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Mazda Miata clutch kit review


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There are three main reasons to get a new clutch. Obviously, replacement is necessary if your existing system is slipping. When the grip deteriorates, you know it is time for a change. Secondly, you may want to enhance the performance of your Miata. Increasing output (e.g., turbocharging) requires a clutch upgrade as well.

Finally, getting aftermarket wheels requires a new clutch, too. The tires will be stickier, the pressure on the drivetrain will increase, and your old system will be the weakest link in the chain. The quality of your Mazda’s clutch can dramatically affect its performance. But are all kits the same?

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Clutch in a Mazda Miata?

If you are looking for a Miata clutch kit to fix your Mazda MX-5, the replacement should set you back around $1,200 on average. The key question is: do you want to change it yourself or delegate the job to professionals? If you are not proficient in DIY, have a mechanic replace it for you.

The labor costs for applying a Miata clutch kit are in the vicinity of $400-490. The parts themselves cost around $750. The correlation between price and quality is not always linear, though. A cheaper Miata clutch kit may have impressive features and longevity.

Thus, you should be ready to pay over a thousand US dollars. However, there are other components of the cost for a new Miata clutch kit. Remember that fees and taxes will also apply depending on your location. Besides, the professional mechanic tasked with using the Miata clutch kit may discover extra defects in your vehicle.

What Is Included in a Clutch Kit?

Some kits include more elements than others. At the very least, you will always get a new clutch disc and pressure plate in a Mazda Miata clutch kit. You may also find a set with a throwout bearing (aka release bearing). Pilot bearing, also known as bushing, is another possible component, as it fails sooner or later. The most comprehensive kit includes the disc, pressure plate, flywheel, throwout bearing, and pilot bearing.

Does Clutch Kit Include Throwout Bearing?

Yes, this component is found in some versions of the performance clutch kit Miata. The actuating lever presses this element to the fingers of the pressure plate. If your clutch squeals or grumbles, but goes silent when its pedal is pressed, throwout bearing is to blame.

Does a Clutch Kit Include a Flywheel?

Most kits come without it. This is because a flywheel is not a part changed regularly by default — everything depends on its condition. The flywheel may be used as long as it is intact. If the part is lightly worn, replacement is a recommended preventative measure.

This big metal disc is placed between the transmission and the clutch mechanism. The teeth of the flywheel make it resemble a huge gear. They provide engagement, so the engine can be turned over. A flywheel may or may not be included in a Miata complete clutch kit.

Can I Replace the Clutch Myself?

If you are good with auto DIY, replacing the clutch in any model could be feasible. The component may be replaced in your garage or on the driveway, and you can even find a clutch kit for the 1991 Miata. However, make sure you have plenty of time, as the process is far from straightforward. We recommend using a lift — otherwise, removing the transmission will probably be challenging.

The next step is to examine the parts feeding power from the engine to the transmission. On the flywheel, you will see a pressure plate bolted to it. It hides the clutch disc from sight. On the transmission, there is a clutch arm and throwout bearing. The latter may be built differently.

When the clutch malfunctions, its disc is a common culprit. The friction surface of the flywheel and bushing (aka pilot bearing) are also worth examining. The bushing gets worn over time, and it must be replaced regularly. However, it may also indicate transmission issues. The easiest way to replace the bushing is with a special tool.

The next element to take out is the flywheel. Check it for cracks. Finally, assemble everything back: the flywheel, pressure plate, clutch disc, bushing, and throwout bearing. Glance at your manual in the process — make sure the torque figures are right. Use a torque wrench, not your intuition.

What Brand Clutch Is Best?

Choosing a Miata clutch upgrade is a breeze in comparison with changing the exhaust system. There are only three things to match: the disc, the pressure plate, and the flywheel. The size of the engine is not really essential anymore.

1. Flyin’ Miata Level 1 Clutch

The obvious choice is the default clutch by Exedy. The Japanese manufacturer produces light and reliable kits. The stock option comes with a 12-month warranty (or 20,000 miles). The Exedy OEM Miata Replacement Clutch Kit may be bought from Amazon.

You may notice a longer break-in period: proper grabbing sometimes only starts at 2,000+ miles. Besides, some car owners ditch the original bearings in favor of better ones. Still, this is one of the best street choices for your Miata. If you want a clutch that will give your vehicle an upgrade, consider these options.

 2. Flyin’ Miata Level 2 Clutch

This all-purpose kit is suitable for cars built between 1990 and 2005. Flyin’ Miata is a well-established brand, and its products deliver impressive torque-handling typical for more expensive versions. The pedal feel, however, is still pleasant. If your Miata is supercharged or turbo (with 300+ horses under the hood), consider getting a Level 2 kit.

The Level 2 kit is just as popular for turbo — or supercharged MX5s. They state “the Level 2 is for serious power cars only,”. Unless your upgrades bring your Miata to more than 300 horses under the hood, you should stick with the ample Level 1 kit.

3. South Bend Clutch Stage 2 “Daily” Kit

This daily driving kit is compatible with models produced between 1994 and 2005. It also suits your needs if you hit the track occasionally. Smooth shifting through corners, little vibration at high RPMs, and other race-like features are included. It may be described as a daily option loaded with extras.

Final Verdict

Miata clutches can be tricky to upgrade, so get professional assistance if you are not a DIY freak. However, labor costs are substantial — commonly, they are equal to over half of the kit price. Mazda owners should be prepared to pay around $750 for the spare parts only, and $1,200 for the full package. Get a reliable clutch to reduce maintenance expenses in the future.

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