I managed to break a South Bend Stage 3 clutch

n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
Here's what enjoying too much weapons-grade TORQUE finally did to the clutch disc in my 05 ATD PD JWagen TDI.....



:eek:

It's a South Bend Stage 3 SMF setup (IIRC recently renamed to South Bend Stage 2 Endurance). It was mated to an OEM (heavy) VW SMF. Engagement was always slightly more abrupt than the stock DMF setup but pedal feel and engagement height was identical to stock. Even after the failure it still felt like stock and I could shift OK, just no torque available at the wheels.

This happened in early 2014 in my 2005 ATD PD Jetta Wagen. The failure happened while on my way home for work. I was haulin' ar$e on the highway (I-495 in Chelmsford MA) when it failed with a very loud BANG(!) and then it had all the symptoms of a badly slipping clutch. I was able to take the next exit and get off the highway and by the time I got to the end of the exit ramp, it was done and couldn't move any further. I had the car towed to (TDIclub Guru) mrchill's shop in Braintree MA. After 160k miles and close to 9 years, I decided to not fix it and sold the car to mrchill and walked away from it. It's now his next project car.

Mods in the car:
  • ATD PD engine - replaced the original BEW engine at 76k miles after a rogue timing belt took it out in 2009. The ATD is a Euro version of the BEW PD engine, supposedly the "real" PD100....what the BEW was derived from for the USA. Only a few parts from the BEW needed to be swapped over to the ATD to make it work with the BEW's ECU. It made for a plug and play swap.
  • Rocketchip PD Stage 3 tune. The tune included the steel GP update from the first glowplug recall to replace the BEW's time bomb ceramic GPs. The ATD had steel GPs.
  • 3-bar MAP sensor.
  • PD version VNT-17/22 turbo.
  • PD150 intake manifold and racepipe.
  • IDparts 2.5" PD version downpipe and CAT.
  • 2.5" exhaust piping all the way back including glasspack resonator.
  • PD150 injectors w/R783 nozzles (IIRC, don't remember the exact nozzles off the top of my head.). This was the last mod done and probably what finally took out the clutch after a year of driving it like I stole it. I loved the Weapons-grade TORQUE!

The last time the car was dyno'd (in 2012?) it was putting down around 180HP and 305 ft-lbs to the wheels. It was a hoot to drive with all that weapons-grade torque. :cool:

I don't recall reading any reports of other TDIclubbers having broken a SBC 3 SMF clutch. IIRC, it's rated to hold 425 ft-lbs. In my situation, it looks like the friction material held together but the disc sheared away where it attached to the hub. I think I might be the first TDIclubber to break one of these clutches.
 
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n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
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Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
You said it's a stage3 endurance but rename to a stage2 can this be verified. I've never heard that before.
My clutch setup was a South Bend Stage 3, SMF version. I don't know if it was called "endurance" or not. It was rated to hold 425 ft-lbs. IIRC, SBC has since rename the clutch to Stage 2 Endurance and has the same 425 ft-lbs rating, but I could be wrong.
The clutch has 84k miles on it from me driving it like I stole it. It wasn't slipping at all before the failure. All was normal prior to the failure although I noticed a slight drop in power about a second or two before it grenaded. I was haulin' ar$e on the highway at the time and had my foot into it. From the pic it looks like there's plenty of friction material left. Looks like the rest of the disc wasn't as strong. :(

Anyhow mrchill sent me the pic recently and I thought I'd post it up because he has never heard of anybody breaking one of these clutches before. I might be the first one on TDIclub. :eek:
 
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Bob_Fout

Oil Wanker
Joined
Sep 5, 2004
Location
Indiana
TDI
2003 Jetta - Alaska Green (sold) / 2015 GTI 2.0T
Was SBC contacted for a post-mortem analysis? Several years ago, my SBC Stage 3 failed on me while driving, and later found out it was due to a known manufacturing flaw. Replacement was warrantied and I was given a Stage 2 Endurance.

Several others here have had their older SBC Stage 3's give up the ghost, and gotten Stage 2 Endurance as warranty replacements.
 

n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
Was SBC contacted for a post-mortem analysis? Several years ago, my SBC Stage 3 failed on me while driving, and later found out it was due to a known manufacturing flaw. Replacement was warrantied and I was given a Stage 2 Endurance.

