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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 04-02-2013, 10:20 PM   #1
hegamiz
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My Ride: 2004 330Ci SSG
DIY: SSG / SMG Leaking Slave Cylinder Repair.

[Disclaimer]: As stated by other users, this solution isn't 100% guaranteed to work. Please read replies in order to get a better understanding of what's to expect.


This is basically a recap of my personal experience with the SSG system and how I fixed it.

I own a 330Ci with SSG 6-speed transmission. About two years ago I experience my first problem with the SSG system. On a cold night I was taking my exit home, when I came to a complete stop the car started beeping, followed by the car dropping itself into Neutral. Oddly enough this only happened in cold temperatures (usually getting off the freeway), unlike the reported SMG problems I've heard happening during high temperatures/traffic. Well about a year later with about 4 or 5 repeats of the same problem the SSG system stop shifting altogether. Looking to avoid going to the dealership and having to find it's the actuator pump or something, I reasearched and I found THIS thread by LRS on Bimmerfest. So I jacked up the car and sure enough there seemed to be signs of a leak coming from the slave cylinder (I say signs, because I would later find out my reservoir was so empty it could leak no more). Thanks to LRS and all the other great DYI threads I was able to fix this issue and get my car back on the road.

What you'll need:

- BMW's Manual Transmission Slave Cylinder Repair Kit Part #21521159332. You can order from (ECS Tuning for $36.49) not including tax/shipping. Or try your local dealership. More than likely it'll have to be special ordered and will take up to 2 weeks to get.

- 1 Liter of CHF11S Hydraulic Fluid. You can find it at O'Reilly Auto Parts for $23. Ask the desk, as they might store it in the back.

- A proper Jack, Jack-stands or Ramp. To safely lift and hold the car while you work.

- A Torx T-27 to remove the metal cover/frame from the pump and reservoir and gain access to the fill plug. In the link I shared LRS pulled out the pump along with the reservoir (they're interlocked) to fill the reservoir himself. I just removed the metal covers and my mechanic was able to get to the plug when he bled it.

- 13mm Socket to remove the slave cylinder nuts.

- Some long socket extensions.

- Pliers

- 4mm Allen Head to remove the sensor from the cylinder as not to damage it.

- Snap-ring Pliers to free the slaves inner workings.

- Large vice grip.


This is what came in the kit.






Start by disconnecting the battery, and lifting the car. Locate the slave cylinder on the drivers side of the transmission, follow the leak. Disconnect the sensor to prevent damaging the wires.




Use the 13mm socket to remove the bottom nut along with the bracket holding the nearby wiring. You might have to free the wiring connector from it's clip first.




I wasn't able to get enough space to get the my wrench to click over, so my inner Macgyver connected a couple of socket extensions and I was able to turn the nut from the open space behind the brace you see in the pictures.










Here you can see it leaking.






I don't have a picture for it, but removing the hydraulic line requires pulling a pin, pictured below, with your pliers.




Here I plugged the hydraulic line with some plastic and a pencil eraser to keep it from leaking all over.




Here's the slave pulled out. Make sure you remove the black plastic sensor you don't want to damage this. Also don't forget which way it's facing so you don't reinstall it the wrong way when you're ready to put it back together.






I broke the metal ring holding the rubber gaiter and found the gaiter had been pinched hard enought to tear. This was not the cause of the leak though.




Here I've already removed the snap-ring with snap-ring pliers to release the ring behind that kept the piston from escaping. I kept the order for you.




Piston out, spring behind it.




Here are some comparison shots of the old with the new.




The rubber seal around the piston is what I suspect was the culprit for the leak. You can see here how the manuals slave piston seal is much wider than the SSG's. And, no, my seal didn't come out like that. I had to break it to get it off.





For reference you can see how the repair is done on a manual HERE.

-Replace the seal on the piston with the new one, careful not to break the new one, and making sure it is placed with the wider end facing the inner end of the piston.

-Refit the spring and piston into the slave. The piston will be tought to press in, but with a little effort it should go. Makes sure it far enough in. I had the issue of the rod being too far out and hitting the clutch fork during reinstall keeping me from seating the slave in correctly to bolt.

-Drop in metal ring and snap-in ring.

-Pop out old gaiter and replace with new one and fit the gaiter/rod

-When pressing in the new metal ring make sure the teeth are seated correctly. The slave will have grooves where the teeth hold in. I used a hammer and a large socket, but I wouldn't recommend that over a good vice.



