Eaton Corp. has announced a new line of clutches for Class 7 to 8 trucks that the manufacturer said not only improve on the models being replaced, but are designed to be “backward compatible” – meaning it should be easy for fleets to retrofit the new clutches into older model trucks.

“We’ve designed our new Advantage Series clutch not only to replace our previous clutch models but to be backward compatible as well,” said Tom Rohlwing, manager of engineering programs for Eaton’s global clutch and aftermarket business, in a webcast held with reporters.

“No special tools or significant technician training is required for the new Advantage Series and it can be retrofitted into the slots fitting our previous clutch models,” he added.

Douglas Scheffel, manager of product strategy & business development for Eaton’s global clutch and aftermarket business, said the new clutches are “price equivalent” to the two 15.5-inch Easy Pedal and Solo manual clutch models being replaced in Eaton’s lineup-- even though the new Advantage line comes with longer service intervals and extended warranty coverage.

For example, Rohlwing noted that the lubrication interval for the Advantage clutch in linehaul applications is being doubled compared to Eaton’s prior recommendation-- up from 25,000 miles to 50,000 miles.

According to Eaton, the new Easy Pedal Advantage and Solo Advantage models also offer longer warranties whether factory- installed by an OEM or purchased as aftermarket replacements:

  • Solo Advantage (OEM production, for Linehaul use): 3 yr/350,000-miles, covers all OEMS
  • Solo Advantage (OEM production, for Vocational use): 2-yr/200,000-miles—or “stay with current terms if they are better.”
  • Easy Pedal Advantage (OEM production, for Linehaul use): 2 yr/200,000 miles—or “stay with current terms if they are better.”
  • Easy Pedal Advantage (OEM production, for Vocational use): 2 yr/200,000 miles—or “stay with current terms if they are better.”
  • Advantage Series (Aftermarket, for Linehaul use): 2 years from date of sale for EP and Solo
  • Advantage Series (Aftermarket, for Vocational use): 2 years from date of sale for EP and Solo

The reason for the expanded warranty coverage lies in the beefier design of the Advantage Series clutch. said Rohlwing, as the new model features a 33% stiffer casing, 50% wider thrust pad, a three-zerk lube system (which helps extend the lubrication intervals as well), plus steel-backed bushings. He noted that the thrust of the Advantage clutch design is to provide longer life and maintenance savings, rather than help improve vehicle fuel economy.

“The clutch plays a very important role in the overall value of any heavy-duty vehicle,” said John Beering, Eaton’s vp/gm of aftermarket, pointing out that 90% of the clutches work cycle is dampening vibrations from the engine to the driveline as it transfers torque from the engine to the transmission. “Thus a more robust design helps reduce such vibrations and increase driveline life,” he said.

Scheffel added that Eaton eventually plans to design a remanufacturing strategy for the Advantage Series clutches, but hasn’t as yet finalized it. But he said one thing for certain with any such reman program is there will be no core charges.