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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > REVIEW: ACT 6 Puck HDR6 Clutch



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      07-03-2012, 11:22 PM   #1
prelude2perfect
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REVIEW: ACT 6 Puck HDR6 Clutch

I'm going to try my best to keep a long story short but be warned, there's a lot of details here that need to be stated. I bought this used clutch kit from another member who initially bought the kit from AR Design, installed it, and then thought something was wrong with it because of the shuddering that he experienced. He took it out after about 35 miles and sent it in to ACT to inspect it. ACT didn't find anything wrong with it and sent him this letter stating the clutch is fine:



He ended up installing a new OEM clutch instead and decided to sell the ACT. He had trouble selling it and I ended up talking him down to 200 shipped. My stock clutch was still holding up decently but had slipped on me a couple times drag racing after being heated up too much.

I knew that the clutch was going to be have a bit of shuddering which is normal for a clutch like this (I own a 6 puck ACT clutch for my high HP prelude) so that didn't bother me, and it being used didn't bother me either since it had an inspection letter from ACT saying it was good and hell, it was only 200 bucks.

I installed it and it worked very well for the first several hundred miles. Very good engagement point, surprisingly a little higher than stock, and the added pedal pressure wasn't too bad at all. I really enjoyed the clutch until it started giving me problems. Soon it starting making screeching noises when downshifting and then it began to get hard to put it in 1st gear from a stop. After the break-in period I took it to the track for autox, drag racing, and a time attack that I never made it to. During autox I was getting second gear grind under high load when coming off the start line but other than that it ran fine. Drag racing the next day went perfectly fine on street tires, got a good 8 runs or so in between my wife and I. Then I threw on the drag radials and after one average burnout I rolled up to the start line and couldn't get it into gear, the clutch would not disengage.

I took the tranny off for inspection and sure enough the disc had welded itself to the flywheel/ pressure plate. The pressure plate came off semi easily but I had to pry it off the flyweel with the backside of a hammer. Here is the aftermath:



















I sent an email to ACT with pictures and an explanation of what happened. They asked me to call in and after talking to them over the phone they refused to warranty it since it was bought used and I was using it outside it's torque rating (I told him I dyno'd just over 500 ft lbs forgetting that their rating of 565 ft lbs is at the flywheel, not the wheels). They offered a good deal on a new clutch kit ($385) and I didn't bother fighting since I knew it was a longshot being that it was a used clutch anyway. I took the weekend to think about it and do some more research and emailed them again Sunday night.

I came across this old post by dzenno about torque actually being higher at the wheels rather than the flywheel, the opposite of horsepower, due to gearing:

"Excellent read on why torque at the engine is less than at the wheels (opposite of whp)...

http://danielmiessler.com/study/horsepower/

Oh and with upgraded turbos if you just manage to extend/hold boost longer to say 6500rpm instead of ~5600rpm-5800rpm which seems to be peak whp on stockers you can really see how much an organic clutch will hold in terms of whp, so same torque as before but held longer...example:

On stock turbos say you hold 400wtq at 5600rpm :
Whp = (400 * 5600)/5252 = 426whp

Now, imagine you upgrade turbos and now can extend that same torque curve by 1000rpm, here's what you get:
Whp = (400 * 6600)/5252 = 502whp

This is why clutches are rated for torque holding capacity and not whp (hp is calculated based on RPMs)...

So, theoretically speaking, on N54s with a top RPM of 7000rpm, if you managed to tune your car to hold ACT's claimed organic disc holding power of 456tq what does that mean in terms of PEAK whp possible on their organic on this TUNE:

Whp = (456 * 7000)/5252 = 607whp

Now all we need to do is find means of shifting the torque curve In all honesty I don't think these numbers are realistic but I wouldn't be worried about this ACT clutch even with a 35 nitrous shot....launching hard a lot will destroy any clutch prematurely...

I'll report back on the ACT clutch as soon as I'm through my break in.."


After reading that link dzenno posted and realizing I might actually be within the torque rating of the clutch I decided I needed to push harder on ACT. I nicely told them in the email that I'm questioning ACT as a good clutch for this car, gave him that same link, and said being the clutch was inspected by them before going into my car I sincerely hope they will do more than just give me a good deal on a new clutch. I also told them very politely that I will be posting up a detailed review on the main 335i forums. I also told him that regardless of their decision, I will still take a new clutch from them since I can't afford a different brand and my stock one won't hold up any better.

