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Clutch judder in old car

Question : I DRIVE a 1975 Nissan (Datsun) 120Y that my mechanic says is suffering from clutch judder. As a consequence, my mechanic had also advised that the entire clutch mechanism should be renewed as soon as possible. I would appreciate an explanation of what "clutch judder" is, what causes clutch judder and how it can be rectified.

Answer : CLUTCH judder refers to the vibration that is felt throughout the vehicle chassis at the point when the clutch takes up drive. Often the sensation is a violent vibration, so aptly described as a judder. The clutch is a mechanism used to gradually apply engine power to the driving wheels.

The clutch consists of two friction surfaces that are gradually brought together so that as the friction between the two surfaces is gradually increased, the amount of power transmitted is also increased as a result. Eventually sufficient pressure is applied to both surfaces that no more slip occurs and all engine power is transmitted to the driving wheels.

The clutch consists of three major components -- the clutch beating, pressure plate and the friction plate. The bearing bears on the pressure plate; the job of the latter is to gradually apply pressure on the surfaces of the friction plate and the flywheel.

Judder occurs when one or more of the clutch components have worn, failed or become misaligned. When this happens, "slip" is not constant, but rather the surface of the friction plate engages the flywheel at certain points along its periphery, hence creating the juddering effect.

A similar juddering action occurs if the components e.g. the layshaft of the gearbox becomes misaligned, or if the flywheel is distorted.

Although clutch components are available separately, and indeed may be renewed separately, it is often inadvisable to do so since there is a considerable amount of labor involved in gaining access to the clutch components. For a start, the gearbox must be removed, and in certain cases, the engine along with the gearbox must be removed from the vehicle as a complete assembly.

 
 

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