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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Renegade is barely over a month old and has 3800 miles on it. Today the vehicle is no longer driveable due to a bad clutch. I have never heard of a clutch going bad so **** soon! I still can't believe it. I have owned two manual vehicles before, and only had to replace one clutch on one of them so I know I don't drive that bad and actually would consider myself to be at least adequate with driving a clutch.

I don't start from second, i only depress it when I need to and I try and give it as little gas as possible when starting.

Now I have done some work to my Renegade to make it more off-road ready and have done a grand total of 3 off-road trips. The first being less than an hour long drive (sway bar came loose so had to turn around), the second being on a pretty easy drive (I posted a video of the highlights of it on the video section) and then one day on another trail that lasted about 3 hours before I hit the limit of the Renegade.

Now I will be the first to admit I have never gone off-road in a manual, so I was definitely burning the clutch getting used to it especially when trying to go over some rocky terrain on an incline, but I never thought I pushed it too hard. I did smell burning when having to ride the clutch pretty hard a couple of times to get over some rocks, but after something heavy I would let the clutch cool off.

For arguments sake let's assume I treated the clutch like **** in the ~7-10 hours of off-roading I have done, I don't think that would even be enough to make a clutch go bad after 3800 miles.

Still don't even know what to say or do about the situation. Tow company is picking it up tomorrow morning and taking it to the Jeep dealership, where there is about a month wait for service and they won't give me a loaner vehicle. I would think that if your car is under warranty they would have to provide you a vehicle no?

Also what do you think the chances are that Jeep will make me pay for a new clutch myself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's plenty of time to burn up a clutch. Also, clutch parts are not covered by warranty. Having said that I would be amazed if they didn't cover it under goodwill.
I appreciate your comment, but with all respect, I fail to see how 7-10 hours of off-road driving would burn the clutch. Manual transmissions are used in rock crawling all the time
 

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You may have simply had a bad clutch which was strained and broken by the off-road experience you put it through. If you somehow put it under extreme strain than stranger things have happened; there's plenty of stories of people, usually inexperienced, who blow them in literally no time at all (less than 500 miles of normal driving). Not saying that's what happened just commenting.

They will probably know a bit more once they get in there and my guess is they may not know whether it will be covered until that point; when I blew my clutch in the Jetta I had a long time ago the mechanic knew exactly what I had been doing with it to get it in that state.
 

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Genuinely not trying to troll you but you said it yourself - you burned the clutch.
If your gearing wasn't low enough to drive without riding the clutch then the terrain was too difficult for the vehicle or the driver.
Mileage means nothing - I could burn a clutch out in 100 miles if that's what I wanted to do.

I hope your dealer is sympathetic to you but once they have the friction plates in their hands they will be able to make an assessment - clutches don't burn out for no reason.

Best of luck.
 

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Rock crawlers with manual trans typically have a much lower range than the Renegade so they don't have to ride the clutch. Stick to fire roads and well maintained trails. If you though this Jeep was a rock crawler you bought the wrong car or need an auto. I have a manual trans Latitude and have taken it "off-road" with no issues. I also have 16k miles on it. I understand it's limitations and do not attempt many things I would have not thought twice about doing in my zj. They still make the Wrangler for a reason. I'm not trying to be a jerk but it doesn't sounds like you knew what you were getting into when you bought this thing.
 

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Sorry about your clutch. I can't guess about whether the dealer will replace the clutch under warranty. But if you smelled the clutch burning, even once, major damage had been done.

The clutch plate has friction material analogous to brake pads. Brake pads can be worn quickly with severe use (like road racing), or last more than 100,000 miles during gentle road driving. Clutches can last a long time too, but can be destroyed in short order if allowed to slip while applying too much engine power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
After taking some time to think more about the situation I have a theory. About a week ago I started noticing the RPM gauge was acting up. It would shoot up about 500-1k extra RPM and then go back down when I would hit around 3k rpms. I thought it was just the gauge being weird and was thinking about taking it in to have it fixed.

