Safari ARMAX Clutch7 minute read
When upgrading your GVM, or power and torque, in most manual 4x4s, you’ll also need to beef up the clutch. The new SAFARI ARMAX Clutch is a performance option for 70 Series LandCruisers.
Why Is A Heavy Duty Clutch Needed?
Automakers design clutches to drive smoothly to the specifications of the vehicle as delivered. Driving with the increased loads made possible by GVM upgrades, or with the extra power and torque delivered with engine enhancements, like the SAFARI ARMAX ECU, means we are well beyond these design limits. In the case of clutches, it’s like travelling with a ticking time bomb; at some point they usually let go, leaving you stranded without drive.
The New SAFARI ARMAX Clutch
The new SAFARI ARMAX Clutch suits the popular Toyota 70 Series LandCruiser range with the 1VD-FTV engine. It’s a ground-up redesign of the company’s previous clutch, and the design brief was to improve both strength and driveability.
Every component that comes in the box is built to the highest standard. SAFARI supplies their installers with detailed fitting instructions and offers remote technical support (if required). This allows for easy installation Australia wide through ARB stores and select independents. Those travellers based in Victoria also have the option of having their clutch fitted at the SAFARI ARMAX Performance Centre.
The SAFARI ARMAX Clutch rating is 1,100Nm; a 250% torque capacity over Toyota’s original clutch for this vehicle. It’s an enormous amount of torque; it’s rated high enough even for those looking for the most sporty performance from their engine.
The clutch disc itself is designed to deliver high performance (over 90% torque capacity) for the lifetime of the clutch disc.
The SAFARI ARMAX Clutch comes with a 12 month or 20,000-kilometre warranty. It’s designed to work seamlessly with the SAFARI ARMAX ECU, and when it is, the SAFARI ARMAX Engine and Drivetrain warranty applies.
How It Drives
For those new to the 70 Series LandCruiser it’s important to note that these are fundamentally a truck gearbox. The factory Toyota clutch is designed to be as soft feel as possible, but it’s still no car.
By nature, heavy duty clutches are typically even trickier to shift, the pedal feel is often firmer and they usually have a little grumble in neutral.
This new clutch comes with the SAFARI ARMAX Slave Cylinder. This part of the design allows for dramatically improved diaphragm lift control over typical heavy duty clutches. This translates to similar to factory pedal feel but with a 1,100Nm torque capacity. It’s as close to the best of both worlds as you can get.
Hearing about the new SAFARI ARMAX Clutch prior to installing it in my 76 Series, I thought great, this sounds really strong and if the pedal is a little smoother then that’s a bonus.
While the pedal is smoother, and the clutch release is in a higher position, similar to the Toyota clutch which is a little easier too, that wasn’t the difference I noticed most. A completely unexpected outcome was how smoothly I can now shift through the gears. It’s especially noticeable in the lower, shorter gears, and under more power.
This is a result of the new ARMAX Slave Cylinder. It’s now possible to gently disengage and re-engage the heavy clutch.
The overall driving experience in my vehicle is considerably better. On-road I typically drive in the ARMAX ECU Comfort Mode (Mode 1). The Sport Mode (Mode 2) was generally jerky due to the clutch. With the new clutch the gear changes have improved to the point that the Sport Mode is now smooth to use too.
The SAFARI ARMAX Range
The ARMAX Clutch works seamlessly with SAFARI’s growing ARMAX Range. The ARMAX ECU is a high tech performance module with five driving modes. It monitors exhaust gas temperatures and offers best in class automatic engine protection, especially at the high-risk times when engines are cold or getting too hot.
SAFARI is synonymous with snorkels worldwide. The ARMAX Snorkel is the high flow model in their range, and this additional airflow is an essential component for those optimising the performance of their engine.
The SAFARI R&D Team is working on some exciting products to complement their existing range for the 70 Series, which we are looking forward to seeing come to market.
Thanks to Ultimate 4WD Equipment here in Perth for installing our clutch.