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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW Clutch Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

9 hours9 hrs

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Socket set, transmission jack, Inverted Torx sockets, E10, E12, E14,

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i Sedan (2006)
BMW 328i Coupe (2007-13)
BMW 328i Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 328i Wagon (2007-12)
BMW 328i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 328i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 328i xDrive Wagon (2009-12)
BMW 330i Sedan (2006)
BMW 335d/i Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 335i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 335i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 335i/is Coupe (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Clutch kit, transmission bolts

Hot Tip:

Set aside a day and read procedure through before beginning

Performance Gain:

New clutch

Complementary Modification:

Replace driveshaft flex-disc

Clutch components

The traditional automotive clutch is a device that is used in a vehicle drivetrain with manual (standard) transmission. The driver uses the clutch to disengage engine power from the transmission so that a different gear can be engaged without transmission teeth gnashing or damage. Engaging the clutch smoothly then allows engine torque to reach the transmission and the driving wheels, thus driving the vehicle forward or backward.

The clutch resides in a flared housing (the bellhousing) that forms the seam between engine and transmission. The clutch pressure plate is bolted to the engine flywheel. The clutch disc is securely sandwiched between the flywheel and the pressure plate. With the clutch engaged, all three components rotate at engine speed. The transmission's splined input shaft fits in a similarly splined coupling at the center of the clutch disk. With the clutch engaged, the transmission input shaft also rotates at the same speed as the engine.

The clutch pressure plate consists of a set of springs which ordinarily press against the clutch disc and lock it to the flywheel. There are spring release levers attached to a release disc on the pressure plate. Pressing on the release disc lifts spring pressure off the clutch disc so that it can spin freely.

To allow transmission gears to slide so that a different gear ratio can be used, the driver presses on the clutch pedal. Through the use of a cable or hydraulics, clutch pedal movement translates to pressure on the release bearing which presses on the pressure plate release disc. The pressure plate disengages from the clutch disc, allowing the disc and transmission input shaft to spin free of the engine. Once the driver has changed gears, releasing the clutch pedal allows the pressure plate to reengage the clutch disc and once again transmit engine torque to the transmission.

The springs and levers in a traditional clutch pressure plate are generally designed so that the point that the driver feels engagement or disengagement of the clutch is roughly half-way through the movement range of the clutch pedal. However, as the clutch disc, usually made of a fibrous friction material such as asbestos, wears and becomes thinner, the point of clutch engagement moves up (toward the driver) in the range of clutch pedal movement. Eventually, of course, if the clutch disc becomes so thin as to no longer contact the pressure plate, there is no engagement and the clutch slips completely.

Self adjusting clutch (SAC) components

In order to keep the feel of clutch engagement relatively constant through the life of the clutch disc, BMW designed the self-adjusting clutch (SAC), installed in most of their vehicles since about 2000. The SAC uses a specially designed pressure plate with a set of self-adjusting shims. As the clutch disc wears out, the shims compensate by moving the fulcrum point of the pressure plate spring release levers. The feel of the clutch pedal is, in theory, kept constant in this way.

Here are relevant recommendations to keep in mind:

The feel of the SAC does not change appreciably, but the clutch does wear out. A worn or slipping clutch manifests itself by allowing the engine to rev up without the vehicle appearing to pick up speed (feels like an automatic transmission). The easiest way to test it is to place the transmission in a high gear while moving slowly or stopped and attempt to race the engine. If the engine does not stall but instead speeds up, the clutch is slipping.

As with any clutch replacement, SAC replacement procedure requires that the transmission be removed from the vehicle. In addition, special BMW tools are required for removal and installation of the SAC pressure plate.

The SAC is generally mated to a dual-mass flywheel. This type of flywheel cannot be machined. In the typical clutch replacement job, replace flywheel, pressure plate, clutch disc, release bearing and pilot bearing.

Clutch hydraulics

The BMW clutch is activated using hydraulics. The clutch hydraulic components consist of a master cylinder at the clutch pedal and a slave cylinder at the transmission bellhousing. Fluid from the brake fluid reservoir is shared with the clutch system. Depressing the clutch pedal forces fluid in the clutch master cylinder to travel through the fluid line to the clutch slave cylinder. This activates the clutch release lever, forcing the clutch release bearing against the clutch pressure plate to disengage the clutch.

Keep in mind the following:

If brake fluid is lost for any reason and the level in the brake fluid reservoir drops below the level of the clutch master cylinder shunt hose, clutch hydraulic failure may follow.

Clutch hydraulic failure causes a softness in the clutch pedal. The lack of resistance means that the clutch is not becoming fully disengaged when the pedal is depressed to the floor. As a result, gear shifting becomes difficult; the transmission gears clash and grind during shifts. Damage to transmission synchronizers and gears will result.

