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G56 Clutch Life - What To Expect

Clutch life clutch2

You’re driving your Ram, and you notice that your clutch doesn't feel right. This is frustrating. The clutch should last 100k miles...and it hasn't. Is it time for a clutch replacement already?

If you've got a G56 transmission in your Ram, and your truck is going through clutches like kids go through sneakers, this article is for you.

How Long Should a G56 Clutch Last?

Clutch life problems tend to occur for one of two reasons:

#1 - You've got a Ram with a stock dual mass flywheel + stock clutch.

#2 - You've got a Ram with an after-market clutch with a solid flywheel that isn't capable of handling your truck's torque or normal use.

Either of these problems can cause your clutch to fail in as little as 15k miles.

But if you've got a vehicle with a single mass solid flywheel, and you've got a clutch that's capable of managing your vehicle current engine output and your typical use, your clutch should last a long time. Clutches used on trucks that are "normal" should go over 100k miles.

Why The OEM Dual Mass Flywheel Is A Problem For Ram Owners

The dual mass flywheel that Ram uses with the G56 transmission is a bad piece of automotive technology. Not only is the damper system too weak for the vehicle (it's barely capable of managing the stock torque of the Cummins), but it quickly fails as soon as power is added.

If, for example, you add a diesel engine tuner to your Ram, you'll increase power levels enough that the dual mass flywheel will start to fail. Normally, the damping system allows six degrees of rotation between the primary and secondary flywheel. When the dual mass unit starts to fail, that six degrees jumps up to fifteen, twenty degrees or more. Pretty soon, the dual mass flywheel is destroyed and it's time for a new clutch.

Obviously, if you have a Ram truck with a dual mass flywheel, you will want to convert it over to a single mass flywheel. Single mass flywheels last MUCH longer than the dual mass system, and the conversion kit is often less expensive than buying a new dual mass flywheel from the dealer.

You can learn more about dual mass to single mass flywheel conversions here.

NOTE: Some companies recommend converting to a double-disc system instead of a single mass flywheel. We think double disc systems are a bad idea for almost all truck owners, and we explain why here.

Why Engine Upgrades and/or Heavy Use Wear Out Clutch Discs Faster Than Expected

If you've already converted from the dual mass flywheel to a single mass flywheel, and you're still having problems with premature clutch wear, the problem is either:

  1. The clutch you purchased wasn't very good, or
  2. The clutch you purchased was OK, it just wasn't strong enough for your truck, or
  3. You're a heavy-duty user with a light-duty clutch

Re: #1: A lot of after-market clutch manufacturers sell inferior quality clutch kits. Our advice when buying a clutch - look for a company that makes and sells clutches for commercial vehicles. If the company sells a clutch disc for medium duty trucks, farm tractors, etc., (like Phoenix Friction), odds are good they know how to make a good clutch.

Re: #2: A lot of Ram truck owners upgrade the power output of their trucks, and increased power levels lead to more torque at the flywheel. When the torque exceeds the rating of the clutch disc, the material gets hot. When it gets hot, it starts to wear very quickly.

The solution is to buy a clutch that meets or exceeds your truck's power output. We've got a cheat sheet here that will help you estimate your truck's power output level. Then, choose the right stage of clutch kit based on power output.

Re: #3: Heavy-duty users do any of the following:

Frequent towing
Severe duty towing, such as towing off-road, towing at or above maximum tow capacity, etc.
Racing, organized or otherwise

If you're doing one or more of these things, you need a clutch that also exceeds your engine's power output levels. That way, your clutch disc won't get so hot when you're doing what you do.

How You Know Your Clutch Is Starting To Go

Clutch life worn clutch2

If you've got a Ram truck with the G56 transmission, you want to pay attention to the following warning signs:
  • Slipping
  • Noises and Jerking
  • Foul/Burning Smell
    • No smell – Dual Mass Flywheel is slipping
    • Burning Smell – friction material is slipping

Mileage on the odometer is not an indicator of a clutch that's failing. There are circumstances where the original clutch in a G56 will last in excess 100k miles. There are also situations where the clutch starts to slip at 15k miles. 

