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Manual cars all have a clutch component, but not everyone knows that this part even exists if you’re used to automatic vehicles. If you’re changing from an automatic to a stick shift, or you’re in the market for a new clutch for your Dodge Cummin, we expect you need some advice on the best clutch for your favorite truck.
Never fear, we are here to help. First, we’re going to explain what the clutch is for automatic car newbies and explain the individual parts that make clutches function. Finally, we’ll give you a list of our top recommendations related to all clutch kits available for the Dodge Cummin.
What is a Clutch?
The clutch is one of the most overused, underappreciated, and least understood part of your car. In simple terms, the clutch is the mechanical device that transfers the rotational power from the engine to the wheels in any manual vehicle. The main reason why most don’t pay attention to this part is that most drivers use an automatic car.
Clutches connect and disconnect two rotational shafts to engage and disengage power transmission. In a manual transmission vehicle, this vital part works to generate power at all times to the engine, regardless of whether the wheels are spinning.
For the vehicle to change speed without shutting off the engine or coming to a complete stop, the connection between the engine and the wheels needs to brake momentarily. To do this, the clutch pedal puts pressure on the pressure plate and pushes against the clutch plate. However, even if the pedal isn’t pressed, a set of springs will serve the same function.
Read our full guide on how to find the best upgrades for the 6.7 Cummins.
The pressure from the springs, which presses up against the plate, also rests against the flywheel. This connection transfers motion to the wheels, so they turn simultaneously.
This design allows you to disengage the wheels from the engine to change gears, giving you a significant amount of control over your car’s speed. In an automatic car, this process happens automatically without the need for a clutch.
How to Choose The Right Clutch For Your Dodge Cummin
Below, we’re going to look at some of the most critical features you should consider when buying a clutch kit to install on your Dodge Cummin.
The pilot bearing provides support to the transmission input shaft. Older pilot bearings are usually made of either brass or sintered bronze, but modern transmissions require a roller-bearing due to tighter manufacturing laws.
Roller bearings tend to produce less drag, which is vital to brake faster. They also don’t become misshapen over time, which is common with brass and bronze.
Flywheels store energy within the clutch system. It provides the mounting needed for the ring gear, which the motor engages when you turn the key.
Flywheels provide the inertia to keep the rotation constant when the clutch pedal is engaged. Most are made out of billet steel because it helps with smooth clutch engagement, which is necessary for Dodge Cummins. However, drag racers prefer aluminum flywheels because engagement becomes less critical.
The pressure plate makes everything function within the clutch kit and is considered the workhorse of the system. It provides the clamping force necessary to prevent the clutch from slipping off. When you press on the clutch pedal, it disengages the spring in the plate and opens it to relieve pressure on the disk, thus allowing it to coast.
There are two basic styles, but the diaphragm style is what you should place in your Dodge Cummin because it provides you with smooth engagement, a more natural clutch action, and prolongs the life of the vehicle and the part itself.
Usually, a clutch system needs a replacement due to the clutch disc wearing down prematurely. There are two common types of discs, solid hub and sprung hub, but Dodge Cummins benefit more from sprung hubs because they do a better job of absorbing the shock during the initial engagement of the clutch.
Sprung hubs also dissipate the shock before it causes damage to other parts of the clutch kit, like the drivetrain.
Clutch discs are constructed from three primary materials.
Typical for all stock clutch disks because it offers the best drivability overall, but its negatives start to show when the engine temperature rises too high. They’re known to slip and lose friction. It’s inadvisable to replace a stock clutch with another organic part.
Kevlar offers better friction compared to organic materials, but losses drivability. Some chatter is expected when in a low gear or reverse. Kevlar tends to be a significant upgrade choice because kevlar is compatible with stock pressure plates and flywheels.
Known for its ability to withstand slippage without losing friction, this is the material of choice for high horsepower clutch applications. Sintered iron is maintainable, which means if the clutch slips excessively, the disc can be reused after resurfacing.
Summary: Best Clutch Kits
- South Bend Clutch Kit G56-OKHD: Affordable Option
- South Bend Clutch Kit G56-OFEK: Best for Older Models
- Valair Performance G56 Ceramic Clutch Kit: Best for Modified Trucks
- Valair Quiet Street Dual Disc Clutch: Most Quiet
- South Bend Clutch Kit Stage 4: Best Overall
How We Chose Our Top Recommendations
We chose the following list of clutch kits based on their build quality, configurations, and features. To avoid issues often related to clutches like bumpiness and slow shifting, we’ve carefully made sure that all the clutch kits on this list are compatible with the Dodge Cummin.
We know these kits will fit, and we know they work. All of the Dodge Cummin clutch kits are in a similar price range, so that pricing won’t be a significant contributing factor in your decision.
Our Top Recommendations
There are many different clutch kits designed to fit the Dodge Cummin available for purchase, but not all of them will benefit your truck. Each of the clutch kits we’ve picked offer specific performance benefits and make it easier for your vehicle to switch gears without sputtering. Below are the best clutch kits that are compatible with the Dodge Cummin.
The South Bend Clutch Kit is one of the smoothest clutch kits on the market. Designed explicitly for Dodge Cummin diesel truck, this clutch kit arrives with a flywheel or without it.
