So I had noticed on occasion when pushing the car hard that it sometimes felt like the clutch slipped. I always chalked this up to being a cold clutch in a car with a turbo that spooled entirely too fast. Nope. This was not the case.
When Mike sold me this car, it had a bad oxygen sensor. He had owned the car for about 18 months and was tired of spending money on it. The last straw in his mind was when he replaced the radiator in the car after the upper tank cracked and the oxygen sensor died. He bought the car for about $2000-it was beat to shit and still is-and dumped about $3000 in it over the course of 18 months. All of the problems with the car were pretty easy to deal with. Most of them were relatively cheap parts. He just chose to pay a local shop to do everything. One of these was a clutch job per the previous post. What kills me about paying for all of these jobs is not knowing how well the job is being performed and whether or not you are getting a good deal.
Ok, that last part is a lie. I like working on cars. Especially if it is a secondary car and I don’t need to be in a hurry to get it back together. What killed me about him paying for the clutch job is that he went back with a Beck-Arnley clutch. Basically a stock replacement. Anyone who has ever turned the boost up on a DSM with a stock clutch knows how this ends. For those of you who do not know, it ends with the clutch being a smoky mess. It’s going to happen. It struggles to hold the 17psi of the mighty Garrett T-25.
So my clutch occasionally slipped. Mostly when cold. I wanted to change it out, but with it being fairly fresh, I wanted to wait. As it turns out, having a cracked transmission is an excellent time to inspect the clutch. Sadly, I did not take pictures and have already tossed the flywheel and pressure plate on the scrap pile. What I discovered when pulling the clutch assembly off was disappointing.
There was much discoloration of the pressure plate. Lots of hot spotting. You could see where a large portion of the clutch disc was glazed over. Never in my (relatively short) time have I seen a clutch that looked this poorly. With a heavy sigh, I pulled the flywheel off to inspect it. I could see pretty quickly that whoever had turned the clutch had not bothered to properly step the flywheel. There was almost an 1/8″ of difference in the step height where the clutch rode. You could see where the metal was peeling away from the surface in large areas from it slipping so bad. This whole assembly was junk.
Lots of cracking in the flywheel interlaced with old hot spots. A glazed clutch. Hot spots and more cracks in the pressure plate. To the scrap pile this all went. This is where I made a decision. A decision that has so far left my car sitting on jack stands for months and my pockets drained. I decided that I needed to upgrade. Not one to cheap out when possible, but paying cash all the way, I started down this slippery slope.
I needed a flywheel, pressure plate, and clutch. An OEM replacement would have worked well for months, maybe a few years. Then, I would need to go through the hassle of dealing with clutch replacement. I decided instead that I needed a lightweight flywheel and a pressure plate with more clamping force. I went for the Fidanze lightweight flywheel. 9lbs of aluminum with a replaceable steel surface. An Exedy Stage 1 (I hate this term) organic clutch, rated to 410 ft-lbs of torque. As long as I am here, I might as well go with ARP studs for the flywheel and replace the mismatched bolts that held the pressure plate to the flywheel. As long as everything was out, I might as well replace the pivot ball. I did not want to mess with shimming and thought the $12 would be worth not hassling with it.
I placed this order and it started again. I had the urge to mod.