From time to time, technicians will need to replace certain parts of the clutch mechanism fitted to your car or truck. While these components are quite hardy and engineers intend them to last for several years, certain conditions can cause excess wear and tear or premature failure. How could misalignment cause such a failure, and why do you need to exercise a lot of care during replacement?
Clutch in Action
In a manually operated vehicle, the clutch mechanism fits in between the engine and gearbox and will isolate the engine while the driver selects the appropriate gear. The various parts of the clutch kit sit on top of the input shaft, and this is connected to the engine flywheel. It's essential to ensure that the input shaft is perfectly aligned and that the friction plate can move seamlessly back and forth each time you depress the clutch pedal. Problems will arise if it is misaligned in any way, even if this is just a fraction of a millimetre.
Typically, the gearbox bolts to the back of the engine in a conventional manner, but there should also be two dowel pins on each side of the bell housing to help centralise these key components. These pins may sustain some damage during disassembly or replacement, and it's crucial to ensure that they are kept in good condition. If not, misalignment will eventually cause strain on the bearings, and this will make it more difficult to change gears. If this happens, the driver may notice a great deal of vibration or a strange 'shuddering' sensation when the clutch pedal is released. If they do not address this issue as soon as possible, damage could be caused to the internal components of the gearbox and certain parts of the engine as well.
It's crucial, therefore, for the technician to have a good look at the condition of those major components when they remove the gearbox to replace the clutch. If there is any evidence of excess wear, they should replace the dowel pins. The technician should also ensure that they clean the outer surface of the bell housing and the corresponding surface at the rear of the engine.
Paying Close Attention
If you need a clutch replacement, take the vehicle to a mechanic. They will pay full attention to alignment so that you don't run into any related clutch issues in the future.Share