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Multi-Disc Clutch Repair - 1912 Stearns-Knight

W MacDonald

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This started with an investigation into why the clutch was dragging in a 1912 Stearns-Knight.  Eight disc clutch, four with facings, four without (photo 1). After disassembly, found two of the bare disks were dished, by as much as 1/8 inch (photo 2, two discs face to face).  This is likely the cause of the clutch not fully disengaging. So, some questions for any of you who have experience with multi-disc clutches of this era.


1. Is there any reliable way to flatten a dished disc?  Each is fairly large, at 13 3/4 OD, but thin at 0.064. Stearns identified the material only as "saw blade steel".

2. The facings are currently modern clutch material, bonded to the discs, and appear to have little use (photo 3).  What material would have been used in 1912, and is the current modern material related to the warped discs? (There seems to be much discussion regarding the use of Kevlar bands vs. cotton bands in the Model T Ford and how using Kevlar (with a higher temperature rating) can result in cracked drums. So, the heat transfer characteristics of the facing material may have something to do with this.)

disc unlined.jpg

disc dish.jpg

facing material.jpg

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53 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

Send the entire assembly to Fort Wayne Clutch. They can cut a new piece to replace the dished piece or pieces. They have done several multi disc clutches for us which needed new discs cut.  Reasonably priced.

I agree. Send photos, information(miles since last replaced) and any technical info you have on the car.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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