Home' Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine : Australian Auto Aftermarket E-zine December Contents AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012 31
Be warned: Replacing incorrect flywheels will cost in the long run
While every repairer wants to do the best for their customers, including reducing the cost of drivetrain component replacements, Schaeffler Automotive
Aftermarket Australia warns of a worrying trend taking place with the incorrect replacement of original equipment specification dual mass flywheels with
lower cost and incompatible solid flywheels.
While the difference is not noticeable on some
vehicles, the finely tuned variation in harmonics
balance between the engine and gearbox is
completely lost by this practice.
This leads to the eventual wearing of gears to
more expensive long term major drivetrain
This practice leads to higher eventual costs
not only for the current owner of the vehicle and
future owners if left undetected, but also for their
repairers who are presented with a vehicle with
repeated identical gearbox issues in many cases.
Repairers have been known to have replaced
gears repeatedly under their own repair warranty
before making enquiries with component
suppliers like Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket
to advise on other possible causes.
This is exactly what happened to Wagga
Wagga based transmission specialist Doug Kinder
from Advanced Transmissions.
"We have a customer with a Mazda BT-50
who came to us having lost fifth gear," Mr Kinder
"We dismantled the gearbox and replaced the
gear and then, exactly 8000 kilometres later, the
customer was back with the same problem.
"Wanting to do the right thing we then
replaced the gear at our cost and in another 8000
kilometres exactly, the car was back with the
Mr Kinder said this occurred again a further
8000 kilometres down the track.
"We then started to ask questions and
discovered that the original LuK Dual Mass
Flywheel (DMF) had been replaced by a solid
flywheel which is not specified for that car, but
comes at a lower cost for the mechanic to
replace," he said.
There is no advantage to fitting a solid
flywheel in the place of a dual mass
flywheel which was invented by LuK for the
very purpose of achieving total balance
between the engine and gearbox harmonics.
While more expensive than solid
flywheels, the long term cost of replacing
the correct component far outweighs the
labour and component costs of returned
customers along with the greater problems
that this practice can cause down the track.
"We have since seen many of these
incorrect flywheel replacements in our
workshop and have also had situations
where customers have gone to the vehicle
manufacturer who will not replace broken
gears or other components under warranty
as soon as they have seen that the dual
mass flywheel had been replaced by a lower
cost, non OE specified solid flywheel," Mr
One of the biggest problems is that in most
cases there is no audible difference or vibration
change and the harmonics involved cannot be
sensed by the driver.
But in time, as experienced by Doug Kinder's
customer, expensive gear replacements needed
to be made not once but on three occasions, all
for not simply replacing the correct dual mass
Mr Kinder said the LuK Dual Mass Flywheel
was no more difficult to fit than a solid flywheel.
"It is purely skimping on cost and it does not
give the customer the flywheel needed and
specified to ensure long and trouble free engine
and gearbox performance," he said.
"We even checked the history of the gearbox
we were working on and it has no history of gear
failures of any kind over many years
of operation, as long as it is fitted
with the manufacturer specified
dual mass flywheel."
Repairers should also take note
of the cost to them once this
practice has taken place.
In this single Advanced
Transmissions case, three gears
were replaced at a cost of about
$500 each, plus one day of labour
No business can afford such
returns, so it should be normal to
always check that if a specific
model's original specifications call
for a dual mass flywheel, that this
is in fact what has been fitted to the
In Mr Kinder's case, the replacement of the
original flywheel was done incorrectly elsewhere,
yet the cost of fixing the problem became his.
With more and more cars on Australia's roads
being fitted with LuK Dual Mass Flywheels as
original equipment, this can be a serious problem
for repairers in the future if not quickly identified.
Feel free to contact Schaeffler Automotive
Aftermarket, the suppliers of LuK products to the
Australian independent automotive aftermarket, if
your customers have any similar gearbox failure or
wearing concerns on 02 8977 1043 to determine
whether a dual mass flywheel has been
incorrectly replaced with a solid flywheel.
This needs to be rectified immediately to
avoid further costly drive train issues down the
It is good to know that there are responsible
repairers like Mr Kinder of Advanced
Transmissions who go the extra mile to ensure
that their customer's problems are completely
rectified regardless of the cause, which in this
case of several known ones was due to a cost
saving mistake by another repairer.
With detailed advice provided by Schaeffler
Automotive Aftermarket customer John Wilcox of
Australian Transmission Components along with
experts from Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket,
they solved a major and costly customer issue
and potential future issues like it.
For more information and technical advice or
to order your LuK DMF information kit,
contact Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket
Product Managers Brett Sage or Julian Ilic
on 02 8977 1043.
Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket Australia experts warn that
there is no advantage to fitting a solid flywheel in the place of a
dual mass flywheel which was LuK invented for the very purpose
of achieving total balance between the engine and gearbox
Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket Australia supplies the complete dual
mass flywheel replacement package to repairers with Repset DMF. Never
replace a dual mass flywheel with a solid mass flywheel.
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