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General E46 Forum
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Old 05-14-2010, 07:11 PM   #1
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E46 clutch lifetime, how long did yours last? symtpoms of dying...

How long have your factory clutch last on your E46? I have about 120K on it, 70% highway, 30% city. What are some symptoms of a dying clutch?
thanks.
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:04 PM   #2
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It will seem to grab slightly higher as it wears, and will be less "snappy". Chirping 2nd gear with a worn clutch is difficult.
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by coffeebob View Post
How long have your factory clutch last on your E46? I have about 120K on it, 70% highway, 30% city. What are some symptoms of a dying clutch?
thanks.
slipping, burning smell, shaking from the worn out springs in dual mass flywheel, etc.

clutch wear has everything to do with use to abuse ratio and engagement vs non-engagement. if you do like you said 70% highways then you're not really taking it out of gear much. so that 120K is understandable.
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:17 PM   #4
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There are two common clutch failure modes: disc wear and throwout bearing failure. Sometimes the pressure plate fails, but that's only when it's abused by major slippage and overheating, which causes the springs to lose their temper.

Disc wear causes less "grab". The clutch is self-adjusting, so you won't really know it's gone until it's gone. Frankly, if you're a good driver, and most of your miles are on the highway, this probably won't happen until 150-200k. Or longer. Just remember: the clutch is either up or down; not in between.

Throwout bearing failure seems to happen more often. This is characterized by a grinding noise and feel (in the clutch pedal) when the clutch is depressed. Happened in my e36 at 145k. (The disc looked fantastic in that car at the time.) BMWs seem to like to toast their throwout bearings, but you can help by not sitting with the clutch down for any longer than you need to. Be sure to put it into neutral at red lights and keep your friggin foot away from the clutch pedal.

We could discuss the pilot bearing, but since I've never seen one fail, we'll save it for another time.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:32 PM   #5
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my 323ci sees about the same driving type as you and it is at 150k just fine, it has only slipped on me once and it wasnt that bad when it did it, definately cant chirp 2nd though
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:38 PM   #6
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Why flywheel was just replaced under CPO at 53k and had them replace the clutch as well. There was lots of flywheel chatter. And it was extremly hard to put the car into first gear at idle.
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:41 PM   #7
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I had a factory original clutch in an E36 exceed 200,000 miles.
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:10 PM   #8
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my 323ci sees about the same driving type as you and it is at 150k just fine, it has only slipped on me once and it wasnt that bad when it did it, definately cant chirp 2nd though
What do you mean chirp second?
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:22 PM   #9
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Throwout bearing failure seems to happen more often..
I can't speak to E46s, as I've never heard one fail on an E46, but I had a throwout bearing fail on my Z, and it was a whirring sound that only appeared when the motor was wound and the clutch was depressed, ie changing gears. I had people asking me all the time if it was a turbo, and I had to explain that sadly no, the sound was from a mechanical failure.

Loved the sound, I didn't want to fix it!!!
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:39 PM   #10
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What do you mean chirp second?
i think he means dumping the clutch while going to 2nd. I might have done it once or twice but I don't want to toast my DMF.
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:54 PM   #11
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i think he means dumping the clutch while going to 2nd. I might have done it once or twice but I don't want to toast my DMF.
I think DMF=Flywheel, amirite?

E46noob here. Just wanting to clarify.
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Old 05-14-2010, 11:40 PM   #12
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thank you for all the info. Although 70% highway, but it's often stop and go stop and go...
I havne't noticed anything abnormal about the rpm needle. After shifting into a gear, sometimes when I accelerate, it kind of not wanting to go, just spinning/slipping is how I would describe it. It isn't a clutch issue right? Since shifting has no problem, it acts up after the car is in gear.
The mpg needle does swing quicker and stay longer on the right side, may be it is just in my mind....
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:33 AM   #13
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I had a factory original clutch in an E36 exceed 200,000 miles.
Yes, I have 165,000 on my factory clutch. It seems to have no symptoms of failure at this point. Mainly highway miles.
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:17 AM   #14
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i think he means dumping the clutch while going to 2nd. I might have done it once or twice but I don't want to toast my DMF.
You don't have to dump the clutch between shifts to get it to chirp. Chriping second means shift and get it to spin the tires a little between gears.

When the clutches start slipping on these cars it'll usually make a funny screeching noise on hard shifts.
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:31 AM   #15
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Mine lasted 90K. Mostly city driving. Started to shadder really bad on take-off.
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:39 AM   #16
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Why flywheel was just replaced under CPO at 53k and had them replace the clutch as well. There was lots of flywheel chatter. And it was extremly hard to put the car into first gear at idle.
also its never slipped or smelled
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:49 AM   #17
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Disc wear causes less "grab". The clutch is self-adjusting, so you won't really know it's gone until it's gone. Frankly, if you're a good driver, and most of your miles are on the highway, this probably won't happen until 150-200k. Or longer. Just remember: the clutch is either up or down; not in between.
This is what happened to me at 77k. no warning, wouldnt go into gear on starting one morning, clutch felt very light. got it into 1st by putting it in to gear then starting her up. Funny thing was about 2 weeks earlier i felt the clutch go a little "funny", it felt as though the engagement point changed slightly as i went into 3rd gear while some spirited driving, but it felt fine after.
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:29 AM   #18
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lol when its wet outside i will spin tires until 4th gear lol. when its dry, youll get a little screech from them in second... but if i downshift to second i usually rev match so its nice and smooth.
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:50 AM   #19
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Mine is slipping pretty bad now with around 95K. Started off that if I accelerated hard when taking off or trying to pass on the highway, the RPMS would jump up but it just wouldn't catch for a minute. Ordered a new UUC lightweight flywheel/clutch, can't wait to get it installed.
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Old 05-15-2010, 03:40 PM   #20
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yea my clutch makes a funny noise from first to second during hard driving. how much would it cost for a mechanic to replace it for you if you provide the part?
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