A manual transmission's clutch damper reduces the torque and vibration caused by engaging the clutch pedal's effect on the rest of the engine system. A malfunctioning clutch damper can have symptoms that quickly spread through the engine system, including vibration, grinding noises and quick wearing of the clutch's gears. Vigilant drivers can identify the symptoms early and avoid long-term damage to vital drive components.
A failing clutch damper will have a reduced capacity to manage torque created by engaging and disengaging the clutch. This results in vibration through the engine block and the floor of the vehicle when the manual clutch is pressed down and when it is being released. Vibration will increase, along with chirping noises from inside the clutch mechanism, as the clutch damper continues to lose functionality and eventually fails.
Improper Installation of Parts
A clutch must be properly bolted to the flywheel of a vehicle to work properly. Improper installation can cause misalignment of parts, including the clutch damper, and that will alter the clutch's response time and the tension of the clutch pedal. A clutch pedal that is abnormally difficult to depress (often called a hard clutch pedal) might have a misaligned clutch damper and other hydraulic components. The clutch and damper should be inspected to check for proper installation and avoid long-term damage to the clutch and the manual transmission.
Internal clutch noise might be a symptom of a malfunctioning or broken clutch damper. A growling or squealing sound will issue from the clutch-actuator mechanism, indicating the increase of torque in the system from the damper not being able to perform its primary function to reduce stress on the clutch itself. To diagnose if the internal clutch noise is caused by a bad clutch damper, place the car in park, then engage the parking brake. If the noise persists when the vehicle is started in neutral, the clutch noise probably stems from an internal component, such as the clutch damper.