VW clutches are pretty durable, but the dual-mass flywheel (DMF) that VW uses in most cars have a finite life, usually 200K miles or less. And if the clutch on your TDI has failed, you might find yourself considering buying either a South Bend Stage 2 Daily or a South Bend Stage 2 Endurance clutch and wondering what the differences are. Both are quality clutches, but they serve different needs, and at different price points.
If you’re wondering how South Bend makes their clutch kits, they start by taking an OEM clutch—in this case made by Sachs—and modifying it in two key ways. The first is that they increase the clamping force of the clutch by about 20%, so it can accommodate more power without slipping. They limit the increase in clamping force so pedal effort doesn’t increase too much, and to avoid the risk of damaging the crankshaft bearings. Another important modification they make is to change the friction material on the clutch plate. In the case of the Endurance clutch, they use sintered iron (what SBC calls “Feramic”) on the flywheel side to increase friction, drag, gripping power, and heat resistance. For the Daily clutch, they use an improved organic material with higher metal content than stock to both sides of the clutch to increase friction.
Both the Daily and the Endurance can accommodate more power than your stock clutch—which is a good thing. The stock clutches on TDIs aren’t able to handle much more than stock power. On 5 speed TDIs a tune and larger injectors can slip the stock clutch. Upgrade the turbo and it’ll definitely slip. And the added power might have been why your OE clutch failed in the first place.
Although they drive similarly, the amount of torque these clutches can handle is different. SBC is very conservative in its torque ratings, and the Daily, despite its name, is surprisingly sturdy, and can reliably work at up to 350 ft/lbs of torque. The Endurance clutch can handle a huge amount of torque, around 375 ft/lbs. The Endurance can also be added to cars with Dual Mass Flywheels (every TDI made after 1998). This version of the clutch, because it uses the stock flywheel, can only accommodate around 380 ft/lbs of torque. Otherwise, in terms of driveability and feel, both clutches are comparable in both pedal weight and smoothness of engagement. SBC says that on a VW you’ll have trouble slipping the endurance clutch no matter how much power you’re making: the drive wheels will slip first.
The takeaway is that if your car is producing a huge amount of power—i.e. you have a bigger turbo, injectors, stage one chip tune, etc.—you’ll want to go with the Endurance. For most TDIs, the Daily is a great choice.