In the search for more power, there is a term called "supporting modifications.” An easily misrepresented term and the choices of what, where, and whom all become very relevant to making solid power improvements throughout your driveline.A good example would be purchasing a turbo. You may be able to find a bolt-on turbo that is rated to 500hp, but if all you install is the turbo, you won't make the full 500hp potential as intended.
There are many other modifications to support the turbo to its 500hp potential. But not all supporting modifications are for power production. As you increase the overall power of the vehicle, you will come across stock components that can no longer handle the increased power.
- It is better to be aware of what components need to be 'Beefed Up' before the project starts, then on the side of the road after failure. 'I didn't know' is not the right answer.
A perfect example of one of these parts is the clutch system. Once you reach a certain power level, the factory clutch will start to slip and will need replacement.
Depending on what vehicle you have, a clutch replacement can be a simple or very complex job.
Most rear wheel drive front engine vehicles will only require a few hours of work to replace the clutch while a German AWD vehicle may require 2 or 3 days of work to complete the job.
On the more complex vehicles, we would always recommend having a professional do the work for you. The job is so complex and difficult that it not something most enthusiasts should take on themselves. The simple cars, however, can be a great do it yourself project.
Besides the obvious technical issues of separating the transmission from the engine to replace the clutch, you also need to be able to identify any issues as you are working. It is very common to find an actual defect with the clutch system when replacing the clutch.
Most of the issues we find are actually non-issues because the offending parts will be replaced with the new clutch.
- The important part of identifying these issues is to make sure they are not repeated with the new clutch.
Physical damage to the clutch is not very common, but is also easily identified. The important thing is to take your time and inspect the clutch for obvious defects, like fractures in the metal.
You are also looking for broken or damaged springs. This kind of physical damage is fairly limited in how it can occur.
The possible causes are limited to a defect in the part, abuse by the driver, improper install, or very rarely foreign debris becomes caught in the clutch assembly. To avoid these issues, make sure the clutch is installed properly and torqued to spec.
- Make sure no extra bolts or tools are left behind inside the bell-housing, we've seen it.
As in this picture, the clutch has a broken spring and grease contamination. A previous mechanic did not notice the broken spring and then over-greased the input shaft, compounding the clutch issues.