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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 03-05-2013, 05:21 PM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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Need advice badly! Clutch covered by warranty?

Bought an '09 328xi last year coming off a 2 year lease. It had 23k miles at the time. Now at 49k miles (almost all hwy), I took it for a state inspection and oil change. I asked the SA if it was possible to look the car over and check brakes as they are covered under warranty. Got the car back that evening and dealer said nothing to report on their inspection of the vehicle. That was Thursday night (2/28). Friday I drove to work no problem (7 mile commute).

This is where the problem begins:
Leaving work, I pulled out of the parking lot and immediatley lost use of the clutch. Complete mush, loss of power, and can't get the stick out of first (and it started to smell really bad). I limp right back into the parking lot and get a ride home from a friend. I wasn't worried as the car was just serviced, complete inspection and had put less than 10 miles since. I called my dealer Saturday morning and couldn't get through to anyone so I emailed the service manager. He called me back that evening (5pm) and started off the convo by saying the clutch is not covered by warranty on the car and that he couldn't dispatch a tow. I called BMWNA and scheduled a tow for Monday morning as that is when the dealer would reopen. I had the car taken to a different dealer as I didn't want the original service provider be tempted to claim it was my fault if they had made an error servicing the car (wanted an unbiased dealer and I also didn't get a good vibe from the manager at the other dealer).

Today, Tuesday (3/5), I got a call from my SA saying that the clutch was in pieces. I asked about flywheel and other damage and he said there were "hotspots" on it and that it didn't need to be replaced but that he would recommend it. He finished by saying that the clutch wouldn't be covered by warranty. He claims that only explanation is abuse (I drove an E34 MT for 250k miles on original factory clutch!). I don't abuse the car or clutch, don't race, don't tow anything, and don't live in a hilly area. The car is not modded in any way. Original everything stock 328xi. Never a slip or issue with the clutch ever and no one has borrowed my car in the last six months.

A few questions:
1)If the clutch was damaged from abuse, wouldn't the flywheel have damage/discoloring?
2)If the clutch was wearing down, wouldn't there be noticeable slippage, judder, power loss or any kind of warning during the several thousand miles before failure?
3)Is it COMPLETE coincidence that the car was just in for service?
4)What could cause this kind of premature clutch failure?
5)Has anyone had bad experiences with dealers jerking them around?
6)What recourse do I have with BMWNA?

Help Please!!!
I'm not an expert and need advice with this badly before I pay out several thousand dollars in repairs.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2013, 05:27 PM
Klamalama Klamalama is offline
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How about an idiot car jockey at the dealer?
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:29 PM
Leekay07 Leekay07 is online now
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It could be many things. Spring come out of the plate get stuck spin and crack and smashed the plate. A bent pressure plate. Lots of possibilities all pointing to clutch failure. Just one of them things that can but doesn't always happen.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:33 PM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=795331

Is this related in any way???
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2013, 05:35 PM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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I'm going to the dealer tomorrow morning to take pictures of clutch, plates, flywheel. I will post after that
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  #6  
Old 03-05-2013, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klamalama View Post
How about an idiot car jockey at the dealer?
You mean like this:



I caught parking garage (valet) popping my clutch (E46 M3, 6 MT) and burning rubber once and raised hell with management. You just never know who's going to mess with your car when you leave it in the hands of others.
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  #7  
Old 03-05-2013, 05:59 PM
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Press the issue with BMWUSA after going to the shop management. Car is still under warranty & they should fix the clutch. I would guess the dealer would get a lot more money from you for the work than from a warranty claim to BMW.

BTW this is a new car warranty not a CPO right?
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Last edited by bear-avhistory; 03-05-2013 at 06:01 PM.
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  #8  
Old 03-05-2013, 06:13 PM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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Originally Posted by bear-avhistory View Post
Press the issue with BMWUSA after going to the shop management. Car is still under warranty & they should fix the clutch. I would guess the dealer would get a lot more money from you for the work than from a warranty claim to BMW.

BTW this is a new car warranty not a CPO right?
original new car warranty. No pre-owned certified on it. Originally I thought this was good timing with the car being at 49,700 but since the SA told me this afternoon that it's not covered under warranty, I guess it doesn't matter.

Who do I call at BMW corporate? specific department?
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  #9  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:43 PM
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2013, 07:18 AM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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Pictures of the flywheel
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2013, 07:21 AM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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Pictures of pressure plate and clutch
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  #12  
Old 03-06-2013, 07:26 AM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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Not very much perceptible burning or discoloring. Looks like normal heat spots on the flywheel.

