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My Southbend clutch experience...


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This is my Southbend Clutch experience in it's entirety. I am not a professional, so some of the problems I ...




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Old 03-25-2008, 10:30 PM
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My Southbend clutch experience...

This is my Southbend Clutch experience in it's entirety. I am not a professional, so some of the problems I encountered may have been from my own inexperience, but I wanted to tell it exacltly as it happened, in order to better inform everyone. I did not powder puff it, so be advised.

The ordering...

It started off pretty good, called Southbend, got some info on their products. The man I spoke with, who seemed knowledgable and confident in their products, suggested the stage 2...1 side Furamic and 1 side organic for the use that I intended...cost was $650. After I considered what the man had told me and the high recommendations I had heard on the their clutches, I called back the next day and ordered the clutch....it arrived within 3 days of ordering. The product looked very nice and of high quality.

The install....

..everything bolted up fine, but when I went to install the tranny, it wouldn't go in the last 2 inches or so....checked the alignment and all that jazz...tried again...same problem. The pressure plate fingers were coming in contact with the release bearing about 2 inches or more out, holding it back from the bellhousing. This may be normal, but since this is my first clutch replacement with a centrifugal slave design, I had no clue. So I called Roe Racing to ask if this is normal (since I bought the slave upgrade from them), and they said no, that the tranny should go in with no resistance...he also said that he had never heard of this problem with a Centerforce clutch before...I told him that it was a Southbend Clutch...he said he had never heard of that company before, and that was probably the problem, and that I should have probably just bought a Centerforce. Well, you could imagine what I was feeling at this moment...not too happy.

I decided to call Southbend and ask them what they thought might be the problem, and to check to make sure that I had the right clutch. I had to call several different times (about 4 total i think) and I basically got transfered from person to person each time, telling my problem over and over. Everyone I talked to, that day, did not seem to know anything about the hydraulic clutch set-up on our trucks, and most of them seemed puzzled when I said I had a Viper truck...like they had never heard of such a thing. The only thing they could tell me to do was to take the clutch back off and compare it to the stocker to see if there were any major differences, and then call them back. By this time I was starting to get very frustated and peeved..I was wondering what happened to the knowledgable staff, or person, I spoke with when I ordered this thing?!! I was thinking how could a company make a performance clutch for a vehicle they don't know anything about or have never heard of??!! So, I took the clutch back off and compared it to the stocker as instructed. There was a 3/8" difference in the circle diameter that the the clutch fingers make (3/8" larger opening), but the depth seemed normal. So, I called back to report what I had found, and they were closed. I took vaction days off work to change it out, so you could imagine I was ticked off when i coundn't do anything else that day because they were closed, and it was only 4:00p...especially after going back and forth with them all day.

Well, you could imagine at this point, I was ready to pack it up and send it back, but I remained calm and waited for the morning to report my findings. I called first thing the next day...this time I got the guy I talked to originally...come to find out, he was the only person at that time (so I was told), that was in the know on the hydraulics system for the Viper trucks, and had been out the day before. He insured me that I had the right clutch and told me that there would be resistance against the spring with the upgraded hydraulics slave cylinder, and gave me some tips to assist in getting the clutch in. The tips were to take the cap of the reservior and open the bleeder screw to reduce pressure against the cylinder...that simple.

Armed with this new knowledge I bolted the clutch back on to the flywheel, retorqued, and tried to install the tranny again. I got to the same point and it stopped again..same problem, but this time I kept at it and with a bunch of jiggling, jostling, pushing and cursing, I finally got it close enough to get the bolts in and they did the rest of the work. Finally, after two and a half days...success!! I was relieved at this point.

the Performance...

I went with the more conservative style break-in, driving it easy for about 650 miles or so before ever dumping the clutch or powering through the gears. I had some concerns with some mild slow chattering type actions from the clutch, but overall the clutch performed very well. I assumed that since this was a performance type clutch, that I would have less of a smooth operation. Just to be sure, I called Southbend and they assured me this was normal and should improve with more miles and break-in. He also pointed out that the new flywheel I bought from Dodge was not totally flat out of the box, which could be contributing to the mild chattering, and should improve with time.

I now have over 1200 miles on the clutch and it is still perfoming very well, though it seems to very noisy in neautral. I hope it is my ears playing tricks on me, but I think it may be getting louder. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is normal. I'm thinking this may be caused by the differences in the pressure plate finger design and/or diameter difference...I just hope that its not eating the release bearing up.

Overall, I think that Southbend knows how to build a good clutch, and in their field of expertise (diesel trucks, etc.), I'm sure they are top contenders, but I wonder just how much actual R & D and road testing have been done on the clutch design for our trucks. Serious concerns are raised when only one person out of the many I talked to have knowledge of our vehicles and the systems they use. I was also disappointed with the customer service I recieved from most of the staff. I was made to feel like I was a bourden when I called with questions...with the exception of Pete, he was very knowledgable and willing to help.

