Centerforce Tech Review: Choosing The Right Clutch

Centerforce Clutches
has a rich history that began with veteran hot rodder and SEMA Hall of Famer Bill Hays back in the 1980s. If you’ve been around hot cars for any time at all, you know this name and what it means to performance. You also know it changed the course of clutch development forever because it was a game-changer. Hays invented and patented the Weighted Clutch System in order to improve clutch engagement – a very clever system where the theory is that clutch pressure increases with engine rpm.

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Centerforce Clutches was founded by Bill Hayes nearly 30 years ago because he believed there was a better way to design and manufacture clutches. Centerforce holds nine U.S. patents and offers clutches for more than 1,700 applications. Easy on your left leg and smooth for the commute or racetrack.

A Long Tradition Of Excellence

In the years since the dawn of Centerforce Clutches in Midway City, California some three decades ago, there has been the Centerforce I and II, Dual Friction, LMC, DFX, the new high-tech DYAD multi-disc, and a host of other innovations. In the 1990s, Centerforce moved its operations to Prescott, Arizona with 90 percent of its employees choosing to make the move; which tells you something about this home grown company. All research and development along with manufacturing is done here in the United States some 90 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona.

What makes Centerforce clutches unique is a series of cool features: the weighted clutch system, low-friction ball bearing pressure plate pivots where possible on some clutches, and new forms of friction power transmit unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Centerforce's claim to fame is the patented weighed clutch technology. And when you add Dual Friction to the equation, you have a very effective clutch design.

Clutches For Every Mission

Centerforce offers a wide variety of clutches for a broad array of applications for any kind of driving. And they’re always searching for new ways to marry engine and driveline through smart innovation. Through the years, we’ve had a number of conversations with Will Baty of Centerforce about clutches, clutch design, and manufacturing. He stresses the need for close attention to detail throughout the manufacturing process, which makes these clutches safe when installed and used responsibly. Baty adds that it’s important to choose the right clutch for your application and driving agenda. Choose a clutch for the way you intend to drive most of the time.

Choose a clutch for the way you intend to drive most of the time.

Centerforce I and II

The entry level clutch that doesn’t act like an entry level clutch — the original Centerforce I. This is stock replacement clutch for just about any application. Frustrated with your three-finger or substandard diaphragm-style clutch? The Centerforce I is exactly what you want for a better quality of life commute along with that occasional blast of power because this clutch can take it. Both affordable and reliable, the Centerforce I will outlast any factory clutch. If you can afford a stock replacement clutch, you can afford the Centerforce I.

This is the Centerforce I stock replacement clutch, which is affordable for any daily driver or weekend cruiser. While Centerforce II offers flyweight technology with a full-surface friction disc, making it an excellent daily driver and occasional weekend drag race clutch.

The Centerforce II is full-facing clutch employing upgraded friction materials and the weighted clutch system for maximum holding power under demanding driving conditions.

Dual Friction

When Centerforce introduced the Dual Friction clutch, it took a good clutch and made it better via a performance matched pressure plate and disc combination. If you like high-performance driving, yet use your ride for the daily drive, Dual Friction answers the call with Centerforce’s centrifugal weight package that puts additional squeeze on the disc, pressure plate, and flywheel at higher RPM.

Dual Friction gets its name from its design that includes full friction facing on the pressure plate side for comfortable driving and longevity along with carbon-composite, puck-style frictions on the flywheel side for extra holding capacity.

The Centerforce Dual Friction clutch offers a mixture between both a racing clutch and a good street clutch in one package. Use it on the street and take it to the drag strip on a Saturday night.

The most popular all around clutch Centerforce has ever offered is the Dual Friction, which offers a unique two-friction surface design - one type on the flywheel side and another type on the pressure plate side for outstanding performance. Centerforce does this because each side of the clutch disc is subjected to different forces under extreme conditions. The full-face pressure plate side offers smooth engagement. The puck-style flywheel side yields a solid hook-up. Race on Sunday - cruise to work on Monday.


