Advice please - overheating clutch

Mar 14, 2005
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I would appreciate some help here. We have just bought a second hand Ace Transtar-2003, serviced this February, with less than 500 miles "on the clock".

An Alko 2004 hitch is fitted.

The van seems to tow very well, however on both occasions when we return to storage, the reversing operation (about 20 metres, with one final turn through say 60 degrees) has left my new Mondeo Diesel with a very hot and smelly clutch.

The store field is grassy (soft but not boggy) and I am having to reverse up a slight incline.

This may be a silly question but should I release the stabiliser before reversing or could the problem be in the set up of the caravan brakes.

Your thoughts would be welcome.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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David, any clutch will smell while being slipped & towing/pushing a caravan, my Mondeo TDCi does the same. BUT, according to someone I know (who works at a Ford dealer) the new Mondeo clutch is a poor design, which can overheat and stick on the splines. I have also been told this is rubbish. However, travelling to the lakes this year, after a long slow crawl up a slip road, the clutch on my Mondeo started to slip very badly when I was driving along on a flat road. I decided to carry on to the site and ring the garage from there, but after 10 minutes, it started working normally again, which fits in with what I was told about it sticking when overheating. The Mondeo may well have a max. tow limit of 1800kgs, but I don't think the clutch would like to pull that weight!!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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It's good practice to release the stabiliser when manoeuvring but that alone should not be the cause of a clutch overheating. It's difficult to comment on the clutch problem without seeing the conditions under which you are having to reverse. Obviously, clutch overheating can be avoided by reducing the amount of clutch slip to an absolute minimum. One method that sometimes works is to constantly engage and disengage the clutch fully. The trick is to get it right without jerking and that requires a lot of practice.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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David, the answer is the same as the other thread. It is most likely to be the way you are reversing, not taking your foot right off the clutch and "slipping" the driven plates. You can possibly get away with doing it without a van on the back, for the distance you quote, but with the extra weight of the van, plus going up hill, youo need extra power, which in turn means the clutch plates are spinning faster, and if not fully engaged, spinning against the flywheel, causing it to get hot, glaze, smoke and even burn.

In principle it is the same effect as disc brake, essentially a pad against metal, except the clutch plates are not made of specialist materials as brake pads are. If you look at any disc brake during braking, they can glow red hot, and some of the ceramic brake pads on high performance cars actually catch fire, relying on the forward motion to supply enough wind to blow the flames out.
 

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