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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so in the past week ive noticed a new noise coming from my e30. when i release my clutch pedal and my car is in neutral (so i can idle at standstill like in my driveway) I noticed a very distinct, and seemingly painful(for the car) rattling noise come from the transmission/driveshaft area under my car. to diagnose the problem as best i could, i got in my car, and drove it like a grandpa around my nieghborhood trying to listen for this rattle. i noticed when i pushed my clutch ALL the way in the rattle would stop, and i didnt hear the rattle as i went through the gears. I popped my hood and stuck my head as far inside my engine bay as a could, and i still cant pinpoint the sound. :dunno:
but it has to transmisson related right?
the noise sounds like loose bearings or gear tooth peices bouncing around in a metal jar.
1987 bmw 325i
166k+ miles (broken odo)
5 speed manual
sat for over four years with being started or moved
 

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That Guy
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633 Posts
Time to replace your throwout bearing and pilot bearing for the clutch assembly. Just had to the same on mine. Do it soon though because I had one explode and destroyed my clutch. I just bought the sachs clutch kit and it came with both. I figured I was already in there so might as well replace the clutch while I was at it.
 

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Uniquely desultory
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It's not easy. I bought my car at 214K, seems foolish on the surface but the guy had a stack of service records from a top local garage. But it did have some problems - one of the U-joints in the driveshaft was grinding. You can't just replace the U-joint on the stock driveline - you need to replace the driveline. I did so with a re-man that will allow me to swap in new U-joints in future. I looked through the records and couldn't find any clutch replacement so I figured at 214K a new clutch might be a good idea. Gettiing the driveline and tranny out is not easy. You're going to need some serious tools. The exhaust pipe needs to be removed - I needed u-joints for the sockets along with multiple extenders to break loose the exhaust manifold nuts. The tranny is held on by some odd bolts, I forget exactly what they were, big allen bolts maybe. Hardest tranny I've ever taken out and replaced and I've done a number of Detroit truck trannies. You'll need some kind of floor jack likely as not - the 5 speed tranny is long and heavy.

Not trying to discourage you, just pointing out that you're going to need some serious tools and a good place to do these jobs.

As far as "is it cheap?", even with buying the tools it will be cheaper than having it done at a shop, if you do it right that is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i dont have the knowledge for that :( nor the money for a shop fix. ive actually began thinking of getting a truck

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That Guy
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633 Posts
took me about 7 hours with my m20 motor and about 4 with my m30. I took my manifolds off because it was easir then cutting bolts. I loosened up my motor mounts and and took the rear trans mount off. Disconnected the driveshaft and used a pry bar to pry it back far enough to lower the driveshaft, you'll have to take the nuts off the center support also. Once the driveshaft is out the way you'll need to take the crank position sensors off the trans if yours has it. Take the clutch slave cylinder off the trans and hang it out the way. At this point the trans is only on by the trans bolts, and starter. I didnt remove the wires from the starter just unbolted it and moved it out the way. To make things easier put a peice of wood on the jack pad and slowly start to raise the front of the engine until the the trans is at a downward angle where you can easily get to all the bolts. { if you have a mechanical fan, you may have to remove it so it doesnt get broken when tilting the engine back}. Pull your shift knob off so it can travel down and out. Also there is a reverse switch on the passenger side of the trans just disconnect the two wires... doesn't matter which one goes where when you put it back in so don't stress memorizing which wire went where. Once you have all the bolts out the trans will be loose. If your doing this on your back like I was, I just slowly pulled the trans till it dropped down on my chest (im a bigger guy) or ideally have a freind help guide it out so it doesn't hit the ground.
By this time you should have the trans out and the clutch should be attached to the flywheel. On the clutch release bar on the trans you will see the throwout bearing. Put the new one on just as you took the old one off. I put a thin film of silicone grease on the shaft so the throwout bearing would have little to no effort going back and fourth. I at this point would reccommend to replace the pilot bearing behind the flywheel but not a absolute because rarely they go bad. But I do recommend that you inspect the clutch and flywheel for heat marks or any type of cracks or damage. Spray the clutch down with non chlorinated brake clean and reassemble.

