Honda clutch failures
By now, several members have discussed problems with late-model Honda converter clutch failures and how to prevent them.
Almost all Honda converter clutches are designed to nearly the same specifications. The main difference that exists is the difference in size. One of the areas of concern where failure occurs is spring pocket retainers cracking due to material fatigue. It is advised, after careful inspection, to reinforce rivet locations with brazing (see photo). A small reinforce is all that is required and will guarantee and protect against future breaking.
The second area to be concerned with is the choice of friction material. The OEM material on all Hondas is of a low co-efficient of friction designed for smooth clutch engagement. It is highly recommended to use a less aggressive material, such as Kevlar, to prevent lining degradation and optimal clutch “feel.” It is not recommended to use a highly aggressive material, such as the “red” clutch material in this application. The only Hondas that respond well to the red material are Hondas equipped with high-output motors such as the VTEC. High-output and high-performance Hondas require this higher co-efficient of friction for greater clutch holding ability.
Next, clutch clearance must be maintained to factory specifications which is .035/050. In addition, end clearance must remain below .025 to ensure proper roller bearing life expectancy.
Surface preparation for the front cover must maintain fifteen micron RMS or less to ensure proper clutch slip/grab co-efficient. In this case, smoother is better. Honda provides a surface ground finish of approximately seven micron RMS which is almost impossible for rebuilders to achieve. If resurfacing is required, be sure to remove the same amount of material from the roller bearing pocket as from the clutch mating surface.
Following these basic rules will result in failurefree Honda clutches, which is something I’m sure we can live with!
Found in issue July 2005