In automobiles, we have manual and automatic transmissions. The clutch system is popular amongst manual transmissions. The design of an automatic transmission is to function automatically as an inbuilt system of its own.
Notwithstanding, this article brings to light the grey areas as we look through the eyes of an expert on how the clutch system works. For manual transmission lovers and those who love driving it, you will learn a lot about your clutch.
Clutch system overview
The clutch system is a mechanical component. Most of the parts of the clutch system are visible. Without much ado, let us delve into the subject for today.
The function of the clutch system
The primary function of the clutch system is to engage the gear and neutralize it for seamless gear selections.
Components of the clutch system
The clutch comprises components like the pressure plate, the clutch or brake disc, flywheel that is the angular velocity, flywheel disc, release bearing, clutch releaser, which are the internal components of a clutch system. They come with the gear and the engine, but they are detachable.
The external components of the clutch system include the clutch master that performs the function of housing the fluid. It comprises the lower and upper clutch masters.
Each clutch master has nipples that function to release any air in the system. We have pipes which include hydraulic pipe and a flexible pipe. You use the left-hand drive, not the right-hand drive. You find your clutch system on the left side of your legs.
How does the clutch work?
The clutch plate and disc are attached to the flywheel. The release bearing and the clutch releaser are attached temporally. The release bearing and the clutch releaser are not tightened with a bolt but have a clip on the gearbox. This clip is called the gear shaft. You link the cable or the hydraulic system to your clutch pedal.
Then, you press the clutch down. It transmits force to the clutch releaser that will push the release bearing to the pressure plate. There is also the Main drive shaft called the High gear shaft that contains the gear teeth that hold the clutch plates together. When you press down the clutch plate, it gives tolerance to the high gear shaft.
Furthermore, when you engage your gear, it hooks on the high gear shaft. When you release your clutch, it binds the high gear shaft together. Then it starts transmitting power. This process will cause the gear to open for acceleration.
Types of clutch systems and how they work
- Hydraulic clutch system
It has an upper clutch master with a hydraulic reservoir on it. When you put in your hydraulic, it goes into the upper clutch master and then flows into the lower clutch master.
In a situation where there is no air in the system, and you have the right level of pressure in your pedal, you can press the pedals, and the hydraulic will flow from the reservoir to the upper clutch master. Here is a detailed study on how the clutch pedals work.
Furthermore, the Hydraulic flows through the pipe and the flexible hose into the lower clutch master. The pressure from it will open the clutch releaser. At this point, the clutch disc and the plates will expand for the pinion shaft to give some tolerance for the gear teeth to change.
The pinion shaft links the gearbox and the clutch plate. After these have taken place, you press your clutch down, and the pressure causes the gear to change. When you change your gear one and start moving, you release your clutch for transmission to take place. Consequently, the Addendum and Dedendum gear teeth merge for movement to occur.
Furthermore, you can apply your clutch again and engage gear two. Your clutch opens up and becomes like a neutral function. No transmission occurs until you release it.
- Cable clutch system
Some clutch does not make use of hydraulic function but cables. You link these cables from your clutch pedals to the clutch hanger by the side of the gearbox. We have talked extensively in our previous article about the gearbox.
Furthermore, the clutch hanger will link the disc. There will be a rod in between the clutch releaser and the clutch hanger which the cable holds.
Symptoms of clutch problems
Each of the components of the clutch has its symptoms and its notification signs.
- Pressure plate: When you engage your gear and release your leg from the break, your car will not move. Even when you put pressure on it, your vehicle will still not move. The engine will be shouting but will not transmit power. Then you know there is a problem with the pressure plate.
- Brake disc: Here, the clutch hardens when pressed, and this will make your gear unable to engage. However, when you have issues with your clutch plate, your transmission gear will refuse to engage. We have spoken extensively in our previous article about all you need to know about the brake disc.
- Release Bearing: When you press your clutch pedal, you will hear a whistling noise, indicating that the problem is from the release bearing. This scenario happens when the release bearings are not well lubricated or weak and start producing noise.
- The hydraulic system: In here, you have the leakage stopper rubber and pressure rubber. If any gets weak, it will not be able to push enough fluid into the system. You then discover that your pedal will be very weak, and the gear cannot transmit.
Clutch system FAQs
Basic signs that your clutch is faulty
- A very free clutch pedal: When you match your clutch, and it goes so soft to the floor, you know your clutch is faulty.
- When your clutch becomes very stiff, you know your clutch is faulty. Your car clutch must balance between not being too stiff or too soft.
- When you are driving your car, you discover that the pedal is not having the right level of pressure. It is a notification that the clutch has started having problems.
- You engage your gear, and you are accelerating your car, but the car is not picking the momentum. Even with your engine sound becoming louder, it shows there is something wrong with the clutch.
What do you need to do in an emergency when you notice your clutch is faulty?
The clutch is a mechanical component and can fail at any time. Engage a free clutch in gear-one that can help in emergencies. This step is not ideal, but it can serve as a way out. Furthermore, start your car, and it will jerk and move. You can now drive your car to a nearby technician to fix your clutch.
Can I fix up my clutch by myself?
You need the help of a car expert to fix up your clutch. You cannot do it by yourself.
How much will it cost to fix up the clutch?
Different units make up the clutch. If you are fixing the clutch cable, it will cost $4 to $6.If you are fixing the clutch disk, it has a lot of procedures. You should remove your engine or the gearbox to fix it.
The cost of installation is more expensive than the materials used. When the clutch disk, pressure plates, and clutch releaser are dead, it will cost $80 to $120 to replace them. It depends on the brand you’re getting.
How important is a clutch to a manual vehicle?
A clutch is a very vital part of a manual vehicle. You cannot move a manual car without it, the same way you cannot move without your legs. This comparison is to show you how important the clutch is to the manual car.
Conclusion and final words from the expert
When carrying out maintenance on the hydraulic clutch system, ensure you check the fluid level in the reservoir. You can get a detailed explanation of transmission fluid in our previous article.
A reduction to the brake fluid in your car will also reduce the hydraulic in the system. When both fluids connect to the same reservoir, a reduction to the fluid level below the clutch lever will affect the clutch.
However, if they are separate, you should keep an eye on the Fluid level. Each fluid has its maximum and minimum level. If you discover your clutch is becoming abnormal, not functioning the way it used to when you started driving your car. It means it requires maintenance. It would be best if you see a technician to have it fixed.
Another vital point, when driving and you engage your gear, release your clutch from your legs. This withdrawal is necessary because if you continuously keep your foot down, you will generate excess friction and load on the clutch thereby, affecting its performance.