What happened?
No slipping, shake, or judder of clutch and then sudden mechanical failure.

BMWNA customer relations told me that if the dealer claims its abuse I have no recourse.

BMWNA also said if it was a valet at the dealer who took it for a spin neither they nor I have any proof unless the service manager owns up to it (how would he even know).

Lastly, she said that even though car was serviced, given an inspection sticker, and broke down less than 10 miles later; there is nothing I can do to escalate the issue past a "he said she said," finger pointing disaster.
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:29 AM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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-BMW has on record from my service that average gas mileage is 26mpg.
-Tires are original with 49k miles on them and still have plenty of wear left.
-The brakes which BMW recommends changing every 50k miles have plenty on wear left on them.

Wouldn't these diagnostics be significantly different if I abused the car??
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  #14  
Old 03-06-2013, 08:22 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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OK, way back when, I bought a BMW motorcycle off the showroom floor. Fun fun fun! With only 60 hp + relatively flat power curve, not much of a dragster, but sa-moooooth.

Less than a year later, clutch failure. They claimed I was abusing the machine, which PO'd poor Waterboy, but what could he do? I paid labor & parts for a new clutch, though warranty was very much in force.

Not long after a TSB came down from the Masters Of Munich: Weight reduction holes in newly redesigned clutch, my year, created propogating cracks leading to failure and must be replaced as a voluntary recall. Yup, metal parts were blued with heat. Yup, clutch self-destructed. Yup, a warranty issue just as I requested.

I was reimbursed all but a $100 labor charge - I shortly moved out o'state and never received it. That was Otto's BMW, on the way to West Chester, PA from Wilmington, DE. I like to give credit where credit is due.

After a number of conversations with BMWNA, and I was far from the only call they received about many different maintenance boo-boos, Otto's no longer sold BMW motorycycles. And I cancelled the BMW car I was to buy before I moved.

.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 03-06-2013 at 08:33 AM.
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  #15  
Old 03-06-2013, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjmcg View Post

A few questions:
1)If the clutch was damaged from abuse, wouldn't the flywheel have damage/discoloring?
2)If the clutch was wearing down, wouldn't there be noticeable slippage, judder, power loss or any kind of warning during the several thousand miles before failure?
3)Is it COMPLETE coincidence that the car was just in for service?
4)What could cause this kind of premature clutch failure?
5)Has anyone had bad experiences with dealers jerking them around?
6)What recourse do I have with BMWNA?

Well, normal clutch wear is not covered, nor abuse, naturally. But your issue sounds like mechanical failure not related to either.

Keep on 'em, reasonable but conscientious, and see it through. Be interested and require that you view the damage to see which parts failed. They may soon realize that you're not the boy racer type and be motivated to look for another cause.

If you're dissatisfied with this dealer, definitely contact BMWNA Engineering on the issue.

Good luck! Keep posting through resolution here!
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  #16  
Old 03-06-2013, 08:51 AM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Insist that the dealer open a PUMA case with BMWNA. Tell them you want a BMWNA field engineer to inspect the car and that you want to be there when that happens.
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  #17  
Old 03-06-2013, 09:49 AM
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Something smells fishy.

For what its worth, I had my clutch replaced under new car warranty with 15k miles on it. Something never felt right about it and the service advisor agreed. Complete clutch kit replacement. The issue was very different from yours, but in general, a good service department can spot abuse and if there is no abuse in play will replace a faulty clutch.

Since you claim no abuse, keep pressing that with the data you give here. If the only data point they have is abuse showing on the clutch itself, it must have been a short-term thing, where your leverage with a recent service comes in. Is there any way the car logs data for, say, the last 100 miles to see if someone abused the car while in service?

There is the possibility still of massive failure that perhaps looks like abuse but is not abuse. I figure a field engineer from BMW would be able to determine that, so I very much second tturaider's recommendation for a PUMA case.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:01 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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I've changed hundreds of clutches. You have 'normal' end game catastrophic failure. The clutch has been slipping, and not just on one joy ride by a tech. Those "hard spots" I can see on the pressure plate and (dual mass) flywheel developed over thousands of miles. The friction surface on the disc was at the end of its life. I know this by the rivet heads clearly visible. Although riveted, the friction material is also glued. When the rivets finally failed the friction material instantaneously tore off the disc and gummed up the works. The steel disc was not able to transmit torque. The car wasn't going anywhere.
Based on your experience I don't think you caused the accelerated wear, the first owner did because he slipped the clutch excessively when starting out. You bought a car with a clutch already having 150,000 miles of wear, even though it had far less on the odometer.

