Pros and Cons of Installing a Light Flywheel
A light flywheel is a popular performance modification that will have distinct differences from stock equipment. The trouble is deciding if a lightened flywheel is right for your particular situation. The flywheel is an integral part of the system that drives your car and changing it can really cause you to have trouble with keeping your car driving smoothly. Many people think that a lightened flywheel is automatically going to make their car better or faster. The truth is this is not the case. The properties of different types of flywheels are very different, and oftentimes a super-light flywheel is not the right choice for someone modifying a car for daily use. There are plenty of options when it comes to upgrading the drivetrain, even when it comes to different flywheels. Here is an explanation of the 3 main types of flywheels:
Most modern cars use a dual mass flywheel. The dual mass flywheel is actually comprised of two flywheels joined together by shock absorbing springs and struts. This reduces shock to the drivetrain when the clutch is engaged, which results in reduced wear to components as well as a smoother driving experience. Dual mass designs are simply the best choice for most drivers since they are the most forgiving design. There are upgraded dual mass flywheels available for some cars that will offer more responsive shifts for people with a slightly more performance-oriented driving style.
The name pretty much explains it all: a single mass flywheel is just that. A single metal flywheel disk with a friction surface. Single mass flywheels are more responsive than dual mass designs since there is no cushioning effect on the drive train like that produced by the dual mass design. Shifts on a single mass flywheel will be noticeably more responsive, but they can be harsh at first; especially for drivers used to dual mass designs. This is because the clutch is allowed to engage fully (without dampening) as soon as the pedal is released. This allows the driver to have more control over the way that the clutch engages, but it’s up to the driver to make sure that he or she does this smoothly to keep from damaging the drivetrain or jarring passengers.
Lightened flywheels are the realm of drivers most dedicated to performance. The thing that should be stressed is that they are really not for cars driven on a daily basis. A lightened flywheel will produce more responsive shifting and engine rev’s as well as generally improved acceleration throughout the gears. That is because the rotating mass (or the amount of weight the engine has to move to speed up) is drastically reduced. However lightened flywheels reduce drivability under most circumstances. Cars with lightened flywheels are more apt to stall in traffic, are much noisier (clutch rattle or chatter) and will probably increase engine vibration (which can reduce engine life). For most drivers, a standard or slightly lightened single mass flywheel will give the biggest performance benefit without the trouble of a drastically lightened flywheel.