If experiencing grinding gears and difficult shifting:

Check brake fluid reservoir level. Top off if necessary.

Check clutch fluid lines for leakage. Repair as necessary.

Check clutch master cylinder for leakage. Replace if necessary.

Check clutch slave cylinder for leakage. Replace if necessary.

Bleed clutch system.

Failure Summary

Faulty transmission of power to the wheel is caused by a worn out clutch. If the engine revs up without a corresponding increase in vehicle speed, clutch mechanical components are at fault.

Grinding gears when shifting, or difficult shifting up or down the gears, is caused by a failure in clutch hydraulics.

Clutch Replacing

Have a new clutch kit and new transmission bolts on hand before beginning. Always replace aluminum bolts. See our tech article on non-reusable fasteners. Read through procedure to be sure you have all the tools required and the job is not beyond your skill set.

Jack up your vehicle and support using jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove transmission splash shields. See our tech article on engine splash shields removing.

Working at transmission where driveshaft connects, remove three 18mm driveshaft flex-disc fasteners.
Figure 1

Working at transmission where driveshaft connects, remove three 18mm driveshaft flex-disc fasteners. (green arrows) Using a prybar or large flathead screwdriver, lever driveshaft away from transmission. You won't need much force to do this. If it won't move, you may have left a bolt in place. Support driveshaft using rope or mechanic's wire.

Disconnect the reverse light switch.
Figure 2

Disconnect the reverse light switch. It is located on the left side of the transmission. Press electrical connector wire retainer and pull connector straight off switch. (green arrow) Once disconnected, unclip harness from mounting clip toward top of transmission.

Next remove the splash shield bracket from body.
Figure 3

Next remove the splash shield bracket from body. Remove the 10mm nut (green arrow), then remove bracket (yellow arrow).

Next, remove the oxygen sensor electrical connectors from the mounting bracket.
Figure 4

Next, remove the oxygen sensor electrical connectors from the mounting bracket. (green arrows) Then pull the wiring harnesses out of the holders (yellow arrows)

Next, remove the oxygen sensor electrical connectors from the mounting bracket at right side of transmission.
Figure 5

Next, remove the oxygen sensor electrical connectors from the mounting bracket at right side of transmission. (green arrows) Once removed, unplug and separate the oxygen sensor connector. Lay them aside and out of the way.

Next, remove the shift rod clip.
Figure 6

Next, remove the shift rod clip. You can unlock using your fingers and slide clip off. (green arrow)

This photo shows the clip you have to remove, green arrows point to the area you have to unclip before sliding off.
Figure 7

This photo shows the clip you have to remove, green arrows point to the area you have to unclip before sliding off.

Then remove shift rod from selector shaft.
Figure 8

Then remove shift rod from selector shaft.

Now you have to remove the transmission brace from the transmission.
Figure 9

Now you have to remove the transmission brace from the transmission. (green arrow) There is one at each side of the brace, this shows the left side. Unlock clip and rotate up.

Then slide clip out of transmission brace to remove.
Figure 10

Then slide clip out of transmission brace to remove. (green arrow) Repeat this step for right side of brace. Once clips are removed, push brace up and away from transmission.

Working at the right side of the transmission, remove the two 13mm slave cylinder fasteners.
Figure 11

Working at the right side of the transmission, remove the two 13mm slave cylinder fasteners. (green arrows)

Then pull the slave cylinder out of the transmission.
Figure 12

Then pull the slave cylinder out of the transmission. Tie it aside and out of the way. Remember, do not press the clutch pedal with the slave cylinder removed, it will be damaged. Remove the complete exhaust system from your vehicle. See our tech article on exhaust system replacing. Once the exhaust is removed, check that there are no remaining wiring harnesses or items connected to the transmission.

Working at bottom of transmission, remove two E10 fasteners.
Figure 13

Working at bottom of transmission, remove two E10 fasteners. (green arrows) Then remove wiring harness bracket from transmission. You can let this bracket hang, attached to the ground wire or oxygen sensor connectors. It should be out of your way. Once the two lower bolts are removed, there are a total of eight more that have to be removed. Three on the left side, four on the right side, and only one starter bolt has to be removed, it is located at the top of the transmission. You will remove these after lowering the transmission.

Next remove the exhaust mounting bracket from the transmission.
Figure 14

Next remove the exhaust mounting bracket from the transmission. Remove two E10 bolts while holding the 13mm nuts. Remove bracket from vehicle. (green arrows) Support the transmission with a jack. Attach the jack to the transmission using a chain or strong strap.

Then remove six 13mm transmission mount fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 15

Then remove six 13mm transmission mount fasteners (green arrows). Remove the transmission mount from the vehicle. Lower the transmission enough to access the top bolts on the transmission.

