If you have enjoyed the freedom of creating your own stall speeds and shift points in a vehicle, it took your left foot and a working clutch to get it done. Manual transmissions may not be for everyone, and if you look around, you’ll see there are less and less of them on the road today. Among those vehicles with the fun-pedal, there are endless variations of clutches and drivelines that make them go. If you get down with a late model GM, Ford Mustang or Dodge Challenger Hellcat, you can find the right clutch for your application through Monster Clutch Co. The proper clutch makes all the difference.
In years past, if you wanted to go fast, you needed excellent reflexes and a manual transmission. In today’s cars, automatic transmissions perform exceptionally well. However to those of us who don’t dare let a torque converter crush our hopes and dreams, the aftermarket has still kept up, continually evolving in clutch and transmission development. Multiple disc clutches, for example, were only heard of in Top Fuel and Pro Stock race cars, not too long ago. Now, they are commonplace in streetcars and race cars alike.
Monster Clutches is an all American-based company out of Haslet, Texas that caters solely to late model American performance cars. Steve Addison and Lloyd Mead, co-owners of Monster Clutch Co., started the company in 2007 to combat the high priced, low-quality clutches being sold elsewhere.
Their primary focus when they first started was the late model Pontiac GTO; there was no real aftermarket for those clutches at the time. Fourth-generation GM F-Body and C5 Corvette clutches also helped make their name popular. When the fifth-gen Camaros came out, Monster worked swiftly to develop the right line of clutches to handle such a heavy car. To date, Monster has designed multiple clutches for virtually all GM six and seven-speed cars from the LS1 to LT-1/LT-4, Dodge Hellcats, and Fox-body along with newer Ford Mustangs. Monster Clutches holds the record for being the first clutch in the 7’s in a GM six-speed car. For those not familiar with the YouTube star Cleetus McFarland (Garrett Mitchell) and his skeleton of a twin-turbo powered Corvette named Leroy, I highly recommend watching him squeeze every last “bald eagle” out of that death trap on the drag strip.
Monster’s product quality has always been a paramount priority to them. Before any models of clutches hit the marketplace, they first undergo extensive Research and development. Then they are field tested the way that clutch is intended to be used. In other words, they relentlessly beat up on their clutches, hoping to find weak links and failure points, so the consumer doesn’t. Monster Clutch’s warranty stands in a league of its own: one full year and that doesn’t exclude racing with it. Steve states, “Most companies offer 30-90 days, and void your warranty if you race or abuse the setups. We not only offer a one year warranty, but we also do so even if you race/abuse the clutch, as long as it’s at or below the intended power rating.” In fact, the only factor that can eliminate a warranty is the horsepower threshold of the clutch. If you aren’t making more horsepower than your clutch is advertised to handle, you’re covered. Monster wants its customers to know what they are getting before they ever spend a dime.
One of the biggest things that separate Monster from other guys is that we set up each clutch to the specific chassis it is purchased. – Steve Addison
The research and design that goes into these clutches are second to none; these are not “one size fits all.” Steve states, “One of the biggest things that separate Monster from other guys is that we set up each clutch to the specific chassis it is purchased. We do this because it’s the right thing to do, and it keeps our customers from having to deal with the setup on each clutch. I feel strongly that a customer shouldn’t have to become a semi-clutch builder to get a clutch to work in the car.” Each clutch line for each model of vehicle is designed specifically to work with that transmission, engine, and hydraulic assembly.
All kits come complete with a billet flywheel, clutch, pressure plate, friction(s), throw-out bearing, pilot bearing, and alignment tool. The components are balanced and marked accordingly when packaged. Instructions will show the sequences and torque specs needed for final installation.
Steve said, “We assemble the product and test it before it leaves the building. The clutches are fully assembled in our custom made packaging so that the end installer simply has to mark things as it’s taken apart and reassemble it exactly as it was. Nine out of ten Monster units do not require shimming, though some cars are odd from time to time.”
In some cases, like in the C5 Corvettes and fourth-gen GM F-body cars, the factory hydraulic assemblies need to be upgraded to handle the extra fluid volumes and pressure plate loads of the new clutch, especially the level 3 and 4 single disc clutches. Monster has a partnership with Tick Performance, who has mastered the GM master cylinder. Their billet master cylinders are a direct bolt-in and utilize an adjustable rod as well as a high-pressure hydraulic line. Also offered as an upgrade is an extended bleeder line, which has a one-way valve, allowing for one-person bleeding.
