Saving my clutch
The other day I was driving on the highway and taking an exit and my clutch popped and would not engage. Luckily I broke down near a mechanic and he told me the clutch and flywheel were pretty much gone. My first question is he gave me an estimate of about $750 for the new clutch and a couple other minor replacements saying it could go up or down, is that about a good price?
My second question is what are some ways to save my clutch in the future? I have only had my TJ for 3 years and there is less than 50,000 miles on it. I do take it mudding and trailing a fair amount so I assume that adds stress on it. Another thing I heard was that you should minimize riding the clutch and instead get in gear quickly, I have noticed that I will sometimes ride the clutch a while to make transitions smoother but should I stop that?
A clutch is meant to connect and disconnect the engine from the transmission. Letting the clutch pedal out moderately when starting motion or changing gears is fine. That is what it is all about.
Heat kills clutches. Heat happens when the clutch slips. Using the clutch to control speed on the trail or to hold position on a slope (trail or street) will kill a clutch because a lot of heat will be generated. Slippage also causes wear on the flywheel and pressure plate. Minimize slippage and the clutch will last a very long time.
Good luck with your new clutch.
Sorry to hear about your troubles! I went through that situation not too long ago. Except I was going to drive somewhere and notice my clutch would not work. I paid around $1600 for my clutch replacement. It would have cost $1000 but I had the mechanic put in an aftermarket clutch assembly.
Is $750 the OTD price or just for parts?
If that's is the OTD price then I say go for it
Last fall my clutch throwout bearing disintegrated while I was on my way to run the Rubicon Trail. :( I limped to Elko, NV and had an independent shop replace it for me. It ran $800 total, including the new clutch kit, a new flywheel, a new slave cylinder (which he suggested on general principle) and labor. What I learned from this:
#1: do NOT have the flywheel turned! This tech would have turned mine, but I ended up having him install a new one just to save time (he would have needed to farm it out). After returning home, I learned that Jeep specifically says the flywheel has a special conical finish which should not be turned--only clean it off with emery cloth if it needs it.
#2: bleeding the clutch lines is a royal pain in the butt to do properly. These guys tried (since they replaced the slave cylinder) but failed, and I didn't know it until I began to drive home--air in the system soon rendered my clutch pedal completely useless, and I had to drive 250 miles home shifting clutchlessly (which is no fun in the mountains of I-80). Because of this, do NOT let your mechanic talk you into breaking the seal of your hydraulic system unless you have a component which has actually failed.
#3: inspect the entire Jeep carefully before leaving the shop--this includes crawling under your Jeep and checking that the trans mount's four nuts are properly reattached. My guy's air tool broke off two of the mount studs (which is very easy to do), so they just gave it to me like that and off I went in ignorance until I crawled underneath the Jeep three months later and happened to discover it.
Once my home mechanic was finally able to bleed all the air out of the lines (which took two efforts), it finally all works beautifully now.
I just spent $740 for a Luk clutch kit including installation at a local shop so your quote is about right if it's for the whole kit.
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