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Old 08-05-2012, 07:20 PM   #1
Bender
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Clutchmasters FX400 8 Puck with Single Mass Flywheel Initial Review

Note that this is an INITIAL review. This will be updated every 500 miles until I hit 1,500 miles. I am doing it this way as the first 500 will be break in, the second 500 will be normal driving, then the third 500 will have a few enthusiastic drives in it. I drive about 400 miles a week, so stay tuned here over the next month for updates. This review is done at about 75 miles.


For those interested, the part number is 17375-hdcl-shp

Why the FX400 8 Puck?

Choosing the clutch was the hardest part for me. I wanted something that would reliably hold K04 levels of power that was not a pain in the ass to drive in traffic. Additionally, noise was a bit of a concern as I needed something my wife wouldn't complain about. In a sense, this isn't asking a lot, but with the potential issue with SBC, my default "go to" was eliminated. After emailing manufactures, talking to other people, checking out other threads, I came to the conclusion that the FX400 8 puck was the best balance between holding power and driveability. In a sense, it balances it without making a compromise.

So how does it drive?

To put it simply; like a dream. My one complaint is that pedal feel is very similar (identical) to stock. Yes, this is an odd complaint, but I was hoping for a slightly firmer pedal. For many this is going to be perfect. Clutch engagement is significantly lower but is totally predictable. It is a bit of an on/off switch, but I am already accustomed to it. I was in heavy stop and go today and I didn't have to think about it at all.

How does it sound?

For me there is really only one thing that matters with sound and that is the dreaded wife test. I have two methods of the wife test: 1) is to see if she complains about added noise over bluetooth and 2) is to see if she comments while in the car. The FX400 passes both with flying colors.

This is not to say it has NO added sound, as it has a bit. When coasting and RPMs are dropping you do get a bit of "BECAUSE RACECAR!" sound, but its not over powering at all. In fact, others likely won't hear it. You have to be listening to it. The other factor to consider is chatter....

Chatter

I know this is probably the biggest question hanging over your heads right now. Lets be clear. This is a SMF, so there WILL be some chatter. You already knew that. So the question is "how much?". To really answer this question we need to break it down into segments/situations.

1) In gear or clutch engaged: None. Seriously. None. Doesn't matter if you are under load or not, if you are in gear or the clutch is engaged, it doesn't chatter
2) Out of gear, AC off: EXTREMELY slight. If you are having a normal conversation with someone, or the radio is on juuusssstttt a bit, you will not hear it. You have to really listen for it.
3) Out of gear, AC on: Some. Obviously this is the classic shudder situation. You can hear it. You know what it is. It isn't terrible. If you have the AC on and the fan is on two or above, the fan noise itself will drown most of it out. Radio on and its all gone. Honestly, just like engagement while driving in traffic, it became part of the noise of the world very rapidly.

If you are VERY sensitive to chatter, you might feel differently. That said, for the vast majority of us (and our significant others) this will be a non-issue.

Overall, initial impressions:

This is the perfect set up for me. Keeping the mature nature and refinement of the car has been of critical importance to me as I modified it. The FX400 meets need, perfectly. The slight noise is not nearly enough to impact your daily life. The biggest complaint I have right now is that I have to wait 500 miles to really get on it!
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
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hit 600 miles this morning so it is time for an update.

Overall, I am even happier than I was 10 days ago. A few notes:

- It has quieted down even more. It still isn't the right set-up for you if you want NO chatter, but as someone who frequently has individuals in the car that may complain about weird noises, it still works wonderfully. Noise is incredibly minimal.
- Its great in traffic. I have been driving manual for the better part of 15 years so once I got "the dance" down it became a dream. You have to be quick, but if you are quick and smooth its perfect. It reminds me of a slightly less aggressive version of the stock clutch on the Mazdaspeed 3. All that said, if you like the "lazy" feeling of the stock clutch, this might not be for you. You do have to be a bit more "present." not significantly, but a bit.
- As some of that 600 miles (probably about 1/3rd) was on the highway, I am waiting to really get on it for a while. That said, I did a couple rev matched downshifts today and they were amazing. Engine speed definitely doesn't "hang" during shifts as much which makes rev matching super super easy. Additionally I think I was absolutely losing some power on the stock clutch even when I couldn't feel it slipping.
- If you do as much traffic driving as I do I would strongly recommend the full face/8 puck. I wouldn't want to drive the 6 puck in the traffic I face.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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So I have somewhere between 1,250 and 1,500 miles on it at this point. I am now driving it hard. I have waited a bit because I do lots of highway miles, so I wanted to ensure I wasn't pushing it too early. The past week or so I have been driving as normal (enthusiastically).

The clutch has really come into its own. Its quieted down even more. Again, if you want TOTALLY silent, stick with stock. That said, noise is extremely negligible, even less than when I reviewed earlier.

The absolute most enjoyable part of the clutch, at this point, is the last of rev hang. Rev matched shifts are SO easy. They were not terrible when stock but now the are downright perfect. The other most noticeable difference is that although my stock clutch was only noticeably slipping in very specific circumstances, I am now convinced that I was missing some power throughout the bad.

Overall the balance between hold and daily driver is great. Again, its not stock, it definitely is grabbier, but it is totally friendly for a commute that faces some traffic.

I am just as huge a fan today as I was upon first install.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:21 PM   #4
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Held for 1,500 mile review
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:28 PM   #5
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these were my impressions almost identically

nice job. looking forward to the updates!
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Glad to hear you're satisfied with the clutch so far! Looking forward to hearing more as the miles add on.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #7
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Fantastic
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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Excellent, I'm pretty much set on getting this clutch once stock goes out, I'm glad there's another choice other than South Bend.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:57 PM   #9
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I would want a slightly harder pedal but, performance and reliability come way before that.

Thanks for this Bender.....
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
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I would want a slightly harder pedal but, performance and reliability come way before that.

Thanks for this Bender.....
Honestly it really surprised me. I got in and it felt almost totally stock. Though I would want it a bit harder as well, I am already over it as its too good otherwise.
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #11
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I would also like to hear your feedback when you're around 5,000 miles as well.
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #12
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Nice review, I would have definitely done the 8 puck if it was available at the time.

You may like the pedal more after about 1000 miles, after 10k mine is stiffer and more linear than stock but it still is not like the high power 1.8t in terms of firmness.
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
I would also like to hear your feedback when you're around 5,000 miles as well.
Absolutely doable

Quote:
You may like the pedal more after about 1000 miles
That would be great - no issue if it doesn't change, but I won't be upset if it does!
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:35 PM   #14
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Can't wait for more reviews as you put on some miles!
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