Your car's clutch assembly needs a reliable pressure plate to function efficiently. Don't settle for anything less than the best pressure plate in the market.
If you drive a manual transmission car, then you should check your pressure plate at a regular basis. This plate is a very important component of your clutch system. It's a thick steel disc that's wrapped with friction material. It works with the clutch disc to engage and disengage your transmission. So how does it work?
The clutch pressure plate normally stays pressed on the clutch disc with the springs (that's why it needs friction material). When you step on your clutch pedal, the pressure is transferred to the bearings, causing the springs in the pressure plate to bend and the pressure on the clutch disc to relax. This action releases the flywheel and allows it to spin at a speed that depends on the gear engaged. Overuse, the friction material on the disc wears off, especially if you're a "clutch" driver-one who steps on the clutch incessantly. This is indicated by an irregularly deep clutch pedal. In this case, you should shop for a replacement as soon as possible.
There are two types of pressure plates: the spring type and the diaphragm type. The spring is used for street applications, while the diaphragm is used for racing applications. You can choose either, depending on your preference. Pressure plate replacements are readily available online. Be sure to check your car's specifications for ensure proper fitting, resulting in a better clutch performance.
Choosing Between Two Types of Pressure Plates
The pressure plate in the transmission assembly is crucial for engaging and disengaging the clutch disc to the flywheel. When getting a replacement part, you have the option of picking between the two types of available in the market: diaphragm style and lever style. Each is different based on construction and use. Read this guide to help you pick the perfect pressure plate for your car.
This style uses finger-like Bellville springs on the assembly. When the clutch pedal is free, the spring is pressed on the clutch so that it engages the flywheel. One of the big advantages of the diaphragm style plate is the light pressure needed on the pedal to disengage the assembly. This makes it very suitable for everyday driver on the city or highway. Also, a diaphragm assembly actually exceeds expected at the start and maintains regular performance as it gets used. Lastly, while engaged, the spring actually hits the whole clutch creating better contact to the flywheel.
Advancements in the technology on diaphragm style include changes in bolting, spring self-adjustment, and pressure that results to improvements in performance and pressure plate life.
Compared to the diaphragm style which uses springs, a lever style plate puts pressure on the levers to engage the clutch to the flywheel. This type of plate is recommended for racing and heavy duty applications. There are two main sub-types of lever springs on the market:
- Borg and Beck: This uses three levers to press coils that would connect and release the clutch disc. It relies on constant static pressure to get a consistent effect on the pressure plate every time the clutch pedal is pressed. However, this requires more effort to be applied on the clutch pedal. Use on heavy applications like muscle cars and trucks.
- Long style: Similar to the Borg and Beck style, this type of plate also uses levers on coils. One major difference is that performance is affected by the engine's RPM: the higher the RPM, the better the plate presses on the clutch. This style is perfect on performance and racing cars.
Pressure Plate Repair
The last thing you want to feel when stepping on the clutch pedal when disengaging the clutch is slipping and shaking. If you experience any of these symptoms, chances are there is something wrong with your clutch assembly. One of the parts you can check is the clutch pressure plate. Replacing the plate is pretty simple, but getting to it may be a bit challenging for the novice mechanic. Read this repair guide to aid you in the process.
Difficulty level: Difficult
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Transmission jack
- Socket set
- Wrench set
- Screwdriver set
- Lacquer thinner
- Clutch installation alignment tool
- Replacement pressure plate
Step 1: Park your car on a flat surface. Raise both ends with a floor jack and place it on jack stands. Set the stands on its highest setting. Remember to make balanced increases in height for both ends. Aim for about 30 inches so you can safely pull the transmission out.
Step 2: Set your transmission jack to support the transmission assembly. Disconnect everything attached to the assembly such as the driveshaft, wire harnesses, clutch hydraulics, clutch release cylinder, and shift levers. These are just a few of the parts. Make sure everything is safely removed before dismounting the transmission.
Step 3: Lower the transmission with the jack. Set it aside in a safe area.
Step 4: Locate the clutch assembly connected to the engine. This assembly will include both the clutch disc and the clutch pressure plate to be replaced. Partially unbolt the assembly from the engine. Do a crisscross pattern to prevent warping the clutch disc. Once all bolts are loose, they are now safe to completely remove. Keep these bolts safe for later use.
Step 5: Check the condition of the flywheel and its other parts. Look for any scores, cracks, warps, and any other signs of wear. Use lacquer thinner if the flywheel needs to be cleaned.
Step 6: For reinstallation, grab the clutch installation alignment tool and insert it in the middle of the clutch disc. Drive the tool, with the disc on it, to the flywheel. Next, slide the replacement pressure plate on the alignment tool. Return the plate's bolts using the same crisscross pattern done during removal. With everything secured, pull out the alignment tool.
Step 7: Return the transmission assembly to the engine compartment. Reconnect all the parts removed earlier. Lower the car to finish the repair.
- You can do two repairs at once by replacing the clutch disc itself.
- If you don't have the clutch installer tool, you can do things the hard way by constantly checking the alignment manually.