This is a long process but on a scale of 1 - 10 I give it a 7. It's not too terribly difficult, but a little long. You will need Reverse Torx sockets, Long extensions and basic tools. I did this on my back in my driveway with no air tools.
 

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That Guy
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Only reason took half the time with my 3.5 motor is because My exhaust is custom and no longer need to drop it to get the trans out. Also before I did the engine swap I replaced all the torx bolts with grade 10.9 bolts so I wouldn't need my reverse torx sockets to pull the trans anymore.

I've never had to touch my driveshaft even with my 3.5 liter engine swap, everything bolted right up including my shifter plate assembly. The m20 engine was little trickier to replace the clutch and what not but honestly it's not all that difficult.

You can buy those reverse torx sockets at any Autozone or parts store.
 

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Uniquely desultory
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7,607 Posts
Only reason took half the time with my 3.5 motor is because My exhaust is custom and no longer need to drop it to get the trans out. Also before I did the engine swap I replaced all the torx bolts with grade 10.9 bolts so I wouldn't need my reverse torx sockets to pull the trans anymore.

I've never had to touch my driveshaft even with my 3.5 liter engine swap, everything bolted right up including my shifter plate assembly. The m20 engine was little trickier to replace the clutch and what not but honestly it's not all that difficult.

You can buy those reverse torx sockets at any Autozone or parts store.
I got through it myself all right but consider what your experience level was when you did it. I'm not trying to give Stephen grief, just trying to tell him that he's going to need to get some tools and be prepared to lavish some days and weeks on it as there are bound to be many hard parts to bump up against. If he can take his time to get it right, he'll have paid some serious dues in the shadetree mechanics union.

I'm not a highly experienced mechanic but by the time I did my clutch on the E30, I had put two clutches in my '59 Intl. Travelall panel and 3 IIRC, in my Saab 96. The 96 with the V4 had regular problems with the transaxle (FWD) as they grafted the V4 onto the same transaxle that had been used on the previous powerplant, the 3 cyl. 2 stroke motor. I think I had the motor out that car (and it successor) 8 times over about 6 years.

Ah, ah, reverse torx sockets, that was it. I knew they were oddballs.
 

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That Guy
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633 Posts
I got through it myself all right but consider what your experience level was when you did it. I'm not trying to give Stephen grief, just trying to tell him that he's going to need to get some tools and be prepared to lavish some days and weeks on it as there are bound to be many hard parts to bump up against. If he can take his time to get it right, he'll have paid some serious dues in the shadetree mechanics union.

I'm not a highly experienced mechanic but by the time I did my clutch on the E30, I had put two clutches in my '59 Intl. Travelall panel and 3 IIRC, in my Saab 96. The 96 with the V4 had regular problems with the transaxle (FWD) as they grafted the V4 onto the same transaxle that had been used on the previous powerplant, the 3 cyl. 2 stroke motor. I think I had the motor out that car (and it successor) 8 times over about 6 years.

Ah, ah, reverse torx sockets, that was it. I knew they were oddballs.
I think he'd be fine if he saw some photo's of the job. And as long as you know the process it isn't all that hard. I'm sure it took me and you a while because there are a few tricks we learned along the way. First time I replaced a clutch in a e30 it took me a saturday and sunday and I didn't angle the motor back.. so thats what added the time.

But stephenp95 if your not handy and not comfortable with such a job... I recommend finding a fellow bimmer enthusiast around you and buy a case of beer lol. I've gotten a few big jobs done with help from fellow bimmer guys and budweiser lol.
 

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Uniquely desultory
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7,607 Posts
^ That's my thought. I think our nation could do well by having young men do serious mechanical work with a semi-retired mechanic coaching them through the hard parts. I've encountered too many instances of a young person piling up a quality car that they knew nothing about. Sort of like Paris Hilton knowing that if she turns the key and presses the accelerator of her AMG it goes really fast and stuff. And makes a cool noise that hot guys like.

