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Clutch Problem?

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by rich235, Jun 9, 2010.

    rich235 guest

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    Anyone have experience with manual transmissions? My 2003 325i has a manual transmission with 35000 miles. recently the clutch appears to be slipping when the pedal is high. Just recently started, no previous problems. Are there any adjustments that can be made?

    Has anyone changed the clutch? pressure plate, etc?/ how long might it take? or how much would an independent charge to do the job? as opposed to a local dealer?

    Thanks, and thanks for all the help with the Service engine issue.

    Rich

    alstroberg guest

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    slipping?

    35k miles does not seem like a lot, unless you drive in San Francisco exclusively, so a worn clutch appears less likely. You don't drive with your foot on the pedal, do you?
    Yours has a hydraulic actuated clutch. These should adjust themselves. Check the fluid reservoir & look underneath for leaks on the floor, perhaps indicating fluid/ oil leaking on to the clutch plate.

    Rear wheel drive cars are easier than FWD to swap out the clutch, but if you're not comfy with medium-to-big jobs I'd farm it out to a pro- who has a lift & clutch alignment tools etc. Parts should be ~ $300 for clutch, pressure plate & throwout bearing. More for slave cylinder etc.

    Good Luck!

    rich235 guest

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    I dont drive with my foot on the clutch pedal, but my wife started driving the car lately on occasion. It hasnt done so recently but a few years ago there was some sqealling sounds upon start until I depress the pedal, and a friend said it might be a throwout bearing. He also said that the exhaust system needs to come down to do the job. I have pleanty of tools and the Bently manual but dont have any BWM special tools that might be needed. I'll check the fluid and for leaks when I get home, I do appreciate the advice, and quote on the price. I'll have to start checking out local repair shops as this sounds like an all day at home job.

    Thanks again
    • Member

    Zeichen311

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    All day if you're lucky. Jobs like this, on a car beginning to show its age, often explode into an aggravating array of unrelated but necessary side repairs. For example, you might face rusted (then stripped or snapped) exhaust studs, plastic or rubber bits that have turned brittle and need replacement, and so on. Also beware when reading the Bentley manual and think carefully about all cross-referenced procedures. Sometimes innocuous statements like "do so-and-so if required to gain clearance" can add an hour to each end of the job. :rolleyes:

    Clutch replacement at a dealership would be around $1500-$2000, less elsewhere.

    For a street-driven car, 35,000 miles is an awfully short life for a clutch disc and pressure plate if you're even remotely competent with a manual transmission. (135,000+ is more typical.) From this and your description, I wonder if the slippage you feel could be the result of something hanging up, preventing complete release, rather than outright wear. You might want to invest $100 or so to have it properly diagnosed before you drop the coin to replace the entire clutch.

    rich235 guest

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    Good advice, thanks. I just priced the parts kit on RMeuropean and they want about 250 dollars for the clutch kit. As you say though, many other little issues arise during the course of the job. And the job would probably run in to days. You raise an interesting point and I'll need to diagnose further before spending any time/money on the new clutch.

    The car has been trouble free since I picked it up in Munich in November 2002. But its now going to need time and money for several issues (Tires, brakes soon, 02 sensor, possible clutch, etc.) and I'm considering trading in on a new Honda car. Getting older and not sure I want to spend the time or money with the maintenance. I'm getting lazy I think... Plenty of tools in the garage, used to fix cars growing up and airplanes too, but I dont seem to have the time lately. I think I'll get dirty when I get home and attempt to see what's ailing the clutch, or pay a local shop or dealer to diagnose and fix it.

    Thanks again, much appreciated!
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    MGarrison

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    I wonder if yours has a clutch delay valve and if so, if that could be somehow related. I don't have experience with them, but it would seem it might well allow for slippage if you're trying to get some power down right when you'd expect to most be able to, just as you're getting your foot off the clutch.

    Check the BavAuto site under clutch stuff if this doesn't show -

    Bavarian Autosport Clutch Delay Valve -

    [IMG]

    Unlock the performance potential of your clutch. Most standard- transmission BMWs 96 on have what's known as a "lock valve" that slows the flow of hydraulic fluid during shifting. Its purpose is to dampen the engagement of the clutch so that no matter how quickly you let the clutch pedal out, you can't dump it -- great for teaching a 15- year-old how to shift, but frustrating as heck for skilled drivers. No matter how hard you try, you can't shift crisply or avoid clutch slippage. (Parallel parking is a drag, and going from 1st into 2nd is so jerky, your passengers look at you funny... once their heads stop bobbing.) One way to fix this problem is to simply remove the lock valve and force the metal hydraulic lines together. But this can crimp your lines and cause an annoying rattle. A better way is to use our "unlock valve." It's a BMW lock valve with the restrictor removed. You'll enjoy crisper shifts while maintaining the proper distance between the metal hydraulic lines and brackets (no crimped lines and no rattles). Available for most BMWs 96 on with standard transmission.

