When the clutch goes in farm equipment, it can take machinery out of action for weeks. The cost of farm vehicle downtime is too high a risk for large commercial and small farms to take.
That’s why it’s important to replace your clutch before it breaks. You’ll be able to plan maintenance downtime around other essential tasks, and your farm equipment won’t break right when you need it most.
Check out these signs of a bad clutch in need of repair. If any of your farm vehicles are showing these signs, it’s time to schedule a replacement before it breaks.
Signs of a Bad Clutch in Farm Equipment
The symptoms below are common indicators that an industrial clutch is in need of immediate replacement if you don’t want to face costly downtime of your equipment.
1. A Sticky Clutch
A clutch that refuses to come back with your foot is a sure sign of the slow road to failure. The clutch should return to the disengaged position as your foot moves up and away from the pedal. If it takes time to return or stays in the engaged position, there’s a problem.
A soft clutch is bad too, as this reduces the overall control the operator has over the equipment. However, a sticky clutch can make farm equipment tricky to operate and unreliable as changing gears becomes difficult.
On secondary clutch systems, you may also notice a belt pulley takes longer to come to a stop.
2. A Hard Clutch
Rather than sticking in the engaged position, a hard clutch is difficult to operate for both engagement and disengagement.
When pushed, a clutch should respond with a small amount of force to engage. A too-soft or too-hard clutch makes farm equipment challenging to operate and results in a rough ride when changing gears.
A secondary clutch, such as on a pulley system, may take longer to engage as a sign of a hard clutch on a more complex tractor and thresher systems.
A sticky two-stage clutch will result in difficulty finding the mid-way point between full disengagement, engine disengagement, and PTO disengagement.
3. High Engine Revs When the Clutch Is Engaged
Does the engine rev higher than usual when the clutch is depressed and fully engaged?
This is a sign of a slipping clutch, caused by a worn friction plate. Less friction on the flywheel and pressure plate causes higher engine revs, slow acceleration, and faster clutch disengagement.
If you’re unsure if the clutch is slipping, but there is a distinct burning smell accompanying slightly higher engine revs during clutch engagement, that’s a sure sign of a slipping clutch.
4. Strange Noises During Clutch Use
Carefully listen when you take the clutch through every motion. Strange sounds, squeals, hissing noises, or any loud clicks are all signs that something is wrong with your clutch.
A clutch should run smoothly without any additional noise. Familiar noises, such as squealing, could be a simple repair such as adding grease or removing rust. However, as soon as your clutch makes an abnormal noise, it’s time to take your clutch apart to diagnose the problem in case a full replacement is required.
5. Not Enough (or Too Much) Pedal Give
A good clutch should have about two inches of give when depressed before it begins to engage.
If your clutch travels a long way before engaging, or engages almost instantly when touched, it’s a sure sign that a repair or replacement is needed soon.
Where to Buy Your Industrial Clutch Replacement
If your farm equipment is showing any of the above signs of a bad clutch, it’s time to arrange downtime for the machinery urgently. You can then investigate and repair or replace parts without the detrimental effects of a sudden breakdown.
However, finding replacement parts can be difficult. Many industrial clutch parts are specialist and hard to track down.
We’re experts in finding custom or rare parts for industrial and farm machinery. If your clutch needs replacing, get in touch today.