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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-02-2005, 10:31 PM
blm blm is offline
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Normal sounds while shifting?

Sorry in advance for the noob question, but this is my first manual and also my first "nice" car, and that combination has me a bit ignorant and rather paranoid. Typically, what kinds of sounds will you hear from the clutch and transmission when performing "normal" (i.e., not particularly agressive) shifts? I sometimes hear a "thunk" as I put the clutch pedal in and out, which I figure is normal and just the sound of the clutch itself engaging and disengaging. I also hear a kind of brief rattle as I let the clutch out sometimes, but I think this is just the result of a shift that's not entirely smooth.

I know this might all be kind of hard to articulate in words, but just curious to see if anyone had any thoughts. Also, nothing I hear coming from the transmission is particularly loud, and it's probably just stuff that I have to get used to since I'm a recovering automatic driver. Or maybe they're special ZHP-only noises? (Don't worry, I'm not that big of a newbie -- either to cars or this board -- but I couldn't resist )
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2005, 11:50 PM
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You really shouldn't be hearing much... Maybe I need to listen more closely tomorrow, but whatever sounds you're hearing from the transmission/clutch should be very subdued when the car is running. There should be muffled clicks and thunks at the most, and no rattling.
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  #3  
Old 03-03-2005, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blm
...maybe they're special ZHP-only noises? (Don't worry, I'm not that big of a newbie -- either to cars or this board -- but I couldn't resist )
Good one.

My car made similar sounds/clunks for the first 2000 miles or so. After a while it went away. Pretty much. Mostly, it was due to my lazy clutch-release. I think the car is used to me by now.
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Old 03-03-2005, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blm
Sorry in advance for the noob question, but this is my first manual and also my first "nice" car, and that combination has me a bit ignorant and rather paranoid. Typically, what kinds of sounds will you hear from the clutch and transmission when performing "normal" (i.e., not particularly agressive) shifts? I sometimes hear a "thunk" as I put the clutch pedal in and out, which I figure is normal and just the sound of the clutch itself engaging and disengaging. I also hear a kind of brief rattle as I let the clutch out sometimes, but I think this is just the result of a shift that's not entirely smooth.
IMO, thunks and rattles are not normal sounds during manual shifting. You may hear a rattling sound if you're in too low a gear with insufficient throttle (i.e, engine bogging). Is the "thunk" from the drivetrain itself or a local noise in the clutch pedal? Sounds like you might be releasing the clutch too quickly and causing a backlash in the drivetrain (even though the CDV is supposed to prevent this). The only noise you should hear is possibly some synchro whirring sounds from the console area during a downshift, and of course, the sweet sound of your 3.0 engine singing as it revs higher and higher .
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  #5  
Old 03-03-2005, 12:15 PM
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The rattle definitely sounds like something you would hear if you give the car insufficient throttle. Try starting from a dead stop in 2nd--is that the rattle you're talking about? If so, then it's normal. The thunk or clunk from the clutch pedal is not something I would consider normal. If it persists, I'd take the car back to the dealer and have them check it out.
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  #6  
Old 03-03-2005, 12:43 PM
allaboutme allaboutme is offline
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I think I know what you're talking about. There's a clicking/rattling sound from the clutch or gears when I release the clutch super duper fast without giving enough gas first. Add a little more gas and it won't happen (rev to 1000 briefly while letting clutch out or something similar).

I hear a thunk sometimes while goign through the gears.. well.. more like going from 1st to 2nd sometimes I'll hear a clunk. I'm not sure if that's any good but it's almost "satisfying" to hear and feel the mechanicals at work.

There's a thunk when I'm goign somewhat slowly.. like coming to a stop.. and I lazily clutch in but the thnk is followed by a little lurching.
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  #7  
Old 03-03-2005, 07:41 PM
blm blm is offline
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Thanks for the inputs, everyone. I'm pretty sure that "rattle" is just part of the shakes I get when not shifting smoothly. I was paying close attention to it on the way home, and didn't really notice it (and I was getting off pretty good shifts). That "thunk" is definitely there, and I can tell that it's not the clutch pedal itself. It's by no means loud -- I can typically only pick up that sound when I'm going slow without the radio on or fan blowing, and otherwise road or engine noise drowns it out. Could just be that I'm still slow engaging and disengaging the clutch, so I'll do some more experimenting and see how it is.
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  #8  
Old 03-03-2005, 09:02 PM
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cantona7 cantona7 is offline
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One other idea...could the clunk be coming from somewhere under the car? Try listening with the window down when you shift, or even when you're stopped at a light. There should be a clunk when the gears are actually shifed and it should sound like it's coming from outside your window and somewhere in the undercarriage. If that's the case, then it's normal and you should be all set.
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2005, 09:20 PM
blm blm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantona7
One other idea...could the clunk be coming from somewhere under the car?
Actually, yes, that's one thing I didn't mention -- I've driven around with the windows open to make sure that the thunk was coming from somewhere within the drivetrain. I can still hear it sometimes with the windows up, but it's definitely good knowing that at least that particular sound is expected!
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2005, 05:35 AM
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Try doing smooth non forced shifts between 4k and 4.5k rpms.
If the noises are still there have a tech take a look.
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  #11  
Old 03-04-2005, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allaboutme
I think I know what you're talking about. There's a clicking/rattling sound from the clutch or gears when I release the clutch super duper fast without giving enough gas first. Add a little more gas and it won't happen (rev to 1000 briefly while letting clutch out or something similar).

