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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 05-01-2005, 10:24 AM
hitbw721 hitbw721 is offline
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Unhappy burnt clutch

Need some advice. I burnt my clutch going to the dodgers game last night. I was going up a hill and a terrible burning smell came. Towards the end of the drive, the gear started to slip. I didn't think much of it as this has happenned to another car of mine and wasn't a major problem. Anyways, after the game, +3 hours, the car still had the smell. The clutch became really stiff. Also, I could not shift the gear, the clutch was virtually not working. Once I forced it in, the gear started slipping. Anyways, when I came to a stop I needed to shut the engine so I could start the car in first gear since I could not shift it in after the car had started. Yea, sounds like a lot of problems.

My question is what is this going to cost me and can I trust a local BMW repair shop-non dealer?
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2005, 03:49 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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If this has happened to more than one of your cars, I would *strongly* suggest switching to an auto trans.

Regards,
Bob
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2005, 05:04 PM
robj213 robj213 is offline
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What caused the clutch to get like that?? Is it just excessive clutch riding?
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2005, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob
If this has happened to more than one of your cars, I would *strongly* suggest switching to an auto trans.

Regards,
Bob
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2005, 06:37 PM
hitbw721 hitbw721 is offline
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The reason for the burnt clutch is from much mountain driving in Colorado. And yes, I did drive my car like it is a BMW, I did not buy a BMW to drive it like an accord. Anyways, doesn't look like I am getting much assistance on this forum. Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2005, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitbw721
The reason for the burnt clutch is from much mountain driving in Colorado. And yes, I did drive my car like it is a BMW, I did not buy a BMW to drive it like an accord. Anyways, doesn't look like I am getting much assistance on this forum. Thanks.
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2005, 09:45 PM
stephen05zhp stephen05zhp is offline
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I notice that your car is a 323, so I am assuming it has a fair amount of miles on it - and is out of warranty. You also appear to do a lot of shifting in the mountains, as well as driving in the LA basin. With a lot of miles and a lot of shifting, it seems reasonable to me that a clutch is going to go sooner or later. Get a quote from an indy and the dealer. If the quotes are close, I would take it to the dealer, simply because they probably have more experience doing clutch jobs. I would not take it to an indy who doesn't have a lot of experience with your car.

My .02

BTW - has your brake fluid and transmission fluid ever been changed? How much longer do you plan on keeping the car?

Last edited by stephen05zhp; 05-01-2005 at 09:47 PM.
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2005, 01:01 AM
allaboutme allaboutme is offline
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Yeah I drive my car like a BMW too.. uhh.. yeah... But my clutch still works?

A wild guess but you're riding your clutch a little too much. You might want to consider getting someone to check out your manual/shifting technique.
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2005, 07:29 AM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitbw721
The reason for the burnt clutch is from much mountain driving in Colorado. And yes, I did drive my car like it is a BMW, I did not buy a BMW to drive it like an accord. Anyways, doesn't look like I am getting much assistance on this forum. Thanks.
I dont think anyone really answered his question:

It will cost you about $600 from a indy mechanic to replace the clutch for materials+labor. Typically, you buy the parts, and the mechanic will put it on correctly. If your clutch is ok, it should be good the day after (but keep it mind you took thousands of miles off it's life). Since you heated up the clutch so much, the clutch began to act funny due to the extreme heat you put on it. If the next day after it cools, the clutch isnt ok, it's dead. If you got over a 100K miles on the car, that's a good life of the clutch any whoot.

And, it does sound like you were riding the clutch in this particular instance .. Clutches typically die a mellow death, not go out in a violent act with smoke and smells with all that jazz.

Last edited by bluskye; 05-02-2005 at 07:34 AM.
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2005, 08:10 PM
hitbw721 hitbw721 is offline
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Talking

Thanks for the repies. I barely made it to the dealer this morning, which was 5 miles away. The damage with parts and labor came to $1,250, ouch. Oh well. The problem is the mountain driving switching from rioding on the clutch and alternatively braking when going down the rocky mountains. The car is a 323 with 70,000 miles. The same thing hapenned to my other previous car, nissan 240sx, after I took it to pikes peak!!!! Oh yeah, that costed me $750, but was worth the wild drive.

Anyways, if you guys plan on going to Colorado, rent a car and leave your bimmer in the garage.
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2005, 08:13 PM
hitbw721 hitbw721 is offline
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Oh, I plan on keeping my car for at least another 30,000 miles. Since I like to pay cash for my cars, I need to save for 1.5 more years. I am thinking of getting the new Infiniti m35 or m45. Anyone know anything about these models?
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2005, 12:25 AM
allaboutme allaboutme is offline
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I still don't understand why you are riding your clutch on a mountain. Can you explain what you go through that involves sitting on the clutch for so long? And on the same subject... You have 70k miles on your 323? Did you buy it new? What about your Nissan?

Last edited by allaboutme; 05-03-2005 at 12:28 AM.
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2005, 12:30 AM
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Kaz Kaz is offline
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You need to learn how to drive stick or get an automatic. Buring clutches on 2 cars in a row, and killing one getting up to Elysian park? That's a hill, not a mountain. That's a left foot problem, not a car problem.
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  #14  
Old 05-03-2005, 12:36 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaz
You need to learn how to drive stick or get an automatic. Buring clutches on 2 cars in a row, and killing one getting up to Elysian park? That's a hill, not a mountain. That's a left foot problem, not a car problem.
Exactly. You should not be disengaging the clutch any more going up/down a hill then you would on flat land.

