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What is it?

The clutch is a transmission component located between the engine and the gearbox which, once activated, momentarily interrupts the transfer of the crankshaft motion to the drive wheels, allowing the gear to be engaged and parking when at rest. Changing gear is made possible by the momentary separation of the crankshaft and the gearbox.

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The clutch system is made up of three basic components:

  • Thrust bearing
  • Disc
  • Pressure plate

On pressing the clutch pedal, the thrust bearing moves forward onto the main gearbox shaft, compresses a diaphragm spring and releases the disc.  The clutch disc then no longer unites the pressure plate and the flywheel, allowing the gear to be engaged. On releasing the pedal, the diaphragm spring presses the disc on the flywheel again, making a solid link with the main gearbox shaft, and as a result, the car accelerates or decelerates depending on the gear selected.

Did you know?

Goodbye "double declutching"

Goodbye

In the past, cars were not fitted with synchronisers: this meant it was necessary to double declutch whenever you needed to change gear. Double declutching is a driving technique which allows accurate gear changing on cars not fitted with synchronised gearboxes. Double declutching is a highly refined technique which, when carried out perfectly, even allows you to change gear without pressing the clutch pedal. Nowadays, vehicles are fitted with synchronisers which mean that double declutching is no longer necessary.

Easier hill starts

Easier hill starts

The Hill Holder system makes hill starts easier. The device allows you to stop your vehicle on a hill with the engine running, with no need to keep your foot on the brake pedal or use the handbrake. When slowing down, the clutch pedal and the brake pedal must be pressed simultaneously. When the vehicle is stationary, with the Hill Holder system, you can remove your foot from the brake pedal, and the system will keep your vehicle still. To set off again, simply start to accelerate and gradually release the clutch; the Hill Holder system releases the brakes as soon as the vehicle starts moving.

Two clutches for TCT

Two clutches for TCT

Developed and manufactured by Fiat Powertrain Technologies, TCT (Twin Clutch Transmission) is an innovative twin dry clutch automatic transmission system. This system allows the next gear to engage while the previous one is still engaged. Shifting is achieved by simply gradually switching the corresponding clutches, guaranteeing continuous torque delivery and therefore traction. The results are driving comfort and a sporty feeling superior to those offered by conventional automatic transmissions, faster gear shifting and the option to select between manual or automatic mode, all without significant power loss during shifts. What's more, thanks to the introduction of the Start&Stop system, fuel consumption is reduced by 10% compared to a traditional hydraulic automatic transmission with torque converter.

Fiat Professional’s tips

Replacing the clutch is a complex operation. Following these few simple tips will help you to keep yours in shape for longer:

  • When stationary for long periods of time, it is preferable not to leave your vehicle in gear: you could cause the clutch disc to come into contact with the flywheel incorrectly, or to stick on the main gearbox shaft
  • Do not change gear with the accelerator pressed down
  • Do not hold the clutch pedal down with the gear selected when you are stopped at traffic lights or queuing in urban traffic
  • When in motion, always take your foot off the clutch

Using the clutch pedal correctly will increase its lifetime. When replacing, it is always recommended that you change the whole clutch kit, including the mechanism, disc and thrust bearing. Mopar® clutch kits are available for all Fiat Professional's models in the market.

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Self-diagnosis

It is possible that the clutch will show signs of malfunctioning from 60-80,000 km onwards, because its level of wear and tear depends very much on the driver’s driving style.

The main signs of wear and tear are:

  • The clutch does not release and the gearbox meets with resistance during gear selection
  • The clutch pedal is harder and its path is longer
  • The clutch slips: when setting off or at maximum torque, the engine rpm jumps but the speed does not increase proportionally
  • The clutch jerks and the car "jumps"
  • Noisy running, both at low rpm and at maximum torque
  • Strong vibrations and increased noise can be caused by wear on the flywheel

Often the flywheel does not show visible signs of wear and tear. Replacing the flywheel along with the clutch kit is a good habit to get into to avoid prematurely compromising the lifetime of a new clutch. This rule is particularly valid for vehicles with dual mass flywheels.