Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
December 1, 2004
Photos By: Mike Johnson

Horse Sense:
Just as with a new set of brake pads and rotors, you want to give your new clutch and new or resurfaced flywheel several hundred miles of break-in driving to bed the clutch disc materials into the flywheel and clutch cover before attempting any John Force burnouts. Are you reading this, Johnson?

If you own a manual transmission-equipped Mustang, you'll be working on your clutch at some point. Whether replacing the clutch assembly or performing some other repair, you'll need to know how to access the clutch area.

The Mustang's clutch is the "coupler" between the engine and transmission. Disengaging the clutch allows the car to idle at a stop (or you can place the shifter in Neutral). It also allows upshifts or down-shifts as the driver requires. When the clutch is engaged, the engine's power is transferred through the clutch into the transmission, to be multiplied. This multiplied power is then sent via the driveshaft to turn the rear tires. While this is a basic, "Transmission 101" definition, you can see how important it is to have a properly functioning clutch. Without it you're going nowhere, fast.

There are a lot of clutch choices out there, and if you listen to all your buddies and read all the ads, your brain will be hurting in short order. One thing we want to stress is that the clutch should act as a driveline fuse. If there's too much traction or too high an rpm with a lot of power, you will blow the clutch instead of breaking a driveshaft, transmission, or rearend. We don't know about you, but we'd rather replace a $300-$400 clutch than a $2,000 transmission.

With that said, you need to determine the power range of your Mus-tang's engine, its intended use, and your budget. There's no sense in putting a Stage Nine Super-Carbon Kevlar Ultralight Clutch with solid center hub matched to an SFI aluminum flywheel when you have a cold-air kit and a set of Flowmasters on your daily driver. So, be realistic in your needs, and your replacement clutch won't make your left leg three times the size of your right.

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