Choosing the Right 6-Speed Clutch – LUK, SACHS, Febi and Valeo

Shopping for a new clutch for your 6-speed VW TDI can be confusing. Single-mass, dual mass, auto-adjusting, matching flywheels, it is all sort of a mess. Let’s make some sense of it…

VW 6-Speed Transmissions

The first thing to know is that all VW 6-speed transmissions on VW TDIs, factory and retrofit, can use the interchangable clutches. They are all based on a 240mm diameter flywheel and hydraulic throwout bearing. Complete kits that include a new flywheel are available from LUK, Febi-Bilstein, SACHS and Valeo. While the assemblies are all interchangable, the components are not always interchangable.

Complete Clutch Kit with Flywheel = No Problem

If you are going to buy a full kit with a new flywheel you don’t need to worry about which brand you choose. Any full kit will bolt up and work with your 6-speed TDI no problem. Just choose the one you need based on your performance target, drivability priorities and budget limitations.

Matching Clutch Kit to Existing Flywheel = PROBLEM

As a rule, components cannot be mixed and matched. A LUK clutch kit cannot be used with a SACHS flywheel, not can Valeo components. This means that if you are planning to retain the factory flywheel when you replace the clutch on your vehicle you must match brands. Unfortuantely there is no way to tell if your vehicle came with a SACHS or LUK clutch assembly withour taking the transmission out of the car – no, the VIN won’t help.

FEBI Components fit LUK Assemblies

The one exception to the matching rule is Febi-Bilstein. Febi-Bilstein clutches and flywheels are compatible with LUK components. A Febi-Bilstein clutch kit can be used on a LUK flywheel, and a LUK clutch kit can be use on a Febi-Bilstein flywheel.

Single Mass (SMF) vs. Dual Mass (DMF)

The only manufacturer to offer single-mass flywheel (SMF) kits is Valeo. We review the pros and cons here – Single Mass vs Dual Mass Flywheels – but largely we recommend staying with dual mass flywheels for the new 02Q and later transmission. While there is no hard data, the syncros on the newer 6-speed manuals seem more sensitive to vibration, and we’ve seen a few vehicles with single-mass kits that have suffered from failed syncros.

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