Several others here have had their older SBC Stage 3's give up the ghost, and gotten Stage 2 Endurance as warranty replacements.
Wow. OK didn't know that. Looks like I'm not the first one to have an SBC 3 clutch grenade on them. mrchill owns the car now and it's his project car for a 2.0L BKD PD swap. He may chime in here with more info.
 

Mikkijayne

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Location
Devon, UK
TDI
Audi S8
I'm following a close second then, having just killed a Stage 4 endurance in my A6. It managed about 60K of mostly highway use before it started slipping, and failed completely the other day so I can't get any gears any more. Not pulled it apart for a post-mortem yet, but I suspect something similar has happened. That was with 212hp and probably 350lb/ft ish, but in a 3800lb Quattro where the clutch is the weakest link.
 

devonutopia

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 1, 2003
Location
Devon, U.K
TDI
PD300 Skoda Fabia
I thought southbend was a fairly reputable brand? Kind of glad I steered away from them and went with Sachs in my car. Running over 300 crank HP with no problems through my SRE clutch (yet, [fingers crossed])
 

Layerz

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2007
Location
Leicester
TDI
Audi A4 2.5 TDI AKE
My cars current engine's previous owner (mouthful there!) had the engine modded a bit running 180-200bhp. And blew a stage 2 or 3 clutch.

Sounds like they have shorter then expected lives?

Based on that I went with a darkside vr6/g60 combo when I put the engine into my car.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Clutches, along with brakes, have wear and failure rates that are more dependent than other components on driver use. It's easy to abuse a clutch: someone who's "good" at it can cause a clutch to fail in minutes. Others make them last and last. Chill had a customer kill a clutch in one of his cars in a 30 minute test drive. On the other hand, my son's Golf has the original DMF and clutch at 265K. The PO was easy on that one.

I don't think you can generalize on the quality of a component from a couple of reports on a forum. A number of people here have complained about early failure/weakness of G60/VR6 Sachs clutches, too. Depends on the user, I maintain. And the installer.
 

Layerz

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2007
Location
Leicester
TDI
Audi A4 2.5 TDI AKE
That's a fair point, and I guess it's likely that if you need over 300 ft-lbs rating you'll be making fair use of it too!
 

john.jackson9213

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Location
Miramar, Ca. (Think Top Gun)
TDI
1996 B4V
Clutches, along with brakes, have wear and failure rates that are more dependent than other components on driver use. It's easy to abuse a clutch: someone who's "good" at it can cause a clutch to fail in minutes. Others make them last and last. Chill had a customer kill a clutch in one of his cars in a 30 minute test drive. On the other hand, my son's Golf has the original DMF and clutch at 265K. The PO was easy on that one.

I don't think you can generalize on the quality of a component from a couple of reports on a forum. A number of people here have complained about early failure/weakness of G60/VR6 Sachs clutches, too. Depends on the user, I maintain. And the installer.
This is so true. A clutch is designed to be the wear part in the engine/transmission. And the lifetime of the clutch depends on many different things. Many of those things are totally under control of the driver. Not to say defective clutches don't get out of the factory - they certainly do.
 

KERMA

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 23, 2001
Location
here
TDI
99 beetle and 04 jetta
FWIW, there is a zero mile VW factory warranty on clutches.

That means: new car zero miles.... if the clutch is bad 30 minutes after driving it off the lot... VW says: sorry no warranty. You pay for a new clutch + installation at the dealer. Same with the replacement clutch. At least that's what it used to say in my owners manual/warranty documents back when.

Industry standard is: break it, too bad for you. It's a testament to SBC that they step up like they do, when they do. Truly an exceptional company.

No other product is so hassle-free, no returns, no support calls, they just work and do what they are supposed to. For every "broken clutch" post you see, there are 100's more clutches still on the road after years of hard use. One or two posts every so often does not a trend make.
 

n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
Clutches, along with brakes, have wear and failure rates that are more dependent than other components on driver use. It's easy to abuse a clutch: someone who's "good" at it can cause a clutch to fail in minutes. Others make them last and last. Chill had a customer kill a clutch in one of his cars in a 30 minute test drive. On the other hand, my son's Golf has the original DMF and clutch at 265K. The PO was easy on that one.

