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What Is a Power Clutch?

A manual transmission car with a power clutch.
Car clutch mechanism.
Article Details
  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2014
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A power clutch is a special type of clutch. A clutch, in general, is a device for transferring the rotating power from the engine’s flywheel to the transmission, which can convert that rotational energy into the motion necessary to turn the vehicle’s drive wheels. A power clutch is designed to withhold higher strength and heat in the high performance applications used by racing and street vehicles, as well as to allow a driver to shift with less engagement of the clutch pedal. It also allows for better transfer power from the engine to the transmission in order to transmit more of the vehicle’s horsepower to the drive wheels, resulting in higher speeds.

Power clutches are popular in any vehicle that has a manual, as opposed to an automatic, transmission. In an automatic transmission, there is a fluid coupling known as a torque converter that transmits the engine’s rotational power to a pump that pushes fluid through a variety of valves to compress plates together to produce higher gears. In a manual transmission, power from the engine’s rotations is only transmitted when the clutch is engaged to couple or decouple the engine’s flywheel from the transmission. In this way, when the engine is in the desired gear, and the revolutions of the engine are maintained at the proper speed, the clutch is in use coupling the engine to the transmission.

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Power clutches are those clutches made out of heavier duty material or that have modified bearings or surfaces to allow for a shorter shifter throw. Many power clutches are used in racing, because they have a higher tolerance for heat and wear that come from shifting frequently and operating at higher than average revolutions per minute than would be found in a normal driving situation. In addition, a power clutch is often made of different material than a traditional clutch, to cut down on friction losses in horsepower that can cause the engine to work harder with less of that power being transmitted to the rear wheels.

Power clutches are not limited to automobiles. A power clutch may be found in motorcycles, farm equipment, and any other equipment that may need to have a clutch to assist in the operation of a manual transmission. Determining whether or not a power clutch is needed is part of the process of modifying a vehicle for a specific purpose, such as racing or off-road use.

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Discuss this Article

julies
Post 1

Although I prefer to drive a car that has an automatic transmission, I know how to drive a vehicle that has a power clutch.

I learned how to use a clutch on an old pickup my dad had around the house. I have even owned a few cars with a manual transmission, but always find myself going back to one that is automatic.

I also made sure that all of my kids knew how to drive a car with a clutch in it. I think this is something that may come in handy some day, and would be better to learn when you are younger.

This proved true when both of my sons bought motorcycles. A motorcycle clutch is needed in order to run it properly, and this was easy for them to learn because they already knew how to use one.

When they took the class to get their motorcycle license, they commented that you could really tell those people who never had any experience using a clutch before.

It was not nearly as easy for them to learn how to drive the motorcycle as those who were used to using a clutch.

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