Working at the left side of the transmission, remove four bolts.
Figure 16

Working at the left side of the transmission, remove four bolts. The bolts will be a mix of E10, E12 and E14. (green arrows) Throw the aluminum bolts away. You will be replacing them.

Working at the right side of the transmission, remove four bolts.
Figure 17

Working at the right side of the transmission, remove four bolts. The bolts will be a mix of E12 and E14. (green arrows) Throw the aluminum bolts away. You will be replacing them. Once all the transmission bell housing bolts are removed, separate the transmission from the engine by wiggling it back and forth. Then lower the jack and remove the transmission from the vehicle.

To remove the clutch, remove six 6mm Allen bolts from pressure plate.
Figure 18

To remove the clutch, remove six 6mm Allen bolts from pressure plate. (green arrows) Loosen bolts in alternating pattern. Support pressure plate so it does not fall when removing.

To remove the flywheel, remove six T60 Torx bolts from the flywheel.
Figure 19

To remove the flywheel, remove six T60 Torx bolts from the flywheel. (green arrows) Loosen bolts in alternating pattern. Support flywheel so it does not fall when removing. If surface of flywheel is in good shape, you can leave it installed. Dual-mass flywheels cannot be machined, so if the surface is in bad shape, you have to replace it.

To replace the pilot bearing, remove the bearing using a small slide hammer.
Figure 20

To replace the pilot bearing, remove the bearing using a small slide hammer. Note the depth of the bearing before removing. Then install the bearing using a bearing driver.

Now it's time to install the new clutch kit.
Figure 21

Now it's time to install the new clutch kit. You will need a clutch disc alignment tool. Your clutch kit should come with one. The green arrow points to the tool that came with my clutch kit. The yellow arrow points to the BMW tool equivalent. Each one does the same job. I will be using the BMW tool in this procedure.

Install and center clutch disc using alignment tool.
Figure 22

Install and center clutch disc using alignment tool. (green arrow) Then remove center bolt from alignment tool. If you want, you can remove this bolt before aligning clutch disc.

Install pressure plate on alignment dowels, Then install six new Allen fasteners.
Figure 23

Install pressure plate on alignment dowels, Then install six new Allen fasteners. (green arrows) Tighten Allen fasteners until pressure plate is flush with flywheel.

Check that the pressure plate is flush with the flywheel.
Figure 24

Check that the pressure plate is flush with the flywheel. Then remove the SAC lock. Mine came out by rotating counter clockwise using a 14mm Allen. Once this lock is removed, the self-adjusting clutch (SAC) will move if not against clutch disc. If it does move and ratchet, you will need additional special tools to reset the SAC feature of the pressure plate.

Then torque six new Allen fasteners.
Figure 25

Then torque six new Allen fasteners. This vehicle had a torque of 25Nm. Check the specification for your vehicle to confirm. Once torqued, remove the clutch disc alignment tool from the clutch disc. Now you have to service the items on the transmission bell housing.

Remove the throwout bearing by sliding it off the transmission output shaft.
Figure 26

Remove the throwout bearing by sliding it off the transmission output shaft. Note orientation when removing.

Then remove the clutch fork (yellow arrow) by releasing the spring retaining clip (green arrow).
Figure 27

Then remove the clutch fork (yellow arrow) by releasing the spring retaining clip (green arrow). Then remove clutch fork from bell housing.

To replace the throwout guide bushing, remove four 10mm fasteners, then remove guide bushing from transmission.
Figure 28

To replace the throwout guide bushing, remove four 10mm fasteners, then remove guide bushing from transmission. Install new guide bushing, then install and tighten the fasteners. Install the new clutch fork if you are replacing it, or reinstall the old one. Then slide the new throwout bearing over the guide bushing and align it with the clutch fork. Now it is time to reinstall the transmission. Apply spine grease to the spines on the transmission output shaft. Your clutch kit should come with the correct grease. Jack transmission into place, then line up properly and slide transmission shaft into clutch. You will have to wiggle the transmission to engage the shaft. Once engaged, slide the transmission forward until the bell housing is flush with the engine. Install the bell housing fasteners and tighten. Be sure to replace all the aluminum bolts. Once transmission bolts are tightened. Install transmission mount and secure transmission in place. Now install remaining items, reverse the removal procedure when installing. Be sure to tighten all fasteners correctly and properly route all wiring harnesses.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Elliott Comments: For figure 20, what are the exact slide hammer and bearing driver tools you used? I want to make sure I buy the right tool and size. For 2007 E90 335i.
November 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Any small slide hammer that has a pilot bearing puller should work. Mine is from Snap On.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can get you a slide hammer kit.


- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
19Pablo90 Comments: Strong shake engine when starting at 1 gear.
Probably injector. 1 cylinder correction -3. During engine braking -4.5. After replacing the injector there is no significant improvement. Intake system checked.
October 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the check engine light on or flashing when the problem is present? Sounds like an engine misfire. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
19Pablo90 Comments: Hi. Engine N52. What is the reason jerk when starting? Sometimes hard he throws engine. After updating the firmware was perfect for two weeks. Reset Adaptations also two weeks is good. Now the problem has returned. No errors. The engine runs perfectly, no smokes. Thanks
September 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Jerk? Please describe in more detail what is happening. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Brian Comments: For Figure 16/17, the torx-bit sizing is incorrect for the 335i. The larger ones are E18.
June 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The article was done on a normally-aspirated engine. Fastener sizes may vary. Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Nico Comments: Hi I have replaced the dual mass flywheel on my e90 335 BMW and now it does not select gears. Any help would be appreciated
May 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The clutch may not have been installed correctly. if you can shift to gears with the engine off, but not on, the clutch is faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ray Comments: Thanks for your input. I spoke to my local dealer and was advised to replace the flywheel as well, is there a way to establish that the flywheel is at fault without removing the transmission?
March 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No. It is most likely worn as well. As they wear quickly with the clutch, and I don;t believe they can be machined. So if you have a chatter, it has to be replaced.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ray Comments: Occasionally I'm getting clutch judder when I pull away in first gear especially when the car is cold is there cause for concern?
March 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The clutch may be on the way out. Pay close attention to any changes in performance. Have it replaced as soon as you can. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mark Comments: Thanks for a great write up with pics! Just finished my 2007 328i and couldn't have done it without your help
November 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Johnny Comments: So for the E90, you don't have to remove the exhaust system to remove the transmission?
June 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, just lower it a bit if it gets in your way. You should have room to work around it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Subi Comments: Quick question, do I have to lock the flywheel to stay in one position or do I have to lock it in place because main is moving and I'm little worried
May 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can use a flywheel lock when tightening the fasteners. I usually do not. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gustavo Comments: Great write up, in need of help. I bought all new bolts for the transmission,except now they don't make aluminum bolts 6/09 135i can you possibly help out with torque specs for all 11 bolts. Thank you!
May 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have the specs or repair information for your vehicle. I would double check the part numbers to be sure you are supposed to have steel bolts.


I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
special k Comments: what are the torque specs for the new aluminum bolts when reinstalling the trans. Thanks in advance
April 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What vehicle?




I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
kmm Comments: Just completed clutch service on 2007 BMW 335xi. Starter motor does NOT need to be removed to service the clutch. starter stays in position with the transmission removed
April 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Cnbuettner Comments: It says this is for 06 330XI but it says nothing about having to remove the starter and intake manifold, which is required. And not a fun thing to find out at the last moment. It would have been easier if I knew this on the ground before I had it 95% removed. Your instructions for removing starter were very helpful though thank you
March 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This article shows a RWD model, AWD models shouldn't be listed. Thanks for catching that. I will have the application list updated.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
shushikiary Comments: I just did this job on a 335xi 2008 04/08 build date, note that you're supposed to replace the flex disc nuts as well as their locking properties are not the same after pulling them off. Also on the manual 335's the pilot bearing is in the output shaft of the transmission and you'll need a slide hammer pilot bearing puller to get it out.
December 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
James Comments: V. Helpful guide, I am just replacing the clutch release bearing on mine. I have nearly everything out but someone told me that I will have to replace the entire clutch and flywheel due to the self adjusting clutch is this true? Also do I need any more tools to reinstall I only have sockets etc.
July 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you do not tamper with the clutch disc or pressure plate, you shouldn't not need to worry about the SA feature. If you remove it, you will the tools to reset the clutch position. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
AW Comments: Foremost, thank you. This tutorial has been extremly helpful.
I am struggling with figures 16 & 17. How did you get the top bolts out? I can't see them from under the car and tried feeling around with my hand and a socket extender, but couldn't get anything to catch. Also, why are there only five bolts in BMW's replacement kit? Thanks again.
July 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to lower the rear of the transmission, then use a long extension with a universal adapter. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Joe Comments: Need help please! I keep installing the SAC onto the flywheel but the diaphragm springs are completely compressed when I tighten down the hex bolts SAC lock just falls loose. Does not look like your SAC on fig. 25. as your picture shows them released. I have a picture but when I try to attach it won't take the email to large file.
If the spring is compressed then the clutch will not release correct?
January 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The clutch pressure plate should be held in the wear position when new. foe example, they are shipped with a metal tool to hold it in this place. If you do not have this piece in place, you will need the BMW tool 21 2 180 to move the adjuster to the wear position, then BMW tool 21 2 170 to compress the pressure plate for installation. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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