I don't think you can generalize on the quality of a component from a couple of reports on a forum. A number of people here have complained about early failure/weakness of G60/VR6 Sachs clutches, too. Depends on the user, I maintain. And the installer.
So true. What IBW said.

My old 02 Golf TDI is still on the road and closing in on 400k miles. I always drove that one like I stole it and it only had 361k miles on it when I sold it in 2010. The SACHS VR6 clutch it got went in at 152k miles and it's still holding fine after many performance mods done since then. It was making close to 300 ft-lbs after all the mods.
 

ryanp

Vendor
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Jun 22, 2008
Location
Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK
TDI
Arosa CR - 550hp - 9.7 @ 150mph 1/4 Mile, Citigo 4x4 CR TDi - 340hp, Caddy 2.0 CR 4x4 TDI - 300+hp, Golf Mk2 Van 1.9 TDI - was 290hp, Mk5 Ibiza 2.0 FR TDi - 270hp, BMW 135d - 360hp, BMW 330d - 335hp, BMW 335d - 380hp + a few more ........
More than half of SB clutches failed for us, early ones were warrantied but still cost a ton in extra labour, like 30 kits worth!
 

iamatt

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Location
Rosharon, Texas
TDI
2014 Jetta 6 Speed manual
Have heard of other SB clutches failing on mild modded tdi's as well. Would recommend clutchmasters brand. Shop around here is putting those in TDI audis and holding up no problems!
 

BuzzKen

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
May 16, 2011
Location
Markham, Ontario
TDI
'10 Touareg TDI, '09 335D, '10 X5D
I have to agree with Ryan. Using that stock sachs disc and just changing friction material is a recipe for exactly this. That hub is not designed for that much torque.


'In my opinion'
 

Bob_Fout

Oil Wanker
Joined
Sep 5, 2004
Location
Indiana
TDI
2003 Jetta - Alaska Green (sold) / 2015 GTI 2.0T
More than half of SB clutches failed for us, early ones were warrantied but still cost a ton in extra labour, like 30 kits worth!
I was on the hook for $1500 or so, labor and rental car. (This happened while I was several hundred miles from home)
 

n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
Anyhow mrchill sent me the pic recently and I thought I'd post it up because he has never heard of anybody breaking one of these clutches before. I might be the first one on TDIclub. :eek:
From all the replies here I'm definitely not the first one to break one of these clutches. Hopefully mrchill will chime in with more info on what he found.
 

CourierGuy

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2014
Location
Canada
TDI
2002 Golf(Summer) 2003 Golf(Winter)
Clutches, along with brakes, have wear and failure rates that are more dependent than other components on driver use. It's easy to abuse a clutch: someone who's "good" at it can cause a clutch to fail in minutes. Others make them last and last. Chill had a customer kill a clutch in one of his cars in a 30 minute test drive. On the other hand, my son's Golf has the original DMF and clutch at 265K. The PO was easy on that one.

I don't think you can generalize on the quality of a component from a couple of reports on a forum. A number of people here have complained about early failure/weakness of G60/VR6 Sachs clutches, too. Depends on the user, I maintain. And the installer.
And when the whole family of 5 drives the family car, 2 adults, 3 teens, in 5 different ways... that's another recipe for a molested early failing clutch bill in no time.

People that use the clutch pedal as a foot rest.. ie: my friend.. 35000km.. bye bye Jeep clutch..

Not clutch related, but some also have bad shifter habits. Like resting their right hand/arm on it.. combine that with poor clutch habits, and you do the math.

I'd even go as far as saying that if 2 people drive the same clutch.. It'll affect it's life. One will shorten it vs the other.
 
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Dirtracr95

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2013
Location
Des Plaines, IL
TDI
'13 Jetta Sedan DSG
Not just tdi related but the Nissan specific performance shop I worked at had a lot of sb clutches fail. They don't recommend them to anyone with a Z or G.
 

GCBUG00

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Location
Hartsville SC
TDI
2000 Beetle
Your picture is not detailed enough for a true fault verification.

First glance, looks like you overpowered the lining springs and broke them, right?

What does your FW surface look like?
What does your pressure plate casting surface look like?
Was the clutch slipping just prior to failure?
How about a really crisp shot showing the disc splines?
A shot of the FW side showing where the hub pilots in the drive plate?
A shot from the edge of the damper showing the stop pins, we're looking for contact marks there.

