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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after the problems with the last clutch and upon the advice of KG and much much research I decided to order a Clutchmasters FX-400 Clutch and separately (because they do not offer a kit) their aluminum flywheel.
Just came in today so I unboxed and took some photos.
You need to order your own replacement slave cylinder and this clutch is supposed to work with the OEM Slave.
You also need to order new bolts for the flywheel as they are not included.
It does come with the clutch alignment tool.

The guys at clutchmasters said the clutch came with shims, but it did not so I am going to need to call them monday and find out where they are.
Gonna do some measurements as at least at first glance it may be spot on in stack height.

it looks a lot more similiar to the OEM clutch than my previous aftermarket kit but the flywheel is not Dual mass (like the heavy as hell OEM) and is aluminum. Definitely lighter (I would guess by half at least) as the OEM flywheel.
All I need now are the replacement one-use differential bolts to show up, do some thorough measurement prep and she is ready to assemble!
(I hope)
This clutch arrived very well packed with vacuum formed foam an sturdy double wall cardboard boxes inside a sturdy double walled shipping box.

Shipping box Rectangle Packaging and labeling Material property Carton
Brown Wood Font Packaging and labeling Tints and shades
Wood Font Art Rectangle Artifact
Gauge Measuring instrument Gas Machine Corded phone
Automotive tire Font Circle Automotive wheel system Wood
Automotive tire Rim Circle Pattern Ceiling
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Locking hubs Rim
Automotive tire Bicycle part Rim Alloy wheel Gear
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Locking hubs Vehicle brake
Circuit component Light Font Hardware programmer Electronic component
 

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Nice looking parts. I love opening part boxes. I open a beer or make a coffee and treat it like the birth of a mechanical child. So exciting.
So, for us plebs here that might want to replace a clutch with a replacement stock clutch I am hoping some info will apply. Trying to understand how many of the encountered problems will be due to the new part configuration and which things would be hard if just using stock components.
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is supposed to be a more daily driver version of their race clutches. More pucks, springs in the friction disk.
The flywheel looks like it was made dimensionally proportionate to the OEM Dual mass.
The main thing is that,it should be able to handle the additional torque of the WR2 turbo.
This clutch comes in just a bit more than my last aftermarket clutch money wise except you need to order your own flywheel bolts and OEM slave replacement which bump it up another $175 ish.
I believe the pictured ARP bolts are OEM in size so at least that bit of info should transfer to an OEM clutch replacement :)
 

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See how the friction plate on the flywheel is bolted to the flywheel?

The clutch disc is also an 8 puck and not a 6 puck. Did you notice the rivets in the clutch disc do not go through the pads. There is also a lot more in the pay of rivets holding it together. I would be curious to know what the clamping force of the pressure plate is. It's got 2 sets of springs.
 
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The ARP bolts are 1mm shorter then the OE ones. It may say on the packaging what you need to torque them down to. I know it says on their website.
 
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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As far as “hard” as I mentioned in another post the clutch itself is really pretty easy and straightforward.
Assuming you have an accurate torque wrench, a torque angle wrench (not sure of the actual name of that tool) and some blue loc-tite, it’s a pretty simple job.
The pain in the but part of getting the darn tranny off and back on. Especially if you have a torque bar connecting the differential to the tranny.
Even then it’s not necessarily “hard” a lot of it for me was just patience as some of the fasteners are a real squeeze to get to. As someone else mentioned on another thread, the clutch line that runs from the firewall all the way into the transmission has a plate and man that sucker is no fun putting back on.
I am going to attempt to get pictures this time but even that was really difficult last time. Just really really tight in there.
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There is a small set of instructions included with the flywheel on how to properly measure for the bolts.
I will be doing that step when I get started.
Sorry for the sideways picture.
Font Paper Parallel Document Paper product
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, first of all Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there :)

the plot thickens (or should I say the suspect parts?)

I took the OEM Pressure plate and side by sided it with the “Clutchmasters” pressure plate.
Aside from a fresh and sloppy coat of white paint the are indeed the exact same thing.
Both are the same model LUK manufactured pressure plate. Is just changing the friction disk going to add that much more torque than OEM?
Being I can get the OEM Pressure plate with an OEM friction disk for less than $200, can someone explain to me why this clutch sells for $750? Is the friction plate and clutch alignment tool worth $550?

is this really going to offer any more torque than OEM?
PS> link to GM Parts replacement:

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Grey Fender
Tints and shades Circle Space Wood Concrete
Automotive tire Wood Rim Automotive exterior Automotive wheel system
Automotive tire Tread Synthetic rubber Gas Automotive wheel system
Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive tire Automotive design Steering part
Sleeve Wood Hand tool Gas Tool
 

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HH,

Somehow I sense a return in your future and have no idea the direction to go in. This has been a most troublesome adventure for you. We have all learned much along with you and input along the way from the related Forum Masters of Mechanical Knowledge. I appreciate your commentary and documentation and theirs.

Sometimes it's good to have parts in hand after disassembly, as in this case, where you note the differences, or lack thereof, hence the value question. I had the same thought as agent008 on modified stock pieces, but clearly stated would be good. Seems it should be more straightforward upgrading, without going full race. Maybe take a look at what Hahn may have to offer? Does seem too much to pay for identical to OEM although, and there's the Genuine GM warranty(?)...

All the best and Happy Father's Day as well.

Richard
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Perhaps Clutch Masters starts out with an OEM pressure plate then upgrades it somehow?
The fingers have the same numbers on them in the exact same places. They are literally identical except the spray paint. The new one measures a few mm taller but that could be attributed to my OEM being 13 years old and worn out.