If you are anywhere near the Bay Area I'll be glad to help you out with your technique.
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2005, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitbw721
The problem is the mountain driving switching from rioding on the clutch and alternatively braking when going down the rocky mountains.
Also if you're going to downshift going down a hill because you want engine braking, then you're going to have to learn to rev match. You also need to learn how to engage the clutch on a hill without slipping it too much. No wonder the clutch burned out.
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  #16  
Old 05-03-2005, 07:34 PM
hitbw721 hitbw721 is offline
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I wonder if I have a left foot problem. I have been driving a clutch for 20 years now. Had the clutch problem since I moved to Colorado, two cars. I do not ride on the clutch much, but I do notice that when I am going up a steep hill sometimes I can smell the clutch burning-even when not pressing the clutch. The mountain I burnt my nissan is Pikes Peak in Colorado, the one of the tallest mountains in Colorado. I drove up straght for good one hour. Pikes Peak is I think 15,000 feet. Denver is 5,700 feet.

So my question is this, does going up a hill after it has been in gear burn the cluth? I did smell it when going up a steep hill even when not using the left foot. I bought my 323 just when it came out in 99 and have put 70,000 miles. The car is great with no problems other than the usual engine light related to gas cap and the window motor faltering here and there -due to my tinting, this e46 motor is the best I have ever had!!!.

I do not drive in the mountains anymore other than small hills here and there in California now.
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2005, 07:36 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitbw721
I wonder if I have a left foot problem. I have been driving a clutch for 20 years now. Had the clutch problem since I moved to Colorado, two cars. I do not ride on the clutch much, but I do notice that when I am going up a steep hill sometimes I can smell the clutch burning-even when not pressing the clutch. The mountain I burnt my nissan is Pikes Peak in Colorado, the one of the tallest mountains in Colorado. I drove up straght for good one hour. Pikes Peak is I think 15,000 feet. Denver is 5,700 feet.

So my question is this, does going up a hill after it has been in gear burn the cluth? I did smell it when going up a steep hill even when not using the left foot. I bought my 323 just when it came out in 99 and have put 70,000 miles. The car is great with no problems other than the usual engine light related to gas cap and the window motor faltering here and there -due to my tinting, this e46 motor is the best I have ever had!!!.

I do not drive in the mountains anymore other than small hills here and there in California now.

Answer this quite accurately: Do you leave your left foot on the dead pedal when NOT shifting, or resting it ON the clutch?

If you are resting it on the clutch when cruising, even if you dont put pressure, you will still be riding the clutch... only takes a bit of pressure to make it slip.
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  #18  
Old 05-03-2005, 09:21 PM
allaboutme allaboutme is offline
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Riding the clutch is having your foot on the clutch pedal when you don't need to use it... So is your foot resting on the clutch pedal?

And maybe someone can point out a proper time to ride the clutch.. Slipping the clutch is necessary for parking though.

Anyway, 70,000 miles isn't bad at all, so I think we probably all overreacted.
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  #19  
Old 05-03-2005, 09:51 PM
hitbw721 hitbw721 is offline
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I leave my left foot off from the pedal and since I already burnt one (nissan) I was careful not to ride the clutch. Anyways, the nissan had 110K when I took it up Pikes Peak. There were some I swear 45 degree inclines. Well, I just got my car back and its now smooth, but it was $1,250.

Anyone know how to clean a CAI? It has been 8K since installation.
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  #20  
Old 05-03-2005, 09:58 PM
robj213 robj213 is offline
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I would think that there would be zero wear on the clutch once the gear is engaged, doesn't matter if you are going up/downhill or flat.. or am I wrong..??? Wouldn't you just be putting more stress on the engine/tranny if you are going uphill, not the clutch?
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  #21  
Old 05-03-2005, 11:15 PM
allaboutme allaboutme is offline
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Well, the clutch is a friction device, right? Is it possible the stresses of going up steep inclines placing wear on the clutch even if it's engaged?
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  #22  
Old 05-03-2005, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allaboutme
Well, the clutch is a friction device, right? Is it possible the stresses of going up steep inclines placing wear on the clutch even if it's engaged?
Not if it's not broke.
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  #23  
Old 05-04-2005, 04:30 AM
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  #24  
Old 05-04-2005, 05:58 AM
MysticBlue MysticBlue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitbw721
I wonder if I have a left foot problem. I have been driving a clutch for 20 years now. Had the clutch problem since I moved to Colorado, two cars. I do not ride on the clutch much, but I do notice that when I am going up a steep hill sometimes I can smell the clutch burning-even when not pressing the clutch. The mountain I burnt my nissan is Pikes Peak in Colorado, the one of the tallest mountains in Colorado. I drove up straght for good one hour. Pikes Peak is I think 15,000 feet. Denver is 5,700 feet.

So my question is this, does going up a hill after it has been in gear burn the cluth? I did smell it when going up a steep hill even when not using the left foot.

I do not drive in the mountains anymore other than small hills here and there in California now.
Going up a hill, no matter how steep will not slip a clutch unless it was already very close to failure. Going down a hill, no matter how steep will not slip a clutch unless it was already very close to failure. Altitude doesn't burn a clutch. Colorado didn't burn your clutch.
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  #25  
Old 05-04-2005, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allaboutme
Well, the clutch is a friction device, right? Is it possible the stresses of going up steep inclines placing wear on the clutch even if it's engaged?
A typical clutch applies around two thousand pounds of clamping force against the flywheel....only when being engaged or disengaged does it slip (with some help from your left foot.) A burnt clutch is a victim of lousy technique....period.

Regards,
Bob
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