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article details
Author Various
Categories All Honda/Acura
Create Date January 16, 2002 17:36
Last Update April 06, 2002 13:07
Clutch Review
Last Updated: 06/23/97


From: Dan Ponze
I had pretty much wore out the factory clutch of my 95 GSR at 58,000 miles, when I popped a spring on it. The fast clutch wear was no doubt aided by the fact that the engine is nowhere near stock and thus causing the factory clutch to slip excessively. Word to the wise. Don't dump the factory clutch if you have a DPR stage VI head. It will incinerate it. I've been hearing good things from Clutchmasters and since the assembly is Honda original, I felt much better about fitament issues. I chose the stage II clutch which has the carbon-kevlar facing on it but is single diaphragm. This is more than sufficient unless you're running turbo, supercharger, or NOS. The bad part is that it takes a long time to break in properly. 1000 miles of city driving was covered relatively quickly in Chicago but I suspect it would take much longer in other less populated, traffic congested areas. Once broken in the grip was intense. I dumped it at 5000 RPM, it just grabbed with no problem. Driveability is excellent and it feels just like the factory one in every respect. Take up is smooth and pedal effort is identical to factory. Spinning the tires in second gear is no problem at all. For N/A setups, I highly recommend this clutch. On a side note, Clutchmasters sent me the wrong throw-out bearing and aluminum flywheel. Once notified of the problem, they assured me that one would go out that day, but it actually went out a day after that. When I called back they simply told me that it didn't go out for some unknown reason. Mistakes do happen, but two mistakes? They have to get their act together. In all fairness, though, they did pay for red label shipping and for return of the wrong part. Regardless of this oversight, service was polite and knowledgeable. I would do business with them again, but I would double check to make sure the parts are the right ones.

Clutchmasters Flywheel
I purchased my aluminum flywheel from Clutchmasters at the same time as my Stage II clutch. They originally sent me the wrong one, but they remedied the problem. This is not the lightest flywheel you can get, but at 9 lbs. it is about half of the approximately 18 lb factory one. OLM-R has one that weighs just 6 lbs, but that merely has a friction coating on it. The Clutchmasters has a full metal face on it which can be replaced cheaper and easier than balancing and resurfacing your factory one. I think they run about $40 for a new one. The difference was night and day. Driveability was vastly improved and it revs much easier now. Timing downshifts takes a little getting used to not only because it revs easier but also because the revs drop so much faster now, when you let up on the gas. You have to be more precise with your timing. Around town, the difference was fantastic. I'm not sure of any horsepower gains, but torque didn't suffer to any noticeable degree. I highly recommend this modification for all Integra drivers, even those that haven't modified their engines at all. If Honda were smart, they'd make all their flywheels this way. One note, however, Clutchmasters does require you to send in your original, so don't let the shop throw it away. I guess they need the bearings from it.

Dynamic Double-D Clutch

From: Weyland Jung
What makes this different from other clutches on the market? The pressure plate offers a double diaphragm which causes about twice the clamping power over your stock one. And depending on the size of your clutch disk, you can either get a full face disk or a multi-puck one. I have been using this clutch for over 1 year with heavy nitrous application and it has yet to slip. When my friend, a fellow nitrous user, pulled the Double-D clutch out of his car after about a year and a half, it almost looked like it was brand new. These clutches are also very cost effective, as most setups will run only $250-300 (The only catch is that you must return your old beat up one). One thing that might bother people is an increased pedal effort....if any of you have driven a Mustang, then you'll know how it feels.

Gude Performance Clutch

From: Tim Kelly
Tim Kelly is a former contributing writer to Sport Compact Car magazine.
my 94 GS-R threw a spring from its clutch with only 25k miles. when we took it apart, the disc was only half worn but ruined because one spring had come out and another was on its way out. i put in a Gude performance 4 puck semi metallic clutch with no springs. that clutch was awesome and grabbed so hard and fast it took quite a bit of getting used to, especially because it has no springs to absorb driveline shock. my problem now is that i think the guy who put in didn't really know his Hondas too well because it's slipping at low RPMs. it grips great past 3500 rpm but below that it really likes to slip when you get on the gas. so now i have to replace it and Gude is sending a Kevlar unit to try. i also have a mechanic who i know can do the job. but all this is the reason for doing the story. i wanted more info on clutches and since I'm going to get it, i figured it would be a good one to write about as well..........