The Clutch Plate has been more difficult to track down but i think i finally found it, or something made for a different car by the same manufacturer.
"Competition Clutch". The link here is for a subaru and they dont provide any fitment details but damn it sures looks identical.
So (these are online retail prices mind you):
-Competition Clutch Plate at $167
-Rebranded LUK Pressure Plate $164 (comes with an OEM full face Clutch plate)
- 26 Spline Clutch alignment tool $14 (DDM)
Grand total of $345.
Clutchmasters sells it as their own Clutch for $750.

Here is the closest clutch plate i could find as far as image goes:

Mine:
Font Automotive wheel system Gas Machine Auto part


On the resellers website:
Font Tool Automotive wheel system Measuring instrument Circle
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Aside from the pricing my real issue is that they advertise this as a Heavy Duty clutch rated to 500hp.
And I don’t know enough about clutches to know if taking the OEM clutch rated at 350-380, and just changing the friction plate means you can realize an additional 150 more rating?
Is that true or doesn’t the clamping force of the pressure plate also matter?
 

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Are the second set of springs in the pressure plate the same as the OE ones?

And the clutch disc has no markings on it what's so ever?

This is getting frustrating that all these companies have bloated claims for power handling and are rebranding cheap parts in order to get higher profits. The diaphragm spring is the same spring as the OE one?
 

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you bought the FX400 right??

What is the model number of the one you bought?
 

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This is what is being done.

The FX400 and the FX500 clutches that CM (ClutchMasters) sells only have a single difference between them. The FX400 has a sprung disc and the FX500 is unsprung.
there are 2 versions of those clutches. One is called a "Full Face" and the other is a "6 puck."

A Full Face clutch makes a full circle where as a pucked clutch doesn't.. A full face clutch as I would see it is like the OE clutch where the friction material makes a complete circle on both sides of the clutch. This is not what you have. you have what I would call is a hybrid. not really a full face and not really a puck clutch.

If you change nothing else in a clutch except the design of the disc and you go from a full face to a puck clutch there is an illusion that is given to the driver that the clutch is grabbing better because of the feel of it. It's all about PSI. with a full face the clamping force is distributed around the entire clutch face. with a puck clutch that surface area is much smaller so the PSI is higher. But the trade off is less friction material doing the grabbing and that is why i say it is an illusion.

The clutch you have is a hybrid. the friction material starts and stops like a puck clutch. It does this on both sides but it alternates from one side to the next It gives you the illusion but at a cheaper cost to build.

They use the term "Heavy Duty" do describe the pressure plate. My Question is heavy duty compared to what? compared to the OE pressure plate the statement is incorrect. compared to a moped clutch then yes I could be considered as heavy duty. This is misleading for them to do that. You are buying for your vehicle so the comparison you are making is to your vehicle. So the pressure plate is going to be of a better, stronger design then the OE one is. This is not the case.

I would be on the phone with them tomorrow and I would be asking questions like.. What makes this pressure plate heavy duty? and find out exactly what the clutch material is that is being used. I would mention to them that the pressure plate that you received is an OE pressure plate and how is that heavy duty when comparing it to the OE one. It's not.

Ask them to see the clutch dyno sheet where the clutch tasted at the rated power levels. If they are not able to provide that then ask them how they determined what the rating is. I bet you it has never been tested and the ratings are theoretical based on the friction coefficient, material contact area and clamping force.

They do not list the different torque ratings for the clutches. It would be interesting to see what the different ratings are for the different models.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I am going to assume LUK and Exedy are making a high percentage of the clutches out there. OEM and aftermarket.
The fact that it is a LUK clutch is fine (the OEM clutch and flywheel and friction plate are all LUK).

what seems dubious is the fact that Clutchmasters advertise as a “heavy duty” pressure plate when it is available as a $150 OEM model LUK pressure plate.

seems like I have stumbled into a rather shiestery segment of the auto industry that goes out of its way to not publish ratings, specifications or other data that can be checked.
Assembling other companies parts to make an “aftermarket” clutch (I.e. doing the work to figure it all out) and marking it up for profit is fine, but you should proabably add some value to your design by bench torquing or some other accepted method that shows you thoroughly tested the design and its effectiveness at your claimed HP ratings.

I guess I will have to go Spec as I don’t know who else to trust…
 

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Clutchmasters sells it as their own Clutch for $750
I understand they should have a markup over the parts prices and probably are also adding a larger margin to cover any eventual "development costs" such as maybe some testing to see what worked best. And some profit for that "work" plus keeping the item listed and on stock etc.

Assembling other companies parts to make an “aftermarket” clutch (I.e. doing the work to figure it all out) and marking it up for profit is fine, but you should proabably add some value to your design
That I agree with, and maybe you should get on the phone with Clutch Masters to solve any doubts you have before you install the kit and risk not being able to get a refund because clutches are wear items. If you do not feel confident about their response, or realise you're not going to be covered by a good healthy warranty policy, you might as well just return the kit right away.

I guess I will have to go Spec as I don’t know who else to trust…
I was going to suggest their name, or Exedy, but only on the basis of being famous as I never tried any of their products. But aren't them the guys that can make a custom clutch for you if your car is not on catalog? Maybe you could specify target HP and torque and have them work out a solution for you. Might be expensive but might be worth the price of having a working and failsafe design. And you might talk them into reducing the price if you can cobble up a group buy at the forum for, say, 5 units at least? Plus they will be able to have it on catalog from then on.
 
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