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Clutches: Why it Always Pays to Stick with the Original

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August 5, 2013 by Minuteman Trucks

Do you always stick with the original when replacing your clutch? Find out how you can save yourself time and money by using the clutch that is designed for your vehicle. Christopher Ocedek, Engineering Manager at Eaton Corporation explains:

Fleet maintenance professionals, as well as owner operators who typically service their own vehicles, need to understand some of the nuances associated with replacing clutches, especially when working on a truck with hydraulic clutch linkage.

While it’s a natural temptation to try to save some dollars by replacing a self-adjusting clutch with a manual design, it is important to know that a manually adjusted clutch is not optimized to work with a hydraulic linkage system.

When using a manual adjust clutch with mechanical linkage, the pedal feel will continue to change as the clutch wears. This can be beneficial when using a manual clutch because the driver can tell when the clutch needs to be adjusted because the “free-play” will continue to decrease. This is caused by the release bearing position changing while the linkage system does not change.

Hydraulic linkage allows for a smooth clutch pedal feel with reduced effort compared to a cable linkage. These benefits are the reasons many North American truck manufacturers have begun using hydraulic linkages on their vehicles.

When a manually adjusting clutch (such as Eaton’s EZ-Pedal) is used with a hydraulic release system the driver will lose the sensation of free-pedal; which is the traditional and primary indicator that it’s time to adjust your clutch. As the clutch wears the hydraulic system will continue to adjust which can lead to clutch slip. This excess slipping will generate heat and will significantly decrease the life of the clutch.

Eaton’s SOLO, self-adjusting clutch is designed to eliminate the need for performing clutch adjustments with either a manual or hydraulic system. Since the clutch continuously adjusts as the facings wear, the life of the clutch is maximized, vehicle down-time is reduced ultimately saving you money on unnecessary maintenance.

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