Ask any mechanic what a fried clutch smells like and most likely they would reply that it smells somewhat like burnt toast. Unfortunately for Mitsubishi Evolution VIII owners that smell is an all too common occurrence. Hundreds of Evo VIII owners have learned the hard way about living /eating burnt toast; it's a bitter pill. Some owners with have reported clutch failure with as few as 3,000 miles on the clock. Dozens of Evo VIII forums have reports of similar occurrences. The worst part of the whole situation is that dealers will not warranty the clutch due to it being a "wear item." One clutch we removed from a vehicle only had, 3,000 miles on the odometer and it looked like a grenade was thrown at it. All the friction material on the disc disintegrated into smaller pieces.
After doing some investigation we found that one of the reasons for the failure in the clutch is the flywheel. Heat is the number one reason for clutch failure and the Evolution's flywheel does a poor job of transferring heat away from the disc. Upon closer inspection, besides the obvious blown clutch fragments, we noticed the flywheel had severe discoloration on the backside due to excessive heat buildup. Our guess is besides the overall heavy weight of the vehicle and the AWD drivetrain the driver would have to ride the clutch much more than a lighter weight 2WD vehicle for that much heat to build up in the flywheel. Add a little stop-and-go traffic into the mix and you have yourself a recipe for clutch failure.Fortunately, the aftermarket has also recognized the need for a performance clutch for the Evolution VIII. From a simple single-disc replacement to an exotic triple-disc carbon clutch, whatever your needs are the aftermarket has you covered.
Advanced Clutch Technology
ACT offers three different types of clutches from a basic street to full race applications. The ACT street clutch kit has a 38-percent increase in clamp load and has a torque capacity of 497 lb-ft. ACT also offers two race clutch kits: one is a four-puck disc design while the other is a six-puck disc. Both race clutch kits features a 38 percent increase in clamping load and have a torque capacity of 636 lb-ft. All three clutch kits come with a new throwout bearing and clutch alignment tool.
CenterforceCenterforce offers their patented Dual-Friction design clutch utilizing custom carbon fiber organic facings and ball-bearing pressure plate. The carbon fiber organic material is better suited to handle the extreme heat conditions of the Evo's drivetrain. The increased clamping load does not mean a heavy pedal due to its ball-bearing design. You won't have to perform leg presses at the gym to operate the clutch. The Dual-Friction clutch has been tested on vehicles generating over 450 hp to the wheels. Centerforce also offers a billet steel flywheel that is lighter and better able to transfer heat away from the clutch disc.
Clutch Masters offers four different stages of performance clutches for the Evolution VIII, from a basic street setup to full race applications. Their street variant has a holding capacity of 70 percent over stock while the race version is capable of holding 170 percent over stock. All Clutch Master clutches come with a new throwout bearing and clutch alignment tool. The company also offers an aluminum flywheel for the Evolution VIII.
RPS Performance Products
If all-out performance is what you're after then the RPS carbon-carbon twin-disc clutch is what you need. Specially designed for high-output Evolution VIII's the RPS carbon-carbon clutch is capable of holding over 700 hp and still civil enough to be used on the street. Pedal pressure is increased only by 10 percent but the engagement is extremely smooth and comfortable to drive. However, if you want the Ferrari of clutches be prepared to fork out some dough.