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Why did this clutch explode? - Gearchange/Gearbox/Clutch - The Lotus Forums #ForTheOwners Jump to content

Why did this clutch explode?

Simon P

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Hi we got the gearbox off the engine to see why the clutch had failed, and discovered complete demolition of the clutch (see pics). The input shaft is still in place. Separated from the engine the outer end has about 1/8th inch play side to side.

This is on a very low mileage 1987 Esprit Turbo.

Can anyone explain what's happened?






Edited by Simon P
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Looking at the heat marks on the flywheel and the pressure plate, it looks a lot like it was slipping pretty badly, but those marks have possibly been made as the clutch failed. Hard to tell.

 Worst one I have ever seen though.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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I have seen lots of blown clutches during my race/rally years some like this one .. but these are high performance cars being driven hard and the clutch taking the brunt of it all ..  They also have very heavy clamp loads which is why the clutch explodes rather than the friction plate slip ..  The springs are supposed to make the clutch more compliant and prevent shock load reaching the sandwich plate which has failed..    Your springs don't look over used , they generally go loose when over taxed.   So this is a mystery .. I would ask a few questions.  1/  What is the clamp load of the cover , 2/ When was it last changed  3/  Is it original equipment or recon unit..       I expect #3 will be the source of the problem .. It may have been a recon unit which has used the original Borg and Beck center with other sub standard parts ... This is quite common practice which will not show issues on less powerful cars , however it may have found its limit on the turbo Esprit..    The only other possibility , but unlikely is a fly wheel dish effect..  this can distort the disc un-naturally during clamping which can over time stress parts..  easy to check fly wheel , if it is bad enough to cause a problem , you will see it by putting straight edge across face ..  its not unusual to find 0.010''+  on older flywheels.   Otherwise i would just re face or replace fly wheel , along with new OEM quality clutch, check all associated alignments , re fit and have fun..    hope this helps shed a little light on possibilities .        

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  • 8 months later...
  • Gold FFM

I've just experienced an issue with a dished flywheel. Was asked to change out a slipping clutch on an SE. Job done, but during the road test the clutch was still sliding. Gearbox back out to find only about 5mm of the friction plate was contacting the flywheel. Took a straight edge across the surface to fund it had about 1.5mm dipped between outer and inner circumference. The unit had oy been on the car for about 4 years and had done very little miles in that time owing to ongoing clutch issues. That was the second issue I had found, the first being the slave cylinder pushrod had been extended by 17mm by having a bolt welded onto it and ground round so it wasn't visible. Another issue was the fork spring on the clutch release fork had no prongs on it and was fitted in the wrong position on the pin. And that came from a REPUTABLE dealer. Flywheel sent of to be ground flat. Once it comes back the whole setup from the pedal back will now require checking to see if they had compensated in other areas of adjustment to get the car away.

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