We turned to the experts at Clutch Masters who have been a technical partner of PASMAG for a while now to walk us through a street/strip install. The donor car was a Chevy Cobalt SS (turbocharged, of course) that was daily driven but also ripped up the 1320 on occasion. A car like this has to have a livable clutch that is light, chatter free and can deal with extreme temperatures and everyday nuisances like heavy traffic.
We asked Clutch Masters technical guru, Travis Booher what he would recommend for this Cobalt SS from his lineup. “Considering this car has a HAHN Racing turbo upgrade it will require a clutch with increased clamping force. Since it is a FWD car you can have a fairly grabby clutch since the front wheels will have some slip on the drag strip. We opted for the FX400 clutch with the sprung hub its forgiving qualities in the less aggressive 6-puck configuration, which is more aggressive than a full-face clutch. As for the flywheel, the stock unit is heavy and prone to cracking over time, so we selected a Clutch Masters 13-pound aluminum racing flywheel,” he said.
The FX400 System uses their Power Plus pressure plate with an extremely durable ceramic disc, which is sprung. The FX400 is billed as the ultimate extreme duty street clutch that can handle the occasional drag strip visit or tear on a road course. The clutch is available in a 4-puck or 6-puck configuration to suit every driver’s needs. The FX400 with the 4-wing is certainly the more aggressive setup with a more on/off type of feel to it. However, the sprung hub design allows for moderate dampening in high-torque applications making it far more street-able than solid hubs. Looking at the friction material itself, we can see that is a solely a ceramic compound and has no marcel, the sprung steel fins found on full face friction discs that soften the engagement. As a result, the clutch will grab slightly harder and may chatter ever so slightly in 1st gear and reverse, but high performance guys are ready for that. The disc is designed for extended life, outstanding holding capacity and a high rate of heat dissipation, which can kill a clutch.
Clutch Masters also ditched the OEM flywheel in favor of an Aluminum Racing unit. The Clutch Masters flywheel is 50-percent lighter and stronger than stock to free-up torque because it requires less to spin it up. The upgraded flywheel is also resistant to hairline cracks and in the worst case scenarios, exploding! Yes, we have seen it happen at the drag strip more than once.
It was now time to crack open the box, check the contents and get this Civic-Slayer on the hoist. Inside the box, we find the 6-puck clutch, pressure plate, alignment tool, the high quality throw bearing and of course, detailed instructions. The techs at Mario’s Auto Repair in Stouffville, ON got to work on removing the bell-housing bolts and dropping the transmission in no time.
- First the transmission was unbolted and carefully lowered to the floor. The old clutch and pressure plate are now exposed for inspection. The throw-out bearing supplied is replaced on the bell-housing side.
- The OEM clutch was burned from the new horsepower increase, and some glazing on the face from slipping and overheating was visible. The SACHS clutch, pressure plate and OEM bearing are all garbage.
- Check out the OEM flywheel with hotspots galore. Yes you can machine the face of these for a few bucks and even have them lightened but why? While you are in there replace it with a lightweight aluminum flywheel for free-revving and resistance to failure.
- Flywheel to flywheel, the difference is over 20-pounds and less rotational mass which means it requires less torque to spin up and faster acceleration. Plus those hotspots are no good and we’ll bet there are hairline cracks in it.
- Clutch to clutch you can see why the old one can’t handle a HAHN turbo upgrade. The face is glazed over with hotspots galore.
- The new flywheel is bolted up with ultra-strong OEM bolts and ready to interface perfectly with the matching Clutch Masters clutch.
- Using the supplied clutch alignment tool, the 6-puck clutch and pressure plate are fitted up and torqued down. The clutch is now ready for its break in period, which as stated by Clutch Masters is 1000km (700mi) with no riding, no launching and no high RPM operation
FX400 Clutch & Aluminum Flywheel