I gave them plenty of time to reply and didn't receive a response so I pinged them again early afternoon today and finally got a response at the end of the business day. He said that they are sticking with their decision and after talking to their engineers and doing some research of his own, I'm wrong and torque at the flywheel is indeed higher than at the wheels. Here is a link he sent to me to help justify that:
http://www.modified.com/tech/modp-10...s/viewall.html

I still don't know enough about the matter to come to my own conclussion on who is right but, either way, it appears that my only option at this point is to go with a new one at a discounted price since I can't afford the more expensive options and need this car back on the road.

One positive thing he told me is that ACT is now using a new type of ceramic material on this clutch disc that will hold more power and should do much better than the last one. I guess this has been out for 1.5 months now although I couldn't find any info on it.

I'm considering putting their organic street disc in since it's more proven on this car but the guy from ACT thinks that is a bad move and believes I will start slipping immediately when the power level I'm at. I will probably just try their new 6 puck and hope for the best since I'm limited on options at this point.

I will update this review once I have the new one in there with some decent miles logged. I can only suggest staying away from this clutch until then.
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      07-04-2012, 12:20 AM   #2
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Great write up! Thanks for the warning i was about to pull the trigger on the 6 puck.

Looking forward to an update on how it performs.
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      07-04-2012, 04:51 AM   #3
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Interesting review, thanks for that.

I'll be switching from ClutchMasters FX300 to HPF stage 1 at the end of the month and will also to a write-up then.

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      07-04-2012, 09:44 AM   #4
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I almost bought that clutch from the guy you bought it from. I was very close. The only reason I didn't is because I'm still torn on which one I want. I dyno'd at 455tq a while back but that was on 93. I'm running e85 now and have a JB4 G5 board coming in the mail soon. I'm prob closer to 500tq now. I do drag race quite often and read that the HPF St 1 isn't ideal for drag racing. I really don't know what to get.
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      07-04-2012, 10:06 AM   #5
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excellent review.. im going to be in the market for a clutch very soon! This is the type of info ive been looking for
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      07-04-2012, 10:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdnno98 View Post
I almost bought that clutch from the guy you bought it from. I was very close. The only reason I didn't is because I'm still torn on which one I want. I dyno'd at 455tq a while back but that was on 93. I'm running e85 now and have a JB4 G5 board coming in the mail soon. I'm prob closer to 500tq now. I do drag race quite often and read that the HPF St 1 isn't ideal for drag racing. I really don't know what to get.
Hey mate,

the HPF "Feramic" face clutch is quite a good clutch for street use and will hold more torque than the venerable ACT "Street" clutch, with little loss in drivability over that of the full face organic ACT clutch.

But be very careful when racing at the strip on drag radials with the HPF unit, it is very susceptible to welding.

I had the Stage 2 in my 135i and we managed to weld it to the flywheel on two consecutive outings, the second occurrence required the use of a cold chisel to remove the friction plate from the flywheel driven surface.

We will be installing a custom OS Giken twin-plate setup in my 1'er very soon, but whilst it's extremely durable and ideally suited to 1/4 mile racing, it's an expensive bit of kit.

If you are not wanting to spend a lot, I would suggest you look at the Spec clutch kit that Shiv is using, as it seems to have survived the many hard launches he has done at the strip, both before and after the installation of his "Big single".

Cheers,

JD.
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      07-04-2012, 10:20 AM   #7
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Yeah, just pulled the trigger on some Nitto NT555R for the rears and my new G5 board will have 2 Step/NLS so I'm pretty worried about getting the right clutch. I'll look into that spec clutch i guess.
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      07-04-2012, 10:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdnno98 View Post
Yeah, just pulled the trigger on some Nitto NT555R for the rears
I have the 555R tires and ACT Street clutch, the combination works perfectly until now and both items are great for daily driving.However, the 555R is not exactly comparable to the likes of the Hoosier drag radial as far as grip is concerned. This is good for the clutch
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      07-04-2012, 10:38 AM   #9
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I have the 555R tires and ACT Street clutch, the combination works perfectly until now and both items are great for daily driving.However, the 555R is not exactly comparable to the likes of the Hoosier drag radial as far as grip is concerned. This is good for the clutch
So you have the HDSD? How much TQ are you putting down with the GIAC and meth?
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      07-04-2012, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin@ADVAN Performance View Post
Hey mate,

the HPF "Feramic" face clutch is quite a good clutch for street use and will hold more torque than the venerable ACT "Street" clutch, with little loss in drivability over that of the full face organic ACT clutch.

But be very careful when racing at the strip on drag radials with the HPF unit, it is very susceptible to welding.

I had the Stage 2 in my 135i and we managed to weld it to the flywheel on two consecutive outings, the second occurrence required the use of a cold chisel to remove the friction plate from the flywheel driven surface.

