Clutch Fluid?

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Rob Heyen
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 4:31 am
Location: Milford NE

Clutch Fluid?

Post by Rob Heyen » Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:51 pm

I recently purchased a 1910-11 Model 33 Oakland. It has an enclosed clutch, between the flywheel and transmission. It appears to be a milti-disc clutch, and I have tried both 90 weight grease and ATF (both recommended by others), and both cause the clutch to "grab" all the time.

Should I use engine oil, or any other suggestions. I don't think the clutch is adjusted too tight, because it does not fully engage until the pedal is almost all the way out.

Thanks for any help

Rob Heyen

Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 3:07 pm
Location: Emmett, Idaho

Post by paulfisk » Thu Aug 25, 2005 3:12 pm

Regular gear lube is too heavy for a wet, multiple disk clutch. I use regular 30 wt motor oil in the clutch on my 1911 Maxwell. Model T's also have a wet, multiple disk clutch and are lubricated with oil from the crankcase. You might want to use a little ATF in the clutch, along with the oil.

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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:04 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO

Clutch Fluid

Post by wacohen » Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:28 am

Hudson also used a "wet" clutch. The fluid used was 1/2 motor oil and 1/2 kerosene (they called it Hudsonite).

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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:56 am
Location: Virginia

Wet Clutch Fluid

Post by DriveAG2 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:22 am


I am very familiar with wet multi-plate clutches but not your particular model, so these are general comments. Given that you had a "grabbing" clutch with 90 Weight oil/grease, I suspect that the problem is not the oil. Are you sure that it is a multi-plate wet clutch?

Too heavy of oil is manifested by slipping or long engagement time when up-shifting or starting on a hill.

Too light of oil is manifested by chattering or grabbing.

Most clutches do not have exotic seal material and can use any type of oil such as ATF but many people use a mixture of motor oil and kerosene to meet their temperature dependant needs. For COLD weather, as much as 50% kerosene may be needed but less for hot climates. The clutch will let you know if you are too thin or thick as per the above mantra. Avoid Extreme Pressure (EP) formulations since they may be detrimental to any bronze elements and will generally cause slippage. The clutch works by squeezing out the oil between the plates until you have metal to metal contact. EP oils may never squeeze out.

Chattering may be a sign of worn splines, guides, plates, or release springs. But it could also be caused by varnish or gunk on the plates that keep several glued together all the time. Never discount the possibility of an improperly assembled clutch. There are a LOT of parts that have to be assembled exactly right for these to work smoothly.

hope that this helps.

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