Based on one picture showing an intact facing ring and an intact damper assembly, that mirrors angular mis-alignment of transaxle to engine.

Every single engine rotation, those stamped steel lining springs were minutely flexed and flexed and flexed to failure.

It would require a detailed look to confirm or ...........
 

n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
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Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
Your picture is not detailed enough for a true fault verification.

First glance, looks like you overpowered the lining springs and broke them, right?

What does your FW surface look like?
What does your pressure plate casting surface look like?
Was the clutch slipping just prior to failure?
How about a really crisp shot showing the disc splines?
A shot of the FW side showing where the hub pilots in the drive plate?
A shot from the edge of the damper showing the stop pins, we're looking for contact marks there.

Based on one picture showing an intact facing ring and an intact damper assembly, that mirrors angular mis-alignment of transaxle to engine.

Every single engine rotation, those stamped steel lining springs were minutely flexed and flexed and flexed to failure.

It would require a detailed look to confirm or ...........
A slight angular misalignment of transaxle to engine starts to make sense. The clutch had 4+ years and 84k miles on it with modded performance. That translates to a very large number of flexes (once per rev) if there were any!

The engine is an ATD PD100 engine instead of the USA-spec BEW PD engine. Aside from a few internal differences, they are the same engine and the ATD bolts up nicely in place of a BEW engine. A few BEW-specific parts were swapped over to the ATD to make it a plug and play swap into a BEW PD Mk4 TDI but nothing changed in terms of how it bolts up to the transaxle.

First glance, looks like you overpowered the lining springs and broke them, right?
From the pic, it looks like the springs are still intact. One thing about this clutch setup is it caused the classic VR6 "rattle" in TDIs at idle in neutral with the clutch pedal out. The SMF clutch setup doesn't provide the damping provided by the original stock DMF setup and the strong torque pulses at idle get transmitted to the gears in the transaxle. The actual rattle sound comes from the gears as they click together in a sort of speedup/slowdown/speedup/slowdown fashion as they spin unloaded. I fully expected to have the rattle given that I had it in my 02 Golf TDI with its VR6 clutch setup. I sold the 02 Golf in 2010 w/only 361k miles on it, and only 209k trouble-free miles on the VR6 clutch.

What does your FW surface look like?
What does your pressure plate casting surface look like?
Sorry no pics available yet. mrchill sent me the above pic.

Was the clutch slipping just prior to failure?
There was absolutely no slippage at all prior to failure, no matter how hard I could try to make it slip with all the weapons-grade torque I had available. The only warning just prior to failure was a slight drop in power a second or two before it grenaded with a very loud BANG(!). I was haulin' arse on the highway at the time and had my foot into it. The engine redlined immediately after the failure while I still had my foot into it. After the failure it had all the symptoms of a very badly slipping clutch. Luckily I was able to take the next exit and get off the highway safely and then get the car towed to mrchill's shop.

How about a really crisp shot showing the disc splines?
A shot of the FW side showing where the hub pilots in the drive plate?
A shot from the edge of the damper showing the stop pins, we're looking for contact marks there.
I'm hoping mrchill will chime in here with more pics and info since he has the car.
 
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jimbote

Certified Volkswagen Nut
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Location
spiral arm, milky way (aka central NC)
TDI
Tacoma 4x4 converted to TDI
angular misalignment would have to be severe to cause such a failure... it would need to be greater than the spline play and the center hub play combined and you would have noticed serious disengagement/shifting issues well before failure (immediately following install)....
 
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cevans

TDIClub Enthusiast, TDI Parts Ninja Vendor , w/Bus
Joined
Sep 24, 2002
Location
Hingham, MA
TDI
2015 Jetta TDI 6spd // 2015 Bettle Conv. 6-Speed
More than half of SB clutches failed for us, early ones were warrantied but still cost a ton in extra labour, like 30 kits worth!
Just want to point out that this is not an experience that has been shared with US SBC users. In fact, our empirical experience has been the opposite. We've sold hundreds of SBC clutches (over 200 last year alone) and we have had less than 5 users that have had any type of problem ever.

And as KERMA said, for those few people that did have issues, they were out of the warranty period, or they were drag racing, and SBC still helped them out.

