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05-28-2012, 08:19 AM #1
OT Dodge 3500 Clutch replacement recommendations
My 1997 Dodge one ton is going to need a clutch put in it and I have been doing some shopping on replacement clutch sets. Anyone out there replaced one recently and what did you find that satisfied you. I want the complete kit including the flywheel so that I don't have to have the truck down for more than a day or two. I also DO NOT want a chinese made kit.
The truck is a 2wd 5.9l diesel with the NV4500 5 speed in it and is coming up on 188,000 miles. Everything is stock on the truck although I am working on adapters and studs to swap the truck over to 235/85/16's instead of the 215/85/16's it came with. I also have a Gear Vendors overdrive waiting on the adapter kit to put in the truck as well, gotta see if I can push the highway MPG's over 25.
05-28-2012, 08:41 AM #2
While I have never done a clutch in your exact model of truck, I have done nuerous other cars and trucks. Whenever I really want something to last, I will always try for US Made parts. I usually wind up at the dealer, although I have sometimes been able to locate US items at some of the better auto parts stores.
I know that you don't want much downtime but if the flywheel has no hard spots, it could be machined and refaced at a huge savings, although at that mileage, the possibility is remote.
05-28-2012, 08:50 AM #3
I did one about a year ago. About 220,000 on the original parts. The local auto machine shop ground the flywheel. No problem. All the rest of the parts came from the dealer. Job done in 1 day.
Matt_Maguire liked this post
05-28-2012, 08:51 AM #4
Perfection Clutch is a US company, family-owned. They make a conventional replacement setup if yours came with a dual-mass setup. These are very popular, and can save you hundreds of dollars over the OE setup. Includes flywheel of course. I do not know for certain if they are sourcing some components overseas, but in this age I would be surprised if they are keep it all stateside. Good company, good product.
05-28-2012, 09:16 AM #5
Southbend is the "go to" for PSD's.
My factory clutch slipped w/85 hp tuner.
Southbend cured the problem also lighter pedal effort.
South Bend Clutch Dodge Clutch Kits Catalog
When I bought mine Through Diesel had the best price by $150.
South Bend Clutch
Usual disclaimers apply.
Also, might check the Dodge forums to see if anything better is out there.
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05-28-2012, 10:41 AM #6
check out ace mfg clutches.
05-28-2012, 10:54 AM #7
NAPA has always been a good parts source for me.
A good automotive machine shop should be able to resurface the flywheel while you wait if you schedule to work in advance.
05-28-2012, 12:03 PM #8
I changed out clutch in my '99 Dodge 3500 several years back. I used a LUK setup. They offer a 'standard' OEM rated clutch and a heavy duty clutch that called something like LUK Gold. I used the heavy duty one and had great results.
LUK is the OEM maker of most 1 ton clutches whether it is Ford or Dodge or GM. They are IMO the best choice for any non-racing application. They do what they are supposed to and last a long time.
05-28-2012, 07:12 PM #9
You will be best served with a clutch from Valair or Southbend really no other choice for a diesel.I suppose if stock is what you want
the stealership is the way to go.I love my Valair dual disc organic.you can definately rely on it for at LEAST another 188,000
05-28-2012, 07:38 PM #10
As far as I know my truck is still running on the original clutch, I bought it with just over 140K on it back in 2006. The fellow I bought it from (the 70K to 140K mileage owner) did some backhoe and dirt work on the side and had a huge gooseneck trailer he pulled with it so if it is original I think it has held up well.
This will be my first "small truck" clutch change. I had a 1965 IH 1600 Loadstar I drove like a pickup truck that needed a clutch at around 40K but it had sat unused from the early 80's till I got it in 94 or 95. That old truck was by far the smoothest shifting manual tranny I have ever had, although the NV4500 is real close. The other clutch I have had to fix was my 91 TopKick and I bought it with the clutch out of it at around 140K.
I am liking what I have read about the South Bend Clutches and most likely will just order a set from them but haven't decided on with or without flywheel.
05-28-2012, 07:49 PM #11
Call me stupid, but why do you need adapters to change tire sizes that are the same diameter?
05-28-2012, 07:52 PM #12
We used to use Southbend, but had back to back to back problems with wrong parts and poor quality. Switched to Valair and don't regret it one bit. Many of the parts are imported, but they work well, fit right and they don't screw your order up!!! The owner's name is Dan, he's treated us very fair, never BS'd or treated us like he was doing us a favor taking our money like Southbend has.
