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Clutch and transmission

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by Silvertop, Jul 20, 2010.

    Silvertop guest

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    Although driven "spiritedly", my '04 325i has not been abused. Lately, have been getting clutch shudder about half the time I start off, it's taking up at high pedal and there even seems to be some transmission whine. New trans, clutch, etc is out of the question due to cost. Even rebuilt trans is high buck. Buying salvaged clutch and trans is risky, I would think. Any comments on buying salvaged/used? Any comments on why I'm having to do this on a 6 year old car?
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    Zeichen311

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    With a clutch, it's not the age, it's the mileage and technique. How many miles on your car?
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    lkchris

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    Buying used clutch parts is pretty much like buying used brake pads.

    Not really much way around the expense of a clutch.

    AND, there's come possibility shuddering is caused by oil on the clutch surfaces--which means new clutch PLUS fixing the oil leak.

    As for transmission noise, maybe best to have a professional evaluate it. In this economy, however, everybody's looking for work, so a bit of a challenge perhaps to get straightforward analysis. The best analysis is usually provided to regular customers.

    Silvertop guest

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    Sorry for the late reply; have been away a couple of days. The car has 94k miles. Was purchased from dealer as CPO car with 20k showing. Clutch problems started about 2k miles ago. I agree that--other than BMW dealers--there are some shops out there that are more competitive on price right now. I'll take it to one for a pro evaluation.
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    Zeichen311

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    92k-94k is on the short side for clutch life expectancy--not absurdly so although it suggests the car has not been in skilled hands (or feet). If this is your first car with a manual transmission, you did reasonably well. If it is not and you typically get longer life from a clutch, the previous owner didn't do you any favors in those first 20k miles.

    A clutch disc is made of friction material very similar to that of brake pads. Just like riding the brakes will shorten pad life, "slipping" the clutch--engaging and disengaging very slowly, especially when setting off from a stop--will use it up. It all depends on technique.

    As for the transmission whine, you might get lucky there: It could be caused by a worn-out clutch throwout bearing. If the noise is only present--or is significantly more noticeable--when you are actually operating the clutch, the throwout bearing is almost surely the culprit. A new bearing is always among the parts installed with a new clutch, so it is not an extra expense. Your mechanic should be able to confirm or dismiss it as the problem.

    Silvertop guest

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    Not the Stig,

    No, not my first manual trans. Trucks (several), MGs (2), Mustang GTs (2), 12 motorcycles and many other cars, BUT my first BMW manual. No problem with clutches before (OK, MGs don't count; something was always wrong with them). Don't really think it is my skill (or lack of) that caused the problem, but won't discount it. Who knows? I'll get a pro to give an opinion. Thanks.
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    Zeichen311

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    Nor do I, with that list--hooray for you, there aren't many of us left. :) Good luck!

    Cold6983 guest

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    Well, depending on your experience w/working on vehicles, there is also the possibility of a Clutch/Release Bearing DIY. Having the right tools and a long enough extension for the upper bellhousing bolts helps out a lot, too. I was scared of performing this kind of work on my E46 330i (first Bimmer), but all in all, it turned out to be no harder than pulling an old Mopar 727 Torque-Flite out of an old A-Body. The clearances are less, so it's a tight squeeze, but w/patience and time, a pretty easy repair. One word of warning...If you DIY, RESEARCH and be ready to deal with the dreaded "stuck starter pin" (i.e., have an air chisel and soft cloth to prevent scarring the mating surfaces.

    FWIW, my clutch never really failed, but the release bearing decided not to play anymore at 118,000 miles. I changed the clutch anyway since I was already in there, which turned out to be good, because the surfaces of the clutch were getting thin and starting to crack/glaze (I plead the 5th). Total cost=$400, would've been $300, but I snuck a new 3.5 ton jack by my wife :D

    Whatever you choose to do, good luck. 3 pedals forever!!!

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