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  1. #1
    B Murray
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    E46 clutch problems

    My 2002 325i has just over 20,000 mi now and I continue to have the following clutch and transmission problems:

    1. On engagement, clutch pedal occasionally pops approximately 1/3 of the way up the pedal travel. Only happens in morning when car is cold and has sat for an extended period of time.

    2. When disengaging the clutch, there is an occasional roughness in the pedal travel – other times the pedal travel is smooth and normal.

    3. Since clutch replacement in December 2002 at 8,400 mi, I have noticed a mechanical “whine” at idle when the clutch is engaged. The noise stops when the clutch is disengaged (when the pedal is pushed in).

    4. When at a stop, transmission occasionally will not shift into first gear.

    BMW replaced my first clutch at 8,400 mi but these problems came back about 8,000 mi later. Since then I have been very frustrated with these continuing clutch and transmission problems that BMW has not resolved.

    I've seen a few posts on related issues - can anyone suggest a solution? Also, this is my first post on a msg board ever - I hope I've done this correctly.

    Thanks,
    B Murray



  2. #2
    JZ 02 325i
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    i have noticed #2 #3 and #4 in most manual cars, including mine. i guess i would be worried about #1 though. at least it is covered until 50k...

  3. #3
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    I too have experienced the problem you speak of except I have a 200 323. The clutch, when cold, seems to shudder.

  4. #4
    B Murray
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    I've also experienced a whining throwout bearing and rough clutch disengagement on one of my previous cars - an 86 Jetta with 180,000 miles on it. My last car, a 97 Golf, had no such problems when I sold it with 110,000 miles on it (with its original clutch). Although the BMW warranty gives me some comfort, I plunked down a lot of money on this car and had hoped to keep it well beyond its warranty.

    I forget to mention, the engine speed seems to be dropping much lower than it used to when I disengage the clutch when coming to a stop. It used to just drop down to idle, around 650-700 rmp, but now it drops below 500 before coming back up to normal speed.

  5. #5
    sueh
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    You needed a new clutch at only 8000 miles? What happened to your first one?

  6. #6
    B Murray
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    The original clutch developed a pop, which could be felt when the clutch was let out. The dealership inspected the transmission and clutch and found that a spring had been dislodged in the clutch assembly and replaced the unit under warranty.

    This is my third car with a 5-speed. The first, a VW Jetta, had 180,000 miles when I sold it and I had to put one cluth in it. My second car, a Golf, had 110,000 miles on the original clutch and was still going strong when I sold it to buy my BMW.

  7. #7
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    Just some friendly advice

    From my own experience and what I have read on this board, I believe the "popping" is pretty normal, though annoying, on the e46 clutch. As for the whining...I had the same problem on my e36 (the whine was right under the center of the rear seat...when the clutch was depressed it stopped), they found it to be the rear differential pinion bearings...they replaced them and the whine was gone. I can't speak for the roughness, but it can take some time for the clutch to fully break in (for example my e36 w/over 80,000 mi shifted MUCH smoother than my NEW e46). I'd be VERY careful about having BMW replace parts w/o determining what the REAL cause is. Moreover, even more careful to not be overly sensitive to every little thing that doesn't feel/sound "right" (though your gripe may indeed be legit). The stealers are willing to replace things cause they gain even from warranty work...telling them "it's the clutch creates a self fulfilling prophecy" ... they don't need an excuse to create a reason ("oh...it was a loose spring...we replaced the whole driveline.") Upon resale, however, you're gonna have to explain to a potential buyer why you did this and why you did that and they'll be thinking..."this car was a lemon from the git-go." Moreover, having these idiots work on your car can't make the problem worst or even create new ones. I dread taking my car to the dealer for any work and avoid it like the plague. Just enjoy car...and when something really needs work...you'll know it!

  8. #8
    JZ 02 325i
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    some good points

    there seem to be a lot of "complaints" about various noises on this and other bimmer boards. Hey, nobody said they were lexus quiet....
    myself..would like the engine a bit quieter between 3000 and 3500 rpms. it wears you out after a few hours on the highway.. i either have to do 70 or 81 to stay out of that rpm range.. oh well.

  9. #9
    Will
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    I was thinking of posting this morning about my clutch also...I have a 2003 325Ci....I have the popping about 1/3rd of the way down...had it for a while, then it went away, now it is back. My RPM's also decend to about 500 when I come to a stop...it almost sounds like she is going to stall on me but comes back....I might have to take er into the dealer soon.

  10. #10
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    I've had mine replaced (m)

    Because it had a bad shudder. Took 8 months of complaining, but they did finally replace the whole assembly. The new clutch is much, much better. Still has it's quirks - but you get used to them. To some extent, the clutch gets better with use. I have about 10K in this clutch now, and it's pretty good.

  11. #11
    scsven
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    I've experienced some of the same things you mention. I spoke with a BMW mechanic last week and he indicated that the slipping was due to the clutch self adjusting. That's why it does it when cold and not after it's warmed up. He also indicated that my clutch would work better after using it in a driving school last week and this has been true - it seems like the driving school helped to break in the clutch.

    I usually make it a point to shift into first gear right before coming to a stop - it slips in easily. I think double clutching also helps if you want to shift into first gear after being at a stop.

  12. #12
    Reupreckt
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    Could be a bad throwout bearing

    Fairly typical of the noise and difficulty shifting into 1st.

  13. #13
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    I have #1 & #2 in my 2002 325 Ci, the (more)...

    clutch engages abruptly when the car is cold (it gets really bad if you don't drive it for a few days). When it happens, you can't get a smooth start and it's pretty annoying in traffic, the whole driveline "jumps" when the pedal pops at the engagement point. I've driven manual trans cars for 30+ years and never had one do this. Dealer could not duplicate it so far (right!). BTW, car has 12K miles.

  14. #14
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    Does anyone experience shoulders being sore after lots of traffic driving with stop and go shifting? or is it just me? any advise?

  15. #15
    czech
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    Cured mine

    I got a "bushing/sleeve" replaced and it did make it better. But the car had some many issues I finally cured the whole problem and got rid of my 02 330cic (and all the issues it had) and bought a WRX.

  16. #16
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    Update: TSB on Clutch problem (more)..

    According to Alldata.com there's a TSB on this problem:
    TSB #:210101 FEB 02 M/T - Popping/Clicking From Clutch Pedal
    Unfortunately, I can't get the full bulletin there (blocked by BMW). Does anybody have access to it?

  17. #17
    B Murray
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    Re: E46 clutch problems

    Darkender makes some good points about BMWs having certain quirks that are just typical of the make. My parents have a 525i and my brother has a 540i, both of which have a couple little squeaks here and there. I’m okay with things like that and, despite my complaining, I’m happy with my car in many regards. Its solidity and balance make it enjoyable to drive. Its braking and cornering are outstanding. In exchange for these qualities, I can accept a couple rattles, a radio that cuts out intermittently and some other little quirks I haven’t mentioned. However, matters that affect the drivability are troubling.

    BMW markets itself as a maker of premium cars that are safe, reliable, and fun to drive. I believe my car is safe but it’s sticking and popping clutch make me question its reliability and certainly make it less fun to drive than the “ultimate driving machine” slogan would suggest.

    I’m worried these clutch and transmission problems are signs of a design or manufacturing defect that will cause continued problems. Several posts here speak of similar problems. A faulty throwout bearing could be the cause but that doesn’t explain why this would happen twice on my car. I’d like to find out more about the bulletin that seems to speak to this issue.

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