    Ditto on Stig's comments - replacing a clutch in a day presupposes no other issues and everything happening smoothly and as fast as possible. The Bentley manual is very good, but I've thought someone should print a supplement "What the Bentley Manual doesn't tell you" because sometimes you come across something that's a ridiculous hassle and the only Bentley instruction is something like 'First remove the fetzer-valve bolts to gain access', except that the bolt-removal is the hardest part of the job.

    If you really have only 35k on the car, as others mentioned, clutch issues would be unexpected, typically.

    If you did decide to get ambitious - you need tall jack stands. Getting the car up as high as possible onto jack stands is a multi-stage process, and tricky, and you may not have a jack that goes as high as your jack stands. Using a block of wood (or somesuch that won't necessarily collapse under the weight) as a spacer to get extra height when jacking for stand placement is a bit risky. A transmission jack is handy.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result/?category=&q=transmission jack

    I'd opt for the 800 lb one or low-profile one certainly over the 450lb one. I have the jack adapter one, but getting it secured to my floor jack was a project in itself. Once freed, clearance was an issue too - wasn't enough room to leave the transmission on the trans. jack and pull it out from under the car, had to lift it off the jack to get it out from under the car. You'd want the ones that articulate over the 450lb one for angle positioning and not risking bending the transmission input shaft. Transmissions are very heavy, and it's not worth the expense of a transmission rebuild vs. $130 for the jack. I found the BavAuto pilot bearing puller tool to be less than useless - had to borrow a slide-hammer setup from a mechanic friend to get that removed. You'd also need a clutch alignment tool.

    Of course with all that out it would be the time to replace any seals, if it were needed, including the block rear main seal. I guess @ 8yrs but only 35k, trans & engine seals would be a maybe, you'd have to see what they look like I suppose. Might as well do transmission fluid tho. Not a bad time for a short-shift kit if you're so inclined. Examine the driveline-related bushings as well. Of course, that's if you decide to get into it. Ya, I'd think exhaust has to come off, plus a variety of heat shields, and pull the driveshaft.

    Anyway you look at it, it's a big project. A ridiculously lowball price from an indy shop would be in the $600 range, I'd say these days, more likely to be twice that.

    Losing the clutch delay valve and a fluid flush might be the first, cheapest things to try. I don't know if your clutch slave cyl. could be an issue, but I'm wondering if it (or something related) could be hanging up. When I've vaccum bled my E30 & E34, the clutch pedal sticks on the floor - the ez fix is to unbolt the slave cyl. from the transmission, pull it out, and put it right back. Allowing the piston to extend seems to free up what is presumably an air lock and allow for proper clutch actuation. Another way to address that is reverse-bleeding, by forcing fluid in through the bleeder. Griot's Garage has a tool specifically for that.

    Hope you figure it out whatever it is. If it were me, unless the car was falling apart at the seams or obviously already a total lemon, I would hardly be inclined to trade in a 35k BMW on any Honda, new or old, particularly for normal wear and tear items. At that mileage, I might even be willing to pop for a new transmission if it was determined it was necessary but everything else was solid & working properly. Come to think of it, I wouldn't expect your car to be needing O2 sensors either until 70k or later, unless it's obvious they're not working. Brakes are easy, you can do that yourself. Only potential snag is stripping a rotor-retaining bolt, IF you needed rotors (pads, ok, but rotors w/ stock pads you'd think would be good for quite awhile). And tires.. well, hey - obviously those don't last forever. Generally, I would expect the first 80k of most BMW's lifespans to be relatively nominal maintenance expense - just some fluids, pads, and 1 or 2 sets of tires, and hopefully no leaks cropping up. Anyway - good luck w/ it, whatever ya do!

    rich235 guest

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    Wow, thanks for the gouge on the Clutch delay valve, I'll for sure research this and possible remove etc. The car has been garaged and driven modestly all its life so teh clutch may indeed be fine. I did want to install a short throw shift kit and maybe this is my opportunity to do so. The BMW dealers now have these items for sale and installation (I know there are many after market products) and may have them do the job. Thanks for the detailed information on the transmission handling, and jacks. Not sure if I'll tackle the job myself or employ the Sarasota, Florida BMW dealership.

    Nothing leaks on the car, and its been a solid vehicle for 8 years. I might be whining a bit much, even though its a quality engineered car its still a machine in need of service. Given the fact that its such an exciting car to drive I really should spend a few bucks on it and continue to enjoy the driving experience...

    Thanks again! :D

    Rich
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Yeah, swapping shifters is another job that's it's own kind of pain. Access to various things is the hassle there, primarily. If you have a good dealer, that's great, but your local chapter contacts may be able to direct you a well-recommended independent shop that might have a somewhat more favorable labor rate. Check your chapter website for officer's contact info if you're not in touch with local members or chapter officers already.

    You can search the forums here and elsewhere, I believe we have several threads mentioning various short shift kits w/ some commentary to compare and contrast your dealer's offerings. Shop around to make sure what your dealer is offering is fairly priced.

    If you like the car, then, ya - keep on enjoying it! What price can you put on fun?! :D

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