Eaton Advantage clutch upgrades

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Eaton has upgraded its Advantage Series clutches with changes designed to improve durability, reduce vibrations, and enable smoother shifts. And it’s reduced the number of part numbers in the process.

“The improvements we have made support the changing requirements of contemporary diesel engines and powertrains — including downspeeding designs,” said Ben Karrer, global product strategy manager.

Rather than using traditional lugs, Eaton has introduced stacks of metal straps that are found in four locations around the clutch circumference.  That eliminates the threat of fatigued lugs and the rattle associated with existing designs, Karrer says.

“Today’s trucks are more and more built with boosted hydraulic linkages. Those decrease the pedal effort in the truck,” he explains. “But they also tend to cause more clutch open time. Combine that with today’s drivers who have less experience, and you’ve got a situation where our old lug drive system isn’t robust enough.” The straps have been found to last at least 10 times as long as the lugs, too.

Spring separators found next to each of the straps also help the clutch to disengage from engines more quickly, offering smoother shifts, Karrer says. “That leads to lower drag. Lower drag leads to easier shifting, longer life for the clutch brake.”

In a step to meet the demands of downspeeding, standardized soft rate dampers help to absorb engine vibrations that might otherwise damage drivelines.

“The firing of the engine now corresponds a lot closer to the natural frequency of the driveline, so it’s like the engine is hitting the bell and causing it to ring perfectly,” Karrer says, referring to the challenge that reduces the life of U-joints, drivelines, axles, bearings and transmission gearing.

The rate of 250 lb-ft per degree supports downspeeding at all torque ratings up to 1,850 lb-ft.

The standardized soft rate dampers have also helped Eaton combine several models in the Advantage Self-Adjust and Easy Pedal Advantage portfolio, down to 28 part numbers from the current 41.

Meanwhile, those who service Advantage Self-Adjust clutches will notice a second wear tab indicator, making it easier to identify clutch wear no matter where a clutch stops turning. “A guy who is greasing the release bearing will take a look to see how much life is remaining. He’s looking through a small access hole in the clutch housing,” Karrer explains. But there’s no way of knowing exactly where the clutch will stop. With two wear tab indicators, there’s now no need to climb in and out of the cab to fire the engine in a bid to bring the indicator into view.

Advantage Self-Adjust clutches are warranted for three years and 560,000 kilometers. The Easy Pedal Advantage is covered for two years and 320,000 kilometers. Aftermarket warranties extend over two years with no limit on mileage.

Release bearing lube intervals for all Advantage heavy-duty clutches is set at 80,000 kilometers.

The clutches come with torque ratings of up to 2,250 lb-ft, and will be available to Original Equipment Manufacturers in the second quarter. Production for the aftermarket begins in the third quarter.


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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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