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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
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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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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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3,371 Posts
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:

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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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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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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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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious (with unkown origin blue sparkle in rear bumper cover paint)
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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.


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 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.
Plenty of Spec history here on the forums but pretty consistent complaints about chatter and (obviously) being more race orientated. That’s why the DDM one sounded good. He claimed a happy medium and that would have been great with me if it worked.

honestly if I wanted an OEM pressure plate I would have ordered a GM branded one for the warranty alone. The real question is how do you take an OEM pressure plate and rate it for 150 more horsepower?

i will say the Clutchmasters flywheel seems nice and well built.
 

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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 · #28 · (Edited)
Spring rating would be the thickness and type of the material, pivot point and number of fingers (width of metal on finger) would all play into it. Which are also identical (except the pivot point as per below). Of course age and wear would factor as Lorenerol states above. I believe John was specifically answering my question of "how can you tell"..
Regardless, let the intellectual speculation end.

News Flash!

Actually I just got off the phone with them and they are saying they move the pivot point in the OEM pressure plate and that is where they "work their magic".
Not sure how to see that physically but i will take a deeper look with a flashlight and reading glasses (getting old) on both pressure plates. I have no reason to doubt them but am curious. He said you can see the welding they have done to accomplish this...

Fascinating. Additionally they say the kit is plug and play and has no need for shims (this would make sense as their single mass aluminum Flywheel is as large as the OEM Dual Mass, just significantly lighter). He couldn't explain why the sales person i spoke to mentioned that it did come with shims, other than he may have not been knowledgeable about the specifics of this model clutch kit.

FWIW, I did read this about moving the pivot point:
"Moving the pivot point can add more clamping force but the clutch’s holding power over time may decrease rapidly due to clutch wear. Finally, clutch release problems may be introduced when the pivot point is modified."

I think I am going to suck it up and install this clutch. I am impressed with the workmanship on the flywheel, though I am wondering about longevity of the pressure plate / clutch disk and I dont know how I could prove or disprove that. Since this is a wear item and driving styles differ so wildly, though i have found posts on other forums for other cars where a clutchmasters clutch wore out prematurely, the same can be said for almost any brand.

The friction surface on this new flywheel is serviceable (bolted, not riveted) so that speaks to longevity in my book. If the flywheel can last, and I run through friction plates, that is not a lot different than brake pads and I can live with that.

Will be looking under the skirt of the pressure plate when i get home. If i can verify they did move the pivot point, what the hell? Gonna give it a shot :)
 

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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 · #30 ·
@HHGadget ordered a full face disc and that is not exactly what he got. While the metal disc it's self is a full face the friction material is not.
I did order the "D" version of this clutch (D = Daily Driver in Clutchmasters speak). The "R" version comes with a segregated puck and I believe is unsprung, though you would want to call them to check for sure.
 

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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 · #32 ·
You are right about the model numbers. But actually look at your clutch disc. While the metal disc is solid and not like a "puck" disc the friction material is not. The friction material is about 1/2 of what the OE clutch is. That being done is going to increase the contact pressure at the friction material by almost double what the OE is. Downside is the clutch is going to last 1/2 as long as the OE clutch would. If you wanted a long lasting clutch capable of holding you would have to have the clamping force of the pressure plate increased by close to double what it is.

Did you ask them what the clamping force is of the modified pressure plate? If I know that and the measurements I asked for in a previous post I can tell you what the theoretical torque rating is going to be.
I did not ask. I was satisfied with their answer but now want to verify what i was told. Will post any pictures or questions here if anyone knows "how" to see the pivot point without disassembly, which i have no interest in doing on the new one.

Getting a solid education in clutches though. Probably boring topic for many but fascinating to me.
 

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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 · #34 ·
If you want to get into the design I can take you all the way down that rabbit hole. Your brain will be hurting afterwards.

The hard part about the LUK pressure plate and the clamping force is that it's not a constant. You see those additional springs? Those are part of a centrifugal design that increases the clamping force as RPM increases. How effective it is, I couldn't tell ya, I would need to call LUK and ask them.
Probably dont want to be in the same room with me if my brain starts hurting. I have enough brain farts as it is :)
 

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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 · #35 ·
Without taking them apart, I finally did find a difference between them. Not sure if this bolt is where the pivot point is.
Vehicle Automotive tire Wheel White Hood
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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 · #36 ·
Did some more online researching. That bolt is one of the straps that connects the cover to the rest of the pressure plate.
Not seeing how i could tell if anything had been done to adjust the pivot point so I am just going to have to take them at their word and install it.
Unfortunately we have been hovering at near 100 degree days here (as I guess most of this country is this week) so hoping for a slight break in the weather to complete the install.
Also, my wife was unhappy i moved this into the kitchen for inspection last night (best light in the house) so i am banished back to the garage :)
 

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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 · #38 ·
I have a similar setup but when it gets this hot out here a couple degrees is not enough.
Also by the time i get home the garage can be well over a hundred sitting all day.
Plus the lighting is superior in my kitchen :)
On the "to-do" list is upgrading the electrical panel to support insulating and air conditioning the garage. got other priorities that keep getting in front of that though, like getting my car back up and running and all these car parts put away in the garage so I can actually move 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 · #39 · (Edited)
Ok, after confirming with Clutchmasters over the phone that they move the pivot point on the pressure plate and that combined with the 8 puck disk should get me to the engine torque I need i finally had a couple hours this morning to install the clutch as the car has been sitting on jack stands in my driveway for a couple weeks while I detoured for some of life’s necessities.
The torque spec on the ARP flywheel bolts I bought is slightly different than the OEM bolts.
ARP and Clutchmasters suggest to go with the manual specs so here is what I did.
-First I put a tiny dab of high temp gear grease on the top of my pinky and rubbed it inside the pilot bearing. I then wiped the face of the crank with brake clean on a rag.
-Thoroughly clean the new flywheel and pressure plate friction surfaces with brake clean on a rag. And I mean 3 passes thoroughly.
-finger tight all ARP flywheel bolts in a crosshatch pattern.
-following Clutchmasters instructions, slowly crosshatch pattern them all to 20 ft lbs.
- once done, remove them one at a time and blue loc-tote them, then reinsert and torque back to 20 ft lbs. again in a crosshatch pattern.
-then, following the shop manual, cross hatch a torque rating first pass at 39 ft lbs.
-then a second pass at 25 degrees following the crosshatch pattern.
-then I switched back to torque and gently checked where I was at to confirm I was over the ARP 54 ft lbs rating for these bolts. Generally they were at 56-58 ft lbs.
-then I attached the clamping dial indicator and gently rotated the flywheel. Since I am by myself I had to turn it by the flywheel so there was a little wiggle in the dial caused by me turning at the flywheel. Regardless it passed muster at only a few ticks on the dial either way.
-then I cleaned the friction surfaces again with brake clean
-then I installed the clutch friction disk with the alignment tool.
-then I put the pressure plate on.
-then using a small flathead screwdriver that was as close as I was going to get I made sure the friction plate was centered
-Not called for but I put a small dap of blue loctite in the center of each bolt and slowly tightened the pressure plate bolts to 22 ft lbs, following the tightening pattern in the manual. I took four passes at slowly getting to 22 ft lbs in the pattern as to ensure an even application.

that’s it for today as I am off for my sons 8th birthday and at 10:30 am it is already 80+ degrees (been stupid hot here for more than a week).
Have a great weekend all!

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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 · #40 ·
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I am documenting every step here for my own sanity so that if something goes wrong I can back track to make sure I didn’t skip a step or torque something incorrectly.
Sorry for the boring post :)
 
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