Stage 1: Clutches dubbed as stage 1 are the first level above a stock clutch. Typically, they have a higher clamp load and are usually good for an extra 100 ft-lbs of torque over stock discs. Furthermore, stage 1 clutch kits still utilize a full-disc, organic compound friction surface making them very streetable.
However, because of the softer friction surface, like the stock unit, they will not last long under heavy racing conditions. These kits sell anywhere from $280-$360 depending on manufacturer and engine combination.
Stage 2: Stage 2 Clutch kitw will be capable of holding more power over their stage 1 brethren, but will also be more aggressive in terms of operation. However, as noted above, there is no industry standard in regards to clutch kit naming.
This becomes very evident when looking at stage 2 and comparable clutch kits, and thus makes it doubly important to read each kit’s details very carefully. We saw with stage 1 kits, the friction surfaces were only organic compounds.
Stage 2 kits, on the other hand, vary with manufacturer. Some stage 2 kits will still be an organic compound (still more aggressive than stage 1 compounds), whereas others may utilize Kevlar, or a mix of organic and metallic materials.
The latter materials, Kevlar and semi-metallic, will offer more aggressive engagement and bite, and will stand up better to hard driving. Withstanding 600 ft-lbs of torque seems to be the industry norm for these mid -level upgrade kits. Some stage 2 offerings may be puck-style, as opposed to full-disc. We will touch on this subject further on. Prices are around $400.
Stage 3: If you’re mainly interested in racing and pushing the limits of your Mustang every time, all the time, a stage 3 kit is probably what you are looking for. Some stage 3 kits are still made with organic compounds, but the majority uses a more aggressive semi-metallic carbon or semi-ceramic friction surface, which offer the most bite and near instant engagement.
Stage 3 discs are made to work in the neighborhood of 700 ft-lbs of torque, and their aggressive and instant engagement nature make them more suitable for track use over street use.
However, many manufacturers claim that their stage 3 clutch will still work well on the street, but it is not uncommon to have clutch chatter at low RPMs whilst cruising the town. Available in full-disc or puck-disc, stage 3 units cost anywhere from $360-$550.