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The Mysteries of Factory Hydraulics Explained

Sep 1, 2020 | Hydraulic Bearings

Back in the day, installing a clutch in a vehicle was much simpler. Mechanical linkages made it easy to readjust the release of the clutch, and if your new clutch was a slightly different height from the old one, it was simple to compensate for the difference.

Not so with today’s modern hydraulic release mechanisms. Most of the newer vehicles utilize an internal hydraulic bearing (often called the CSC, or concentric slave cylinder.) These slave bearing assemblies work on the principle of preload, or a certain amount of push back on the bearing as the transmission is slid back in place. There is a limit to this total amount of preload, and a delicate balance between getting enough preload for the clutch to disengage properly, and having enough remaining room for the bearing to retract to allow for wear in the clutch over time.

Clutch manufacturers must keep this variable in mind when designing new clutch systems such as our Pro Street dual disc. We have to carefully evaluate the stock clutch system and measure for overall height constraints as well as examine and test the factory slave cylinders to insure compatibility with the new clutch unit.

If you have ever purchased a RAM clutch system for one of these later model vehicles, you no doubt read your instructions (you did, right?) and saw the setup height measuring charts and instructions. Then you probably said, “Do I really need to do this?”

The answer should be yes. While double checking these setup measurements might take a few extra minutes, the time it will save you if there is an incompatibility or oddity with your application will be minor in relation to the time it takes to completely disassemble the car and start over.

The easiest way to understand how to do these setup measurements is to watch our detailed video on factory hydraulics setup, also see below. It will give you a good visual on how the process works and what you are actually looking for.

Are there situations where a RAM clutch may not work with factory hydraulics? Absolutely. In those cases there will be a RAM aftermarket hydraulic bearing assembly that will facilitate your install. And if that factory slave is worn out, this might be the perfect time to upgrade to our bearing unit.

Take your time, take the measurements, and ensure that you will not have any issues with your clutch install down the road.