Fast forward to what happened yesterday and the same thing was happening but to the extreme. This leads me to believe that for some reason the clutch never fully disengaged when I was driving, which lead to the quick burn up of the clutch. Prior to yesterday I did not have a single problem with the clutch or notice any problem until it started acting weird on the highway yesterday. Perhaps what I thought was a simple gauge problem was an actual real problem and the clutch was being burned slightly at first by not releasing all the way, and then slowly over time became worse and worse to the point of yesterday when it became inoperable.

As for my expectations of the Renegade, I didn't expect a wrangler but I did expect a trailhawk manual transmission once I put in some necessary upgrades such as lift and tires. The gear ratio for the manual transmission is the same as the trailhawk even in 4low. 4low on a trailhawk is only first gear apparently. I saw somewhere the gear ratio on the 1.4 is 18:1 and other sources claim they are the same, so even if you go with the 18:1 that isn't bad. I am not "rock crawling", but I have hit rocky terrain on an incline. Aside from getting stuck on a few branches or slightly larger rocks and having to give it more gas, I don't believe I burned the clutch anymore than any of you would do on an inclined road.

At the end of the day, there are not many mechanical differences between the trailhawk and other models, so it should be quite possible to off-road a sport or latitude just the same as a trailhawk once a few key upgrades have been made.
 

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The crawl ratio on a Wrangler Rubicon MT is 73:1. Way different than 18:1. Slipping the clutch is always bad. Slipping it to the point you can smell it is really bad. Do that a couple times and your due for a replacement.

You observation from a week ago just means your clutch was slipping. Meaning you should have had the clutch replaced last week instead of waiting till it failed completely and was no longer drivable.
 

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Hate to say it but gso is right. If you can smell it, you did damage. As for reasoning that the MT can perform like the TH, there's reasons it doesn't come in the TH flavor. Historically, lower powered engines mated with MTs got crawl ratios of 40:1 or better.

Also, I've seen clutches destroyed in a matter of seconds. It all depends on what you do to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The problem comes from how the Renegade is marketed. I was hoping for a decent vehicle which was somewhat capable off road and good on road. The Renegade was the answer to that riddle. Of course it will not match a Rubicon, but light off-road use should be adequate.

The jeep wrangler's clutch can take abuse, and all of you telling me burning the clutch did damage yes you are correct, however you would be hard pressed to find a jeep wrangler in a manual transmission that has not seen a driver "burn" up the clutch a bit when necessary. The problem is I assumed the jeep Renegade came with a capable clutch, not some silly street smart fiat clutch that can't take abuse. It turns out the renegade's clutch cannot take any abuse.

Once again if you think burning the clutch significantly damages it, you have not had a manual transmission wrangler. Obviously it is not good for it, but a clutch on a jeep should be able to withstand SOME abuse, and that is the problem. It is clear this is not a clutch capable of handling even the slightest off-road excursions.
 

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. . . This leads me to believe that for some reason the clutch never fully disengaged when I was driving, which lead to the quick burn up of the clutch. . .
If that is the case where the clutch was not fully engaging when your foot was completely off the pedal and before you were off-roading, you may have a warranty claim if you can prove that there was a defect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wouldn't it be the other way around, where the dealer has to prove it was my fault and not theirs? Anyway I talked to my dealership and they said more than likely with this low miles they will cover it
 

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The problem comes from how the Renegade is marketed. I was hoping for a decent vehicle which was somewhat capable off road and good on road. The Renegade was the answer to that riddle. Of course it will not match a Rubicon, but light off-road use should be adequate.

The jeep wrangler's clutch can take abuse, and all of you telling me burning the clutch did damage yes you are correct, however you would be hard pressed to find a jeep wrangler in a manual transmission that has not seen a driver "burn" up the clutch a bit when necessary. The problem is I assumed the jeep Renegade came with a capable clutch, not some silly street smart fiat clutch that can't take abuse. It turns out the renegade's clutch cannot take any abuse.