We recommend purchasing one with the flywheel so that you can resist the changes in rotational speed just a little more for a smoother ride. As a bonus, the kit includes the necessary hardware for mounting and a G56 gearbox.
The real positive to this kit is its upgraded towing capacity of 20k. The South Bend Clutch Kit is qualified for a maximum 900 lb-ft of torque and 425 hp. Its included throwout bearings and 13-inch disc diameter make it compatible with Dodge Ram model years 2005 – 2009. Although the action is smooth, keep in mind that the shift can be stiff once installed.
To take advantage of the manufacture’s warranty, you have to buy South Bend products straight from their website. You also need to buy this clutch above the minimum advertised price – so don’t get it on sale if you’re not sure. However, we’re sure you’ll love this clutch kit, as it’s popular with Dodge Ram owners as a replacement to their truck’s original parts.
South Bend makes some quality clutch kits, and the South Bend Clutch Kit G56-OFEK is no exception. It supports a lot of power and torque (ranked at 475 hp and 1000 lb-ft – more than the G56-OKHD). Half organic and half ceramic, this one has a high towing capacity of 25k. The G56-OFEK isn’t recommended for stock applications because it’s a single disk unit.
Similar to other South Bend accessories, you need to buy their products full price and on their website to take advantage of the warranty. Although the G56-OFEK has a leg up in regards to specs, it’s not for a stock application, so it could be tricky to install without other clutch kit parts. However, it does come with the flywheel and throwout bearing. South Bend Clutch Kit G56-OFEK is made with the model years 2005 – 2009.
The Valair Performance G56 Ceramic Clutch Kit is suitable for trucks needing extra holding power and quick shifting. This diaphragm clutch is the best of both worlds in this case because you have the combination of high-performance usage and durable ceramic material in this kit. The G56 can handle up to 650 hp within its dual-disc clutch.
Where the previous clutch kits only went up to 2009 Dodge Cummins, the G56 is made for models 2005.5 – 2011 trucks, including 5.9 and 6.7-liter models. The G56 is suitable for daily driving and towing, can handle a lot of power, and is easy to operate for even newer manual operators. However, it’s one of the noisiest kits on this list.
If a noisy clutch isn’t for you, the Valair Quiet Street Dual Disc Clutch is what you’ve been looking for. We didn’t think it was possible to have peak performance while maintaining a low profile, but quiet is the keyword here and, boy, does it deliver. For trucks that tow frequently or have a Dodge Cummin with a lot of stock parts, you may find that this Valair kit is perfect.
The Quiet Street is compatible with most Dodge Cummin trucks (2005 – 2017) because its included flywheel is better than the original stock unity. This kit can handle up to 550 hp, but the material is organic, so it isn’t as durable as the other clutches on this list. User reviews state that this kit is super quiet and easy to use, but isn’t meant for competition.
Last but not least, the half-ceramic/half-organic South Bend Clutch Kit Stage 4 is a high-performance kit equipped to handle a lot of torque and a lot of power. This kit has the most substantial towing capacity on this list with a total of 30k+, up to 650 hp, and can ram about 1300 lb-ft of torque. If you tow a lot of items, this South Bend Clutch is your best pick.
This clutch kit includes everything necessary to install and other necessities like tools, flywheel, and plate. If you have an older Dodge Ram model from 2000 – 20005, this will fit perfectly within your truck. What makes it the last on this list is its negatives, as this kit is really loud and doesn’t shift as quickly as other models.
FAQs About Clutch Kits
Clutch kits are more cost-effective than getting the parts individually, but the labor adds a significant replacement cost. Labor can fall between $500 and $700, making total repair around $1,100. However, if you know how to install the kit yourself, you can save more than half on the installation and labor.
While there are many fantastic clutch brands on the market, the best of the best South Bend due to their amazing performance clutch kits and other incredible products. Based on customer reviews, they are a favorite amongst Dodge owners but are still ranked high for other car and truck models as well.
A basic kit comes with all the necessary items needed to install the clutch system. These include the pressure plate, friction plate, pilot brushing, and alignment device. All of these components attach to the clutch system and ensure that the driver has no issue engaging or disengaging the clutch when the pedal is pressed down.
There are a few ways to know you need to immediately replace your clutch before it causes more problems to the rest of your car’s mechanism. If you notice grumbling noises or squeaking when the pedal is pressed or if the engine revs, but the acceleration is poor, you should replace it.
However, if you notice sticking or difficulty shifting gears, it’s essential not to delay and to replace the mechanism immediately because it could sputter when breaking and cause an accident.
We’ve gone through all of the most essential information, facts, and tips that you may need when choosing the best clutch and clutch kit to install on your Dodge Cumin – whether your model is old or new.
To ensure that you receive the best results and your desired performance boost you want from your newly installed clutch, take the time to look through each section of our detailed guide so you won’t miss some vital information related to towing capacity and torque. If you’re having trouble finding the best clutch kit for your Dodge Cumin, contact your local mechanic shop to see if they’re for sale.
As long as you follow the installation instructions carefully, you’ll improve the towing capacity and smooth your gear shifting for your Dodge Cummin with a new and improved clutch.