We will be installing a custom OS Giken twin-plate setup in my 1'er very soon, but whilst it's extremely durable and ideally suited to 1/4 mile racing, it's an expensive bit of kit.

If you are not wanting to spend a lot, I would suggest you look at the Spec clutch kit that Shiv is using, as it seems to have survived the many hard launches he has done at the strip, both before and after the installation of his "Big single".

Cheers,

JD.
This... Ferramic clutches LOVE to weld....
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      07-05-2012, 12:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdnno98 View Post
I almost bought that clutch from the guy you bought it from. I was very close. The only reason I didn't is because I'm still torn on which one I want. I dyno'd at 455tq a while back but that was on 93. I'm running e85 now and have a JB4 G5 board coming in the mail soon. I'm prob closer to 500tq now. I do drag race quite often and read that the HPF St 1 isn't ideal for drag racing. I really don't know what to get.
That's the same situation I'm in, I DD the car but also take it to the strip quite often and have about 500 wtq. I'd recommend the Spec stage 2+ as well. I would do that myself but can't afford it right now. I'll be buying this new ACT 6 puck today, hopefully this one holds up a little longer
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      07-05-2012, 01:10 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for the write up, and for the warning about how ACT treated you. I was considering buying an ACT clutch, as my OEM is already starting to slip with just JB4+DCI, and I intend on adding DPs and meth soon (and figuring out the whole E85 business).

I now feel a little lost as to which clutch options I should be considering, though. I had assumed the ACT street clutch would be able to handle my intended mods, but now I'm not so sure.
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      07-17-2012, 11:29 PM   #13
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Update:

New clutch is in with about 1k miles on it. Took it easy for the first 400 miles with a couple hard slips to break it in per ACT's instructions. Then I took it out to PowerCruise USA (best racing event I've ever done btw) and put my car to it's limit around the road course. Clutch never slipped pushing full power with dozens of 30-160mph runs. Did street style 1/8 mile drag racing as well but only on my street tires with a light launch. No burnouts yet. So far so good. Good engagement point with the clutch stop removed. Only complaint is that it still makes that loud screeching noise when engaging the clutch durning downshifting. Not sure if that's normal or not.
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      07-20-2012, 08:37 AM   #14
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FYI, if you know your wheel speeds and approximate drivetrain losses, you can approximate flywheel torque with a simple equation. The one below assumes a 15% loss

(Wheel speed*Wheel torque)*1.15=(Engine speed*Engine torque)
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      11-14-2012, 08:53 PM   #15
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I know its been a while but.. im subscribed I've just ordered ACT 6Puck and Spec Fly.

Not worried about the noise... im running 3.5" single exhaust lol
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      11-15-2012, 12:13 AM   #16
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Well, now I have seen a review showing that the ACT clutch will weld (here), as well as the HPF clutch (on another website).

It looks like my options are getting narrowed town to exactly what Shiv suggested to me in the first place: Spec clutch.

I'll keep the stock flywheel, though.
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      02-21-2013, 01:11 PM   #17
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Spec clutches are junk... They fall apart... One shattered into pieces, broke my buddy's bell housing & almost came into the cabin to say hi to him.
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      02-21-2013, 02:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Spec clutches are junk... They fall apart... One shattered into pieces, broke my buddy's bell housing & almost came into the cabin to say hi to him.
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      02-21-2013, 11:58 PM   #19
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I had an ACT Street Disc with High pressure plate and lightweight flyhweel in my old STi. Damn thing was like butter and handled great. I loved that clutch.

I now have another STi with an ACT 6 puck clutch in it. Great feel, a little tricky getting out of first, but love the thing. I love ACT products and they will make noises, espeically if you have a lightweight flywheel. The 6 puck is designed for a race application, so I can't complain about the noises, it is known to be a harsh clutch, but for daily driving I have no issues with it.

So good to hear your new clutch is doing great and handling everything you throw at it.
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      02-22-2013, 06:29 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Spec clutches are junk... They fall apart... One shattered into pieces, broke my buddy's bell housing & almost came into the cabin to say hi to him.
There are quite a few people on the "other forum" that are currently installing SPEC clutches, in particular in combination with their single mass steel flywheel. Reports until now are quite positive.

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      02-22-2013, 08:22 AM   #21
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Spec clutches are junk... They fall apart... One shattered into pieces, broke my buddy's bell housing & almost came into the cabin to say hi to him.
Was this on a bmw?

I've found clutch reputations vary between platforms, some clutches work great on some platforms and don't on others.
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      02-28-2013, 12:10 AM   #22
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His was on an e90 335i...
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