I bought the truck in '91 with 72,000 miles on it. Ten years and almost 178,000 miles later it's time to finally remove what is largely believed to be the stock clutch. I could deal with the chatter, the slipping off-road, and the spongy, low-pedal feel, but when I almost got spanked at the drags by Art Director Alan Huber's stock Bronco ("Hazel Fun-Fest," Nov. '01), I decided it was time to redeem myself.
That's right, when the light turned green, I dumped the clutch only to hear the engine wail at 5,500 rpm while the truck went nowhere. After about a second (an eternity on the track) the Ramcharger started to roll. The result was a 19.38 e.t. Suckfest. We'll take the Dodge down the track again with the new clutch and bring you the results in a future Drivelines blurb.
While it's relatively easy to replace a clutch, the lousiest part is removing the transfer case and tranny. Our difficulty was compounded by a custom crossmember, an added Klune-V underdrive gearbox, and 6 inches of lift with 37-inch tires that made reaching some components a chore. Yeah, we know--wah, wah, wah!
However, choosing the right clutch was a no-brainer. We simply picked up the Hays catalog for some one-stop shopping. We ordered an 11-inch Hays performance clutch kit (PN 85-311) that included a matched pressure plate, a throwout bearing, a disc, an alignment tool, and a bolt kit. Since we were sure our flywheel had to be toast after all those miles (we were right), we also ordered a 40-pound Hays flywheel (PN 11-440). The 143-tooth flywheel is actually listed for a 440 big-block, but other than being 10 pounds heavier than the original flywheel, it's a direct replacement for our stock 318 unit. The added weight gives the rotating assembly more inertia and helps prevent stalling off-road.