Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
January 25, 2007

Step By Step

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Mmfp_0310_01_z Clutch_masters_drivetrain_upgrade LaunchingMmfp_0310_02_z Clutch_masters_drivetrain_upgrade New_clutch
The Clutch Masters FX 300 system retails for $626.40 and comes with pilot and throw-out bearings, and the clutch alignment tool.
Mmfp_0310_03_z Clutch_masters_drivetrain_upgrade New_flywheel
The CM aluminum flywheel weighs about 9 lbs. less than the stock one and lists for $429. It can improve the efficiency of supercharged engines and reduce turbo lag in hairdryer applications. The CM clutch kit and flywheel can be purchased together for just $715.
Mmfp_0310_04_z Clutch_masters_drivetrain_upgrade Shifter
Removing the shifter handle is the first priority in a clutch change. Using a quality aftermarket shifter the like the Pro 5.0 unit pictured here will help you get those gear changes more easily.
Mmfp_0310_05_z Clutch_masters_drivetrain_upgrade Exhaust_removed
Next, we removed the exhaust system. If you have shorty headers, it's just a matter of pulling off the H-pipe, but as you can see, our monster long tubes required a little more disassembly.
Mmfp_0310_06_z Clutch_masters_drivetrain_upgrade Long_tube_headers
The clutch cable can be released at the fork by removing the inspection cover and then prying the fork forward enough to release the cable.
Mmfp_0310_07_z Clutch_masters_drivetrain_upgrade Removing_the_transmission
With the cable released and the exhaust out of the way, the driveshaft is next followed by the transmission.

Failure is not a good thing. Especially when you have the highest hopes prior to its occurrence. We were hoping to put down some blistering elapsed times with our ProCharged Mustang GT, but the combination of molasses-like BFGoodrich drag radials and 330 rwhp proved to be too much for the stock replacement clutch that had been living in the trans tunnel for the past few years.

In the August 2003 issue of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, we installed a complete street/strip exhaust system from Bassani, and when we went to the track to test it out, the clutch slipped; a problem only exacerbated with the addition of drag radials. For that reason, we never got back to the dyno to check our results. By the time we got the new clutch installed, we were again unable to get to the dyno as our story deadline and other scheduling issues arose. We were, however, able to bring you some track results, which is quite amazing given the monsoon spring that we had. Before we do that, let's take a look at Clutch Masters, and how they were able to put all of our supercharged power to the ground.

Like our recently installed Bassani exhaust system, we wanted a clutch that would be capable of handling even more horsepower than the motor currently produces. After all, we're horsepower junkies just like you and if 330 is great, 500 is better. That being said, we contacted Clutch Masters of Rialto, California, and asked them what they recommended for our combination.

Clutch Masters has a disk for just about everything and every power level. Its FX 100 starts out with an organic clutch disk along with a diaphragm pressure plate that uses the company's high-leverage system. The high-leverage pressure plate is designed to eliminate crank walk and thus thrust bearing failures. The higher leverage action also allows the use of a heavier clamping pressure, without the heavy pedal to push.

Stage 2 moves up to a Kevlar clutch disk, and Stage 3 uses a segmented Kevlar disk for even greater power-holding capability. "The segmented design traps air, and that air gap allows the disk to handle more power" said Clutch Masters Manager Lonny Futch. "Kevlar also lasts two-to-three times longer than an organic impregnated disk." The FX 300 uses the same high-leverage pressure plate and still offers a smooth clutch engagement for good drivability.

In our February 2003 issue, David Vizard tested Clutch Master's aluminum flywheel on three different cars and came away with promising results. After talking with Lonny, we felt it would be best (both safety-wise and performance-wise) if we replaced our stock 140,000-mile steel flywheel with one of Clutch Master's lightweight units.

This two-piece flywheel meets SFI spec 1.1 or 1.2, and uses a backing plate made from 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and an A36 steel clutch surface for weight savings and better wear characteristics. Included with the flywheel are both 28 and 50oz counterweights (used according to your rotating assembly) that are secured to the flywheel via the provided hardware. An OEM-style ring gear is also employed and secured to the flywheel with removable bolts. Think of it as a modular flywheel. Each part is independently replaceable. You can purchase the clutch and flywheel separately, but we opted for the discounted clutch/flywheel package, which sells for $715.

Installation is no different than with any other clutch and flywheel system. Clutch Masters includes the clutch alignment tool, throw-out bearing, pilot bearing, and of course, the clutch itself. Dan Ryder of Danny's Pro Performance in Keyport, New Jersey, handled the installation. The job would have taken just a couple of hours, but having to remove the slip collectors on both sides of our long tube headers and loosen them on the passenger side to get the bellhousing out took extra time. If you have shorties, you'll be done quicker than you can say sidestep.

While you're replacing the clutch, it is a good time to inspect the bearing retainer on the transmission and change the fluid in the unit. When we pulled the transmission out, part of the bearing retainer slid out and got lodged in the clutch mechanism. Luckily, Danny had a new steel bearing retainer that we could throw on. We also drained the fluid from the T-5 and filled it with Castrol synthetic ATF. This will help the trans live a little longer under the punishment of our supercharged steed.