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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 10-14-2012, 10:31 PM   #1
E46BAV90
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Clutch Slave Cylinder replacement DIY

This is my first DIY write-up. I hope it turns out okay.

So for a while now I've dealt with the "creaky" clutch pedal. From what I read on the forum, it seemed like a lot of other members have come across this issue. Not only was it "creaky" but also the clutch pedal felt really uneven. After doing some more research the problem could have been a few things: the master cylinder, the slave cylinder, pedal bushing or even a bad line. In my case it was the slave cylinder that was bad.

Whatever the diagnosis was, I found a lot of threads asking for help, trying to figure out what was wrong, but not a whole lot of DIY threads, so here you go. If your creaky clutch pedal is a result of a bad slave cylinder than here is the replacement DIY, and if you're not sure if it's your slave cylinder, I'll explain how to check and see if it is.

What you'll need:
7mm wrench
11mm wrench
17mm wrench
friend
DOT 3&4 fluid
1/4in clear flex tubing
new clutch slave cylinder
empty container
optional--shop creep
what you need

First things first, get your car up in the air. I got all 4 jack stands out but you can get by with jacking up just the front end.

Now you're going to get under the car and locate the clutch slave cylinder on the (drivers) side of the transmission housing.

SLAVE CYLINDER

LOCATION

The bleeder valve will most likely have this little black cap on it. Just go ahead and take it off for now.

000_0060

After you've found it, you can check to see if it is causing the "creaky" clutch pedal sound. While you're under the car put a couple fingers on the side of the slave cylinder while you have a friend pump the clutch pedal. You'll know immediately if it needs to be replaced. You'll hear the creaky sound vibrate out of the housing. In fact, mine was so bad the cylinder actually shifted when my friend pushed the pedal. If you don't hear/feel the creaky sound from the cylinder then you've crossed one possibility off your list, but the rest of this DIY probably won't help.

Now before we install the new clutch slave cylinder, we want to get as much brake fluid out of the clutch lines as we can (trust me, it makes things a lot easier and less messy when you're underneath the car) I took a turkey baster and removed as much of the fluid as I could from the reservoir and put it in a separate container.

Baster

After that you're going to drain the rest of the clutch fluid from under the car. What you're going to do is take one end of your 1/4in clear flex tubing and put it on the bleeder valve. Make sure it fits snug over the bleeder valve lip. Then put the other end of the flex tubing in an empty container to catch the rest of the old fluid.

FLEX TUBING

Now take your 7mm wrench to the bleeder valve just past the lip where your flex tubing is and turn it slightly till you see the old fluid begin to release. DO NOT CONTINUE TO TURN IT. Once you see a small amount of fluid in the tube have your friend pump the clutch pedal; this will force the old fluid out. If you keep turning the bleeder valve thinking it will release faster you are incorrect, it will start to release the old fluid at the base of the slave cylinder making a mess. I made that mistake and fluid started dripping about 3 inches to the right of my container. Anyways keep pumping the pedal until all the old fluid is drained into the empty container. Pump the clutch to help the fluid out, but do not keep loosening the bleeder valve thinking it will increase the flow. Once you've drained it all from the bleeder valve go ahead and remove the flex tubing and set it aside. (It will drip a bit because there is always a little left.)

WRENCH

Since you've finished draining the slave cylinder, its time disconnect all the hoses attached to it. Like I said, I don't have a CDV but if you do, now would be a good time to get rid of it. You're going to need a 17mm wrench to hold the line, while you take an 11mm wrench and unscrew the clutch line from the slave cylinder. (There will probably be a few drips of old fluid left.) Once those couple of drips have stopped, just push the hose out of your way for now. Then you'll take the 11mm wrench and unscrew the other line, which is going into the transmission housing. Once you've unscrewed both nuts you'll be able to take this piece off and set it aside.

*If you need some pics for the CDV delete Scott87 has a great CDV delete thread*
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ght=cdv+delete

CDV delete

Now that the lines are disconnected, you are going to remove the old slave cylinder itself. The slave cylinder should be mounted to the side of the transmission by 2 metric 8mm x 1.25 tension lock nuts. (I picked up those up along with the tubing at The Home Depot) The reason I say it should be held by 2 is because mine was only being held by one. I don't know what happened the other one, but that was part of the reason my slave cylinder would shift every time my friend pushed the clutch, but I digress. You can see that one of the tension nuts is really difficult to get to, which is why I would recommend a deep well socket if you've got one. If you don't, do what I did and find the smallest wrench you can.

ANGLE TENSION

Since I only had one bolt on, after I unscrewed it I was able to remove the slave cylinder and it was horrible as you can see below. I didn't realize the damage done from one missing nut. Granted the other one was kind of loose, but anyway take off your old slave cylinder and get ready to install the new one.

HORRIBLE

This part was a pain in the A$$ for me because I didn't have any deep well sockets. I had to position myself just right to make my wrench work. I bent this little wrench to put it on the other tension nut so you could see how difficult it is to get to. If you have a deep well socket it would be a lot easier.

000_0069

and don't worry, I didn't leave that old tension nut just sitting their next to the housing, I made sure to get it rid of it

You're going to line up the new slave cylinder with the bolts on the side of the transmission housing and push it all the way into place. (As you can see, one of the nuts is kind of hidden so you'll have to feel around to find it.) The picture is looking straight into the bleeder valve. It's kind of blurry, but I tried to get my camera up high enough so you could see both tension nuts.