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Casey
'05 Ram SRT-10 Silver RC...brought to life on 2/1/05 - 18th hour
custom true dual 3" Magnaflow w/ custom X-pipe, Viper slave/master cylinder upgrade, Southbend Stage II clucth, Raptor shift light, Stinker's lowering blocks, towing package from JMB performance, drop-in K&N, "legally" tinted windows , VTCOA decal

Last edited by SRTcracka; 03-26-2008 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:14 PM
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Good information, so far I haven't been real excited with any of the aftermarket clutches.
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:29 AM
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The trans should go in without any dog and pony show.

There is something wrong with the setup.
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:57 AM
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something sounds fishy if you had to fiddle and force it that nuch.....like jack said, it should be straight forward unless somethings wrong
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:33 AM
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Ah sh#t nothing like spending good money on a mod and getting mixed feelings about your purchase. Have you spoke with the other member whom has the same clutch?

I know I was all confused on which clutch to buy back in 05 when mine burned out. Many people purchased this one brand that actually grenaded a few trannies later one........glad I didnt buy that one. Another one had fittment issues which they seemed to have fixed. Centerforce worked out for most of us including me. FYI, I had chatter for a while when pulling into my garage very slowly.........this went away with time and miles. I never notice it anymore. Have put 9k miles on the CF.

Yours could be just fine..........time will tell. How is the full throttle first to second shift?

patrick
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:37 AM
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Never contacted me at all, I was informend that he went and ordered one. I would have been happy to answer any of the questions or concerns ?

Weird I have close to 2700 miles on my Stage 3 and I have no issues or noises? Excluding 460 of those miles I can assure y-all that I have been hammering this Stage 3 too...

SRTcracka- I do sure wished you PMed me, I would have answered the questions or put you in cotact with the 'correct' personell there....

Sorry for the mishandled customer service- how do you like the Stage-2clutch thus far?
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:13 AM
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Well thats one place I have alot of experience in, what did you use to align to clutch. If you used the cheesy plastic thing that I got chances are the clutch wasn't aligned perfect. I have a extra input shaft that I use now and it makes it super easy to line up. The first time you push the clutch peddle in you lined the clutch back up, if you were to take the transmission out now it would go back in very easy. I had it miss aligned once and just used the bolts to suck in the rest of the way in, when i took it apart the next time the pilot bearing was chewed up.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:32 AM
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I wrapped that plastic alignment tool with electric tape as the end was a bit smaller than the pilot hole...... I could've told you this bit of experience to help your install pains........
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRed460
Well thats one place I have alot of experience in, what did you use to align to clutch. If you used the cheesy plastic thing that I got chances are the clutch wasn't aligned perfect. I have a extra input shaft that I use now and it makes it super easy to line up. The first time you push the clutch peddle in you lined the clutch back up, if you were to take the transmission out now it would go back in very easy. I had it miss aligned once and just used the bolts to suck in the rest of the way in, when i took it apart the next time the pilot bearing was chewed up.
I used the plastic one supplied by Southbend! Unfortunatly, I was fresh out of input shafts. ..but that is a good idea.

Based on what you wrote, and I few others, this sounds like what I was dealing with. So, if that's the case, the noise I'm hearing could be the pilot bearing grinding. My question now is, is my input shaft now being improperly supported...could this cause tranny damage...do I need to take it back out and replace it, or check to see what is making the noises???

If the alignment tool supplied is the wrong size, then why is it in the box???!! Wouldn't it be wise, and inexpensive (for the manufacturer), to just include the proper tools necessary to correctly install the clutch, and save the customer the hassle...especially after spending $650?!

What kind of tool is included in the Centerforce kit...do they have the same problems with alignment?

HaulinAsp.....As far as the clutch performance...it has performed well...I definitely does not slip! ...but, if I have to take it back out for the third time to fix a problem that could have been avoided in the beginning, or if it causes damage to my tranny, you could say I would be, overall, extremely disatisfied. I guess time will tell.

BTW - I would have asked you questions directly in the beginning, but I was not near my computer nor did I have access to one at the time. You could say my shop is in the boonies...my cell phone barely worked enoug for me to call Southbend. I would think that if these are known issues, or areas of concern, that Southbend would have informed me when I asked.
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Casey
'05 Ram SRT-10 Silver RC...brought to life on 2/1/05 - 18th hour
custom true dual 3" Magnaflow w/ custom X-pipe, Viper slave/master cylinder upgrade, Southbend Stage II clucth, Raptor shift light, Stinker's lowering blocks, towing package from JMB performance, drop-in K&N, "legally" tinted windows , VTCOA decal
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:55 PM
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I forgot something...what is the trick to getting the pilot bearing out easliy, or is there one? It was a pain to get out the first time.
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Casey
'05 Ram SRT-10 Silver RC...brought to life on 2/1/05 - 18th hour
custom true dual 3" Magnaflow w/ custom X-pipe, Viper slave/master cylinder upgrade, Southbend Stage II clucth, Raptor shift light, Stinker's lowering blocks, towing package from JMB performance, drop-in K&N, "legally" tinted windows , VTCOA decal
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