A flywheel is an important part of a car's clutch assembly, which is the part of the vehicle responsible for connecting the transmission to the engine. The flywheel provides the friction against the clutch plate, making it possible for the engine to drive the wheels. If the flywheel becomes damaged, it results in a range of issues that have symptoms, such as vibrations and unpleasant sounds. Learning to identify these problems allows car owners to rectify them before they cause significant harm.
Understanding a car's flywheel
In a car, a flywheel is a component of the clutch mechanism that connects to the engine. When the driver's foot is off the clutch pedal, springs exert force on a pressure plate, pressing it against the clutch disc. In turn, the disc presses against the flywheel, locking the engine to the transmission shaft and causing them to spin at the same speed.
Dual mass flywheels
A dual mass flywheel comprises two sections connected by springs. The outer section connects to the gearbox and the inner section bolts to the clutch. The purpose of the dual mass flywheel is to dampen vibrations from the engine while providing a smooth power transfer to the wheels.
Solid mass flywheels
A solid mass flywheel, or single mass flywheel, comprises of a single piece of metal. While using this type of flywheel may result in increased engine noise and vibrations, the flywheel is more durable and better at absorbing heat, meaning it lasts longer than a dual mass flywheel. For some vehicles, it is possible to get a conversion kit to change from a dual mass flywheel to a solid mass flywheel, allowing the owner to benefit from the improved durability and cheaper running costs.
There are many signs that indicate a worn or damaged flywheel in the clutch assembly. The symptoms may be noticeable when the car is pulling away or when the clutch is engaging or disengaging, and as soon as problems become apparent, the vehicle owner should consult with a trained mechanic.
Gear slippage is normally a result of a worn clutch overheating the flywheel, causing it to weaken, warp, or crack. However, the problem may arise because of oil or grease contamination or an incorrectly fitted component. According to Do It Yourself, a website dedicated to home improvement and mechanical repairs, the main symptoms of gear slippage are:
- A soft clutch pedal
- A delay after releasing the clutch pedal
- Inability to change up a gear
- Slipping back to the previous gear
- Slow acceleration
Identifying the symptoms of slippage and replacing the worn clutch as soon as possible minimises the amount of damage caused to the flywheel.
Clutch drag is similar to slippage, except rather than failing to engage correctly, the clutch fails to release correctly. Usually a result of a failure in the pilot bearing or bushing in the flywheel, drag causes grinding when changing gear and may make it impossible to engage first gear.
A burning smell is an indication that the clutch facings are overheating. Overheating creates a build-up of residue that may cause chattering, which eventually leads to warping or cracking of the flywheel.
Pulsation is another noticeable side effect of an overheating clutch assembly. Excessive heat causes the flywheel to warp, which leads to a noticeable rise and fall in engine revolutions per minute.
In a dual mass flywheel, there are springs that dampen vibrations. If these springs fail, then the flywheel becomes inefficient at diminishing the vibrations, which manifests as an intensified rumbling, usually felt on the floor of the car.
Chattering is one of the most common flywheel problems and is a symptom associated with many different kinds of malfunctions. The chattering noise occurs when the clutch skips on the flywheel, constantly grabbing and releasing rather than engaging smoothly the first time.
Chatter is often caused by contamination on the clutch disc, such as burnt material caused by overheating. Additionally, chatter may indicate a worn pilot bearing or brushing in the flywheel, a damaged clutch disc, or grooves in the flywheel.
How to buy flywheels on eBay
Finding car parts, such as flywheels, on eBay is simple thanks to the powerful search function accessible from every page. To find the essential components that you need to keep your vehicle on the road and running smoothly, enter a search criterion, and then use the filters to refine the list of results. You can arrange results by price or closing time, making it easy to compare prices and get the best bargain possible. Always check details carefully to ensure the car parts are compatible with your vehicle.