BOTH NUTS

Once you have the slave cylinder lined up, push it into place. If you let it go, it will immediately push itself back out. You will have to hold it in place while you start threading the tension nuts by hand. Once you've got the nuts threaded you can let the slave cylinder go because even though it will push out, as you tighten the nuts, the cylinder will be slowly pushed into place. Keep screwing the two 8mm x 1.25 tension nuts into the new slave cylinder until it is tight in its place.

Once your new slave cylinder is installed you need to reattach the clutch line you set aside. You will be able to line it up and screw the 11mm nut into the clutch line (probably with out your CDV now) and screw the other 11mm nut into the transmission housing. By now you've realized the screws are attached to that piece so you can't really lose them.

CLUTCH LINE

After you've reattached your clutch line make sure all your nuts and lines are secure because now you're going to add your new clutch/brake fluid and bleed out any left over fluid.

So take that 1/4in flex tubing and put one end on the newly installed slave cylinder's bleeder valve and the other end over the container you used earlier. Once you've attached the flex tubing take that 7mm wrench and slightly turn the bleeder valve the way you did before. Have your friend pump the clutch as you put in your new brake fluid DOT 3&4 to the max line. You'll probably see a little more of the old dark brown brake fluid come out of the clear flex tubing.

000_0037

While he pumps the clutch continue to pour the new DOT 3&4 fluid into the reservoir and watch as the last of the dark brown fluid begins to change color (which is why you need the clear tubing). As the last of the old fluid gets forced out the bottom, the new fluid will begin to settle in the system and make its way down. Keep adding new fluid until the rest of the dark brown fluid is gone.

Now the important thing is to keep pumping the clutch pedal even after all the old fluid has been drained, because there are still air bubbles in the system (which is again, why you need the clear tubing). You'll see the air bubbles travel out the clear flex tube and bubble up from the container, which should be filled with the old fluid now. Keep pumping the pedal until no air bubbles are seen through the clear flex tubing. Once you've determined there are no more air bubbles take your 7mm wrench and close the bleeder valve BEFORE removing the clear flex tubing. Take the rest of your DOT 3&4 fluid and fill the reservoir to the max line and your done.

*Note the clutch pedal won't feel right at first, you'll feel almost no resistance. Go ahead and pump the clutch for a couple minutes, you'll feel more and more resistance every time it compresses. Go ahead and drop the car of the jack stands and drive it around the block a couple times. You'll feel more and more resistance in the clutch pedal every until it is back to normal. This is just the new fluid settling in the system. Within the first couple minutes of driving, my clutch pedal felt amazing. That creaky noise went away, and the pedal was smooth to the floor and back. I hope this write up helps others.
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Clutch Slave Cylinder Replacement DIY

Last edited by E46BAV90; 10-23-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 10-14-2012, 11:00 PM   #2
trj
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You finally did it huh.
Great job man.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:01 PM   #3
vapor325i
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do my clutch!
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:20 PM   #4
E46BAV90
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Clutch Slave Cylinder replacement DIY

Haha ill be glad to help you get rid of that squeaky clutch pedal


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Old 09-06-2013, 07:33 PM   #5
Gus330vrum
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Nice write up! Very nice... i need it asap cuz dam this freaking sound at the drive thru is embarrasing on bmw. Also when starting up the car at quiet locations.

Good job OP! Subd
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:03 PM   #6
///MPR77
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Nice write-up.

A+ on the labelled pictures.

One thing I would suggest adding or clarifying...and maybe I missed it in the paragraph structure used for this DIY:

When you bleed the clutch...the bleeder nipple must be closed when the pedal is in it's release travel; this prevents air from being sucked back into the system.

Bleeder Nipple Open--->Clutch IN (clear tubing allows visual inspection of the expelled fluid for bubbles)
Bleeder Nipple Closed-> Clutch OUT (Careful to never over-tighten the bleeder nipple) **repeat until no bubbles are present

-Michael
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Last edited by ///MPR77; 11-19-2013 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:57 PM   #7
E46BAV90
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Clutch Slave Cylinder replacement DIY

+1 I definitely forgot to add that in the DIY


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Old 11-28-2013, 12:17 AM   #8
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One thing that I would mention is that MK60 E46s are supposed to use low viscosity brake fluid (DOT4 LV or DOT 5.1 should be fine) since those cars don't have a precharge pump. Otherwise ABS and DSC functions may be impaired when cold. I know last year I felt my ABS performance kinda sucked in winter (I was running ATE Super Blue). I've switched to Motul 5.1 and we'll see if it works better now.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:02 PM   #9
E46BAV90
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Clutch Slave Cylinder replacement DIY

Quote:
Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
One thing that I would mention is that MK60 E46s are supposed to use low viscosity brake fluid (DOT4 LV or DOT 5.1 should be fine) since those cars don't have a precharge pump. Otherwise ABS and DSC functions may be impaired when cold. I know last year I felt my ABS performance kinda sucked in winter (I was running ATE Super Blue). I've switched to Motul 5.1 and we'll see if it works better now.
I agree. It's been frigid the past few days here in Denver and I have felt my ABS struggle. A lower viscosity fluid would have been a better option here in Colorado


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