If you don't want an overseas flywheel some southbend stuff is made or atleast machined in USA. Or reuse your original flywheel. It was made in USA and is good quality except the cheap dodge pilot bearing.
Speaking of which, bore the flywheel for a ball bearing or atleast install the factory bushing NOT the needle bearing! The needle bearings are a big source of stickshift transmission failures.
IMO, the 89-93 factory Sachs clutch was the best one you could get. My 93 has 336,000 miles on it and still works like new. The truck was one of the rare ones that came with the pilot bushing instead of the needle bearing. I installed a ball bearing in it a few months ago. The disc, flywheel and pressure plate looked like new.
05-28-2012, 08:15 PM #13
05-28-2012, 11:20 PM #14
i cant comment on model specifics however you will need to either machine the flywheel or if its a dual mass most likely replace it. if you are it may be worth going to a single mass and although it will be less smooth, it will allow machining next time the clutch wears out. look into exedy clutches and flywheels. there expensive but very good and dont only make racing products. theres no point going to all the effort of replacing the clutch and not grinding the flywheel because your clutch will wear out very quickly. if you dont have one get a torque wrench capable of around 200nm with a long handle coz they need to be tight. also get or make an adapter plate that bolts the flywheel to the block. this will allow you to break and tighten the bolts. its an easy job just need to get to the clutch. also get all the bearings (flywheel, thrust bearing etc) and if you have a two piece driveshaft replace the centre bearing. may be worth doing the uni joints too.
05-29-2012, 05:36 AM #15
05-29-2012, 02:01 PM #16
South Bend makes the best clutches for diesel trucks hands down.
06-03-2012, 12:28 PM #17
I will also vote for the South Bend, which I believe is made by LUK, I ordered one about a year ago for my 3500 ram, and it said LUK on it. I have the second one up from the bottom, in terms of HP rating. Its a little grabby, but not bad at all.
I Also have friends who have the Valair and also love them.
But as already mentioned, you dont need to get a new flywheel, just MAKE SURE to have it surfaced before putting the clutch in. And you will probably want to replace the hydraulics along with it to make it a complete job.
I can almost guarantee that the end of your transmission shaft is worn from the needle bearing, and that it will fall apart in pieces of rust when you take it out. Be sure to take care of that too. I cleaned mine up, pressed a sleeve on it, and bored out the flywheel for a sealed roller bearing. It was a special high temp bearing, I have the numbers back at the shop if you need them, actually I have a few extras too.
I am about to replace the clutch in my 2011 ram 2500, I turned it up a bit and the stock clutch can't even come close to holding the power, and thats not even towing.
06-04-2012, 12:32 AM #18
LUK pressureplates are used by most oem and aftermarket clutch suppliers. The supplier often builds/specs the disc and flywheel.
06-04-2012, 06:10 AM #19
You can look at the South Bend site and tell they are not making clutches. Deal with professionals - LUK.
11-02-2015, 07:24 PM #20
Well guys here is a resurrection of an old thread. Never did get around to changing the clutch back in 2012 but then the truck has not been driven much, like only 5K miles in over 3 years. Well a week ago I pulled a heavily loaded trailer with it and fortunately it waited till I had unhitched to quit shifting into gear. Took some fiddling but I got home and now its sitting up on jack stands with the transmission out. The pilot bearing had failed causing the problematic shifting but now that it is apart its getting the treatment I wanted to do 3 1/2 years ago. Not sure I will take the time to mount the gear venders unit but we will see, cold weather is coming and the truck is outside.
Anyhow I have spent a few days researching clutch kits again which lead me back to this thread and the suggestions as to what brand to buy. One of my local suppliers has sold various brands and claims almost all of the oem style replacements and most of the step up HD units are all made by LUK. Supposedly even Southbend clutch uses alot of LUK parts.
Unless work duty calls tomorrow I will make the 2 hour round trip to pick up a LUK 13" HD replacement clutch kit. It has everything in it including a new flywheel and the upgraded bigger pilot bearing. While I know if I ordered online I could maybe get the kit alittle cheaper, this way I can look it over and make the final decision.
So are there any other suggestions. My goal is to reliably pull my 12 ton tag trailer with small loads when I need to without using the big truck.