Here's the clutch fork that can keep you from seating the slave back in all the way. Just push the slave's piston/rod further in.




Now you can remove the metal plate on the passengers side of the transmission so your mechanic can have easy access to your reservoir Or you can have him deal with it. I was just being nice. Here's what the fill plug looks like, sorry for the crappy pic.






I ended up paying $100 to get it bled at European Performance Automotive here in Bakersfield, CA. Mark the owner didn't seem to have an issue, and the car seems to be running good with no codes found. Though it doesn't shift smooth, I suspect a worn clutch, I do expect it to get better as the computer is still retraining itself based on my driving habits. I also rented a trailer from U-Haul which was $70 with my own truck and tow hitch. From what I understand it's not a good idea to pull or dolly BMW's, something about the tranny. Well I hope this helps someone out there. Let me know if there's anything questions, and I can be more thorough.




UPDATE: turnerg1 and I have been sharing some knowledge on our different situations and it seems that the SMG pump could be an imminent issue with these systems. The whining noise you hear periodically could be early signs of a worn out pump, I'm only suspecting because I don't remember my car doing that the first year I got it. Fortunately there looks to be a less costly solution on non-M models. HERE'S a link to the thread I found on this issue. Hopefully this helps someone's quest for repair.

-hegamiz

Last edited by hegamiz; 07-22-2016 at 10:05 PM. Reason: Grammar, formatting, missed details.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:42 PM   #2
B33MER
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Great write up Do you have a pic of the new o-ring on the SSG piston?

Thanks again for taking the time to do a write up .. It will be a good reference for SSG owners worldwide
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:19 PM   #3
hegamiz
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Thanks! Unfortunately I was so focused on re-assembling the part I forgot to take pictures. I tried describing it as best I could. If anyone attempts this repair it'd be great if they could take pictures of them re-assembling it.
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Old 08-11-2013, 05:36 AM   #4
ParmaJohn
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This thread is a lifesaver!

I have been struggling with the same leak for over a year now, using a rather crude workaround. I have a pneumatic jack, two portable stands, a liter of hydraulic oil, an assortment of syringes and plastic tubes and a change of clothes with me at all times in the trunk of my 2003 330i SMG. Every four months or so I have to haul the car off the road (usually I am able to get it to my driveway at home), crawl underneath and fill the hydraulic reservoir using a 200ml medical syringe connected to a plastic tube and 90° elbow fitting. It usually takes about three shots and some dripping on the ground to fill the reservoir, and I have gotten the procedure down to under 1/2 hour start-to-finish. No problems with performance from there on.

There has got to be a better way...one that leaves my parking space free of those unsightly oil spots!

Last year I tried the LRS seal replacement sequence, but I had limited success due to the intervention of my local BMW shop (now out of business). I made the mistake of handing over the replacement seal from the 21521159332 repair kit to the dealer, asking him to do the substitution and reprogramming. I got my car back with a €150 bill and a message that the seal would not fit the SMG cylinder. It looks like the shop took the unit apart, thought twice about liability, and put it back together as before. The leak remains.

Your writeup has given me the impetus to try this again, performing the work myself and hauling the car to a different shop for reprogramming.
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
hegamiz
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I'm glad this was helpful. Unfortunate about that shop you had to deal with. Let me know how this works out and if you have any questions.

BTW it's been 4+ months without any problems this summer in both heat and traffic.

[EDIT:] Just wanted to update that as of Aug. 29, 2014 still no problems

Last edited by hegamiz; 08-29-2014 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:04 PM   #6
leonel
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Is FTE part W0133-1662558-FTE same as BMW 21521159332 ?

Thanks Hegamiz,

you gave me hope again, as my workshop told me yesterday that my slave cylinder on SMG hydrolic line is leaking, and quoted me $1300. It is crazy how much BMW charges for a slave cylinder.

Anyway, I was about to order the kit with ECS (thanks for the link) and realized that it will not ship before 6 weeks. I was looking at other suppliers, and found on this page :
http://www.bmwbuddy.com/z/part/21521...e-cylinder-kit

that FTE part W0133-1662558 also fits. It is in stock.
DO you know if FTE is the official supplier for BMW?
I don't want to go for a lower quality seal, but I was just wondering if I pay $20 extra for a bmw sticker with the bmw part number on it.

Photos look very similar.

