Clutch- durability w/ unintended abuse?

kd1yt

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I've got a JT Gladiator that I bought in August and that I am really happy with. 3.6 6 speed MT. Asking this question here in JL-land since the drivetrains are the same and you JL owners have a lot more overall experience with this generation of vehicle

I've been very pleased with the 6MT. The one thing I dislike is the clutch. I'm in my 50s and have driven way more miles with manuals than with autos, so I'm not new and clueless- but I find this clutch's engagement zone vague like nothing I've driven except for a 1962 VW Beetle 1200cc with last-legs-everything-worn-out-everything. I've never, ever, had any trouble stalling MT vehicles but I do sometimes with this, just because I find this clutch so ambiguous with no signals or feedback about when you are in the friction zone. Don't understand how it can be this way unless they've damped drivetrain NVH to the point that you just don't get the usual sense of what is going on.

Which brings me to my question- today was not a good day. 12 hours at work, then come home to use the tractor to clear 14" of heavy snow on my parents' long drive, and then intending to clear my own drive. Tractor's joystick cable snaps. Tractor down for the count at least tonight.

Go to my own place and the JT was able to go through the substantial roadside plowbank into my driveway. Not something I'd usually want to do but had no choice, can't park on this road.

Got through the plowbank fine, Went to turn around in the deep snow in my driveway, the extra resistance of sharp steering angle in 4wd in deep snow meant: stall-out as I was backing up. At that point I was exhausted and ticked off at everything, and in an effort to not stall again, unintentionally revved the engine more than I intended as I let the clutch out. Heard bad sounds, immediately backed off the throttle, and smelled a hot smoky powerful smell that you never want to smell from a clutch. And I have a weak sense of smell, so if I'm smelling it strongly, and the smell hung around, it was a powerful smell. I think I glanced the tach at around 2K as I realized that I was unintentionally doing something really stupid as I pulled my foot off the throttle entirely, and pushed the clutch to the floor. Wised up and put the truck in 4L and gently moved it to where I wanted to park it for the night.

So my question is - I know that what I just did is something that you never want to do to a clutch, and that I doubtless shortened its useful life compared to what its life would've been without this incident - but, with this clutch, how likely is it that I've done serious damage that could crop up in the near term?

I just don't know enough about how durable these clutches are in this series vehicle. If I have done serious damage that is going to crop up and bite me at some random time when I don't expect it, I'd rather bite the bullet and replace the clutch before I risk random strandedness.

Thanks in advance for input based on others experience with this series vehicle



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OldGuyNewJeep

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It’s fine. A clutch is a wear and tear item. When you have to slam the brakes to avoid an accident do you worry about them afterwards?

I taught my oldest how to drive stick on my JL. That included starts on our steep driveway with the assist turned off. Nothing smells worse than a burning clutch, but it’s just fine and he learned... I’m at nearly 30,000 miles, now.
 

fdFifty

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It took me quite a while to get used to the way the clutch and throttle worked on the jl. When it was new, the clutch would be inconsistently grabby at times. After some miles and time behind the wheel, things have become a lot more consistent.

I guess it’s hard to know for sure how much abuse this particular clutch can take until people begin to hit higher mileage. But mine seems to be holding up so far (14k miles) with my fair share of less than ideal hill starts, stop / go traffic, and couple tricky spots I’ve had on the trail.
 

geem03

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Same here.. the learning curve was something to get use to. And I experienced the same thing in snow, backing up. Now, I rarely stall it and I love driving it. Funny you compared it to a VW Bug.... so do I! I had a 65 and the jeep reminds me of it....
 

8flat

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I have done the same exact thing, multiple times, man I get so pissed off that reverse is so damn high geared in these things.... and coupled with an engine with zero off-idle torque, it just can't spin all 4 wheels over in situations like deep sticky snow unless you slip the clutch.

And 4-LO in a rubicon makes reverse so damn low that there is zero wheel speed unless you're redlined. Snow needs wheel speed. It's like two crazy dramatic extremes with reverse. Way too high in 4HI, way too low in 4LO.

OK rant over, haha

I've mentally accepted that I'll just replace the clutch at some point if I keep slipping it like this in snow. Not the end of the world, I can do it myself.
 

8flat

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PS and this car engine seems to have a very light flywheel, making this issue even worse. (less rotating mass = less kinetic energy to transfer to the drivetrain when you let the clutch out. The no-torque engine just dies in an off-idle situation if there's a lot of resistance)
 

urr2slo

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I hated the clutch in my from the day I bought it, changed it out to a Centerforce unit. Couldn’t be happier with the new clutch. Heavier flywheel makes it so much nicer to drive.
 