I cannot speak to the design specification of the hub, but based on the failure rate of SBC vs. unmodified, Sachs clutches, the claim by BuzzKen is statistically unfounded.
 
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Scott_DeWitt

Vendor
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Location
Texas USA
TDI
2000 Audi A4 1.9TDI quattro
The clutch has 84k miles on it from me driving it like I stole it.
Id say you got excellent life out of that clutch. Contrary to what most people are willing to believe when you go up in clutch holding capacity life goes down.

Having sold over 60 SB clutches for the 1.9, I've only heard of one of them failing, at 80,000 miles and 20 months out of warranty and SB fixed the issue.

On the Audi side I've sold well over 100 and only 1 complaint of a stage IV+ lasting 7000 extremely hard and abusive miles.
 
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BuzzKen

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
May 16, 2011
Location
Markham, Ontario
TDI
'10 Touareg TDI, '09 335D, '10 X5D
I cannot speak to the design specification of the hub, but based on the failure rate of SBC vs. unmodified, Sachs clutches, the claim by BuzzKen is statistically unfounded.

I was only commenting that the disc is an unmodified sachs hub, which is a point which can fail under high torque. The advantage to using this disc is it keeps the tranny chatter down a bit more than a more robust disc. I'm not trying to bash product, but I have seen many failures of this style disc. I know IDPARTS and SBC are great with honoring warranty and taking care of the customer.
 

n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
Id say you got excellent life out of that clutch. Contrary to what most people are willing to believe when you go up in clutch holding capacity life goes down.
I have to agree. That's the inevitable conclusion I've come to. There is a sweet spot in there somewhere when it comes to sizing a clutch upgrade for planned and future mods. My last power upgrade was I had mrchill put big nozzles with PD150 injector bodies into the ATD PD engine. I had a PD stage 3 tune from RC and I had Jeff tweak it a few times to manage smoke and keep me from grenading the turbo (VNT-17/22 PD version). The clutch probably wouldn't have grenaded and lasted a lot longer if I had kept it the way it was before the PD150 injector bodies w/big nozzle upgrade. :eek:

I loved the Weapons-grade TORQUE and it made the car a real hoot to drive. And still getting around 40 MPGs with it on the highway came as a bonus. :cool: However I think the last upgrade took its toll on the clutch after a year of enjoying all the weapons-grade TORQUE. That's why I mentioned in the thread title that I managed to break one of these clutches. :eek:

We all know that modding is a dangerous and slippery slope. I've traveled way farther down that slippery slope than I originally intended to. :)

TDIclub GURU mrchill owns the car now and is using it for a 2.0L BKD PD swap into it. I'm really curious to see how that turns out.
 
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JST

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Location
The Netherlands
TDI
Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 jtd 180 AT8
I have to agree with Ryan. Using that stock sachs disc and just changing friction material is a recipe for exactly this.
This is not the problem.
IMO the problem is, an important torque damper in the form of the DMF is removed. I have seen this more often with other SMF conversions on tuned engines.
That DMF flattens torque peaks at the clutch disc drastically, people doesn't seem to realize that when switching to SMF....
 

ryanp

Vendor
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Location
Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK
TDI
Arosa CR - 550hp - 9.7 @ 150mph 1/4 Mile, Citigo 4x4 CR TDi - 340hp, Caddy 2.0 CR 4x4 TDI - 300+hp, Golf Mk2 Van 1.9 TDI - was 290hp, Mk5 Ibiza 2.0 FR TDi - 270hp, BMW 135d - 360hp, BMW 330d - 335hp, BMW 335d - 380hp + a few more ........
Only the 'silent' design failed AFAIR. stock cars or mildly tuned lasted maybe 10k sometimes, a few 300hp cars lasted 10 minutes, so I stand by what I said and can produce pictures of every one, it was a shocking percentage.
 

jimbote

Certified Volkswagen Nut
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Location
spiral arm, milky way (aka central NC)
TDI
Tacoma 4x4 converted to TDI
Only the 'silent' design failed AFAIR. stock cars or mildly tuned lasted maybe 10k sometimes, a few 300hp cars lasted 10 minutes, so I stand by what I said and can produce pictures of every one, it was a shocking percentage.
interesting .... what about the hub is different between the silent and "noisy" discs ?
 
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