In the picture, you can see the differences in frictions between level 2 and level 4 F-body clutches. The level 2 will have more pleasant driving characteristics with not quite as high of a threshold for power as level 4. To the right is the LT1-RR triple disc, rated at 2,000 horsepower. With these multi-disc clutches, the driver can retain most, if not all of the characteristics of a stock clutch, however with horsepower limits as high as 2,000.
Monster offers single disc, twin disc, triple disc and soon, a quadruple disc clutch kit for select vehicles. They spent a lot of time and focus making these user-friendly to install, and harped on driving characteristics. In many cases, installations only need little or no shimming of the hydraulic throw-out bearing. A ton of energy went toward maintaining the car’s original clutch feel and limiting Noise, Vibration, Harshness (NVH) during the clutch’s Moment Of Inertia (MOI), which are usually the caveat of a performance clutch. Steve made it simple for us to understand by narrowing clutch science down to two main points: Full faced discs have the smoothest MOI and usually the least NVH, however, will not hold up to the heat and abuse of real high-horsepower and hard launches. Puck-style frictions do much better with heat and hold up to a hard beating, however, come at the cost of a harsher MOI. Multi-disc clutches allow for more friction area, which inherently allows for higher power limits. Inadvertently, the clutch feel is usually much more desirable. The more clutch frictions that can be crammed between the pressure plate and flywheel, the higher the power limits will be, and the more desirable the MOI will feel, both in your left leg and your seat.
Single disc kits are the least expensive and straightforward to install. The levels 1, 2, 3 and 4, single disc clutches range from about 450 to 775 whp limits. These vary in pressure plate clamping force and friction makeup. These make a great street clutch, however, know that the levels 3 and 4 will begin to feel “racy,” as they use puck-style frictions and a real heavy pressure plate. These begin to feel a little harsh on the street, as there is only so much power that can be put through a single disc clutch before it reaches its limits. With that, the prices are almost impossible to beat, and they still share the same warranty as any other clutch that Monster sells.
If you make 1,000 rear wheel horsepower and take your setup to the track every weekend, you can still expect this clutch to last 60,000-plus miles while driving like a stock car. – Steve Addison
Twin and triple disc clutches are the way to go in street-driven cars with a lot of power. Monster has put a ton of focus on these because you can essentially have your cake and eat it too. When you get into the S and RR model triple disc clutches for GM cars, you’re looking at capabilities of as high as 2,000 whp while still maintaining a near-stock clutch feel. These can take anything you can throw at them, from nitrous to all levels forced induction. Steve told us that these lines are designed to be raced on the weekends, in many cases, cars are pulling 1.2-1.3 second 60-foot times, and they are driven to work the next day. Steve said, “If you make 1,000 rear wheel horsepower and take your setup to the track every weekend, you can still expect this clutch to last 60,000-plus miles while driving like a stock car.” Be on the lookout for their quad disc, which is currently in the testing stages!
Monster just recently came out with a triple disc clutch for Challenger Hellcats and Demons. These cars come out of the factory with a ton of horsepower, and to be expected, owners are cranking them up, as any right-minded person should. Well, up until very recently, nobody had a clutch that could handle those even higher power levels. Monster is somewhat of a lone ranger in that category. Don’t be afraid to out the thrashing to their triple disc clutch line for the Hellcat and Demon — they are designed just for that, and will live a long time.
Last, but not least, Monster caters to the “race only” market, as well. For those who want a bulletproof race clutch, Monster can set you up with the perfect combination for your application. Their race clutches are built for longevity in mind, and the R&D on these is focused heavily on where and how that initial moment of inertia happens. In drag racing, the right amount of slippage is the difference of a tenth or more in the 60-foot. Staying consistent on launch is how you can still hang with those automatics and look way cooler doing it.
Whether you’re just looking to upgrade your original clutch in a mild street car and want it to live, or you are making 2,000 horsepower and have found no hope elsewhere, give Monster a call. Their staff will ensure you buy the right clutch for the correct application, and back it with an unbelievable full year warranty, ensuring that it lives thousands of miles doing what it was built to do: being thrashed on.