If you’ve ever driven a manual vehicle, you’ll be familiar with the process required to switch gears and apply power while the car is moving. But have you ever considered how the clutch, gear and power system in your car really works? And did you know, that at the very centre of every clutch operation is a particularly special component called a clutch release or throw out bearing? Let’s have a look at the function of this bearing in more detail.
In simple terms, the clutch allows control of the engine power when a vehicle begins to move, gradually increasing power as the clutch is released. When you depress the clutch to change gear, it interrupts the power, transferring it from the engine to the transmission and drive wheels. So, where does the clutch release bearing come into all of this?
The clutch release bearing is typically a thrust-type angular contact ball bearing, mounted on an iron casting called a hub. The bearing slides along a sleeve or hollow shaft at the font of the gearbox. When the clutch pedal is depressed, the bearing moves towards the flywheel and pushes against the pressure plate’s spring-release fingers. This action moves the pressure plate levers against the force of the pressure plate springs, which in turn moves the pressure plate away from the clutch disc and interrupts the power flow.
During the transfer of power, the clutch release bearing rotates with the pressure plate assembly and absorbs the rotary motion of the spring fingers against the linear motion of the fork. When the clutch is released, the bearing moves back away from the pressure plate, allowing the plate’s springs to force against the clutch disc and engage the flywheel. Once fully engaged, the bearing remains stationary.
To withstand such high-stress conditions, clutch release bearings are packed with lubricant during manufacture and usually don’t require any maintenance. For more insight into these useful components or if you’re in the market for clutch-release bearings, don’t hesitate to contact your trusted local supply team at Bearing Centre.