3rd Generation Dodge Clutch Replacement

365,000-mile G56 6-speed upgrade

Published in the August 2010 Issue August 2010 Feature, Installs, Transmission

We had the opportunity to replace the clutch in a 2006 Dodge 3500 equipped with a Cummins and the G56 six-speed transmission. This "old" truck has seen some use, with around 365,000 miles on it. It was used for hauling RVs across the States in its first life and then sold at auction. The new owner graciously offered us the chance to swap the clutch out for him. We'll tell you what you need to know to do this yourself.

If you're like us, you hate to tear into something and do the work if you're just going to put stock parts back into it. We think that if we're going to go to the trouble, we should use upgraded parts whenever we can. We chose to install a South Bend OFE clutch and solid flywheel for this project. The owner of the truck was going to make moderate power upgrades, such as software, intake, and exhaust, so we chose an OFE clutch for the application. An OFE clutch has performance organic clutch lining on one side of the clutch and feramic (sintered iron) lining on the other side. This offers smooth engagement as the performance organic side contacts the pressure plate, and heavy duty engagement as the feramic side contacts the flywheel. It's a great general purpose clutch that will withstand some abuse on a modified diesel, but still offers great drivability and economy when compared to a stock clutch. The flywheel we are using with the clutch is leaps and bounds better than the stock dual-mass flywheel that came in the truck. The OEM dual-mass flywheel is much like a flex plate used in an automatic transmission with a thicker metal ring bolted to it. It has springs built into it to dampen transmission gear lash. Gear lash is noise that can be heard from the gears in the transmission as the engine's rotational force rattles the transmission gears back and forth. This is mostly noticeable when the truck is in neutral with the clutch engaged. The South Bend flywheel is one solid piece of steel that's been cryogenically frozen to keep the molecules in the metal uniform, in order to keep the disc true and flat under heat and stress. We'll also be installing a new clutch hydraulics kit from South Bend Clutch because the stock hydraulics usually won't have enough pressure to fully disengage the firmer springs in the South Bend pressure plate.

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