Clutch Longevity

SAJanesick - Bellsouth sajanesick at
Mon Feb 18 10:12:59 PST 2008

220,000 and counting on original clutch.  I purchased the car in June of 1999 with 127k already on it.  I thought it needed a clutch around 175k as it was beginning to slip in 5th, uphill WOT (running a 1st gen TAP chip and 1.8 bar spring).  Consequently, I ordered an entire clutch kit and prepared myself for a summer project.  During the inevitable delays and distractions of life, the slippage seems to have disappeared - as if by magic.

Good advice and interesting parallels in spare vehicles.  Currently my spare is a '94 Volvo 850 (wife's old car before I bought her the '03 A6 4.2L Quattro), but prior to that I had a beater 240 maroon brick that I sold at 317k.  Around 250k I got antsy and decided I would change the clutch in advance of an inopportune failure - not an unnatural reaction from someone who previously owned 2 MGB's.  Not a bad half-day job with the assistance of a Volvo mechanic friend.  We were both rather amazed to see how much reserve was left on the used parts.  It probably would have made it to 300k.  The 850 currently has 198k and original everything - save brake rotors, various suspension components and routine maintenance items.  The clutch seem fine although the throw out bearing does a lot of moaning during initial shifts in cooler weather.  Tick, tick, tick...

Finally I also have some clutch chatter when cold in my '80 911 which is currently pushing 122k.  I don't know it it's the original "exploding" rubber clutch, or if it has been replaced as it's a gray market car and I never met the owner.

My feeling is all this points toward what Bernie is saying.  Driven and shifted well, a clutch can go a long long time. However, the same mechanic that helped me with the 240 lost his TT's clutch with just a little over 12k on it.  He regrettably let it out to a girl as a shop loaner.  It only took her 10 miles to fry it although she swore she know what she was doing.  Go figure.

        Steve Janesick

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