Like my client's son who totaled a perfectly good 330i from accelerating too hard on an on ramp (?!?). If the young man had instead rebuilt an E30, just put serious mental and physical effort into getting it running, I suspect he'd have a little more respect for the fact of a car going fast when you give it the gas.

Stephen! You really ought to try this but be patient and seek out good advice. Maybe you can find the semi-retired mechanic I'm talking about and offer to help him with yard work or something if he helps you out now and then.
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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30,562 Posts
I knew Major Rattling when he was just a lowly Second Lieutenant. :rofl:

Seriously, book mark this page:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/tech_main.htm

and this one:

http://www.bimmerdiy.com/dir/e30

Sometimes the second index links back to the Pelican site, sometimes other DIY sites.

Here's a comprehensive clutch replacement DIY from the Pelican site:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/E36-Clutch_Replace/E36-Clutch_Replace.htm

That's a complete clutch replacement. You could just replace the throwout bearing, but it would be very wise to replace the whole clutch/pressure plate/pilot bearing/throwout bearing/clutch fork pivot at the same time.

To give to an idea of the difficulty of the job, Pelican rates it an 8 out of 10 in difficulty. For a first-timer, it's a daunting job. You'll need an extensive collection of 3/8" extensions, universals and a heavy-duty pull handle.
 

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Uniquely desultory
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HAH! Wasn't General Mayhem the head of that regiment? I recall Corporal Punishment and Private Parts as well.
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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30,562 Posts
:lmao:

Well played, sir. :thumbup:
 

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Nick's Toys
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1,309 Posts
Clutch replacement the getlemans way

I cringed when I read
I just slowly pulled the trans till it dropped down on my chest
as I could just imagine somebody having the output side of the gearbox dropping onto and into their genitalia :behead:
What about getting a cherry-picker and just pulling the engine off the gearbox ?
The latter operation is easier done with 2 people but beats groveling in the dirt underneath a low slung sports car :beerchug:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
im plenty handy, but replacing a clutch is nothing you just go do. and i know some bimmer guys , but none cool enough to help replace a clutch. and if i wasnt 17 some.beer would be lovely

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
my gramps is coming down from california and im told he knows alot. (built engines from the ground up ) so hopefully he can help.

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Bavarian Autosport
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415 Posts
A rattling noise from the transmission when at idle, in neutral, with your foot off the clutch could be your pilot bearing or throw out bearing but it's more likely the input bearing in the transmission itself. LOTS of E30's make this noise and if it's your problem changing the clutch isn't going to fix it. Mine actually does this. And so did my last one. On both cars when I had the transmissions out there was noticeable play in the input shaft. Some say this noise is the reverse idler in the transmission but the quiet ones I've worked on never had any slack in the input shaft so I suspect that's the actual cause.

A noisy throw out bearing usually makes noise when you push the clutch in, not when it's out.
 

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That Guy
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633 Posts
A rattling noise from the transmission when at idle, in neutral, with your foot off the clutch could be your pilot bearing or throw out bearing but it's more likely the input bearing in the transmission itself. LOTS of E30's make this noise and if it's your problem changing the clutch isn't going to fix it. Mine actually does this. And so did my last one. On both cars when I had the transmissions out there was noticeable play in the input shaft. Some say this noise is the reverse idler in the transmission but the quiet ones I've worked on never had any slack in the input shaft so I suspect that's the actual cause.

A noisy throw out bearing usually makes noise when you push the clutch in, not when it's out.
Just the opposite for my bimmers and honda's. I did the throwout bearing on M20 in my e30 because it was doing exactly what the poster stated. Started making noise when not engaged. I waited a day too long and the throwout bearing decided to explode as I was backing out of a parking spot. So I fixed it.
Two months later I did my M30B35 swap into the e30. Two weeks later it started making the same sound, so I pulled the trans and replaced the whole clutch assembly with throwout and pilot bearing. Noise is gone again.
 
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