I’ve had my JHM Stage 3 Clutch with lightweight flywheel for almost a year now so it’s finally undergone enough testing to be reviewed here on my blog. My stock clutch went out in late January of this year after a spirited canyon drive and several hard launches using the JHM Launch Assist feature of my tune – although the OEM clutch only had 55k miles on it, those were a hard 55k miles that also included several track days and teach my wife to drive a stick…so when my OEM clutch blew, I knew it was time for an upgrade, and JHM was my first choice given my great success with their other products.
JHM has several clutch options all paired with their lightweight flywheel for the B6/B7 S4 and I went with the JHM Stage 3 (hybrid Ceramic/Metal Backed Organic) – in hindsight I kind of wish I had gone with an R series clutch which is more aggressive and has a non-SAC (self-adjusting clutch) style pressure plate, or even the Stage 4 non R-series, but at the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep or sell my car so I wanted something that would feel more OEM if I were to sell it down the road. Likewise, the Stage 3 Clutch was on sale and in stock, and since my OEM clutch had blown and my car was inoperable, I just wanted to get the car back on the road and not go broke in the process!
Overall, I’m really happy with my choice – the Stage 3 clutch feels very OEM, and in most cases you’d never know it was an aftermarket clutch. After a track day and 10 months of daily driving on city streets, I haven’t had any issues or complaints to think of. The main things I had to change about my driving style was that the engagement point is much lower, so you really have to push the clutch ALL OF THE WAY IN, especially in third, or you will grind or catch occasionally – moving your seat forward a little bit can help make this easier. Likewise at really low speeds in first gear, such as going over speed bumps or parallel parking, the lightweight flywheel along with my JHM lightweight crank pulley sometimes means the car doesn’t like the super low RPM stuff, so you need to ride the clutch a little more in these cases otherwise the idle gets a little loopy – this is mostly true on the OEM clutch too, just a little more noticeable with all of the reduced rotation weight.
I haven’t done a ton of hard launches with my new clutch but I have been rest assured by JHM that this clutch is good to do tons of them – their shop cars have used this same clutch and done hundreds of Launch Assist powered launches without issue. I don’t do a ton of drag strip racing otherwise I’d put it to the challenge more, but the hard launch on the way to work seems a bit unnecessary to me, lol. I do plan to get some videos for my LSD review as you can get the rear tires to spin a little with Launch Assist which is kind of fun 🙂
Overall, I’d recommend this to anyone looking to keep an OEM feel to their clutch but wanted a little better performance (via the lightweight flywheel) and better durability for future abuse (via the ceramic/organic clutch plates). The price is pretty similar other other options, and its upgradable down the road to a Stage 4 if and when the time is right to do so.