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Old 08-26-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
new//M3fan
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Clutch Switch Tweak

I've noticed the car jerks a little bit when I want to take of smoothly; so this is what it did to fix it. Those without a CDV might be also experiencing the same issue.



There are two switches. The bottom one is solely used as the clutch start switch (i've coded mine out, and can start the car with it unplugged)

Now the top one is used to tell the car if the clutch is in or not. What this effectively does is alter the idle speed/cam timing (if taking off) and if switching gears (when cruising) or to disable the cruise control when clutching in.

So basically what is happening is that when I'm smoothly clutching out and applying power there is a gap between the switch and the pedal making the car think it is just being revved up while stopped when in fact the clutch is starting to grab and move the car so essentially you are starting to take off with cam timing designed to lower emissions and save mpg along with an idle ICV position for a few mm of travel before the clutch hits the switch and tells the car to switch over to "driving mode"--as soon as the clutch switch is pressed in-- the car abruptly changes the cam timing and ICV positions making me feel that "jerk".

So what I've done below is cut a small piece of furniture protector pads and stick it to the switch. You can trim the piece as needed to get that "perfect" feel out of the clutch and engine. There is no need to remove the switch from the metal bracket I managed just fine with a 90 degree pick. To take it out you stick a screw driver in between the red collar and the rest of the switch and try to pry the red piece out of the switch then you can press in the white tab's and take it out.





It fixed the problem and I can shift smoother then before because the rev's were dropping to fast and I can take off with intent and no jerks.

Give it a try and let me know if it worked for you!

Note: On later e46's the lower clutch switch was eliminated and integrated into the clutch master cylinder but the upper one remains.

Early e46's



Use part 11 and 12.

Later E46's



Use part 24 as the clutch start switch and part 11 of early e46's.
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:45 PM   #2
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Nice! I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the info!
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
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Doesn't that switch simply drop the Cruise Control when the pedal is depressed?
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:58 PM   #4
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Doesn't that switch simply drop the Cruise Control when the pedal is depressed?
Apparently not. Try driving with a disconnected upper clutch switch--or always pressed in switch-- and you will see what I mean.

You can thank DBW for the shenanigans.
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #5
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Omg ... It worked for me!!!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You newe46fan

I've been saying for TWO YEARS something was not right with my clutch. I said it had a split personality, etc. Two different indys said everything was fine. The clutch was clunky when I got it, and after a new clutch down the road ... launches still sucked. I just knew something was wrong even though others disagreed. My model year ('99) did not have a CDV, so I replaced the slave cylinder, new clutch line, had it bled numerous times ... still lousy launches. It just felt like it didn't want to pull while giving it a little throttle. This whole issue took away the joy I should have driving this car. I was getting ready to replace the master cylinder this fall. But now I don't have to!

After this fix, I noticed the difference immediately backing down the driveway. Got to the stop sign, released clutch with a little throttle ... and it did what it was supposed to do. No funny noises, no kangaroo hops, no rpm bouncy all around.

If you could have seen my face when I saw this thread ... I took off like lightening to the garage to get my tools.

Thank you newe46fan for solving my mystery ... I KNEW something was wrong, and now I know what it was.

I'm heading out for a ride ... and I hope I have to stop at EVERY trafffic light!!!

I'M SORRY IF THIS SOUNDS OVER THE TOP ... but it's been two years of daily frustration wiped away in 10 minutes of work!!!

Thanks Again,
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:21 PM   #6
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Wow. I'm glad the tweak worked for you!!!

Lol. I'm shocked you had furniture pads handy. Did you have to tweak the thickness of the piece much? I didn't tweak it at all. The pic shows I did but I ended up tacking an untouched piece.

IMO, the e46 is disappointing; so many issues that BMW nor most people know about and just live with.

SHIIIIIII.... With all the horsesh!t issues I've found on the e46 platform I should be under BMW's payroll.
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:51 PM   #7
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Wow. I'm glad the tweak worked for you!!!

Lol. I'm shocked you had furniture pads handy. Did you have to tweak the thickness of the piece much? I didn't tweak it at all. The pic shows I did but I ended up tacking an untouched piece.

IMO, the e46 is disappointing; so many issues that BMW nor most people know about and just live with.

SHIIIIIII.... With all the horsesh!t issues I've found on the e46 platform I should be under BMW's payroll.
I had some thick round felt pads used for furniture in my garage. It came in various sizes, and one of the sizes fit perfectly ... no cutting. It was about 1/8-3/16" thick. I'll see how that holds up (felt) over time. Might look for something more durable in the future.