Please let me know if you saw anything with FTE on it when you received the kit.

thanks again for your tutorial, without it, I would not even consider doing it myself.

Leonel_nr_
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:22 AM   #7
hegamiz
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I never came across that brand in my search, but it seems to fit the same years as the genuine BMW brand. A quick search shows they are oe for a lot of European cars. I'd say it's safe assumption to make that you'd get a quality part.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:06 AM   #8
PublicStellar
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Thanks guys - I don't have any problems yet, but it's great to have resources.

William
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:13 AM   #9
Mihainede85
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hegamiz.....you rock! Thank you very much!
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Old 07-15-2015, 07:45 AM   #10
BK69HH
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First of all,

Thank you hegamiz for your excellent detailed description of the technical problem occurring earlier or later on all SSG (SMG) models, and your way forward, to solve this issue and at least to be able to use your car with a budget solution even if it should be a temporary one…why that!? See my following explanation after a short foreword.


I am an licensed aircraft-engineer working for a european aircraft manufacturing company, I bought myself a FL 330CI cabrio MD:04/2003 with the SSG Gearbox about 3 years ago with 90.000km.

First time getting troubles with the hydraulic-system around 1 year later at 110.000km.

Symptoms:
Shift operations felt like taking hours, followed by an unsmooth coupling.
-> checked hydraulic fluid level which was low and during driving gear-symbol light went on, (ok this can as well come from other leakages like: feed-lines and their o-rings, shift-actuator (internal leakage), o-ring on oil-tank to hydraulic-pump connection.

If the SSG-Clutch slave cylinder seal is weared / damaged, the cylinder will spill out the hydraulic-fluid into the clutch bell housing, which dispose itself later under-floor until the exhaust.

Your DIY thread motivated me, to perform your solution on my 330CI with the 6-speed gearbox, suffering from that problem, exchange of piston seal carried out beginning of June 2015.


So next to your DIY solution for 30€ (I ordered the repair-kit from my local BMW dealer), which is done in around 3hrs on a car-lift, including bleeding and re-adaption of the system.

or

Buying for nearly 700€ (new clutch-cylinder) + 300€ labortime a service at BMW, caused by a 10€ seal…..there you go…..

The SSG system (NON M-models) have the hydraulic-system operated with the medium CHF11S which is a hydraulic fluid.

NON SSG (Manual shift+ SMG M-Models) have the hydraulic system operated with the
DOT-brakefluid connected to the brake system as far as I know (if not correct me)

So the essential different is that all seals in the system: o-rings, piston-seals, tank must have a compatibility according to the medium used in the system….

So I contacted the responsible of the laboratorys at Pentonsin Werke at Hamburg and Liqui-Moly at Ulm, Germany to get an advice for the material choice…

As soon as I get the answers I will let you know..

In between I bought myself a used cylinder from a 5-speed SSG gearbox and currently rebuilding it as 3D CATPART in Catia V5 for optimization etc…
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:44 PM   #11
PublicStellar
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I look forward to hearing what you learn.

BTW - what manufacturer do you work for? I fly 330's for Delta.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:03 PM   #12
louielazo
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omg omg please reply on this.

I iahve a 325ci '04 smg tranmission and i have i think exactly the same problem. bmw said i have leak on my slave cylinder. ive been looking for a parts and automotive that can fix it cheap but the problem is the slave cylinder? ssg and smg the same, will it work on my car?

im thinking i just have to refill the hydraulic using the machine to bring the oil to the car. please help.

Last edited by louielazo; 08-07-2015 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 03-05-2016, 04:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louielazo View Post
omg omg please reply on this.

I iahve a 325ci '04 smg tranmission and i have i think exactly the same problem. bmw said i have leak on my slave cylinder. ive been looking for a parts and automotive that can fix it cheap but the problem is the slave cylinder? ssg and smg the same, will it work on my car?

im thinking i just have to refill the hydraulic using the machine to bring the oil to the car. please help.
Same thing here Louie, must be a common problem. Can we get an update? _sl_ _sl_
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:57 AM   #14
turnerg1
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OP-thanks for the PM. Just wanted to let folks know that have this problem and come to read your solution to just be careful.
I purchased the kit from ECS and had a bmw repair facility replace the seals and do the bleed procedure. The car worked fantastic for about a day.
Then nothing. It wouldn't shift at all and got the clutch angle error code (or whatever it is).
The shop took everything back apart and noted they couldn't move the piston at all even by hand. Thinking the seal was not compatible with the fluid and swelled to prevent movement.
im not searching all methods to try and find the OEM supplied oring for this assembly.
Im guessing since they still make the full actuator assembly that they vendor still makes the oring. Just hoping for someone at bmw to let me know what it is.
I will have to check the forums to find out who makes the actuator itself and maybe I can get ahold of them.
there is a guy here on the forums in Germany who does a rebuild of the actuator including the oring from the vendor but he wont give me the part or the vendor.
He will of course be happy to charge me $200 to rebuild my assembly.
Search goes on.

