4×4 Clutch Fail

clutch slip,

4×4 Clutch Fail, replacement and why it occurs.  The 4×4 clutch is one of the highest wearing components of a 4×4.  Standard 4×4 on asphalt roads will eventually find the clutch to wear and experience slip.

Top 6 Reasons 4×4 clutch fail

Drive style

While the way you drive and the outcome on the 4×4 clutch fail will be unintentional it does occur.  The most heavy duty clutch can and will fail if due to driving style.  Overworking and deliberately slipping the 4×4 clutch as a way to control the vehicle speed and or wheel sping, exaggerated when off road will increase the rate of 4×4 clutch fail.

Larger tyres

Bigger tyres without re-gearing the diff and or transfer case will add extra load to your driveline.  As a result, this adds stress to each and every take off that then reflects on your clutch.

Power Upgrade

Seen mostly in the Toyotas power upgrade will make the engine turn the flywheel quicker.  We know for certain that a CRD Toyota will rarely make it off the dyno with an ECU Diesel Tune alone.  In its standard form, the Toyotas need a clutch upgrade, for other makes and models if your clutch is not 100% the same outcome may result.  Standard clutch clamping pressure ability is overcome and the 4×4 clutch fail is inevitable.

Extra Weight

Additional weight added to a 4×4 is a massive cause of issues for 90% of vehicles we see through our workshop.  In reality, expecting a tune and exhaust to compensate the additional weight of items such as winches, bull bars, fridges, long range tanks, larger tyres, tray or canopy.  That is before many add a boat, caravan, family of four and all that comes with it.  The additional demand and load on your clutch alone is going to cause it to fail.

Manufacturer Fault

Some makes of vehicles just have renownedly known faulty clutches.  The Toyota is known for its clutch fault and no matter how much some love their Toyota they are mostly well aware of this fact.  All makes have some little known issue, for the Toyota, this is its little downfall.


Our last event Killy Utes and Boots has seen a few participants require new clutches.  In a race situation with a mix of sand, water and MUD likelihood of failure is compounded.  Water in the bell housing can cause clutch slip and the fast rate or amount of gear changes in crossings or mud pits can amplify clutch slip.  Note having your clutch slip will always be preferable to a stalled 4×4 in the middle of a river.


How Does a Clutch Work

Clutches work the way they have for many years you push the pedal and it pushes hydraulic fluid from the master cylinder to the slave cylinder.  At this point, the slave pushes the clutch forks and the levers and throw out bearing deactivate the clutch itself. From there we move inside the bell housing.  The engines flywheel and friction plate is clamped together by the pressure plate and is the driving force of the gearbox input shaft until the point the pedal is depressed.  By engaging the clutch releases the clamping pressure onto the friction plate and allows the gearbox to spin independently from the engine.


Tougher Stronger 4×4 Clutch

If this sounds like you and you are not wanting to pay for a new replacement factory clutch here are some figures.  A rough price of a factory clutch is from $600-$800  a typically starting price to swap a clutch labour wise is about $800.  For $1600 you are back where you started with the standard clutch. A product such as the 4terrain have Australian condition manufactures who design for our vehicle market and conditions.  The cover assembly incorporates a premium corrosion resistant surface finish.  This provides excellent resistance to oxidation over a prolonged period of time.  The added addition of the clutch pressure plate.

The 4terrain pressure plate is manufactured from spheroidal graphite hand has a yield strength some 300% higher than standard castings.  The materials microstructure also improves heat dispersion.  The cover assembly incorporates greater clamp load than a standard cover assembly.  Simply higher torque capacity.

The clutch disc itself has a unique flywheel side friction material.  The Aramide friction material has 50% less wear than a standard clutch discs friction material.  By using this material 4terrain reduce the effects of clutch fade.  Fade is a simple term that relates to the decline in the clutch systems ability to transmit torque and operating temperatures increase.  All of this allows the clutch kit to dissipate heat far more effectively allowing the clutch to run cooler for longer.

Additionally, all of this allows the system to run more than 60% torque than a standard clutch.  In saying this there are bigger better applications for the 4×4 owner looking for the ultimate power and torque.

Image result for 4terrain clutch

We hope this explains the cause, effect and resolution to 4×4 Clutch Fail. If you think you have issues with your clutch and are ready for an upgrade our friendly sales team are happy to assist.

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