SEMA 2019: Tilton’s New High-Performance Street Clutch, The ST246

Tilton Engineering, maker of racing clutches and other driveline components, among other things, has jumped into the street performance market, taking its nearly half century of racing clutch knowledge and applying it to the muscle cars and sports cars in your driveway. At the SEMA Show it launched the new ST246 clutch, a strap-type unit that, as the model number indicates, has a diameter of 246mm (or around 9.7-inches).

“We’ve been making racing clutches since 1972, and we’ve won championships in virtually every form of racing; but racing is only so big, and the street market is much bigger, so we diversified and took the knowledge we gained from our racing clutches and applied them to the street,” Skaufel says. “We know this is a price-sensitive market, so we priced this at $1495 and you’re getting as true precision-engineered clutch…not something that came from overseas and was painted a different color. We used similar materials as far as the clutch cover, floater, and pressure plate as what we use in our racing clutches.”

The ST246 features a billet aluminum clutch cover, just like the racing clutches that Tilton manufactures for NASCAR and IndyCar teams, a billet chrome-moly steel flywheel, high-mast main pressure plate to reduce warpage, and heavy-duty straps to provide clean release by separating the discs during shifting.

“Traditional racing clutches don’t use straps; this clutch is designed for maximum reliability, rather than racing — in a street car you have noise concerns,“ explains Tilton Vice President Kirk Skaufel. “When you attach the pressure plate to the cover, you don’t have the rattling effect of a racing clutch, so it keeps it quiet. 

The ST246 is available with organic line and sprung-hub discs; the latter of which helps cancel out harmonics and vibrations of the engine firing and keeps the gearbox quiet, while the former affords smooth engagement. The organic disc is rated at 850 lb-ft of torque capacity. The other option is a solid-hub ceramatellic disc for higher horsepower street/strip applications, rated at 1,250 lb-ft torque capacity. 

“The cerametallic disc stalls out our hub dyno at 1,300 lb-ft, so we don’t know what it really holds, but we conservatively rate it at 1,250,” Skaufel says. “It is a solid hub, so it is a little stronger for severe-duty applications; they’re designed to work with either the OEM release bearing in Chevy and Ford vehicles, or you can use one of our 6000 Series hydraulic release bearings as an upgrade.

Tilton has ST246 setups that can be mated to a range of LSX- and LT-powered vehicles, with Tremec T56 or TR56, five-speed TKO’s, and there are vehicle-specific models for fifth/sixth-gen Camaro and C5/C6/C7 Corvette, among other applications.

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About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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