Double Disc vs Single Disc Clutches: Which is Right For You?

6th Mar 2018

If you’re not sure whether you should upgrade your single disc clutch system or switch to a double disc clutch system, we have you covered. First, let’s briefly discuss each type of clutch system.

Single Disc Clutches

Most trucks have a single disc clutch as the stock setup, which is typically enough to handle regular daily driving. Single disc clutches are relatively easy to drive smoothly, yet they're capable of handling all but the most powerful engines.

Southbend clutch 2

A South Bend single disc clutch kit for Dodge/RAM trucks with a Cummins diesel

However, some truck owners find that the stock clutch is insufficient. Usually, these truck owners have made investments into engine upgrades, they tow or haul regularly, or all of the above. For truck owners who want to upgrade their stock single disc clutch, an upgrade to an aftermarket single disc has some big benefits:

  • Increased durability for higher torque engines
  • Decreased slippage for stronger, faster engagement (great for hauling/towing heavier loads)
  • Smoother operation than double-disc clutch kits (more on that below)
  • Relatively affordable replacement costs

Generally speaking, if you have a single disc clutch, there's probably a single disc upgrade out there for your truck that will increase your vehicle's capabilities without sacrificing driveability. We've got a large variety of South Bend single disc replacement kits that will work great for most trucks, for example.

Double Disc Clutches

A double disc clutch kit is sort of an extreme upgrade. While these kits are very popular, they're not for every truck owner. Double disc clutch kits have a few advantages:

  • More torque and horsepower capacity
  • Maximum durability
  • Firm engagement for excellent performance in extreme applications

If you're racing your truck, if you're pulling a sled, if your truck is putting out 800hp, if you're hauling the maximum load, etc., a double-disc setup is probably your only option. But double-disc setups have some downsides. They are hard to operate smoothly, even for the most experienced hand. It can be very challenging to maneuver a trailer in tight quarters, as engagement is often too firm for finite adjustments. Also, these setups are so heavy that they make stop-and-go driving a chore.

Southbend clutch

In a double disc clutch system, you’d find a pressure plate, floater plate, flywheel, and two clutch discs. (Pictured: a South Bend clutch system for Dodge Cummins trucks)

Still, if you have a high horsepower engine and/or you're pushing your truck to the limit, a double disc clutch is probably the only option you can buy that you won't be replacing in 20 or 30,000 miles.

Which Setup is Right For You - Double Disc, or Upgraded Single Disc?

Upgrading your clutch is a pretty big decision, so it’s important to know which type of clutch system works best for your truck before buying one. It all depends on what you’re using your truck for.

A quality single disc clutch should be adequate for most truck owners. Unless your truck's engine is heavily modified, or you're using your truck in a very strenuous application, a single disc upgrade is a good alternative to replacing an OEM clutch. Especially considering that OEM clutches wear very quickly when installed on a truck with even mild performance upgrades.

If your truck has heavy modifications, if you're racing the truck, or if you're pushing the maximum tow or payload rating 24/7, a double-disc clutch kit might be the way to go. While a dual disc setup is not as easy to drive, it is very durable. Instead of burning out a single disc clutch in 12 months, a dual disc setup can last for several years.

Just remember that, if you go with a double disc clutch kit, there will be an adjustment period.