Jeep Cherokee (XJ): Description and operation

Clutch

DESCRIPTION

The clutch mechanism consists of a flywheel, a single, dry-type disc, and a diaphragm style clutch cover (Fig. 1). A hydraulic linkage is used to operate the clutch release bearing and fork. The flywheel is bolted to the rear flange of the crankshaft. The clutch pressure plate is bolted to the flywheel with the clutch disc located between these two components.

The clutch system provides the mechanical, but still easily detachable, link between the engine and the transmission. The system is designed to ensure that the full torque output of the engine is transfered to the transmission while isolating the transmission from the engine firing pulses to minimize concerns such as gear rattle.

OPERATION

Leverage, clamping force, and friction are what make the clutch work. The disc serves as the friction element and a diaphragm spring and pressure plate provide the clamping force. The clutch pedal, hydraulic linkage, release lever and bearing provide the leverage.

Fig. 1 Engine powerflow
Fig. 1 Engine powerflow

The clutch master cylinder push rod is connected to the clutch pedal. When the clutch pedal is depressed, the slave cylinder is operated by the clutch master cylinder mounted on the dash panel.

The release fork is actuated by the hydraulic slave cylinder mounted on the transmission housing. The release bearing is operated by a release fork pivoting on a ball stud mounted in the transmission housing.

The release bearing then depresses the pressure plate spring fingers, thereby releasing pressure on the clutch disc and allowing the engine crankshaft to spin independently of the transmission input shaft (fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Clutch Operation
Fig. 2 Clutch Operation

1 - FLYWHEEL
2 - PRESSURE PLATE FINGERS
3 - PIVOT POINT
4 - RELEASE BEARING PUSHED IN
5 - CLUTCH DISC ENGAGED
6 - CLUTCH DISC ENGAGED
7 - RELEASE BEARING

Flywheel

DESCRIPTION

The flywheel (Fig. 3) is a heavy plate bolted to the rear of the crankshaft. The flywheel incorporates the ring gear around the outer circumference to mesh with the starter to permit engine cranking. The rear face of the flywheel serves as the driving member to the clutch disc.

Fig. 3 Flywheel
Fig. 3 Flywheel

1 - CRANKSHAFT
2 - RING GEAR
3 - FLYWHEEL

OPERATION

The flywheel serves to dampen the engine firing pulses. The heavy weight of the flywheel relative to the rotating mass of the engine components serves to stabilize the flow of power to the remainder of the drivetrain. The crankshaft has the tendency to attempt to speed up and slow down in response to the cylinder firing pulses. The flywheel dampens these impulses by absorbing energy when the crankshaft speeds and releasing the energy back into the system when the crankshaft slows down.

Clutch disc

DESCRIPTION

The clutch disc friction material is riveted to the disc hub (Fig. 4). The hub bore is splined for installation on the transmission input shaft. The clutch disc has cushion springs in the disc hub to dampen disc vibrations during application and release of the clutch.

OPERATION

The clutch disc is held onto the surface of the flywheel by the force exerted by the pressure plate's diaphragm spring. The friction material of the clutch disc then transfers the engine torque from the flywheel and pressure plate to the input shaft of the transmission.

Clutch pressure plate

DESCRIPTION

The clutch pressure plate assembly is a diaphragm type with a one-piece spring and multiple release fingers (Fig. 5). The pressure plate release fingers are preset during manufacture and are not adjustable.

The assembly also contains the cover, pressure plate, and fulcrum components.

Fig. 4 Clutch Disc-Typical
Fig. 4 Clutch Disc-Typical

1 - FACING MATERIAL
2 - DAMPER SPRINGS
3 - HUB

Fig. 5 Clutch Pressure Plate-Typical
Fig. 5 Clutch Pressure Plate-Typical

1 - COVER
2 - RELEASE FINGERS
3 - PRESSURE PLATE

OPERATION

The clutch pressure plate assembly clamps the clutch disc against the flywheel. When the release bearing is depressed by the shift fork, the pressure exerted on the clutch disc by the pressure plate spring is decreased. As additional force is applied, the bearing presses the diaphragm spring fingers inward on the fulcrums. This action moves the pressure plate rearward relieving clamp force on the disc.

The clutch disc is disengaged and freewheeling at this point.

Clutch release bearing

DESCRIPTION

A conventional release bearing (Fig. 6) is used to engage and disengage the clutch pressure plate assembly. The clutch release bearing is mounted on the transmission front bearing retainer. The bearing is attached to the release fork, which moves the bearing into contact with the clutch cover diaphragm spring.

Fig. 6 Clutch Release Bearing
Fig. 6 Clutch Release Bearing

1 - RELEASE BEARING
2 - RELEASE FORK

OPERATION

The release bearing is operated by a release fork in the clutch housing. Slave cylinder force causes the release lever to move the release bearing into contact with the diaphragm spring. As additional force is applied, the bearing presses the diaphragm spring fingers inward on the fulcrums. This action moves the pressure plate rearward relieving clamp force on the disc. Releasing pedal pressure removes clutch hydraulic pressure. The release bearing then moves away from the diaphragm spring which allows the pressure plate to exert clamping force on the clutch disc.

Hydraulic clutch linkage

DESCRIPTION

The hydraulic linkage consists of a clutch master cylinder with integral reservoir, a clutch slave cylinder and an interconnecting fluid line (Fig. 7).

The clutch master cylinder push rod is connected to the clutch pedal. The slave cylinder push rod is connected to the clutch release fork. The master cylinder is mounted on the driver side of the dash panel adjacent to the brake master cylinder and booster assembly.

Fig. 7 Clutch Master Cylinder
Fig. 7 Clutch Master Cylinder

1 - CAP
2 - FILL LINE
3 - CLUTCH MASTER CYLINDER
4 - RESERVOIR

OPERATION

The clutch linkage uses hydraulic pressure to operate the clutch. Depressing the clutch pedal develops fluid pressure in the clutch master cylinder. This pressure is transmitted to the slave cylinder through a connecting line. In turn, the slave cylinder operates the clutch release lever.

Slave cylinder force causes the release lever to move the release bearing into contact with the diaphragm spring. As additional force is applied, the bearing presses the diaphragm spring fingers inward on the fulcrums. This action moves the pressure plate rearward relieving clamp force on the disc.

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