Have new clutch in the car. Wallace Wong is 100% right about how the Gude clutch hooks up but that's a real performance clutch. On the phone everyone talks how they want the toughest and the fastest and the most horsepower, so Gude sends them it. So, I talked to Gude about the engagement problem and he suggested either his Kevlar disc or the same semi-metallic but with one of his spring kits which he guarantees won't pop out. he says the Kevlar is nice to the flywheel and the p.p. but doesn't wear any better than stock. so I got the semi metallic one with the spring kit. Gude also got me a remade pressure plate that's 25% stiffer. the '92 and up Civics and '94 and up Integras have removable fingers on their pressure plates, that's how it's stiffer. before this, you couldn't do anything but add a second set of fingers like the dynamic clutch. Which all by itself isn't any better, it just puts more pressure on the clutch disc to between it and the flywheel and p.p. Weyland probably wouldn't have any trouble with a factory disc and the doubled pressure plate but he does need quite a bit more `leg' to make it work.

Anyway, I helped with the install this time and we followed the factory manual for pedal adjustment (this is no doubt what caused the last one to fail so soon, it must be checked on the newer cars with hydraulic assist) and while it picks up a bit later in the travel, it's 10 times better than the same disc without the spring kit. it grabs a bit quicker than stock, but it's still no trouble at all starting smoothly even with the A/C on and there's no change whatsoever in pedal effort.

After a month of time on the semi metallic with the spring kit, it has broken in nicely now and I can dump the clutch from idle and with a little jerk it hooks up and goes off just like a stock clutch. The best part of it, however, is the 3rd gear chirps that are now possible because the clutch grabs ASAP even when the 2nd to 3rd gear change puts the revs at 6000.

The moral of the story is to remember that most of us drive our cars on the same roads in the same fashion as everyone else 90% of the time. A 2.5" drop looks awesome, but living with it in "huge curb" southern Cali is another story. Same thing with a clutch that was designed to hook up "now". All the others are basically just mods of the pressure plate. Not even the dual friction Centerforce is the same because it's only semi metallic on one side.

The best bet for the newest Integras is to get a clutch disc with a spring kit, it makes all the difference in the world. Or since you can now remove and re-temper the fingers on those pressure plates, just get one with more clamping force, there's no extra effort because of the hydraulic unit.

i also got a reply back from Wallace, and he had the same springless disc. seems as though bill Gude thinks everyone wants to go racing so when people call and ask for the best, he gives it to them. i told him some of the problems he was creating and there shouldn't be any more mix-ups like that. engineers usually aren't good sales people. FYI - Tilden or Tilton, makes the same type of clutches as Gude and can do the same thing with the newer pressure plates and can also put just about any friction material on the surface of the clutch pucks. this includes a ceramic material that handles incredible amounts of hp. Tilton says he's sold a couple to guys with the twin turbo Zs that run 12 second quarters.

Centerforce Clutch

My friend has this on a Nissan 240SXSE. Also on the car is a lightened fly-wheel that is a good 8 pounds lighter than stock! Though the engine is not as flexible as the GS-R VTEC, with the lightened flywheel, it was an entirely different beast. It revved so easily from idle or any RPM for that matter. Throttle response was incredible. Taming this quick revver was the Centerforce Dual Friction Clutch. Installation was relatively straight-forward with the clutch fitting just right. Remember to not touched the abrasive part of the clutch with your fingers or hands. You don't want to get that part dirty at all.

Imagine trying to engage the clutch and hoping it would grab as you blip the throttle for a fast launch. The engine can spin the flywheel up so fast, but the Centerforce was able to hold on tight. Pedal pressure was exactly the same as the stock. Since this clutch comes with springs installed, drive- line shock was kept to a minimum. I suspect that if the fly-wheel was NOT lightened, you would feel a bit more engagement shock than the stock clutch.

Remember to always break in the clutch before you go out and do some hard launches. Since the surface of the clutch is still new, it won't grab as well and therefore will heat up faster due to the slipping. This heat can destroy the new clutch. So take it easy for the first 500 miles to be safe. This well ensure that the clutch will last a long time even with many hard launches down the road.

RPS Turbo Clutch

I heard lots of good things about this clutch. However, I've had no firsthand experience with it. Turbo Magazine reports that the RPS clutch was still in good shape after doing around 100 runs in a nitrous equipped Integra. They showed it next to a new stock clutch, and the RPS Turbo clutch looked like it still have lots of miles left on it.

From: Wallace Wong
I have a 93 GS-R and I tried the Gude clutch before the Turbo. The Gude clutch grabs great, really strong off the line and excellent grip, but I don't think I would recommend it for street driving. There is just too much jitter when the clutch engages and believe me, when it engages, it just ENGAGES! I only had the Gude clutch in about 3 months and it was completely wore down to the rivets when I removed it. The clutch was still grabbing pretty well even with out the asbestos, but it did a number on the flywheel.

The Turbo Clutch has been in now for about 2 weeks. I love it. It feels just like the stock clutch. The pedal is light and it engages smoothly. The only that's not stock about it is how well it grabs. It is a very impressive clutch and I am completely happy with the performance and driveability of this unit.

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