Greg
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:11 AM   #15
Constant
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turnerg1, the same thing happened to me as well. Mine lasted longer than yours - about 2 months or so, but never felt quite right. It developed a massive leak again last week. When I took it out, the o-ring had swelled so much on the piston that I had to "rock" the piston back and forth just to get it to come out. Yesterday I rebuilt it again since I had another kit on-hand, but again it doesn't feel right. I can tell the piston is sticking as the clutch engagement is jerky, even after bleeding & adaptation.

Like you, I'm now looking for a different solution.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:21 AM   #16
turnerg1
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Originally Posted by Constant View Post
turnerg1, the same thing happened to me as well. Mine lasted longer than yours - about 2 months or so, but never felt quite right. It developed a massive leak again last week. When I took it out, the o-ring had swelled so much on the piston that I had to "rock" the piston back and forth just to get it to come out. Yesterday I rebuilt it again since I had another kit on-hand, but again it doesn't feel right. I can tell the piston is sticking as the clutch engagement is jerky, even after bleeding & adaptation.

Like you, I'm now looking for a different solution.
Constant, Ive called and talked to magneti Marelli here in he US. Ive sent on their website 3 different contact us requests, Ive also PM'd with the forum user who claims to be able to rebuild these for part numbers but no one seems to be able to support.
Ive also talked to my dealer and BMWNA and get the run around from both.
I sent a note to ZF transmissions but since they don't make the part they cant support either.
so right now im waiting to see if MM will send me notice back and Im still looking for local shops who have experience with the fluid.

As I was writing this a guy from the local MM who was trying to contact their folks over in Germany to see if they could support called me and told me that MM in Germany will definitely NOT support due to confidentiality. Not even to send an oring in a generic package to send to me. Thanks be to them.

Now Im trying to get quotes for someone here to rebuild with proper spec'd orings or do a manual swap.

Greg
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:31 AM   #17
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Thanks Greg. I did find reference to this O-ring guide in German. Under 7.1.7, it references Pentosin CHF 11s, as used in our SSG.
http://www.betech-gummi.de/docs/park...g_handbook.pdf

The translation says "at high temperatures usually FKM or HNBR are chosen." So either or those materials should be OK for use. The other thing I noted was the original seal was a smooth bore o-ring, while the manual version has a "lip" that seems slightly thicker. I will look for a smooth version if I can find one.

Note: HNBR is usually green, and those color o-rings are used on the SSG reservoir to pump connection.

Last edited by Constant; 03-14-2016 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:34 AM   #18
turnerg1
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Thanks Greg. I did find reference to this O-ring guide in German. Under 7.1.7, it references Pentosin CHF 11s, as used in our SSG.
http://www.betech-gummi.de/docs/park...g_handbook.pdf

The translation says "at high temperatures usually FKM or HNBR are chosen." So either or those materials should be OK for use. The other thing I noted was the original seal was a smooth bore o-ring, while the manual version has a "lip" that seems slightly thicker. I will look for a smooth version if I can find one.

Note: HNBR is usually green, and those color o-rings are used on the SSG reservoir to pump connection.
Im going to go through this and see what I can find.
Side note, the seal that comes in this actuator has a taper of some sorts so not sure a typical round oring is correct.

Greg
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Old 03-14-2016, 12:03 PM   #19
jd improved
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Can someone of you measure the exact dimensions of the groove in the piston and the diameter of the bore?
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Old 03-14-2016, 12:22 PM   #20
turnerg1
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Originally Posted by jd improved View Post
Can someone of you measure the exact dimensions of the groove in the piston and the diameter of the bore?
I don't have my actuator with me. My car is in a shop locally.
They rebuilt it once using the kit supplied by ECS per this thread but it failed within 48 hours.
Sorry.

Greg
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