Edit: the dealer said you didn't have to replace that hot spotted flywheel? If you don't replace it you're going to be back here telling us about how your clutch has started to chatter when starting to engage... Don't even think about it. Unfortunately it is going to add significantly to the cost of the job.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 03-06-2013 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:10 AM
pjmcg pjmcg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
I've changed hundreds of clutches. You have 'normal' end game catastrophic failure. The clutch has been slipping, and not just on one joy ride by a tech. Those "hard spots" I can see on the pressure plate and (dual mass) flywheel developed over thousands of miles. The friction surface on the disc was at the end of its life. I know this by the rivet heads clearly visible. Although riveted, the friction material is also glued. When the rivets finally failed the friction material instantaneously tore off the disc and gummed up the works. The steel disc was not able to transmit torque. The car wasn't going anywhere.
Based on your experience I don't think you caused the accelerated wear, the first owner did because he slipped the clutch excessively when starting out. You bought a car with a clutch already having 150,000 miles of wear, even though it had far less on the odometer.
Thanks. I guess I'll have to pay for it in that case.
I looked up the previous lease I bought it off of and it was listed as a corporate lease.

Last question:
Do I replace flywheel or have resurfaced?

Doesn't seem to be to much damage but I'm worried about chatter and subsequent excessive clutch wear.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:17 AM
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thekurgan thekurgan is online now
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I don't think BMW resurfaces the dual mass flywheels. Check realoem.com and see if it's only sold as a kit.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:23 AM
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lqaddict lqaddict is online now
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If you decide to go with OEM parts (highly recommended) you would probably need all these parts sans the slave cylinder and hoses

http://www.getbmwparts.com/parts/200...section=CLUTCH

Last edited by lqaddict; 03-06-2013 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:25 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
I've changed hundreds of clutches. You have 'normal' end game catastrophic failure. The clutch has been slipping, and not just on one joy ride by a tech. Those "hard spots" I can see on the pressure plate and (dual mass) flywheel developed over thousands of miles. The friction surface on the disc was at the end of its life. I know this by the rivet heads clearly visible. Although riveted, the friction material is also glued. When the rivets finally failed the friction material instantaneously tore off the disc and gummed up the works. The steel disc was not able to transmit torque. The car wasn't going anywhere.
Based on your experience I don't think you caused the accelerated wear, the first owner did because he slipped the clutch excessively when starting out. You bought a car with a clutch already having 150,000 miles of wear, even though it had far less on the odometer.

Edit: the dealer said you didn't have to replace that hot spotted flywheel? If you don't replace it you're going to be back here telling us about how your clutch has started to chatter when starting to engage... Don't even think about it. Unfortunately it is going to add significantly to the cost of the job
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjmcg View Post
Thanks. I guess I'll have to pay for it in that case.
I looked up the previous lease I bought it off of and it was listed as a corporate lease.

Last question:
Do I replace flywheel or have resurfaced?

Doesn't seem to be to much damage but I'm worried about chatter and subsequent excessive clutch wear.
See the "Edit" in my original post quoted above. It's possible the 'hotspots' which are typically the shape of a smeared circle, are not raised above the base surface. If not you could consider it, but if you are keeping the car I would bite the bullet and replace it. What usually happens is that cracks propagate from the edges of the hotspots and then things get rapidly worse.
BTW, "hotspots" are hardened areas, typically Rockwell C 60 or so, where the rest of the surface will be Rockwell C 52 or so. That is a heck of a difference.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockwell_scale

Last edited by DSXMachina; 03-06-2013 at 11:28 AM.
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  #23  
Old 03-06-2013, 01:14 PM
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A new flywheel will also give you new springs which are most likely pretty well cooked.
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  #24  
Old 03-06-2013, 01:41 PM
unrealii unrealii is offline
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These flywheels have springs, so it is not recommended to resurface otherwise you can break it.
Here's a video of how the flywheel works:


It might be cheaper to buy the flywheel at your dealer if you can negotiate with the parts department to lower the cost. That flywheel is quite heavy to ship, mine cost $1100 from the dealer.
My trans had a failure, so my dealer replaced my trans and clutch a month ago. They told me they would not replace the flywheel nor told me that I had to. I just paid for it out of pocket.
The clutch kit my dealer ordered included clutch, pressure plate, fork, throw out bearing.


FYI, I have my old flywheel in my garage. I haven't had time to clean it up, but on quick inspection I do not see any hot spots. If you are interested in buying it, let me know. Its a 6 bolt one.
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Last edited by unrealii; 03-06-2013 at 01:44 PM.
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