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Heavy Duty Truck Clutches: Maintenance and Operation Tips

March 12, 2020
By Jeffery White

In order to achieve the maximum service life on your clutch components, it is imperative that you perform regular clutch and brake maintenance on all of your heavy duty trucks. Heavy truck clutches need to be properly adjusted at all times and working just as the manufacturer intended.

So, today, we have compiled a list of some maintenance and operation tips for your heavy truck clutches.

Regular Vehicle Maintenance

This is going to be the most important tip to maintain the maximum efficiency of your heavy duty truck. When performing maintenance, it is important to check for any fluid leaks there may be that can ultimately find their way into the clutch housing. If fluid reaches the clutch, parts can become damaged, and the clutch won’t operate as it should.

Check the Clutch Master Cylinder Fluid Level

When operating normally, the fluid levels should remain relatively consistent for your heavy truck clutches. However, if the fluid level is low, there may be a leak. You should also sniff out if there are any unusual smells coming from inside the truck as well that can be caused by a leak from a failed seal.

Adjusting a Heavy Clutch

If you find you have to adjust your heavy truck clutch, then the proper distance of the clutch release bearing and the clutch break should be a minimum of ½ an inch regardless of who the manufacturer of that particular clutch is.

For manual clutch adjustments, the release bearing to clutch distance is set at ½ an inch. The release bearing to release fork distance should be at 1/8 of an inch. You can then check the clutch brake by depressing the pedal to the floor. You can then verify that the release system is working properly.

For self-adjusting clutches, the procedure is going to be very similar. You confirm the measurement and check the gap as you did for a manual adjustment. You follow the same process and then check in-cab free play to see if it is at the proper clutch position and adjustment.

If you are unsure of the process or need a professional look, the experts at J&W Mechanical Fleet Services can pinpoint the reason for clutch failure, including some of the more common reasons, such as disk slippage. They can also tell if the damage is the result of an untrained driver who is unfamiliar with driving a manual transmission. They can identify strange clutch noises identify jerking happening between gears as well.

The information on this page may have changed since we first published it and is for informational use only and is no substitute for actual professional advice. If you’d like to establish a relationship, reach out to us and we’ll tell you how we can make it official.