Once again if you think burning the clutch significantly damages it, you have not had a manual transmission wrangler. Obviously it is not good for it, but a clutch on a jeep should be able to withstand SOME abuse, and that is the problem. It is clear this is not a clutch capable of handling even the slightest off-road excursions.
My husband drives a renegade which we have had for a year. He is a good driver and never rides the clutch yet we had a shredded clutch when it was six months old and it was with a Jeep dealership for a month, we had it back for two days when the handbrake failed to work properly. The RAC man called the garage to explained the problem and they had never heard of it, so he folded the corner of the page and left it on the passenger seat for them to check. We never did get our book back. We waited 7+ weeks for a part so all I. All its was in the garage for 3 months bar 2 days. Then yesterday my husband said that it "didn't feel right when changing gear". It's back in the same dealership. They called me today to say the clutch had burnt out. I got the impression that they think he rides the clutch when I voiced the the man said no but to be honest the only reason the clutch would burn out is if someone rides the clutch. As my husband doesn't could there be another reason. He had never had a problem like this with all the other cars we have had.
 

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Bummer. Burning the clutch a smidge is not good, but also is not the end all. these transmissions can take a little beating with out going pfft.

My thoughts.... I think your trans was not all there to begin with aka built defective. You running it a smidge rough basically was what caused it to shite the bed. Also like you said an improperly engaging clutch over time will smoke itself. Sounds like warranty will have you covered. Shut up about any off roading no need to give them ammo to screw you.
 

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After taking some time to think more about the situation I have a theory. About a week ago I started noticing the RPM gauge was acting up. It would shoot up about 500-1k extra RPM and then go back down when I would hit around 3k rpms. I thought it was just the gauge being weird and was thinking about taking it in to have it fixed.
Those are the classic symptoms of a worn clutch on the way out.

But you're right, being a bit hard on the clutch occasionally shouldn't kill it. Riding it constantly, being hard on it for an extended period, or anything that gets it hot and keeps it hot will.

Another thing that will kill a clutch early is oil--if there's an oil leak around the crankshaft seal, the oil can get on the clutch and make it slip more, causing heat.

It's possible to get a clutch with bad friction material. Or, more likely, a weak or broken clutch spring would kill it.

Anyway, really glad your dealer is going to replace the clutch for you--do you think they'd install a "performance" clutch for you if you asked, and offered to pay the difference?
 

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The problem comes from how the Renegade is marketed. I was hoping for a decent vehicle which was somewhat capable off road and good on road. The Renegade was the answer to that riddle. Of course it will not match a Rubicon, but light off-road use should be adequate.

The jeep wrangler's clutch can take abuse, and all of you telling me burning the clutch did damage yes you are correct, however you would be hard pressed to find a jeep wrangler in a manual transmission that has not seen a driver "burn" up the clutch a bit when necessary. The problem is I assumed the jeep Renegade came with a capable clutch, not some silly street smart fiat clutch that can't take abuse. It turns out the renegade's clutch cannot take any abuse.

Once again if you think burning the clutch significantly damages it, you have not had a manual transmission wrangler. Obviously it is not good for it, but a clutch on a jeep should be able to withstand SOME abuse, and that is the problem. It is clear this is not a clutch capable of handling even the slightest off-road excursions.
Sounds like there's a market for upgraded clutches. Someone ping MADNESS
 

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Sounds like there's a market for upgraded clutches. Someone ping MADNESS
Actually, I think it'd have been nice for the Renegade to have been equipped with a multiplate wet clutch from the factory (like motorcycles have, and also much heavy equipment). They're a bit more complex, but more robust and less likely to "burn out." But, as they're not, then yeah a heavy duty clutch option might be worthwhile.

I suspect that the reason the Renegade with MT is "not recommended" for towing in North America is due to concerns about customers overtaxing the clutch.
 
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