BATTLE OF THE CLUTCH KITSWhat is the Best Clutch For Your MK7?
Do you drive a MK7 GTI or MK7 Golf R? Have you quickly found the first weak point? Was that weak point the factory clutch not being able to hold more power than stock? If so, you’re not alone.
In most cases, the factory clutch will hold up until you begin to add more power to your vehicle. We are always looking for the next step to make more power! Maybe you want to flash your ECU with software from APR or another software provider, maybe a Burger Motorsport JB4 or if you really are looking for an increase in power, an upgraded/bolt-on turbo system. Regardless of the route you take, you will quickly find out that the torque surpasses the factory clutches capability fairly easily.
These are some of the options that we have the most experience installing and feel confident in recommending to you.
South Bend Clutch
The king of the clutch world. Known for their high torque holding capacities, South Bend Clutch has built a very large reputation in the tuner world, especially the European Market. The big challenge here is to maintain good driveability and keep a composed level of noise. Southbend has come along way in modernizing their clutch systems to make them comfortable and usable for the everyday driver. Reliability is always a major factor when deciding on a clutch kit. With the OE dual mass flywheel being a known issue at high power levels and at risk during launches (especially on the AWD variants), South Bend Clutch has chosen the Single Mass Flywheel route to avoid this. Southbend Clutch Kits are handling APR Stage 3+ power levels with ease and are capable of plenty more moving forward.
Sachs Race Engineering
Sachs is Sachs. They are an OE supplier for many products in the VAG family. So when Their race line announced their dual mass flywheel compatible power clutch, it became very popular and FAST. The SRE clutch kit for the MK7 platform utilizes both an OE style full faced organic disc and customized center hub and also available is a 4 -puck disc for even higher holding capacity. These clutch kits should be suitable for whatever you throw at them, that is until the flywheel becomes an issue with separation.
What is a Dual Mass Flywheel?
A dual-mass flywheel or DMF works the same way a conventional flywheel works. The main difference being the dual mass flywheel acts as a damper system similar to that of a true harmonic balancer. This damper on the backside of the crank will soften any drivetrain jolts, variations, or revolutions that can cause excessive vibration felt inside the cabin. Below is a video from ZF/Sachs of how the Dual Mass Flywheel works.
As you can see, the Dual Mass Flywheel was a good idea in a luxury car situation. The car was more comfortable, but you lack in some areas by using this design. From our experience, the Dual Mass Flywheel just doesn’t last long term in higher torque applications. We have also taken some long term notes of the differences between these clutch kits. We did this so we can make honest recommendations and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision based off your needs and expectations.
Now that you are probably interested in one of these DMF compatible kits, I figure I’ll express some of my opinion here. Even when removing the helper spring behind the pedal and removing the delay valve, I still didn’t get great feedback no matter what clutch kit was in there. This is something I’ve contributed to the dual mass flywheel dampening some of the feedback I rely on as a driver. On many instances, I came up to a stop sign on a hill and I didn’t know when the clutch would engage as I let off the pedal because there would be a different engagement point every time. After some driving, I decided I did not like the dual mass flywheel on these cars.
I then had a chance to drive a Golf R equipped with a South Bend Stage 3 Endurance Clutch for the day—All I have to say is “That’s what I’m talking about”. To me, the car drove better, letting out the clutch was easier and less jerky and was, most importantly, predictable. Instant gratification every time I came to a stop sign, I actually hoped I could get stuck at a red light or stop sign just so I could start and stop again. The Stage 3 Endurance Clutch didn’t require that much pedal force either, maybe 20% greater than stock. My MK4 TDi with a stock DMF and clutch was stiffer than this car was. I really didn’t want to get back in my Jetta after being in this Golf R all day.
What is a single mass flywheel exactly? Well, the flywheel is a solid piece of either cast steel, billet steel, or cast or billet aluminum that attaches directly to the crank and provides direct contact with the clutch. Most single mass clutch kits utilize sprung hubs to dampen the vibration in the drivetrain (similar to that of how a DMF works, but not quite the same). The result of this design is a limited amount of dampening. Luckily, companies like South Bend Clutch have gotten this under control and are able to create a single mass flywheel kit that is able to be used for everyday driving.
But SMF's are noisy! How can I avoid it?Come on, they're not all that bad...
SMF Chatter Examples on MK7 Golf R
Now after hearing these videos, this isn’t as true as it used to be, is it? Maybe it is to some people, but the noise really isn’t that bad. South Bend’s silent design clutch disc has cut down considerably on chatter. I generally only received some chatter when in neutral without the clutch engaged, but it was very minor. This might be a concern for some people if they are bothered by such small occurrences. If this is the case, then the Sachs DMF Clutch might be a better option for you!
Have You Come to a Conclusion?