LOL, I've read other posts you've had, and yes, you should be on BMWs' payroll!

Again, I can't thank you enough. I can truly enjoy my 5-speed ... finally

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Old 08-26-2011, 06:30 PM   #8
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I have the same issue. Car would jerk accelerating from a stop and it felt like the clutch wasn't grabbing fully. If you gave it gas and released the clutch, it would still jerk.

Were these symptoms you had as well?
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:38 PM   #9
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Hmm, I should check this out. I can't say I ever noticed any real issues - but the E46s were the first manual transmission cars that I drove extensively... but if it makes driving through traffic smoother, I'm all for trying something out
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:42 PM   #10
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I have the same issue. Car would jerk accelerating from a stop and it felt like the clutch wasn't grabbing fully. If you gave it gas and released the clutch, it would still jerk.

Were these symptoms you had as well?
It's not really the clutch jerking. It's the Cam timing/ICV valve jerkin. But yes those were the symptoms.
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:43 PM   #11
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Hmm, I should check this out. I can't say I ever noticed any real issues - but the E46s were the first manual transmission cars that I drove extensively... but if it makes driving through traffic smoother, I'm all for trying something out
IMO, e46's are piss poor manuals. The e46 M3 might be the exception.. IDK, I haven't driven one yet.

My 35 yr old 924 has a soo much better clutch pedal feel and silky smooth 5 speed (912 Tranny swap). No notchyness at all. Hell, even a 1986 or so mazda B2200 has a better clutch and notch less gear changes with no slop.

Not sure if the e46 M3 would benefit. But if it uses the same switch configuration I don't see why it wouldn't.
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:53 PM   #12
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IMO, e46's are piss poor manuals. The e46 M3 might be the exception.. IDK, I haven't driven one yet.

My 35 yr old 924 has a soo much better clutch pedal feel and silky smooth 5 speed (912 Tranny swap). No notchyness at all.

Not sure if the e46 M3 would benefit. But if it uses the same switch configuration I don't see why it wouldn't.
Well the E46 M3's clutch pedal is significantly stiffer than the 330 6-speed (never drove a 330 5-speed so I don't know about those). The gear lever in the M3 requires a good bit more effort and is notchier too... but my 330's gearbox wasn't notchy at all IMO (it was what I would describe as silky smooth after I changed the gear oil). Maybe the 330 6-speed had a smoother shift linkage than the others, idk.

I will have to pay more attention to my car's behavior when taking off... but what I don't understand is -- if the clutch switch makes a difference, shouldn't the engine respond differently when you're in neutral with the clutch out and when you're at a stop with the clutch in?

Also if you want to improve clutch feel - it may be worth swapping in a different clutch pedal. I've been thinking about the Z4M pedal. I've heard several people claim that the clutch pedal travel is much better on those, and the mounting points seem to be the same as the E46s. For $35, it's probably worth a shot. I've just kept putting it off
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:21 PM   #13
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Well the E46 M3's clutch pedal is significantly stiffer than the 330 6-speed (never drove a 330 5-speed so I don't know about those). The gear lever in the M3 requires a good bit more effort and is notchier too... but my 330's gearbox wasn't notchy at all IMO (it was what I would describe as silky smooth after I changed the gear oil). Maybe the 330 6-speed had a smoother shift linkage than the others, idk.

I will have to pay more attention to my car's behavior when taking off... but what I don't understand is -- if the clutch switch makes a difference, shouldn't the engine respond differently when you're in neutral with the clutch out and when you're at a stop with the clutch in?

Also if you want to improve clutch feel - it may be worth swapping in a different clutch pedal. I've been thinking about the Z4M pedal. I've heard several people claim that the clutch pedal travel is much better on those, and the mounting points seem to be the same as the E46s. For $35, it's probably worth a shot. I've just kept putting it off
The difference can't really be felt.

You don't have to add much padding over the switch; just enough to get rid of the lag. If you add to much the engine may take too long to rev down.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by newe46fan View Post
IMO, e46's are piss poor manuals. The e46 M3 might be the exception.. IDK, I haven't driven one yet.

My 35 yr old 924 has a soo much better clutch pedal feel and silky smooth 5 speed (912 Tranny swap). No notchyness at all. Hell, even a 1986 or so mazda B2200 has a better clutch and notch less gear changes with no slop.

