Within the current evolution of the car, the clutch has also changed compared to what it used to be. We have the proof in the modern dual-mass clutches, which offer better engine performance, although with certain drawbacks.
Although the car was born at the end of the 19th century, the clutch has been one of the key parts, being present in the first vehicle manufactured by Daimler in no less than 1889. A key part that helps to improve the performance of the engines and the gearboxes, reducing the friction between these parts when driving. Obviously, from those times until today, the clutch has changed a lot. We have the proof in the modern dual-mass clutches, which change the basic approach of this product and offer the driver a more efficient design when executing this energy transfer between the different elements of the vehicle.
What is a dual-mass clutch
Unlike traditional clutches, based on the large moment of inertia of the part and that serve as a mere connecting link between elements, dual-mass clutches add a second disc to the system. This disc has the advantage of completely isolating the different areas in motion during the vehicle, the crankshaft and the transmission shaft, but with a synchronized operating system. Something that establishes a considerable difference compared to the conventional clutch system.
This system has a fundamental advantage, which is to absorb the divergences and vibrations from the two existing sources of displacement that we have already mentioned. It is important to know that the balancing of the engine and its synchronous operation is practically impossible, except in some phases of operation of V12 engines. Therefore, there is always a transfer of vibrations and slip when making the clutch. Some problems that disappear with this dual-mass clutch, since the adjustment is completely suffered by the clutch and not the rest of the engine components.
Therefore, the assembly of a dual-mass clutch, compared to a conventional clutch, has the advantage of adjusting the performance, of synchronizing the rotation levels of both elements and also of reducing the total energy. Something that prevents the deterioration of the parts in contact and better compensates for fluctuations and vibrations of the engine, also positively affecting the performance of the vehicle due to the lower loss of push energy.
Where do we find a dual-mass clutch
These types of clutches are relatively recent in the passenger car market, although the first models appeared in light commercial vehicles back in 1987. Vehicles whose power load was considerable and that benefited from less maintenance and greater durability, thanks to the positive effects of this type of clutches.
However, today it is common to find this type of dual-mass clutches in high-end, high-power passenger cars, which are the ones that benefit the most from the positive effects of this system. We are talking about engines with great power, large displacements and demanding levels of operation, in which the use of dual-mass clutches has the advantage of reducing stress during engine operation, while taking better care of the other elements of the vehicle.
The problems of dual-mass clutches
Despite everything we have discussed, dual-mass clutches also have some drawbacks for users, especially on older models. Among these problems is the wear of the part itself, which is more pronounced than in the more traditional clutches, although the theoretical durability of the product has been approximately 150,000 kilometers, according to the manufacturers.
This wear is especially intense in the event that we do not take proper care of the clutch or that we fall into some of the bad habits that reduce the life of the clutch. Among them, we have to keep the pedal pressed continuously, not stepping on it properly when changing gears or leaning on the lever, to name a few cases. Also the misuse of the gearbox, as regards the revolutions to which it is changed, can be another element that ends up deteriorating this type of clutches prematurely.
These problems are reflected in different ways on the behavior of our vehicle. In the mildest cases it is possible that different noises of friction or similar are produced when we have the vehicle in neutral or pressing the clutch. In the most severe cases, we may notice vibrations in the clutch pedal, gearbox or even the seat, reflecting a poor connection between the clutch elements.
A reversible change
The price of a dual-mass clutch is approximately 700 to 1,000 euros, which means that we have to think a couple of times if it is really worth betting on a dual-mass model when looking for the best clutch for our car. A reality that clutch manufacturers are also aware of, offering an interesting alternative to the user.
This solution is a clutch kit, with which we can convert a vehicle with a dual-mass clutch into another with a conventional clutch. These kits contain all the necessary elements to proceed with the complete change of the clutch, in a design that is already duly rectified so that you do not have problems with the assembly or it is not necessary to readjust the other elements of the engine when driving.
Something that has the advantage of being cheaper when it comes to change, although it also has its drawbacks, such as greater fuel consumption. This consumption is increased by having to run at higher revs, which also causes difficulties for the engine when rolling in the lower parts of the revs. So we will have to reflect and evaluate all these aspects when choosing to make the change.