All Centerforce flywheels are SFI approved and carved from solid billet be they steel or aluminum. Each is a precision piece machined for perfect fit

The DFX is a performance clutch for down and dirty domestic applications where good, positive engagement is a must. The DFX offers mild pedal pressure with good engagement thanks to the weighted design, which comes on strong at high rpm. The DFX offers nodular iron pressure plate rings for durability and smooth function along with tough reinforcements engineered to prevent strap failure. Although clutch function is smooth, engagement can be harsh due to the heavy duty materials used in the DFX. This is a true racing clutch meant to take a pounding – hence the brute demeanor.

When you examine the DFX clutch from Centerforce, you realize you’re stepping up to an all-out performance piece. The DFX offers the best of both worlds – a soft pedal yet brute engagement thanks to centrifugal flyweights that enact intense clutch pressure as engine speed increases. This means no slippage when the heat gets hot and you’re chasing the traps at speed.

LMC Series

Centerforce puts a different spin on the clutch with this lightweight design known as the LMC (Light Metal Clutch). The SFI approved LMC yields less rotating mass and weight, which allows your engine to rev quickly. This makes the LMC optimal for road racing and circle track applications where you need a quick response. Clutch material includes dual segmented carbon-composite frictions. Use this clutch with a Centerforce aluminum/steel flywheel combo.

Centerforce's LMC clutch is all about quicker revs from a lightweight design. You're going to want to match the LMC to an aluminum flywheel to make the most of this package.

The Ultimate — DYAD Drive System

This is the most advanced Centerforce clutch you can buy - the DYAD Drive system for high-twist, maximum torque powerhouses in the 750-1300 ft/lb range. Before you is a fully dampened, multi-disc clutch that can take a lot of punishment. With durability comes a lightweight aluminum flywheel. Expect light pedal effort, yet great hook-up when you're on the throttle. ARP fasteners contribute to durability.

DYAD Drive System Features

  • Patent Pending
  • Fully Dampened Clutch designed for high-torque performance applications
  • Lightweight Flywheel
  • Multi-Disc, Floating Disc, Drive Disc Design
  • Smooth Engagement
  • Light Pedal Effort
  • Maximum Torque Capacity 1300 ft/lbs at Flywheel
  • Greater Longevity
  • ARP Fasteners for Durability
Centerforce recently introduced the DYAD Drive System, which is a high-end, multi-disc clutch developed for high horsepower and high torque applications. It can take more than 750 ft/lbs of torque and do it smoothly with a light pedal for excellent control. ARP fasteners ensure this guy will stay together under the most demanding conditions.

The arrangement of components is only a little more complex than a typical twin disc clutch. The pressure plate is almost unchanged, except it is deeper to handle the extra clutch disc and floater plate. The two clutch discs are connected by drive pins and the floater plate sits between them. The drive pins allow the clutch discs to turn as one, but lets them move axially to release their grip and to accommodate disc wear. “We wanted to go with a positive drive floater type clutch system because it’s already a proven technology that we see in Top Fuel cars,” mentioned Baty.

Beyond all this, the overall clutch design can be more compact, using smaller diameter discs and components which reduce driveline inertia. The benefits just don’t stop coming.

Picking The Right Clutch Depends On YOU

You might feel like your head is spinning when it comes to picking the right clutch for your vehicle. The best advice we can give you is pick one that will support your current power level, plus whatever you want to achieve over the next year or two. There are a variety of clutch kits offered by Centerforce that will get the job done, but some that will also that will increase performance more with a well-matched flywheel. At the end of the day it’s simply what you can afford, and regardless of your needs, Centerforce has an answer for virtually any budget.

Article Sources

About the author

Jim Smart

Jim Smart cut his teeth on automobiles in the 1970s with a passionate interest in Ford and Chrysler musclecars. After serving in the United States Air Force, he transitioned into automotive journalism as editor of Mustang Monthly magazine in 1984. In 1990, Jim joined Petersen Publishing Company as a feature editor at Car Craft, and later as editor of Mustang & Fords, then senior editor at both Mustang Monthly and Mustang & Fords. Jim writes for a wide variety of automotive publishers and websites.
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