Not sure if the e46 M3 would benefit. But if it uses the same switch configuration I don't see why it wouldn't.
I have to comment about unanticipated consequences, OP. What happens if that furniture tip happens to fall off someplace you don't want, when you don't want it to?

Not saying it will and I hope it doesn't, although the pad on my clutch stop slipped off...I lost that mod a few months after I tried it.

That and reading a lot here makes me think that sticking furniture pads or golf tees in our cars really doesn't seem right. I've learned to trust my instincts. They're not always right, I know.

I know you got one fanatic really excited about this, but it sounds like the goal is to help you launch on the street...and it also sounds like maybe someone added a bad clutch to your car at some point...maybe not?

I see you've been doing a lot on your car and you might know a lot about cars, but to hear you say that in your opinion the clutch sucks, makes me want to protest and say I trust the engineering skills of our BMW friends. If they thought a furniture tip would help, I think they would have added it.

That they didn't, or didn't make the gap smaller, makes me wonder if they had other things in mind, besides making it quicker to launch.

I read your post twice and I have no idea what your issue is. I shift from one gear to the next without any issue. I've driven many manuals in my life; none finer than the one I have now. Just saying. Nothing personal. Bygones!
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:02 PM   #15
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I have to comment about unanticipated consequences, OP. What happens if that furniture tip happens to fall off someplace you don't want, when you don't want it to?

Not saying it will and I hope it doesn't, although the pad on my clutch stop slipped off...I lost that mod a few months after I tried it.

That and reading a lot here makes me think that sticking furniture pads or golf tees in our cars really doesn't seem right. I've learned to trust my instincts. They're not always right, I know.

I know you got one fanatic really excited about this, but it sounds like the goal is to help you launch on the street...and it also sounds like maybe someone added a bad clutch to your car at some point...maybe not?

I see you've been doing a lot on your car and you might know a lot about cars, but to hear you say that in your opinion the clutch sucks, makes me want to protest and say I trust the engineering skills of our BMW friends. If they thought a furniture tip would help, I think they would have added it.

That they didn't, or didn't make the gap smaller, makes me wonder if they had other things in mind, besides making it quicker to launch.

I read your post twice and I have no idea what your issue is. I shift from one gear to the next without any issue. I've driven many manuals in my life; none finer than the one I have now. Just saying. Nothing personal. Bygones!


dmax, Always ruining the party. I'm just going to say that if you knew how I drove my car you wouldn't be making such hasty accusations "launching your cars".
It's not the clutch. I've driven friends e46's and it's the same thing. BMW has lost it's touch. The more reason I'm considering going into a S2k or something else.

My clutch stop has no pad-- I took it off. Do you still have your CDV?
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:15 PM   #16
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dmax, Always ruining the party. I'm just going to say that if you knew how I drove my car you wouldn't be making such hasty accusations "launching your cars".
It's not the clutch. I've driven friends e46's and it's the same thing. BMW has lost it's touch. The more reason I'm considering going into a S2k or something else.

My clutch stop has no pad-- I took it off. Do you still have your CDV?
You wrote, "It fixed the problem and I can shift smoother then before because the rev's were dropping to fast and I can take off with intent and no jerks. "

So I translated "with intent" into launching, since I couldn't think you meant anything else.

I just blip the throttle and when I engage the next gear, it's where it should be.

I never had a cdv based on what I've read, but wouldn't delete it if I did. I like my car a lot as it is and won't risk ruining it trying to make it better.

Clutch stop I realized was pretty stupid after I understood that I was not saving any time really...the extra 1" of travel wasn't costing me any time, and I knew my jury rig of clutch safety wasn't 100% and could fail.

Don't mean to ruin the party, but just because you can do something, doesn't mean there isn't a good reason you shouldn't. I don't know what that reason is, but I know that pads in switches just doesn't seem right. I think that if you drove like me, you wouldn't need a pad there. Maybe your year car had other issues and this seems to be a good work around, but before everyone starts doing it, I wanted to say that with every improvement comes some cost. I don't know what it is in this case, and it might be the odd one that actually is all improvement and no downside. I hope so...but have my doubts.
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:27 PM   #17
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You wrote, "It fixed the problem and I can shift smoother then before because the rev's were dropping to fast and I can take off with intent and no jerks. "

So I translated "with intent" into launching, since I couldn't think you meant anything else.

I just blip the throttle and when I engage the next gear, it's where it should be.

I never had a cdv based on what I've read, but wouldn't delete it if I did. I like my car a lot as it is and won't risk ruining it trying to make it better.