I hear a thunk sometimes while goign through the gears.. well.. more like going from 1st to 2nd sometimes I'll hear a clunk. I'm not sure if that's any good but it's almost "satisfying" to hear and feel the mechanicals at work.

There's a thunk when I'm goign somewhat slowly.. like coming to a stop.. and I lazily clutch in but the thnk is followed by a little lurching.
I get this too when I move from 1 to 2. Not during any other transition.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2005, 01:09 PM
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Sounds like what you're hearing could be normal. To be sure, it would be a good idea to compare your car to a friends, or one at the dealer. If I don't have the radio on (which is most of the time), don't have the a/c running, and have the windows down, I can hear subtle noises when shifting into 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. I suppose it would be possible even with 4th, but with typical road noise at 4th gear speeds, I haven't noticed anything yet.
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2005, 06:39 PM
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My tranny can be noisy at times, mostly when I'm waiting at stop light and in neutral and if it's a quiet moment without traffic. I've been told this is normal. I think the thunk from the rear will go away when you get used to shifting the car better. Also if you're in 1st and need to de-clutch, if you step on the clutch a split second before you take your foot off the gas it won't rattle as much. I like to think of this as "car personality"
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  #14  
Old 03-05-2005, 05:37 AM
ragskne ragskne is offline
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Hey BLM, I think I can relate to your thunk noise. I used to drive a 99 VW JETTA TDI that still had its original clutch with 150,000 (40% highway). With our 330xi, I notice that if I let the clutch up too quickly I hear a minor thunk. I just passed the 1200 mile limit yesterday and decided to open it up a bit. With the higher rpm's I find the clutch not as finicky. It's just a matter of experimentation. The more you drive it, the better you will become at shifting smoothly. It took my wife and I a couple of weeks to get things shifting smoothly. Even with that, if I'm not paying attention I can still here a thunk occasionally going from 1st to 2nd.

Hope this helps.
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2005, 06:57 AM
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I get a rattling noise when I don't give any gas while releasing the clutch. I was always taught this was a good way to reduce clutch wear, now I wonder if I'm doing some other harm. It was never a problem with my Honda, but the Bimmer seems to like some gas while releasing the clutch.
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  #16  
Old 03-05-2005, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard
I get a rattling noise when I don't give any gas while releasing the clutch. I was always taught this was a good way to reduce clutch wear, now I wonder if I'm doing some other harm. It was never a problem with my Honda, but the Bimmer seems to like some gas while releasing the clutch.
There's lots of discussions on what you just said. Do a search on shifting and get ready to read for a couple hours.
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  #17  
Old 03-05-2005, 11:28 AM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard
I get a rattling noise when I don't give any gas while releasing the clutch. I was always taught this was a good way to reduce clutch wear, now I wonder if I'm doing some other harm. It was never a problem with my Honda, but the Bimmer seems to like some gas while releasing the clutch.
No gas when releasing clutch? Doesn't that result in jerky shifts? Hmmm, sounds like there are many more ways of shifting than I realized among the many members on this board.
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  #18  
Old 03-05-2005, 12:19 PM
blm blm is offline
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Thanks again to all for the replies. It's definitely helping allay any fears, and also to add support to something I was pretty much aware of but just needed that second opinion to set in: that what I'm hearing is most likely just me and not the car Although I am keeping a close enough eye on things that if something keeps up or definitely seems wrong, I'll take it in and have it checked out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moderato
I like to think of this as "car personality"
I know this is no startling revelation for manual drivers out there, but having to learn quirks and tricks like that makes driving a lot more fun and has definitely soured me on automatics for life. Well, not like I wasn't soured beforehand, but it's a world of difference once you make the transition.
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Old 03-05-2005, 05:11 PM
richard richard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markl53
No gas when releasing clutch? Doesn't that result in jerky shifts? Hmmm, sounds like there are many more ways of shifting than I realized among the many members on this board.
I guess I should clarify. I'm just refering to casual launches from a dead stop. No, it's not jerky. I just get the car moving by releasing the clutch and then roll in some throttle. What happens is sometimes I get a little shudder from what I'm guessing is just using too little throttle.
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Old 03-05-2005, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard
What happens is sometimes I get a little shudder from what I'm guessing is just using too little throttle.
This is bad. Don't do it. Use a little more gas from when you initially engage the clutch.
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  #21  
Old 03-05-2005, 08:36 PM
RicanBMW328i RicanBMW328i is offline
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Thump sound

Well,
Please let me add that I think I have the same problem as you. When I press the clutch in either 1st or 2nd gear, I hear this "thump" sound. It is more or less like if the spare tire were loose in the trunk, (but of course it is not) I have checked into everything you could think about. and the only thing that comes to my mind is two things,

1. either the drive shaft is out of balance and causes to hit the car floor when shifting

2. or the mount close to the differential has a play and need to be replaced.

Whichever is the case, I am pretty sure that my problem is the same as yours and I am stil checking out for the exact source of the problem.

If the mount is bad, then my friend, let me tell you that to change the damn thing is a project since there is alot of stuff that need to be taken out in view to access and replace the mount, and that will require several hours of our time!

I hope for the best and easier corrective solution.
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  #22  
Old 03-12-2005, 01:30 PM
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Just as a follow-up to this, I also ended up checking with my dealership and they said that the "thunk" I described is the drivetrain "unloading," and it's a normal sound.
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Old 03-12-2005, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blm
Just as a follow-up to this, I also ended up checking with my dealership and they said that the "thunk" I described is the drivetrain "unloading," and it's a normal sound.
Google "BMW Death rattle".
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