Generally speaking, you want to watch for the warning signs above. If you notice these issues on a consistent basis, it's a good idea to inspect the clutch.

Choosing A Replacement Clutch For Your G56 That Will Last

Summing up, we recommend the following:

  1. If you haven't already converted your dual mass flywheel to a single mass flywheel, you will want to do that ASAP. The dual mass units simply don't last very long, even if your truck is completely stock.
  2. Avoid double-disc setups if you can help it. They're expensive, hard to drive, and overkill for 95% of truck owners.
  3. Make sure your new clutch disc is matched to your truck's power levels. After-market power adders (like engine tuners, exhausts, downpipes, etc. etc.) increase engine torque, and increased engine torque requires a stronger clutch disc.
  4. Make sure your clutch disc meets your vehicle requirements. If you tow daily, tow heavy loads, race, etc., you need an upgrade.

Good luck!

OE Replacement Clutch Kit

 Clutch life clutch kit

05-124 Direct OEM Replacement Clutch Kit (again, this isn't something we recommend if you're concerned about maximizing clutch life)

 

Solid Flywheel Conversion Kits

For towing applications
05-124CK Organic, Engine Torque Capacity = 675 lb.ft., 390HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.2 Organic, Engine Torque Capacity = 765 lb.ft., 440HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.3 Organic, Engine Torque Capacity = 855 lb.ft., 490HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.4 Organic, Engine Torque Capacity = 985 lb.ft., 565HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)

For longer life applications including moderate towing

05-124CK.2K Kevlar, Engine Torque Capacity = 790 lb.ft., 455HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.3K Kevlar, Engine Torque Capacity = 880 lb.ft., 505HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)

For severe duty towing applications
05-124CK.2KC Kevlar/Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 805 lb.ft., 460HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.3KC Kevlar/Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 910 lb.ft., 520HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.5KC Kevlar/Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 1080 lb.ft., 620HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.6KC Kevlar/Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 1170 lb.ft., 670HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)

For performance applications

05-124CK.3C Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 850 lb.ft., 490HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.4C Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 965 lb.ft., 555HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.5C Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 1080 lb.ft., 620HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.6C Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 1250 lb.ft., 715HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)

For extra long life severe duty applications including towing
05-124CK.5FA FeramAlloy, Engine Torque Capacity = 1080 lb.ft., 620HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)
05-124CK.6FA FeramAlloy, Engine Torque Capacity = 1250 lb.ft., 715HP (includes flywheel + hydraulics)

 

For Applications That Already Have A Solid Flywheel

For towing applications
05-524 Organic, Engine Torque Capacity = 675 lb.ft., 390HP
05-524.2 Organic, Engine Torque Capacity = 765 lb.ft., 425HP
05-524.3 Organic, Engine Torque Capacity = 855 lb.ft., 475HP
05-524.4 Organic, Engine Torque Capacity = 985 lb.ft., 545HP

For longer life applications including moderate towing

05-524.2K Full Face Kevlar, Engine Torque Capacity = 790 lb.ft.,455hp
05-524.3K Full Face Kevlar, Engine Torque Capacity = 880 lb.ft.,505hp

For severe duty towing applications

05-524.2KC Dual Friction Kevlar/Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 805 lb.ft., 460HP
05-524.3KC Dual Friction Kevlar/Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 910 lb.ft., 505HP
05-524.5KC Dual Friction Kevlar/Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 1080 lb.ft., 600HP
05-524.6KC Dual Friction Kevlar/Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 1185 lb.ft., 655HP

For performance applications
05-524.3C Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 850 lb.ft., 475HP
05-524.4C Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 965 lb.ft., 535HP
05-524.5C Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 1080 lb.ft., 600HP
05-524.6C Ceramic, Engine Torque Capacity = 1250 lb.ft., 700HP

For extra long life severe duty applications including towing

05-524.5FA FeramAlloy, Engine Torque Capacity = 1080 lb.ft., 600HP
05-524.6FA FeramAlloy, Engine Torque Capacity = 1250 lb.ft., 700HP