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Toycrusher

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I've got a JT Gladiator that I bought in August and that I am really happy with. 3.6 6 speed MT. Asking this question here in JL-land since the drivetrains are the same and you JL owners have a lot more overall experience with this generation of vehicle

I've been very pleased with the 6MT. The one thing I dislike is the clutch. I'm in my 50s and have driven way more miles with manuals than with autos, so I'm not new and clueless- but I find this clutch's engagement zone vague like nothing I've driven except for a 1962 VW Beetle 1200cc with last-legs-everything-worn-out-everything. I've never, ever, had any trouble stalling MT vehicles but I do sometimes with this, just because I find this clutch so ambiguous with no signals or feedback about when you are in the friction zone. Don't understand how it can be this way unless they've damped drivetrain NVH to the point that you just don't get the usual sense of what is going on.

Which brings me to my question- today was not a good day. 12 hours at work, then come home to use the tractor to clear 14" of heavy snow on my parents' long drive, and then intending to clear my own drive. Tractor's joystick cable snaps. Tractor down for the count at least tonight.

Go to my own place and the JT was able to go through the substantial roadside plowbank into my driveway. Not something I'd usually want to do but had no choice, can't park on this road.

Got through the plowbank fine, Went to turn around in the deep snow in my driveway, the extra resistance of sharp steering angle in 4wd in deep snow meant: stall-out as I was backing up. At that point I was exhausted and ticked off at everything, and in an effort to not stall again, unintentionally revved the engine more than I intended as I let the clutch out. Heard bad sounds, immediately backed off the throttle, and smelled a hot smoky powerful smell that you never want to smell from a clutch. And I have a weak sense of smell, so if I'm smelling it strongly, and the smell hung around, it was a powerful smell. I think I glanced the tach at around 2K as I realized that I was unintentionally doing something really stupid as I pulled my foot off the throttle entirely, and pushed the clutch to the floor. Wised up and put the truck in 4L and gently moved it to where I wanted to park it for the night.

So my question is - I know that what I just did is something that you never want to do to a clutch, and that I doubtless shortened its useful life compared to what its life would've been without this incident - but, with this clutch, how likely is it that I've done serious damage that could crop up in the near term?

I just don't know enough about how durable these clutches are in this series vehicle. If I have done serious damage that is going to crop up and bite me at some random time when I don't expect it, I'd rather bite the bullet and replace the clutch before I risk random strandedness.

Thanks in advance for input based on others experience with this series vehicle
Yes, it's a frustrating clutch.
Stock clutch is twin disc. As you release the pedal you feel the first disc make contact, which gives you about 25% lockup, gets you moving on flat ground, but no real power transfer.
Then, after another mile-long feeling inch of pedal travel, you reach the main disc which is actually quite grabby.
You tend to ease on the clutch, feed in throttle as the first disc engages, then you let up on throttle as revs jump because first disc has so little engagement, then the motor stalls as you hit the primary disc right as your foot had left off on the gas.

It makes a veteran look like a rookie. I hate it, but still prefer over an auto. It's actually very durable. I've smoked it bad with serious slip trying to pull a heavy boat up a ramp in 4hi, took 50 miles for the smell to clear, but didn't seem to hurt it any.

I'm planning to swap to stage 2 centerforce someday just to go back to a normal single disc clutch
 

urr2slo

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Yes, it's a frustrating clutch.
Stock clutch is twin disc. As you release the pedal you feel the first disc make contact, which gives you about 25% lockup, gets you moving on flat ground, but no real power transfer.
Then, after another mile-long feeling inch of pedal travel, you reach the main disc which is actually quite grabby.
You tend to ease on the clutch, feed in throttle as the first disc engages, then you let up on throttle as revs jump because first disc has so little engagement, then the motor stalls as you hit the primary disc right as your foot had left off on the gas.

It makes a veteran look like a rookie. I hate it, but still prefer over an auto. It's actually very durable. I've smoked it bad with serious slip trying to pull a heavy boat up a ramp in 4hi, took 50 miles for the smell to clear, but didn't seem to hurt it any.

I'm planning to swap to stage 2 centerforce someday just to go back to a normal single disc clutch
I did the Centerforce dual friction clutch, it was their first production unit, installed it back in September, couldn’t be happier. It drives and feels so much better, the heavier flywheel works great off road.
 

DanW

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I'm pretty happy with the stock clutch, even off road, but am curious how much it set you back to swap to the Centerforce, both with the cost of the product and the installation?
 

Toycrusher

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I did the Centerforce dual friction clutch, it was their first production unit, installed it back in September, couldn’t be happier. It drives and feels so much better, the heavier flywheel works great off road.
Any downsides to the Centerforce? I have one on order ($1,000 from Summit) but it's not gonna ship for a few more weeks. Does it make the rev hang worse?
 

ChattVol

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I'm pretty happy with the stock clutch, even off road, but am curious how much it set you back to swap to the Centerforce, both with the cost of the product and the installation?
I did the Centerforce dual friction clutch, it was their first production unit, installed it back in September, couldn’t be happier. It drives and feels so much better, the heavier flywheel works great off road.
It would be helpful to know the answer to the question by @DanW ...how much did the Centerforce clutch cost you? It looks like you're advocating their clutch in multiple threads and said you worked with them on a prototype. Did you get parts and labor done for free?
 








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