Clutch stop I realized was pretty stupid after I understood that I was not saving any time really...the extra 1" of travel wasn't costing me any time, and I knew my jury rig of clutch safety wasn't 100% and could fail.

Don't mean to ruin the party, but just because you can do something, doesn't mean there isn't a good reason you shouldn't. I don't know what that reason is, but I know that pads in switches just doesn't seem right. I think that if you drove like me, you wouldn't need a pad there. Maybe your year car had other issues and this seems to be a good work around, but before everyone starts doing it, I wanted to say that with every improvement comes some cost. I don't know what it is in this case, and it might be the odd one that actually is all improvement and no downside. I hope so...but have my doubts.
CDV's don't seem right, torn subframes don't seem right, vanos seals don't seem right, mushroomed up upper strut towers don't seem right, bad pigtail connectors don't seem right, e46's don't seem right.

Just because you don't understand the fix and theory behind it doesn't mean it's not true nor that there is a downfall.

I know the difference on how a car should feel and how it shouldn't. Some might like a CDV, some might even rev the crap out of the car to take of to work around this issue if they have it. I choose to deal with it and fix it to what I consider proper.
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:50 PM   #18
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CDV's don't seem right, torn subframes don't seem right, vanos seals don't seem right, mushroomed up upper strut towers don't seem right, bad pigtail connectors don't seem right, e46's don't seem right.

Just because you don't understand the fix and theory behind it doesn't mean it's not true nor that there is a downfall.

I know the difference on how a car should feel and how it shouldn't. Some might like a CDV, some might even rev the crap out of the car to take of to work around this issue if they have it. I choose to deal with it and fix it to what I consider proper.
Subframe isn't right...can't argue with that, and BMW did okay with us on that. It didn't want to, and it had to, but it did and it cost $5000/car. I call that a wash.

I think the mushrooming must have happened to yours because of how someone drove or maintained the car. Mine has no mushrooming and I've only heard about it rarely. If you have it, attribute it more to someone driving over a curb, installing struts incorrectly...maybe installing a strut brace or the wrong one incorrectly. You're attributing some things to the brand when I think you should be attributing them to the moron that drove the car the way he or she did, presuming you're not the original owner.

Do not come after the brand I love more than Crocs...if you do again, I'll consider that a personal attack and will toss my croc at you if we ever meet!

It's pretty light...shouldn't hurt too bad, although I know the emotional scar might be much deeper. OT should be able to help you through that okay, though!

Oh, and just because you don't think there's a downside, doesn't mean there isn't one. That's my biggest concern, as I said, unanticipated consequences. Have you at least considered what you might not have anticipated?
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:59 PM   #19
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Subframe isn't right...can't argue with that, and BMW did okay with us on that. It didn't want to, and it had to, but it did and it cost $5000/car. I call that a wash.

I think the mushrooming must have happened to yours because of how someone drove or maintained the car. Mine has no mushrooming and I've only heard about it rarely. If you have it, attribute it more to someone driving over a curb, installing struts incorrectly...maybe installing a strut brace or the wrong one incorrectly. You're attributing some things to the brand when I think you should be attributing them to the moron that drove the car the way he or she did, presuming you're not the original owner.

Do not come after the brand I love more than Crocs...if you do again, I'll consider that a personal attack and will toss my croc at you if we ever meet!

It's pretty light...shouldn't hurt too bad, although I know the emotional scar might be much deeper. OT should be able to help you through that okay, though!

Oh, and just because you don't think there's a downside, doesn't mean there isn't one. That's my biggest concern, as I said, unanticipated consequences. Have you at least considered what you might not have anticipated?
Yes, I have there is no downside.

The mushrooming is not right. My 35 yr old porsche 924 has no problem with it's strut towers and I AM SURE it's seen worse pot holes then the crappy e46.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:07 PM   #20
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Yes, I have there is no downside.

The mushrooming is not right. My 35 yr old porsche 924 has no problem with it's strut towers and I AM SURE it's seen worse pot holes then the crappy e46.
Okay on 'no downside' though it is hard to anticipate unanticipated consequences!

On the mushrooming...do you have stock shocks or AM. Are you at stock height or sport height or something lower? Lower you go, stiffer you go. You really can't blame BMW if it built a car at one height and you decided that it should be another height. That's a perfect illustration of unanticipated consequences.

I'm not saying you lowered or used AM struts...IDK...but it wouldn't surprise me. I think I'm the last here all stock, and I have not mushroomed...and don't see it much on the many BMWs I see.
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