to this fact spins at engine velocity always. With the clutch engaged, the flywheel friction plate and the clutch plate are pressed collectively, sending torque from the flywheel to the gearbox. Totally different weights of flywheel can be found, and though these are principally used for different efficiency causes, a lighter flywheel can even have an elevated clamping impact. We’ll clarify the consequences of flywheel weight in a while on this characteristic.

Clutch plate

That is the half linked to the gearbox. When the clutch is engaged the clutch plate is pushed towards the flywheel to transmit energy between them. There are numerous supplies and kinds of clutch plate friction pads relying on the usage of the automobile and the torque the clutch is predicted to transmit, and this can be talked about in a separate part.

Clutch cowl

That is the half that pushes the clutch plate on to the flywheel whenever you have interaction the clutch. It has sprung steel fingers organized in a round trend dealing with inwards that give the clamping pressure that helps cease the clutch plate and flywheel from slipping. An uprated clutch often has an uprated cowl which will increase the clamping pressure of the clutch cowl fingers. The draw back of extra clamping pressure is a stiffer clutch pedal, which might vary from barely stiffer to one thing barely useable on the highway.

Paddle clutches

Nearly all of uprated clutches are literally what is called a paddle clutch. A paddle clutch, somewhat than having 360 levels of friction materials like a normal clutch, is segmented into sections, often 4 or six, however different mixtures can be found. These are generally referred to as a 4/six paddle clutch, or generally 4/six puck within the USA. The explanation for this segmented design is to assist with warmth dissipation. With elevated energy you usually tend to overheat the clutch, probably warping it or just ruining the friction materials. Making it much less efficient.

Sprung plate or not?

Nearly all uprated clutch plates for highway vehicles, even ones meant for big energy ranges, are ‘sprung’. This implies they’ve springs between the centre plate and the friction pads to dampen the shock load because the clutch is engaged. This makes driving it on the highway, the place the clutch is consistently being engaged and disengaged, a lot smoother than with out springs. On race vehicles easy clutch operation isn’t so essential so these are typically unsprung to offer essentially the most constructive motion potential, much less weight, and fewer potential failure factors.

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Multi-plate clutches

Multi-plate clutches are commonplace today on uned vehicles. They’ve multiple clutch plate with steel plates sandwiched between them. Utilizing a number of plates spreads the load and will increase warmth dissipation, giving elevated grip for the general diameter of the clutch. This implies a twin plate utilizing friction supplies which can be extra road-friendly can deal with related ranges of torque to a single plate race-only sintered clutch for instance. In race vehicles they use multi-plate clutches to save lots of weight and rotating mass by utilizing the smallest diameter clutch potential with an enormous variety of plates. Conversely, vehicles with very giant diameter clutches as normal, V8s for instance, are likely to not want multi-plate clutches till a a lot increased energy degree than most 4 cylinder engines with smaller clutch diameters.

Flywheel weight

There’s numerous speak in regards to the results of a light-weight flywheel, however to place it merely, on a excessive efficiency automobile there are lots of advantages. The very first thing to recollect is because it’s a rotating mass you aren’t merely eradicating 5kg. The impact is magnified by the velocity of rotation and the gear ratios, which means it may be the equal of a 150kg weight saving in a low gear, although in excessive gears it may be lower than 10%. From a efficiency standpoint it’s why vehicles are likely to rev sooner and extra freely with a lighter flywheel, particularly in decrease gears and naturally out of substances. From a clutch standpoint this lighter rotating mass makes it simpler for the clutch plate to grip it, additional growing the clutches’ efficiency.

As ever with tuning, there’s a draw back, and that could be a slight drop in drivability because of this decreased clutch mass because the revs drop extra simply, making it tougher to drive easily and simpler to stall. Typically a barely increased idle velocity is used to cease a automobile with a really mild flywheel from stalling when the clutch is disengaged.

Hydraulic or cable operated clutch?

The overwhelming majority of vehicles today include a hydraulically operated clutch. However there are nonetheless many well-liked vehicles with a cable clutch, Cosworths and Mk2 Golf GTIs for instance, and this could trigger issues when going for a excessive efficiency clutch. In the same strategy to brakes with out servo help must be pushed tougher to function, a clutch with cable operation is way tougher to make use of than the equal clutch with hydraulic help. With natural clutches and normal covers it isn’t a difficulty, however as soon as the quilt is stiffer you want a powerful leg to function the clutch. And as soon as the plate materials is uprated you want additional care to drag off easily. Single plate clutches can nearly be pushed on a cable clutch, however something extra will want a hydraulic clutch conversion to keep up any hope of highway drivability.

What are an important issues to look out for when shopping for an uprated clutch?

Search for a good model or provider, one which you understand or have seen in trusted journal articles or have been advisable by a fellow quick Ford fanatic – like Helix. That approach you understand you should have nice customer support and back-up ought to you’ve got any issues.

So far as value is worried, you actually do get what you pay for, and that low cost different might find yourself costing you much more in the long term if it fails to reside as much as expectations.

It’s additionally price contemplating skilled set up – not simply because it’s a giant job and requires a number of instruments and tools, but in addition as a result of the alignment might be tougher than you could suppose. The proper instruments actually do make the world of distinction in relation to set up.