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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

This question is for people who is owning a 5 speed Bimmer for the first time. How long did it take for you guys to get used to the clutch??

And are there anyone out there who is driving a 5 speed for the first time on a Bimmer? How long did it take you?

Thanks.
 

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When will then be now?
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This is my first 5-speed. I'm still trying to get used to the clutch but, for the most part, I was shifting fine within a few weeks. It really takes practice. I still need to improve my consistency, though, as I occasionally stall the car while reversing out of a parking spot. :eek:

Michael
 

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This is my first BMW but I've driven sticks for many years. After 6 months of ownership I'm finally able to shift smoothly. It seems to take awhile to get used to if you come from Japanese manuals. Also, has anyone else noticed that the clutch becomes easier after 3 or 4 thousand miles?
 

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My 325Ci is my first 5-speed manual and it did take some getting used to. The best thing you can do is get someone who is a very skilled manual driver and have them show you stuff and then practice it while they are in the car. I practiced on his car (Toyota Celica) a little before I got my car. When I picked my car up I was driving through the dealer's parking lot stalling multiple times. Amazingly though, I made it home without stalling. (Mostly highway driving however.) I think I might have stalled like 3 or 4 times since but luckly not in traffic or on a hill. Like anything else you just need to practice and the rest will come easily. :thumbup:
 

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Practice, practice, practice.

If you don't have a beater 5-speed handy, then just take your car out early and often. This is my first stick, and one day after I bought it I drove it 30 miles to work downtown during rush hour. You'll only get good and smooth with practice, and practice only works if you do something other than drive on a nice level parking lot. I learned more about what to do -- and what NOT to do -- on hills, slow traffic, fast traffic, and traffic lights in those first few days just driving the car. Sitting in the passenger seat wouldn't have helped me much.

Speaking of passengers, I recommend you wait a little while before giving someone a ride. You'll just give him/her a headache until you get to be somewhat smooth. :)
 
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The E46 clutch engagement point cannot be found by feel, unlike previous BMWs and most other manual tranny cars out there. You pretty much have to memorize the engagement point. And you can only do that with practice.
 

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TD said:
The E46 clutch engagement point cannot be found by feel, unlike previous BMWs and most other manual tranny cars out there. You pretty much have to memorize the engagement point. And you can only do that with practice.
I can feel my engagement point, especially with driving shoes on.
 

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richard said:
This is my first BMW but I've driven sticks for many years. After 6 months of ownership I'm finally able to shift smoothly. It seems to take awhile to get used to if you come from Japanese manuals. Also, has anyone else noticed that the clutch becomes easier after 3 or 4 thousand miles?
Amen, Richard!

I was feeling almost afraid because I thought I wasn't doing something right, but after two days I realized that a light touch is all that's needed for a Bimmer, and that I needed to make some adjustments from driving 5-speed Toyota Tercels, a Camry and Honda Civics!

I was thinking I'd bought the wrong car, but a drive through Carbon Canyon on a Saturday morning with no traffic changed my mind.

Also - I've figured out that Reverse is not next to 5th anymore! :D
 

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nate328Ci said:
I can feel my engagement point, especially with driving shoes on.
Yes, there's still a little E36 left in your car.
 

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Nick325xiT 5spd said:
Yes, there's still a little E36 left in your car.
:p

You don't find your clutch getting better?

Mine has gotten better, and the clutch in my mom's 330Cic has gotten MUCH better with age. new, it was truely terrible; last time I drive the car, it was OK.

I'm just hope they replace my clutch with a similar model in a few weeks :eeps:
 

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I can feel the engagement point alright it's just a little more like an on-off switch than my previous cars. I have more trouble with lack of feel in the DBW throttle. Tend to give it more revs than necessary or not enough from a dead stop. I also learned that I have to let the clutch out slower than my Honda.
 

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robj213 said:
Hey,

This question is for people who is owning a 5 speed Bimmer for the first time. How long did it take for you guys to get used to the clutch??

It took me 5000 miles, despite being a long time manual driver. The first week I actually stalled the car a few times. I can now feel the engagement (even through my heavy hiking boots), but the binary nature of the clutch still leads to the occasional spastic shift if I'm lazy or not paying attention.
 

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Do a search. You will find many people happy to find they are not the only experienced manual drivers who struggle with this clutch. Also, look for threads on the Big Boy clutch stop.
 

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nate328Ci said:
:p

You don't find your clutch getting better?

Mine has gotten better, and the clutch in my mom's 330Cic has gotten MUCH better with age. new, it was truely terrible; last time I drive the car, it was OK.

I'm just hope they replace my clutch with a similar model in a few weeks :eeps:
Why not put in the Sachs Sports Clutch if you're replacing yours? Might as well get an upgrade if you're paying all that labor in the first place.

My clutch got dramatically better in one swift motion (excision of the CDV) and has since felt about the same. It always feels better post fluid change, as well.
 

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About a week. Clutch is very similar to my former Mazda 626. Only had problems with reverse. Oh, and getting it into reverse was difficult at first (need to use a little more muscle).

And you can definitely feel the clutch engagement point on xi's... solid thunk from the clutch mechanism. :thumbup:
Much more so than the RWDs.
:rolleyes:
 

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My previous car was a 1989 5-speed Accord (cabled clutch pedal, not hydraulic! Lots of feel through that). Incidentally, for people who are concerned about getting a manual and driving in traffic, if your last manual experience is with a car of that vintage, the hydraulic clutch doesn't require much physical effort, and "clutch knee" in stop-and-go is less of a problem.

I'm now mostly adapted to the BMW clutch after five hundred miles over a couple of weeks. The first take-off-from-stop from my driveway in the morning has me groping around for the engagement point, but by the time I hit the first traffic light, I remember how to drive.

In a new manual transmission car, I find it helpful to turn off the radio (and, if your climate permits it, open the windows) so you can hear the engine. If you can't feel the engagement point through the pedal, you can at least hear it as the engine gets loaded. Actually, cheap poorly-insulated cars with lots of engine noise in the cabin make this easier.
 

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Nick325xiT 5spd said:
Why not put in the Sachs Sports Clutch if you're replacing yours? Might as well get an upgrade if you're paying all that labor in the first place.

My clutch got dramatically better in one swift motion (excision of the CDV) and has since felt about the same. It always feels better post fluid change, as well.
I AM NOT planning on paying for it.

Hoping that the warranty will replace it under the SIB for all 328Cis.
 

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when i first got the ///M.. it took a while to get use to.. i knew how to drive japanese cars.. but the bmw was alot different.. the clutch is harder.. and engagement point is different.. i stalled a few times.. and peeled out.. and burned the clutch.. but i could drive it very smooth now.. took several months to get use to..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So how much damage are you doing to the clutch and the gears when you are learning or getting used to the car??

And for a brand new car, is this bad? Since it hasn't been broken in yet, or does it have any effect.
 

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im not to worried about the damage.. i dont think it is alot.. i knew how to drive stick b4.. just takes time getting use to..especailly the power difference.. well i'll start worrying when its 2005.. and i have to start paying for things... my convert top was even torn and replaced under warranty... as for gears.. i dont think damage was done.. maybe my clutch wore a little bit..
 
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