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10 DRIVER TIPS on HEAVY DUTY CLUTCH Operation


1) Don’t ride or slip the clutch. It partially disengages the clutch at a time when it should be fully engaged. Once a clutch is fully engaged, there is no heat generated and no wear. However, during the brief period when the clutch is picking up the torque of the engine, considerable heat is generated. Prolonging this period of partial engagement through riding or slipping the clutch unnecessarily can cause excessive heat and wear.

2) Do select the correct gear. The gear that will safely move an empty vehicle obviously can’t cope with a loaded vehicle. Starting a vehicle in a gear that is too high for the load will cause unnecessary slippage, resulting in excessive heat and wear. Generally, the highest gear that will start the vehicle moving with the engine at idle speed is correct. If the engine speed must be raised to prevent stalling, the gear is too high.


3) Don’t shift into higher gears before the engine reaches its governed RPM. Upshifting to the next higher gear before the vehicle has reached the proper speed is similar to beginning in too high a gear. A lugging engine shock loads the driveline from the clutch on through the rear wheels causing harmful torsional vibration. When the difference between the vehicle speed and the engine speed is too great possible damper failure may occur.


4) Don’t make it a practice of skipping gears when upshifting with a heavy load. It can save the driver work, but it costs money. Severe strain is placed on the entire powertrain by this practice.


5) Don’t forget vehicle weight when shifting. The fact that a vehicle is empty doesn’t mean the clutch doesn’t have plenty of weight with deal with.


6) Don’t overload. The vehicle and its components were purchased for specific loads. Overloading the vehicle will reduce clutch life.


7) Don’t speed. Excessive RPM is a detrimental to the clutch as overloading.


8) Don’t coast with the clutch disengaged. The excessively high RPM generated when coasting in gear with the clutch released can cause very dangerous clutch failure. In this situation, the rear wheels can drive the discs at over 10,000 RPM – well beyond the burst strength of the facing materials. Even coasting down a loading ramp can cause the discs to burst.


9) Don’t hold the vehicle on a hill by slipping the clutch. This can generate enough heat to quickly burn up the clutch.


10) Do submit a driver report at the end of each day or trip, paying particular attention to clutch chatter, vibration, grabbing, slippage, or failure to release. Be sure there is proper floor board clearance.