Jeff Ford
December 1, 2001
Contributers: Jeff Ford

Hard clutch pedal. You groan every time you see a traffic light and your left leg looks like you've been working out with Ahnald and the boys at World Gym. You're constantly wondering why the clutch pedal has to be so stinking tough. Well, it doesn't. For a while now, we've wondered if the Centerforce clutch setup is all it's cracked up to be. Less pedal effort, if nothing else, means less wear and tear on clutch components that are becoming more difficult to find. So when we (OK, the tranny itself) decided to rebuild the four-speed in Project Blue Racer-our '73 Mach 1-we thought a new clutch was in order. Second gear in our Mach was "crunchy" under load when being shifted from First to Second. We'd hoped the sincros were bad, but sadly, it ended up being something worse: The second-gear set was becoming toothless, so we replaced it and rebuilt the four-speed. It didn't cost too much-but it did add an unexpected $350 to a project we're trying hard not to spend too much money on.

In a case of "while we're here," we decided to replace the clutch with a new one. Since many folks have told us the Centerforce clutch is a nice item, we decided to throw it in and compare it to the new old stock clutch in our former '72 project car, The Lazarus Project. National Parts Depot slid us a clutch, a pressure plate, and a flywheel, which, as it turns out, we, needed anyway. Why? Read on.

Does It Work?
Well, we've been switching between the '72 and the '73 for a couple of days now, and we like the Centerforce. Clamping force seems better than our original, and the pedal effort is lighter, though the soft application takes some getting used to. We're still being quite gentle with the clutch since it requires a 500-mile break-in period. Even so, we did a couple of speedy blasts and were quite impressed with the bite of the disc. What we like-at least as much is the lack of pedal effort on the car-is that it feels like a hydraulic clutch. At this point, we'd have to give the Centerforce a big thumbs-up.